IG report shows Obama WH rewrote Gulf spill report to support moratorium

posted at 9:30 am on November 10, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

When the Obama White House announced its moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP-Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in April, the administration insisted that they followed the recommendations of its panel of experts.  This story blew up when the panel of experts insisted that they had not recommended any kind of blanket moratorium, and that one simply wasn’t necessary to address the deficiencies at MMS that contributed to the catastrophic fire and spill.  A new report from the Inspector General probing the White House response accuses the administration of rewriting key sections of the report in order to falsely give the impression that the panel had made that recommendation:

The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report.

In the wee hours of the morning of May 27, a staff member to White House energy adviser Carol Browner sent two edited versions of the department report’s executive summary back to Interior. The language had been changed to insinuate the seven-member panel of outside experts – who reviewed a draft of various safety recommendations – endorsed the moratorium, according to the IG report obtained by POLITICO.

“The White House edit of the original DOI draft executive summary led to the implication that the moratorium recommendation had been peer-reviewed by the experts,” the IG report states, without judgment on whether the change was an intentional attempt to mislead the public.

The White House claimed some vindication, saying that the IG had stopped short of accusing the administration of a deliberate deception, and called it “a misunderstanding.”  That seems like a bit of a stretch, especially since the supposed mistake didn’t exactly occur in a vacuum.  Opponents of oil drilling, usually among Obama’s allies on the Left, had demanded an end to drilling in the region at least until the investigation into the disaster was completed.  The White House version of the report gave Obama political cover to order the six-month moratorium — at least until those involved in its peer review cried foul after the White House publicly used them to defend the action.

But even if it was just a “misunderstanding,” an artifact of some guileless editorial tweaking that inadvertently put a paragraph ahead of or behind an important qualifier, it was at the very least incompetence.  Why was the staff of energy “adviser” Carol Browner allowed to edit a report issued by the Department of Interior’s blue-ribbon panel in the first place?  Why did no one review those changes at Interior to determine whether the edits were justified, especially since the IG report indicates that the edits took place because the staffer or Browner didn’t think it summarized the findings properly?  Why not just ask the report’s authors to rewrite it themselves?

This is no mere academic exercise.  Thousands of people lost their jobs because of this supposed instance of sloppy editing, and the delay it created in safe exploration and drilling may impact the region for years, as well as America’s energy independence.


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Monkeytoe, this rewrite was done around 2 a.m., if I understand the timeline correctly. People are known to make mistakes if they’ve been up for 18 hours.

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Convenient that those “mistakes” just happen to be in such a way as to support the moratorium. I know you can’t even believe the nonsense you are pushing.

Monkeytoe on November 10, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Monkeytoe, this rewrite was done around 2 a.m., if I understand the timeline correctly. People are known to make mistakes if they’ve been up for 18 hours.

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM

This explains the fear of a 3 a.m. call to the WH.

BobMbx on November 10, 2010 at 12:45 PM

And why exactly did they need to stay up for 18 hours to write this report? That’s just silly. They wanted to get the report out their to support the moratorium. And the “mistakes” they made do just that.

Kind of like the “mistake” of claiming you can keep your health care plan. Or the “mistake” of claiming that Obamacare would reduce costs. Or the “mistake” of claiming he was going to close GITMO. Or the “mistake” of claiming that Republicans never offered any ideas re healthcare. Or the “mistake” of claiming that the stimulus “saved or created” this many or that many millions of jobs.

It’s interesting how this administration continues to make “mistakes” with the facts that always seem to support their objectives. Never once a “mistake” that comes out the other way.

Just a silly argument. Hey, they aren’t lying or incompetent. Just tired. But trust us with your healthcare and with everything else we say.

Monkeytoe on November 10, 2010 at 12:49 PM

A version of Cap and Trade, no less

Kini on November 10, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Mistake my eye. It was as deliberate as the interference in the civil rights cases over at DoJ. Don’t forget a Judge overruled the first ban which annoyed ODumbAss mightily. So he found a second way to do it.

dogsoldier on November 10, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Concensus Science at its finest.

djaymick on November 10, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM

If the previous (Republican) Administration had done this exact same thing, would you have been as charitable?

I sincerely doubt it.

Del Dolemonte on November 10, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Convenient that those “mistakes” just happen to be in such a way as to support the moratorium. I know you can’t even believe the nonsense you are pushing.

Monkeytoe on November 10, 2010 at 12:44 PM

I do. And who said that the rewrite of the report took 18 hours?

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 1:24 PM

This is not surprising news. Obama’s administration has been trying to rewrite reality at every turn so people would support his socialist agenda.

ButterflyDragon on November 10, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM
If the previous (Republican) Administration had done this exact same thing, would you have been as charitable?

I sincerely doubt it.

Del Dolemonte on November 10, 2010 at 1:23 PM

If the previous Administration had done this exact same thing, would you be defending the Administration and calling people who disagreed with you paranoid and idiots? I suspect so.

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 1:40 PM

All in a days work for Obama and his commie colleagues. *sigh*

capejasmine on November 10, 2010 at 1:43 PM

This sounds like it could be ARTICLE 752,432 of Impeachment from the House in 2011.

Go for it ISSA……

PappyD61 on November 10, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Are the White House staff people the same people, or at least clones of the people, who wrote the man is causing global warming reports?

Ira on November 10, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Just think if blanket 6 month moratoriums were issued in other areas:

salmonella in p’s eggs? Shut down every egg operation for 6 months

engine problem in x’s (brand) cars? Shut down every car maker for 6 months

problems with one bank? shut them all down for 6 months

It is crazy, stupid.

journeyintothewhirlwind on November 10, 2010 at 2:09 PM

If the previous Administration had done this exact same thing, would you be defending the Administration and calling people who disagreed with you paranoid and idiots? I suspect so.

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 1:40 PM

The previous administration 1) wouldn’t have placed a moratorium on drilling and 2) wouldn’t have rewritten recommendations from experts it appointed.

darwin on November 10, 2010 at 2:13 PM

I do. And who said that the rewrite of the report took 18 hours?

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Monkeytoe, this rewrite was done around 2 a.m., if I understand the timeline correctly. People are known to make mistakes if they’ve been up for 18 hours.

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM

You don’t believe the nonsense you are pushing. You say you do, but your writing indicates you are not quite as stupid as that. Instead, you are a true believer – you are willing to say and do anything to push your political beliefs forward, including a whole lotta lying and supportinga whole lotta lying.

Monkeytoe on November 10, 2010 at 3:31 PM

And, if the previous administration had done this, you would be calling them “anti science” and screaming from the mountaintops. This would be the worst sin in the world and would prove that republicans simply don’t believe in science. And it would prove that Bush was pure evil as well as stupid and racist.

Monkeytoe on November 10, 2010 at 3:34 PM

I’ve come to believe that EVERYTHING this White House says is the opposite. Instead of transparency we get the worst duplicity I’ve ever seen! AND that’s not even counting whatever they’re cooperating with George Soros about, or the other power-crazy people behind the scenes.

disa on November 10, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Mistake my eye.
dogsoldier on November 10, 2010 at 12:52 PM

If it smells like $h!t, chances are, that’s EXACTLY what it is.

Badger40 on November 10, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Monkeytoe, this rewrite was done around 2 a.m., if I understand the timeline correctly. People are known to make mistakes if they’ve been up for 18 hours.

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM

So they get a pass?
Is that what you’re saying?
You’re willing to give these a-holes a PASS on DESTROYING tens of thousand probably of people’s LIVELIHOODS?
I call this CRIMINAL & ALL involved in this travesty should get JAIL time.
It is EVIL to be so ‘careless’.

Badger40 on November 10, 2010 at 3:58 PM

But it’s ok if environmentalists lie. After all, they are trying to save the planet.

Captain Kirock on November 10, 2010 at 4:40 PM

If the previous Administration had done this exact same thing, would you be defending the Administration and calling people who disagreed with you paranoid and idiots? I suspect so.

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Translated: “I can’t answer Del’s question, so I will take my Leftist Playbook and go home”.

F-

Del Dolemonte on November 10, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Something about honesty, sincerity, integrity, and character…

Inanemergencydial on November 10, 2010 at 5:05 PM

As someone with over 30 years of oil field experience, this rig disaster was the governments fault 100%. The story on the BOP, aka blow out preventer, is suspect. A BOP is pressure tested whenever installed on a well or well casing is run, and is visually verified by a representative on site visually witnessing the gauges for pressure loss and leak inspections.

The fact a committee wants to review fracking procedures is a sideshow to place blame, nothing more. With a secure, working BOP, any “frack” pressure would be controlled by the BOP to eliminate the chance for any blowout.

The testing inspector could not have passed a leaking BOP, he would be the person to question regarding the leaking BOP.

dthorny on November 10, 2010 at 5:43 PM

Convenient that those “mistakes” just happen to be in such a way as to support the moratorium. I know you can’t even believe the nonsense you are pushing.
Monkeytoe on November 10, 2010 at 12:44 PM

I’ve been reading H/A for some time now – and adjusting for the high and low ends, the group here comes across as some of the most thoughtful, rational, well educated individuals I’ve encountered in the blog-o-sphere.

My guess is that the WH has recognized this and has designated several individuals (Jimbo3 being the latest incarnation of an underling, non-paid intern) to float their BS explanations then farm the more cogent responses and set about developing rebuttals.

oldfiveanddimer on November 10, 2010 at 6:00 PM

So what happens, the usual big fat nothing?

Cindy Munford on November 10, 2010 at 6:00 PM

So what happens, the usual big fat nothing?

If the MSM is doing their usual job, yes, that’s about it. If you can’t shame them into reporting when the DoJ is so blatantly politically corrupted as it is under this administration, they can pretty much protect the Dems from anything.

Why the Republican Party isn’t running on a platform of destroying/cleansing the corrupt media mystifies me – the ads practically write themselves.

drunyan8315 on November 10, 2010 at 6:32 PM

Cindy Munford on November 10, 2010 at 6:00 PM

This was clearly wilfull, intentional misrepresentation.

At very least, GOP needs to introduce motions for censure in House and Senate. Spotlight it.

petefrt on November 10, 2010 at 6:45 PM

drunyan8315 on November 10, 2010 at 6:32 PM

If they aren’t publicly and loudly fighting curruption, it gives the appearance of looking for their turn.

Cindy Munford on November 10, 2010 at 6:48 PM

My guess is that the WH has recognized this and has designated several individuals (Jimbo3 being the latest incarnation of an underling, non-paid intern) to float their BS explanations then farm the more cogent responses and set about developing rebuttals.

oldfiveanddimer on November 10, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Yeah. Right.

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 8:39 PM

Jimbo3 on November 10, 2010 at 8:39 PM

The irony is that your presence on nearly any topic with your pathetic thread sitting is tantamount to a confession.

Hilarious!

Inanemergencydial on November 10, 2010 at 10:28 PM

Rewriting history – Just another way to say Progressive

gordo on November 10, 2010 at 10:44 PM

Comment pages: 1 2