Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

As oil leaked, Interior Dept. official rafted with wife

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Updated 8:31 a.m. ET
Though the Obama administration has stressed its involvement with the April 20 BP oil spill since "day one," at least one Interior Department official decided instead to phone it in and go white water rafting in the Grand Canyon with his wife and other officials.

Tom Strickland -- who serves as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's chief of staff and the department's assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks -- traveled to the Grand Canyon on official business on April 27, three days after the oil leak was initially discovered.

The incident bears similarity to the decision by National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter to stay on a ski trip with his son in the days following the thwarted Christmas Day bombing.

Other administration officials have canceled trips and events to focus on the spill. The Minerals Management Service wisely canceled an awards luncheon in Houston with the oil industry (where BP was a finalist). EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson stayed away from the TIME 100 banquet where she was honored and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declined her Washington Post invite to the White House Correspondents Dinner in order to track the spill.

Strickland's Grand Canyon trip focused on management issues, including water flows, beach erosion and endangered species, but Strickland remained in "constant contact by satellite phone with Interior HQ as well as Fish and Wildlife Service and NPS operations in the Gulf," according to Interior Department spokeswoman Julie Rodriguez.

His wife, Beth Strickland paid her own way and the couple joined officials from the National Park Service, the Grand Canyon Association and other foundations that support the Park Service, Rodriguez said in an e-mail.

As the oil spill worsened, officials dispatched a Park Service helicopter to airlift Strickland out of the canyon on April 29. He traveled directly to the Gulf Coast region to oversee NPS and FWS's response to the spill. Both agencies are working with the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies to identify sensitive habitats and wildlife.

The trip was first reported by ABC's Jake Tapper.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Question of the Week: What can the federal government do to improve the image of federal workers and eliminate some of the stereotypes that dog the workforce? E-mail your answers to federaleye@washingtonpost.com and include your full name, home town and your employer. We may use your answers in Friday's Washington Post.

Cabinet and Staff News: President Obama gets almost-weekly terrorism tutorials and will get one today with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and National Security Adviser James Jones, among others. Catching the would-be Times Square bomber was a rare chance for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to celebrate. A profile of Keith Hall, the guy who compiles monthly unemployment statistics.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
Disclosure of nuclear numbers reveals high accuracy of unauthorized tracking: Shortly after nuclear weapons sleuths Tom Cochran and Bill Arkin published their unauthorized estimate of the size of the U.S. arsenal in 1984, they got a call from alarmed U.S. officials.

Shaking up the Pentagon in a bid to foster a culture of compassion: As the Pentagon’s under secretary for personnel and readiness, Clifford L. Stanley has instructions to shake up the vast bureaucracy responsible for military pay, physical and mental health care, career development and schooling.

FAA:
FAA proposes civil penalty against Atlas Air: It's been hit for allegedly haphazard aircraft maintenance, as government and industry officials disclosed the agency also has increased overall regulatory surveillance of the cargo carrier.

FCC:
FCC will seek to regulate Internet providers: The agency's chairman plans to seek clear-cut powers to regulate Internet service providers, redefining the government's role over at least parts of the fast-growing industry.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Recognizing those who serve America, and their inventive ways: The 32 federal employees who were honored in the room as finalists for the 2010 Service to America Medals represent the best in the federal service.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES:
Administration steps up scrutiny of insurer WellPoint: The Obama administration has escalated a long-running battle, calling on state governments to scrutinize any rate increase sought by WellPoint.

HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT:
U.S. spies rethink tactics: The Times Square bombing attempt has re-energized a debate between spies and domestic-security officials within the Obama administration over how to handle ideologically driven violence in the U.S.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
Kagan says rulings on Black, Skilling to affect DOJ: Solicitor General Elena Kagan said Wednesday that the Justice Department's approach to a wide range of criminal prosecutions hung on forthcoming Supreme Court rulings on appeals by former high-flying executives convicted of "honest services" fraud.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS:
Twitter archive at Library of Congress could help redefine history's scope: The purview of historians has always been the tangible: letters, journals, official documents. The purview of Twitter, on the other hand, is the ephemeral.

Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter | Submit your news tips here

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 6, 2010; 6:37 AM ET
Categories:  Administration, Eye Opener  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama signs bill expanding health services for vets
Next: Census computer glitch could jeopardize count

Comments

You're doing a heck of a job Stricky!

Posted by: suesue2 | May 6, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

.

Hey Democrats,

Did officials dispatch a Park Service helicopter to airlift Strickland back to the party in the canyon? Maybe he used a BP helicopter to get him around?

BYE BYE

DEMOCRATS

.

Posted by: kstobbe1 | May 6, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

The Chief Of Staff was, apparently, doing his bosses business in the Canyon until summoned to the Gulf...
1. Does the entire Department of Interior personnel stop all OTHER activity and move to the scene of one disaster? If so, who is minding the store for the entire remainder of the country?

2. Did the absence of the Interior Secretary's Chief Of Staff bring the Department's solution to the Gulf oil leak to a halt?

3. Did his presence prove a solution to the problem?

4. Is the media happy now that the Chief of Staff is standing around in front of TV cameras in Louisiana wringing his hands?

5. Does the media have a clue what it is doing? (I have an answer for that)

dr. o

Posted by: ad4hk2004 | May 6, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Wow! - another deceptive Drudge headline at WaPo - making it appear Strickland was on vacation in the Grand Canyon while the oil spill was unfolding in the Gulf.
But no - further reading reveals he was actually WORKING and in constant contact with Interior staff and other federal officials.
Gee - we have all these technological advances in communication in the 21st century, but WaPo's expectations are stuck in earlier bygone centuries where Strickland's body had to actually be in the Gulf to prove he was working on the Gulf issues.


Posted by: angie12106 | May 6, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Could the Washington Post write anything stupider? Anything less important? Anything more anti-Obama NeoCon lie?

Seriously, the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Intrior, "traveled on official business three days after the oil leak was initially discovered" means th eObama administration is "phoning it in" on the oil leak. The WP descends further into scumbag status. And O'Keefe, stupid and shameful.

Posted by: chucky-el | May 6, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Is the idiot still working for this administration or was he sent to Crawford, Texas to meet his buddy Brownie?

Posted by: analyst72 | May 6, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for keeping us updated on this "important" piece of, NOT NEWS! What does the Chief of Staff to the head of the Interior Department have to do with the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Puhleeeezzz! You people sound more and more like, Faux News, instead of the Premier News Organization you used to be. Who cares that this guy wasn't front and center for this disaster on day one? How about serving the public interest for a change and fact checking all the lies the Republicans are spewing about literally everything Obama does for a change. And then calling them out for doing it like they do at PolitiFact.com.

Posted by: lobo404 | May 6, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Sounds like Mr. Strickland was actually WORKING! It just so happens that FABULOUS TOURIST DESTINATIONS like the Grand Canyon are under the Dept. of the Interior's purview. So they held a major management meeting/conference at one of their own 'facilities', if you will, and the Chief of Staff attended. If it had been held at the Holiday Inn in Topeka, Kansas then nobody would be making such a big deal.

Posted by: GreenMeansGo | May 6, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

BTW - If more people in this country "phoned it in" then we'd commute less and use less gasoline. More people phoning it in could have prevented this disaster by preventing the oil well from needing to be drilled in the first place.

Posted by: GreenMeansGo | May 6, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Big Deal!! You found ONE 'official' out on official business who was in constant contact with the BP situation and that's a story?? What a joke. The wing nuts are running around in circles, guilt ridden over the failures of the GW era, looking for ANYTHING. They don't care if the country fails, just so they can find SOMETHING to criticize.

Posted by: Letsgetapizza | May 6, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

OHHH PUH-LEAZE, since when did we start paying more heed to the symbolic and opposed to the CONCRETE.
Strickland was in communication via satellite phone, he was doing his job in the Grand Canyon, "Strickland's Grand Canyon trip focused on management issues, including water flows, beach erosion and endangered species," a good vantage point to asses those factors is in a canoe. He wasn't on vacation.

What difference did his being in La. make? Is he the ONLY Interior Dept Official, was every Interior Dept official suppossed to go running to the Gulf Coast even if they could manage the situation better from elsewhere??? The assertion made here is farcical.

Now let's focus on the REAL issue. When did BP realize that their pie in the sky assessment that there was no oil leaking was wrong? Did they lie outright? Did they simply not understand the magnitude of the problem they were facing or did they realize it and hide it??? What did BP know. When did BP know it?

This SOCIALIST attitude that the Government is somehow responsible for an incident created by Private Industry at an Private Industrial site simply doesn't hold water. But the Government is going to be help responsible then the Government need to have much more oversight and regulations... maybe we should just Nationalize all our OIL if the CONJOBservatives want to pin the blame for the malfeasance of Private Enterprise on the Government, then the Government has the right to protect itself and seize that for which they are being blamed and run it right!

All the Political posturing on this is a pathetic ploy by the GOP in a vain attempt to create the illusion Obama was as incompetent as Bush was in handling Katrina. Now were trying to equate a 3rd level manager, doing his job, and in communication with senior management, not being on site at another disaster with Condi Rice, Secretary of State, going to see Spamalot in NYC while people are dying in New Orleans... SORRY GOP frauds... you're slip is showing!

Posted by: David-F-NYC | May 6, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree. This is a non-story that is grasping at straws, and I can't see why it would get above-the-fold equivalent billing on washingtonpost.com.

Posted by: christinepatrick | May 6, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Why should anybody care? Republicans don't think that the Obama Administration should get to staff its positions anyway - and nobody seems to have a problem at all with that.

Posted by: hohandy | May 6, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

where is the news here? headline portends another example akin to bush strumming the guitar and eating cake (literally) as katrina unfolded, so i read on. but turns out the so-called news is that a secondary official was at work on official business for the dept. of interior.

here's the problem for ed o'keefe (and the wapo): you lose your credibility and thus readership, me included.

Posted by: johndog | May 6, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Is this the Washington Post or the New York Post? This headline is misleading and this whole story is much ado about nothing. With newsroom staffs being as shorthanded as they are, I think the Post could find something better to cover.

Posted by: MC55 | May 6, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

The headline "as oil leaked, Interior Dept. official rafted with wife" is purposefully misleading and written to invite partisan comments. The offical was dispatched on official business period. The headline would lead you to believe the guy was on vacation. I am getting disgusted with the media in all forms lately.

Posted by: buzzy1 | May 6, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

How low can the Post go? WP must be looking for a bail-out from NewsCorp.
O'Keefe have you no professional pride?

Posted by: neondog1 | May 6, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Low blow, WaPo!

Posted by: RRRRRRRR1 | May 6, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The Obama administration is no better than Bush.....and that is a really sad acknowledgment.

The people are angry because Obama campaigned on all the right things.....but he's pulled a 180 now that he's in the White House.

Bush failed to even show up on Katrina.....Obama is dining at the WH Correspondents dinner and toasting champagne while the Gulf is in the midst of an environmental disaster.

The joke is on the American people....and we need to tell our inept press & media and Obama that we're not laughing.

Posted by: go2goal | May 6, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I agree with most of the commentators--this is a cheap shot that doesn't warrant the space it got. Bad call.

Posted by: fossettj | May 6, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Another misleading headline, another faux story from the Washington Post.

Posted by: RalphWarnock | May 6, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Your tax dollars at work again...

Posted by: tonyjm | May 6, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

And Strickland's trip impacted the response to the oil spill just how?

Because Jake trapper reported it?

What a non-story.

Posted by: st50taw | May 6, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry but both of these people and their bosses need to go. This is a case of simple common sense. If they are incapable of common sense then they are unfit for the job. Replace them and change the SOP. In an emergency all leave is CANCELED. Once the problem is resolved, contained or under control the leave can be reinstituted. Simple, basic operating procedures.

Posted by: askgees | May 6, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Much a-doo doo about nothing!

Posted by: AverageJane | May 6, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Much a-doo doo about nothing! This story just gives the rabid right a reason to log on and rant.

Posted by: AverageJane | May 6, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Does Ed O'Keefe drop everything to cover the shcoking fact that government officials who are merely exempt, salaried employees, have personal lives?

Tubby loser.

Posted by: Wallenstein | May 6, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The tree shall be known by it's fruit. This Obama's mess.

Posted by: carlbatey | May 6, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I guess because of Strickland's job, he was expected to bathe in the oil so it would all stick to his skin, catch all the fish in the Gulf and transport them to safer waters, quickly dash along the Louisiana coast scooping all the oil that made it ashore and otherwise fulfill his duties as a superhero.

What a pathetic story. The reporter should be reassigned to the White House men's room where he can reveal to us how much toilet paper these "pansy ass" politicians are wasting instead of recycling the stuff!

Posted by: kenalexruss | May 6, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

This headline is a more telling story than the little information actually provided in the article. Thanks for making a guy at work sound so ridiculous.

If this officials absence delayed important management decisions then we might have a story. In the mean time, stick to information about the spill that is actually worth reporting/useful outside of the echo chamber of pundits.

WaPo and the non stop "blogging" is quickly driving me to the NyTimes.

Posted by: MissAnnThropy | May 6, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

This guy isn't the head of FEMA. He was at a conference.......who give a flying F? Does every Interior Employee have to rush to the scene? What does this dude contribute to the cleanup effort?

I could only shake my head this past New years when I was describing the WaPo as a Neocon paper to my brother and he kept insisting it was a liberal member of the "lame stream media".

ugghhhhhhh

Posted by: theobserver4 | May 6, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

You will not be able to equate this to Katrina so don't try cumsock.

Posted by: veronihilverius | May 6, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Much better than this non-story is the AP story run by the Post yesterday. It reminded readers of the scandal involving the Minerals Management Service from April 2008. At the time a group of MMS employees in Denver were reprimanded for getting "too close" and "cosy" with petroleum and drilling companies. Too cosy means sex and drugs and rock and roll.

Let's see, April 2008, that would be about the time that the decisions were made exempting the Gulf explorations from various precautions, such as fail safe "blow out" systems. Who was in the White House at the time, does any one remember? Wasn't it a guy named Dick Haliburton?

Chris Brown in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | May 6, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

So what, he's a chief of STAFF, Operations. Basically just another Washington hack a-hole.

Posted by: Trout1 | May 6, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

This article is BS. O'Keefe has revealed himself to be just another WP hack.

Posted by: staxnet | May 6, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

And the inane quetion of the week:

What can the federal government do to improve the image of federal workers and eliminate some of the stereotypes that dog the workforce?

Many of these so-called stereotypes are merely Ed O'Keefe's paranoid fantasies. Tubby loser.

Posted by: Wallenstein | May 6, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Very reassuring to see the tenor of the comments here, maybe the editors will take note and put their reporting resources to better use. "Phone it in"? Sounds like he cut short some (fun) work to get on location when he was needed.

Posted by: jdwilson | May 6, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

The headline as it relates to the story is Matt Sludge trickery at its worst.

I've already cancelled my subscription to the print Post...do I have to stop reading the online version too?

Posted by: hoos3014 | May 6, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

This country is still afflicted with BUSH Era Crap..

We need to force all the Republicans Teabegger, Birches to clean up their CRAP they made.

They wrecked banks
Wrecked our
Finances
Investments
Economy
Environment
Murdered people
Tortured people
Spied on US Citizens.
Lost $Billion pallets of money in IRAQ
AND
killed the middle class.

ISA

Posted by: Issa1 | May 6, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

This kind of idiotic column is why I and thousands of others have canceled our subscriptions to the Post.

Keep those discount offers coming, though - can't hurt to try.

Posted by: crw3 | May 6, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

At least one person posted that Strickland shouldn't have taken leave during an emergency. Except Strickland wasn't on leave. Strickland was on official business according to the article. But, at least one reader must have taken the headline at face value, probably only scanned the article, and now has a negatively distorted and inaccurate picture of the Federal response. How many other readers came away with the same, mistaken impression? Nice work WaPo. Whatever happened to journalistic integrity?

Posted by: sonny2 | May 6, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

An annoyingly misleading headline, all part of the job?
On the other hand, those making comments seem to have a better than average comprehension of it. Name calling percentage low. Tireless bleating of talking point mantras fell below average.
Is there an illness affecting the narrow-minded, self-absorbed, "me-firsters" going around out there?
(How carefully we must work not to become like those we criticize :0)

Posted by: ThePoliticalStraycom | May 6, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

This is scandalous right up until you get past the headline and read the story. Way to fail, WaPo.

Posted by: dkp01 | May 6, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

A non-issue! This is the type of story, regardless when events happen, that makes for great drama and partisan politics, but does not enlighten the public as to the reasons and responses by those who "own" the crisis. Nothing should be used to deflect the attention to secondary or tertiary levels of involvement.

Posted by: EarlC | May 6, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

First: a big thank you to the majority of you who think this *article* is bogus, biased and wrong. That the government has multiple responsibilities and should continue to function and keep its agenda is a no-brainer. That O'Keefe should find this news worthy is troubling: really makes you wonder how accurate any of the stuff he writes really is. Nice tabloid headline from the Washington Enquirer!

Posted by: dschalton | May 6, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

This article is a joke. You should be embarrassed.

Posted by: jsd1221 | May 6, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to Mr. Strickland for putting family first. Once the incident happened, not all employees needed to be on hand, in person. To criticize him for this is to suggest that all government employees must put the job over family, even when there is someone else to handle their duties temporarily.

Posted by: hugmekatie | May 6, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

You taking pointers from your buddy Matt Drudge on how to write a headline O'Keefe?

Posted by: mojo975 | May 6, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Strickland was simply showing his support for Arizona's new immigration law. It came down to a choice between greasers and oilers.

Posted by: RossPhx | May 6, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

And Strickland's trip impacted the response to the oil spill just how?

Because Jake trapper reported it?

What a non-story.

Posted by: st50taw | May 6, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse


Leave it to a LIB T@RD to try justifying it. LOL absolutely no values or morals. What ever the day brings. This best describes you losers.

Posted by: askgees | May 6, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Strickland goes on an official government trip three days after the spill and this and you report it as him "rafting" during a disaster? Then you further comment that he was airlifted to the scene "as the situation worsened." Furthermore, no where in the post do you substantiate the allegation that he was somehow on vacation, rafting, during critical events. This is pretty lousy. Just because you title a story a "blog" post doesn't mean you get to stop being a journalist.

Posted by: wharwood | May 6, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Old Bush was blamed for Valdez, W is still blamed for everything, I'm sorry, but this disaster is on Obama administration and very poor handling of its containment and cleanup.

Posted by: jmk55 | May 6, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for this non-event, attempting to inject drama into a situation unnecessarily. In the past I've thought perhaps people have been a bit overly critical in the comments sections regarding a lot of these "sky is falling" type stories blown way out of proportion by the WaPo writers, but I'm starting to see a lot of credence in their statements. Me thinks to many writers on the books, trying to get a little attention using sensationalism. Maybe write about something important, like that dog down the blocks birthday(ooooh, look who got a new collar!!!)...

Posted by: BillStoner | May 6, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to Mr. Strickland for putting family first. Once the incident happened, not all employees needed to be on hand, in person. To criticize him for this is to suggest that all government employees must put the job over family, even when there is someone else to handle their duties temporarily.

Posted by: hugmekatie | May 6, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse


LOL I wouldn't worry about family time. In the next few days he'll have an opportunity to spend plenty of time with his family. As for you. LOL sorry but you have a responsibility and if you can't live up to it you need to move on. People like you have tremendous work ethic and are always the ones to cry first. I bet you whined that your kids (if you have any) had to make up missed days from school. LOL No direction. PATHETIC.

Posted by: askgees | May 6, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

And you really thought there was only one 'Brownie?'

And Virginia still plans to drill offshore. Virginia elected two fools in the last election the Governor and the AG both of whom seem to genuine nut jobs.

Posted by: KBlit | May 6, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

This is such a sloppy piece of journalism. The headline makes it sound like the official went on vacation when he was actually making a work-relatred trip. The report can't even get the timeline straight: it states the spill happened on the 20th, but then it states the official went to the Grand Canyon on the 27th, three days after the spill. This is just one bad piece of reporting.

Posted by: jwyzalek | May 6, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Just more of the same. Federal employment has become a day at the golf course with clients and we the taxpayers will continue to pay.

A good purge would go a long way in every Federal department to let them understand that they can lose their jobs, pensions and health benefits.

These workers (?) continue to live high on the hog on our dime and some of the criticism of WAPO on this story is obviously from Federal feather bedders. Unions have nothing on these people.

Posted by: wesatch | May 6, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

This is why people hate the media. This is such a stupid story and its entire purpose is to make a mountain out of a molehill. Gee, maybe the Federal Government should have canceled leave for everyone, no matter how irrelevant. The key people showed up and in reality, there is not a lot the Government can do now - it is up to the oil company. All you anti-government people are sure a bunch of hypocrites, whining when the government shows up and whining when they don't.

Posted by: msdillo | May 6, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Just more of the same. Federal employment has become a day at the golf course with clients and we the taxpayers will continue to pay.

A good purge would go a long way in every Federal department to let them understand that they can lose their jobs, pensions and health benefits.

These workers (?) continue to live high on the hog on our dime and some of the criticism of WAPO on this story is obviously from Federal feather bedders. Unions have nothing on these people

Posted by: wesatch | May 6, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse


Hahahahahahahaaa,wait, hahahahahhahaha, ahh this guy clearly has no idea what it is like to work as a public servant. "Day at the golf course"?! If getting crap from people while trying to provide them with a service is what happens at your golf course, then maybe, only to be topped by, "live high on the hog"?! hahahahahahahha, ahh, thats a good one.

Thanks for feeding into this type of understanding of government with your stellar reporting O'keefe!

Posted by: MissAnnThropy | May 6, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I am glad that someone in the Obama administration appreciates nature enough to go white water rafting. It sure beats shooting your friend in the face.

This story is a non-story.

Posted by: greeenmtns | May 6, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

From the MMS web site:

The 2010 SAFE Finalists are:

High OCS Activity
BP Exploration & Production Inc.
Eni US Operating Co.
Exxon Mobil Corp.

----

We know full well that the Bush administration placed anti-regulation, pro-industry moles all through government at all levels.

However, if I know this to be a fact, Obama surely does, and he hasn't done a thing about it. I believe that's because they essentially share the same campaign donors.

The fact is, this is either the death of the two-party system or it's the death of America. This two-party system is but illusion of choice. No, this bi-partisan corporate control of our government will surely destroy us -- it nearly has already.

And the best we Americans can muster is a bunch of teabaggers being played like cheap fiddles by these same corporate deregulatory interests, under the auspices of Fox News and astroturf organizations run by radical right Republicans.

America, it's like this. Corporations are not people. Money is not speech.

Period.

I don't care what the corporate controlled Supreme Court says. I know the difference. And I also know the difference between right and wrong.

This is not some deep and paradoxical intellectual morass. This is crystal clear: we either take our government back from corporations and reject the double talk and propaganda, or we are done. Toast.

No foolin' around. We will get exactly what we deserve.

Posted by: trippin | May 6, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Old Bush was blamed for Valdez, W is still blamed for everything, I'm sorry, but this disaster is on Obama administration and very poor handling of its containment and cleanup.

Posted by: jmk55 | May 6, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse
___________
How can Obama's response be considered very poor handling of cleanp? There is nothing to cleanup yet at oil spill is out in open waters. Granted a few small areas were exposed but they were exposed a few days after Obama's response not before.

Posted by: antiquepaper1 | May 6, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

This is so absurd. He did not abandon his duties. Why has this been printed?

Posted by: theFieldMarshall | May 6, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

EXACTLY!!

David_F-NYC wrote>>>This SOCIALIST attitude that the Government is somehow responsible for an incident created by Private Industry at a Private Industrial site simply doesn't hold water. But the Government is going to be held responsible then the Government needs to have much more oversight and regulations... maybe we should just NATIONALIZE all our OIL if the CONJOBservatives want to pin the blame for the malfeasance of Private Enterprise on the Government, then the Government has the right to protect itself and seize that for which they are being blamed and run it right!

Posted by: angie12106 | May 6, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I really don't see what the problem is supposed to be here. The guy spent a few hours with his wife during a business trip. If the Dept. of Interior had badly bungled something due to him not being around then I could understand. But I haven't seen any missteps in the response by either the government or BP since the initial disaster.

Posted by: JacksonLanders | May 6, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Well, that proves it, doesn't it? Obama is a muslim/kenyan/commie/fascist/bomber who destroyed the rig himself! Why just look! He allowed some second tier workers to work from their vacations during the emergency.

This article is crap. Pure crap.

Posted by: Casey1 | May 6, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Ed O'Keefe- not sure what you are doing here. Is your purpose to pose a philosophical question about what the federal government can do to improve its image in response to disasters? Because if it is, you really didn't have to post the guy's name, or his wife's name. It just appears kind of mean-spirited

The spill didn't seem like a big deal in the first few days-- or at least thats the way the media reported it. Hindsight is 20/20.

Posted by: pmarshal | May 6, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

trippin wrote>>>the best we Americans can muster is a bunch of teabaggers being played like cheap fiddles by these same corporate deregulatory interests, under the auspices of Fox News and astroturf organizations run by radical right Republicans.

Yep! if Teabaggers were really interested in "taking our country back" - they would have protested with Progressives last week on Wall Street.

If you care about your life and your money - it's best to vote Democratic!

Posted by: angie12106 | May 6, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

trippin wrote>>>the best we Americans can muster is a bunch of teabaggers being played like cheap fiddles by these same corporate deregulatory interests, under the auspices of Fox News and astroturf organizations run by radical right Republicans.

Yep! if Teabaggers were really interested in "taking our country back" - they would have protested with Progressives last week on Wall Street.

If you care about your life and your money - it's best to vote Democratic!

Posted by: angie12106 | May 6, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I am glad that someone in the Obama administration appreciates nature enough to go white water rafting. It sure beats shooting your friend in the face.

This story is a non-story.

Posted by: greeenmtns | May 6, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

LOL just as Obama went golfing immediately following the attempted Christmas day bomb attempt, or golfing during the oil spill. It appears doing nothing is all the DEMS and LIB losers like you are good at. But don't worry, come Nov. we're going to put most of them on permeate vacation along with Ofailure in 2012.

Posted by: askgees | May 6, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

trippin wrote>>>the best we Americans can muster is a bunch of teabaggers being played like cheap fiddles by these same corporate deregulatory interests, under the auspices of Fox News and astroturf organizations run by radical right Republicans.

Yep! if Teabaggers were really interested in "taking our country back" - they would have protested with Progressives last week on Wall Street.

If you care about your life and your money - it's best to vote Democratic!

Posted by: angie12106 | May 6, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

LOL SURE!!!!! Too bad that Europe is going down in flames due to LIB idi0t's and their policies. But somehow brain dead m0r0ns like you can't see what's happening right in front of you. You and your kind are coming to a sad reality really soon. But keep repeating the same ridiculous comments maybe they'll come true. There's no place like home, there's no place like home. LOL IDI0T!!!!!

Posted by: askgees | May 6, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

So when there's an emergency everyone in the Administration should drop everything and converge on it like a bunch of six-year-olds playing soccer? And do nothing else until the emergency is over?

Posted by: Raysmom | May 6, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey, got a headline outta that one. Great image. Better yet, how about, "WP Reporter Ed O'Keefe takes a coffee break, eats at fancy restaurant amid catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf." Put that in 60-point type on the front page, and people will read it, too.

Posted by: dparks2 | May 6, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

So an official was on an official business trip to a National park with his wife, who paid her own way, and they happened to have an entertaining rafting trip.

Oh, and he was in constant contact with everyone else in the administration, who was hot on it, either back in Washington or on the scene in Louisiana. And then he was airlifted and later transported to Louisiana.

HORRORS!

Posted by: Meepo | May 6, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

The U.S. media is broken.

This story is DIRECT PROOF.

FIX OUR MEDIA!!!!!!!!!!! CALL THEM, EMAIL THEM, WRITE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR OF YOUR LOCAL PAPERS!

We need people to get motivated to hold our media ACCOUNTABLE.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 6, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Mountain out of a mole hill. He was on official business and in contact with his office -- end of story.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | May 6, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Yet more proof that this oil spill is about to become Obama's Katrina.

Posted by: liberalsareblind | May 6, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Maybe he was doing research on natural water flows that could be applied to the oil leak problem. Or something.

Posted by: HoosierFavoriteCommenter | May 6, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

What a bogus non-story: as if the only legitimate business of everyone in the government were to be ever and always as single-mindedly obsessed and uselessly hand-wringing over exactly the same headline of the moment with which the media is obsessed.

Look more carefully, I bet you can find government officials who spent - horrors! - ten minutes too many picking their noses or adjusting their makeup the morning of the spill.

We wonder why our politics is so trashy and blame Washington. But for every political hack who seeks narrow partisan advantage by spinning any and every piece of garbage imaginable on the mere chance it might "stick" and hurt the other party, there has to be a mindless, irresponsible journalist to broadcast or print it. And today, Ed O'Keefe is our man. Way to go, Ed.

Posted by: washpost29 | May 6, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

BFD on two counts. This would not have been a person making decisions, and at that point BP was asuring everyone that there was no major spill and that the well heads were not leaking. So, so what? Not like brownie watching Katrina advance on NO but instead of getting FEMA ready was phoning his secretary to make sure she had made exclusive dinner reservations.

Posted by: John1263 | May 6, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

This has got to be the stupidest article I've ever read in the Post, and I've read a lot of them. The guy is Assistant Secretary for Parks and OMG he was visiting a Park! For the first few days when it was uncertain what was happening, he continued his visit, keeping in touch with headquartered. Then, when it became clear there was a big problem, he left as quickly as possible and returned to Washington. As a government employee, all I have to say is that this is the kind of brain dead reporting that gives both the press and the government a bad name. It makes me proud of the fact that I don't subscribe to the Post.

Posted by: tomsawyer2 | May 6, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Right.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 6, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Old Bush was blamed for Valdez, W is still blamed for everything, I'm sorry, but this disaster is on Obama administration and very poor handling of its containment and cleanup.

Posted by: jmk55 | May 6, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse
___________
How can Obama's response be considered very poor handling of cleanp? There is nothing to cleanup yet at oil spill is out in open waters. Granted a few small areas were exposed but they were exposed a few days after Obama's response not before.
-------------------------------------------
The same way Bush was and still is blamed by liberals for 9/11. My point exactly - blaming someone else is the new American way of politics and the Democrats lead in this field. Whatever goes wrong...BUSH! Works both ways even though it is stupid.

Posted by: jmk55 | May 6, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Nice piece of "gotcha" journalism...

Posted by: demtse | May 6, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

FOr a minute there I thought I was reading the FOX NEWS NETWORK.

As if to say that a guy who is supposed to be looking after PARKS - was actually OH MY at a PARK??

OH MY and he had a phone and was actually talking to people.


NO how - about WAPO do an article on HOW CHENEY and HALIBURTON have had NUMEROUS ISSUES with WELL BLOW OUTS due to poor concrete pooring. This is not the first well that has blown after HALIBURTON poured concrete -- THERE was one in AUSTRALIA and several others.


ALSO lets look at SEC SALAZAR who PUSHED for MORE LAX REGULATIONS on well drilling - and was responsible for NO FAIL SAFE BLOW OUT MECHANISMS by BP

Posted by: racerdoc | May 6, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else remember when the Post used to be a decent paper? Man, those were the days.

Posted by: dkp01 | May 6, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Ed O'Keefe. Dumb, dumb, dumb article. I don't care that it took 2 weeks to find an assistant secretary of fish and Parks who, god forbid, was in the Grand Canyon 3 days after the spill. Is Bob Woodward this powerful that every writer for the Post wants to break a Watergate expose'? And the people who agree with you, don't like the Obama administration anyway. Way to write a very cynical post that ends up exploiting silly partisn politics.

Posted by: ljk76 | May 6, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

While I appreciate the need for officials to stay on top of things that does NOT mean that ALL official business must come to a complete stop. These people are paid to multi-task.

Posted by: rlj1 | May 6, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with some other statements; this is why the media and YOU, O'Keefe, are discredited. Critical comments are necessary; judgements are involved. But this slop you put up is a reason why Newsweek, then Washington Post will be sold.

Posted by: ljk76 | May 6, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

The article also does not note that extremely bad weather prevented Mr. Strickland from coming off the river a day earlier. This was a WORKING trip. It was not a posh joy ride. Geez. Find an issue to write about.

Posted by: raisinmountaineer | May 6, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

If he was an environmental engineer w/ years of experience in cleaning up and containing oil spills, heck yeah, he should have been in the Gulf.

He's not and environmental engineer, and he wasn't on vacation. He was at a conference, they had some free time, he went rafting. No big deal.

Posted by: BEEPEE | May 6, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I find the obsession to try to find parallels 'proving' the Obama Administration's response to be as clueless and incompetent as Bush's during Katrina puzzling. Do conservatives really want to keep dredging up that debacle?

Posted by: yellojkt | May 6, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Just as mero fiddled while Rome burned, the Obama officials did nothing.....they were too busy attending dinners or vacationing...Just imagine these clowns if they had been in power during 9/11!

Posted by: Realist20 | May 6, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Headline:

O'Keefe keeps tabs!!!

Which bars?


Oops - he's "keeping tabs on the government".

Posted by: rlj1 | May 6, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

In this day of Blackberry's and sprint cards, virtual 24/7 connectivity, there is no such thing as vacation so much of this is silly talk unless you think Strickland could somehow walk on water and get out there and plug BP's leak with his finger.

Posted by: SarahBB | May 6, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse


This is the same Department of Interior that has closed the beaches at Cape Hatteras and torpedoed the local economy for no good reason.

Their true masters are special interest groups.

Fire them all and replace them with public servants who actually care about people and the environment.

Posted by: steve_in_severna_park | May 6, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

You probably love John Boehner...you and he think alike. Small.

Posted by: clairevb | May 6, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

But Obama, Napolitano, Slaazar, and others in the administration assured us that the government was there from Day one running the show and taking control.

It is not true, but this is the closest the WaPo comes to calling them out.

Posted by: thelaw1 | May 6, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Strickland was on top of the situation and moved to a different mode when needed. Works fine for me.

Posted by: CAMM1 | May 6, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

It is typical of politicians to place their own selfish wants ahead of the needs of this country. To send a message that will frighten them into doing the right thing, vote out every incumbent who is running in November. Then we can put pressure on them to actually have truth and honesty in Government, and to start doing the things that need to be done to undue the mess that their greed has created.

Some have already announced that they are not going to run because their constituents and big money backers have told them not to run.

Keep the pressure on and make sure that you vote.

Posted by: Will80 | May 6, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

If this had been a republican the left would be screaming for his head. Instead it is no big deal. Well it might not be but the double standard is clear in this case.

Posted by: Pilot1 | May 6, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

This is news? Really?

Posted by: smfoster3 | May 6, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Hummm ..... So Bobby Patel Jindal says government is too big and he can handle it.

Posted by: knjincvc | May 6, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Hummm ..... So Bobby Patel Jindal says government is too big and he can handle it.

Posted by: knjincvc | May 6, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

This is the most irresponsible piece I've seen in a while - especially the headline and prominent billing it receives on the WaPo homepage. I'm canceling my one remaing subscription to the paper. I'll get coupons another way.

Posted by: salf | May 6, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ed,
When bush was told 9-11 happened he flew around for 24 hours before deciding to land back in the U.S.

Posted by: knjincvc | May 6, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Could the Washington Post write anything stupider? Anything less important? Anything more anti-Obama NeoCon lie?

Seriously, the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Intrior, "traveled on official business three days after the oil leak was initially discovered" means the Obama administration is "phoning it in" on the oil leak? Comparing it to Bush parting hardy in Midland Texas while Americans drown. Doing NOTHING, then flying over to wave at those on rooftops below. Seriously, the WP dares to compare the two?

The WP descends even further into darkness and scumbag status. And O'Keefe, stupid and shameful.

Posted by: chucky-el | May 6, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

He was on business there? He left before it was determined he was needed for this crisis? His wife paid her own way? They had a few hours off?

I found the smear. Now where's the story?

Posted by: sarahabc | May 6, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

This is another non-story. Where's the editor?

Posted by: glacialerratic | May 6, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't get it. The Interior Dept has a lot of people, seems it ought to be able to function when a 3rd level assistant person isn't there. How does this make a difference in the govt's response?

We expect govt to be able to walk and chew gum -- at the same time.

I agree, where is the story here?

Posted by: zcezcest1 | May 6, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The real story: there used to be a good newspaper called the Washington Post.

Posted by: rusty3 | May 6, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

This was a sad little bit of yellow journalism, the kind that leads to counter-productive government over-reactions the next time we have a crisis. I do not want tens of thousands of Interior employees to STOP DOING EVERYTHING ELSE the next time a telegenic crisis happens.

Posted by: 12008N1 | May 6, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Who cares?

Posted by: ericroks | May 6, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I advise everyone to complain to the Ombudsman on this one. A completely misleading headline intended solely to gin up a right-wing response. What garbage.

Posted by: Observer001 | May 6, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Reporter grasping at straws for something newsworthy. Not newsworthy - can't believe the Post published this. Want the entire government to go down there?

Posted by: seaduck2001 | May 6, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

What makes this less damaging is that he was actually with his wife, and was not in Argentina with a mistress!

Posted by: Max4 | May 6, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Ed, just because some idiot at ABC reports something doesn't mean you have to waste our time too...

He was there legitimately and went to the Gulf when his Dept got involved.

This is a non-story.

Posted by: jgmann | May 6, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Nope - a case of bad reporting and hyperbole. It is what it is.
__________________________________________
If this had been a republican the left would be screaming for his head. Instead it is no big deal. Well it might not be but the double standard is clear in this case.

Posted by: Pilot1 | May 6, 2010 12:40 PM

Posted by: seaduck2001 | May 6, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

My personal reaction is "BFD".
I am ,however, stopped dead in my tracks by the ever present double standard in reaction if the administration had been right leaning. If a conservative passes gas in the restroom there is a hue and cry from all the usual suspects. et tu ComPost?

Most heads of Cabinet level departments, especially in this administration, haven't the foggiest notion how to do the nuts and bolts of the function of their fiefdomes. They are presumably administrators and occasionally political patrons. Now the fact that a lot of decisions weren't made until it was too late to ameliorate some of the damage is another story altogether. Why weren't the standing orders and SOPs followed?

Posted by: theduck6 | May 6, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

knjincvc wrote

Hey Ed,
When bush was told 9-11 happened he flew around for 24 hours before deciding to land back in the U.S.
***********************************

Did you not just rail about misleading headlines? He did NOT fly around for 24 hrs before deciding to land in the US. The Secret Service made him fly to a secure military location because they didn't know the extent of the threat or if he was also a target. The tenor of your comments brand you a kneejeerk lib-bot. Thanks for removing all doubt. At least he did NOT fly AF1 over NYC and scare the crap out of the people.


Posted by: theduck6 | May 6, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Pilot1, drinking and flying again.

Posted by: nita3 | May 6, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are constantly reminding us that only corporations are competent. The government just messes everything up.

So why would the Republicans want anyone from the government around anyway?

Just let BP and Halliburton deal with the crisis.

Posted by: redballoon | May 6, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I agree with most of the postings. Not sure this guy could have really added any value in the first days of the spill, particularly as BP low-balled the estimate of the rate of leakage. It took a few days for the magnitude of the problem to emerge. I'd give him a pass on this one. People really should not compare this to Katrina: that disaster was predicted several days in advance by the weather service. We all knew it was coming. So if the gov't wasn't prepared, it was indeed their fault. There was no way to know about this blow out in advance.

Posted by: lafayette89 | May 6, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

See, this is why it disturbs me so to see Republicans villify and demonize Democrats.

Some Democrats can be every bit as disconnected and incompetent as their Republican counterparts! Republicans should cheer this, not throw stones at it.

Reminds of me Leslie Knope's boss on Parks & Rec!

His dream is to private all public parks so that taxes could be lowered.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | May 6, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Wow, seems like pretty slim pickins on the Strickland thing, doing his job at the grand canyon, helicopters out. Seems like the worst news makes the front page, even if it's excruciatingly minor.

Posted by: irwinmn | May 6, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Does the media feel some reactionary need to find any official to criticize in the wake of a major safety or security threat? Is this an effort to provide "balance" in the wake of the much-more-well-deserved hammering of Michael Brown and the Bush Administration after Katrina?

How sad that every unneeded mid-level official will now have to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars and days of lost time rushing to the scene of a crisis to stand around and make sure he's visually accounted for. This is not news; it's an excuse for the absence of it.

Posted by: Akger117 | May 6, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

When one reads the details in the article, it comes off as a cheap and unwarranted shot at a system working properly. WaPo didn't care for Mr. Bush (43) and apparently doesn't care for Mr. Obama. You're either indecisive or you're just pandering to the whackos.

Posted by: dnickell | May 6, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Since when is WAPO part of the RIGHT MEAN HYSTERIA TOUR presented by FAUX NEWS and hosted by SEAN HANNITY.
This sounds like the LEAD STORY on the HANNITY FARTS across AMERICA and the Bill O No SPIN ZONE (except you know how when you look at a car rim when a car is driving it appears to stand still -- but actually the tire is spinning so fast your eye can't see it - this is the ORALLY NO SPIN ZONE -- he spins things so bloody fast your head spins)

Posted by: racerdoc | May 6, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

So....?

How much of WaPo has Murdoch optioned?

Posted by: pbassjbass | May 6, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

This is the stupidest story by a Post reporter in a long time, and man is that sayin' something....

Posted by: dwt301 | May 6, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

BP was recently nominated (and possibly selected) by the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) for the SAFETY Award for Excellence for off-shore (OCS) drilling practices!

The awards ceremony was scheduled for May 3rd, 2010. Needless to say, the award ceremony was canceled!!

No joke. See for yourself: http://www.mms.gov/awards/2010.htm

Posted by: Freestinker | May 6, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Say it ain't so..........

What about all the coordinated..."day one" propaganda line?

You mean that's not true........

Is this really the change we can believe in?.........is it?

Posted by: allenridge | May 6, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Waca, waca, wac, bohoo, I'm tiring of the partisan $%#. Can we once be creative problem-solvers over blame seekers. I'd just as soon hear more from the environmental engineers. One person offered an excellent solution to the problem, and another mentioned that the Norwegians place mandatory close off switch valves on their rigs, an engineering feat. Let's start thinking of these ideas!

Posted by: solid3 | May 6, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

This post by O'Keefe is obscene and meant to do nothing more than fuel the flames of partisan stupidity.

This is a non-story and the overt attempt to conflate this instance with any other incidence of federal incompetence or "lack of caring" is absurd. The constant, never-ending quest to find fault with the Democrats and Obama is growing so old and so desperate that I wish people like O'Keefe would just fire themselves.

When Mr. Strickland was summoned by the Interior Dpt., he went to the gulf. End of story.

Posted by: burtonpaul | May 6, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

So....?

How much of WaPo has Murdoch optioned?

Posted by: pbassjbass | May 6, 2010
=============================

So you're just fine with censorship when it's "bad news" for the Democrats then?

Welcome to NAZI America everyone.........

Posted by: allenridge | May 6, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

What this article seems to imply is that subordinates are incompetent of taking care of government business (so much so that only the senior-most member of staff needs to be involved in monitoring every situation, full-time.) If senior managers needed to do everything why would anybody else have a job?

This article implies that apparently the government cannot function when one person is absent from their post, even when they are available by phone and able to monitor the situation.

The Post would probably also imply that the only way for a general to fight a war would be by being on the front line, in the middle of a fire-fight. How many generals do that and is it prudent?

Perhaps this article demonstrates that staff writers limited understanding of how personnel and resources must be distributed in order to actually make things in the real world work.

The head of the department of the interior can't do anything more than anybody else.

Posted by: theartistpoet | May 6, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

What is the name of the Coast Guard Admiral (lady) who was on the Today Show telling everyone that there was no oil leaking? What a joke.

Posted by: steven09 | May 6, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Who will Man up to BP and Halliburon to pay the $10 Billion/year for however long it takes to repair this Disaster and restore Multi-Billion dollar Industries? Let's see who supports this and who fights against it.

GOP Drill-Baby-Drill Politicians defeated Safety Regulations Requiring Secondary Relief Wells, Remote Acoustic Triggers for Shut Off Valves, corrosion resistant Carbon Fiber Reinforced pipes, and High Quality Cement Sealing requirements; many of which are standard safety requirements in Canada, Brazil, and Norway.

BP and Halliburton have a long term history of Criminal Negligence that should result in Prosecutions, Convictions, and Hundreds of Billions for damages awarded to the United States. BP and Halliburton should pay for the full cost for Cleanup of the Gulf Oil Spill environmental disaster; For the Jobs in Tourism and Commercial Fishing lost; For Military, Coast Guard, Homeland Security, FEMA support; plus a $500 Billion dollar Negligence Penalty to fund Oil Replacement Technologies. Cutting corners, killing workers through negligence, and creating disasters like this should have a Devastating Effect on the Companies Responsible and not just the Local Economies and Resources. The Taxpayer should not be bailing out Oil Companies.

Require Drillers to be Insured for Worst case Scenario ($50~100 Billion to start from the looks of this accident). If you cannot get insurance the way you are doing it now, or because you are using Halliburton Cost cutting low quality Cementing, then you shouldn't be in our waters.

No more Oil Drilling exemptions from detailed Environmental Impact Studies. Current Drillers should be subject to new Insurance and Safety Regulation requirements.

BP’s after-tax profit in 2009 was about $17 billion, on revenues of about $245 billion. Halliburton’s was around $1.7 Billion. If Multi-Billion dollar Industries and Natural Resources have been Killed off for Decades as a result of Criminal Negligence.

How does an Oil Company making $17 Billion a year in profits pay for it?; BP, Halliburton and partners should Pay $10~16 Billion a year for Decades.

Posted by: liveride | May 6, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

This has got to be the dumbest excuse for news I have seen. If Ken Salazar was at the BP site and he told this guy he could continue his trip to the Grand Canyon -- who cares what he was doing. Salazar did call for him when necessary and he flew right to Louisiana. Shouldn't the boss decide who needs to be there and who doesn't? Or should the Washington Post. Seesh. What rubbish.

Posted by: bghgh | May 6, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

How crazy is Ed O'Keefe and this column?!

Would someone please explain what they expect the "Assistant Secretary for fish, wildlife and parks" to do about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?

The scope of the spill was not known. The spill had not yet reached the coastland. What should this one man have done? Drop every item of business at the Department of Interior to rush down to Louisiana and stand around?

Please be sensible, people!

Posted by: burgoonm1 | May 6, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm in the private sector for a software company and I travel the world as part of my job.

If there were a catastrophe and my company got mentioned would the fact that I spent a day in Picadilly be plastered all over the WaPo? Would people clamor that being in contact with my office was enough to call for my resignation?

Are we to believe that this Assistant Secretary for Parks and Wildlife could have altered the amount of oil spilled miles offshore on a BP rig? You all are really reaching here.

Posted by: theobserver4 | May 6, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh for God's sake, grow up. Clearly very few of the commenters are managers. He delegated to competent staff, made himself available by phone, & flew in as soon as his presence was required. Completely appropriate.

Posted by: clampson | May 6, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Who will Man up to BP and Halliburon to pay the $10 Billion/year for however long it takes to repair this Disaster and restore Multi-Billion dollar Industries? Let's see who supports this and who fights against it.

GOP Drill-Baby-Drill Politicians defeated Safety Regulations Requiring Secondary Relief Wells, Remote Acoustic Triggers for Shut Off Valves, corrosion resistant Carbon Fiber Reinforced pipes, and High Quality Cement Sealing requirements; many of which are standard safety requirements in Canada, Brazil, and Norway.

BP and Halliburton have a long term history of Criminal Negligence that should result in Prosecutions, Convictions, and Hundreds of Billions for damages awarded to the United States. BP and Halliburton should pay for the full cost for Cleanup of the Gulf Oil Spill environmental disaster; For the Jobs in Tourism and Commercial Fishing lost; For Military, Coast Guard, Homeland Security, FEMA support; plus a $500 Billion dollar Negligence Penalty to fund Oil Replacement Technologies. Cutting corners, killing workers through negligence, and creating disasters like this should have a Devastating Effect on the Companies Responsible and not just the Local Economies and Resources. The Taxpayer should not be bailing out Oil Companies.

Require Drillers to be Insured for Worst case Scenario ($50~100 Billion to start from the looks of this accident). If you cannot get insurance the way you are doing it now, or because you are using Halliburton Cost cutting low quality Cementing, then you shouldn't be in our waters.

No more Oil Drilling exemptions from detailed Environmental Impact Studies. Current Drillers should be subject to new Insurance and Safety Regulation requirements.

BP’s after-tax profit in 2009 was about $17 billion, on revenues of about $245 billion. Halliburton’s was around $1.7 Billion. When Multi-Billion dollar Industries and Natural Resources have been Killed off for Decades as a result of Criminal Negligence;

How does an Oil Company making $17 Billion a year in profits pay for it?; BP, Halliburton and partners should Pay $10~16 Billion a year for Decades.

Posted by: liveride | May 6, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

The oil spill should raise concerns about health effects and the lawsuit lawyers are getting gear up for damage suits in the millions and billions of dollars. Who will pay for legal services and damage awards and settlements?

The oil industry will pay and pay and get the blame severely damaging U.S. oil interests. What is the government’s responsibility to protect U.S. citizens?

While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.

BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees — $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals.

On top of that, the oil giant has spent millions each year on lobbying — including $15.9 million last year alone — as it has tried to influence energy policy. During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.

Posted by: klausdmk | May 6, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I wish left wing and right wing posters would stop attacking each other. If anyone's the "enemy" here, it's Ed O'Keefe and the MSM in general, for trying to attract eyeballs by selling the catchphrase "Obama's Katrina." Certainly there are things that the Obama administration could have done better, but this headline and post addresses none of that. It's a money grab, pure and simple.

Posted by: dkp01 | May 6, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Did this guy's vacation have a negative effect on the reaction to the oil spill? If not, who cares? Do we need a government scapegoat here?

Posted by: acebojangles | May 6, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Obama backing it or not, with this disaster offshore drilling is dying as a viable energy-independence option. If not from new laws, then from the lawsuits BP will face here.

Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | May 6, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

This article should be taken down and sent to journalism students around the country as an example of the wrong answer.

Posted by: ddedeo | May 6, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

WAPO has spit into a head wind with this story. Slow day?

Posted by: davemarks | May 6, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

This is actually a useful article I think. It clearly described what happened and provided some important context without adding unimportant facts to bias the reader. I find it comforting to see how (some) officials are responding and that they in fact are being responsible. The only problem with it is the headline, which usually is the editor's responsibility, not the journalist's. Good job O'Keefe, now go complain to your editor. That headline is grossly mis-representative and attention grabbing, which was of course the point.

Posted by: tgillette | May 6, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Since the employee was actually on official business, the headline is quite misleading.

This is a poorly reported story. I expect better from the WaPo.

Posted by: sanderling5 | May 6, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I am surprised the Post is not furious that Strikie did not join the boycott of AZ.

Posted by: j751 | May 6, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing here. Just anger at someone who has a government job.

Has the tea party started to take over the Post?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 6, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Move on. Nothing to see here. Move on.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 6, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

It should be inferred that the celebrity status accorded to these government functionaries is destructive to the public interest.

It is absolutely fascinating to me that a number of people object to the telling of this story. It is essential that the WaPo and others ALWAYS hold these public employees to account.

Posted by: jshaver001 | May 6, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

What's the fuss - if he wasn't rafting he'd just be surfing porn (FCS, he's a government employee!)

Posted by: TeaPartyPatriot | May 6, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

lol what a stupid 'article'

So let me see...

A gov't official who was on a business trip didn't come rushing to the Gulf right away...but once it becamse obvious the spill was worse than originally thought, he did.

Whoa! WE GOT A HOT ONE HERE!!!!111 STOP THE PRESSES!!!!11

To the author, are your peers in the office making fun of you right now?

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 6, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Other posters are right: a low blow and very deceiving headline. The WaPo is better than this....

Posted by: jfmorkan | May 6, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

With reporters like Ed O'Keef, it's no wonder the American public was willing to believe the Bush/Cheney stories on weapons of mass destruction.

Reporters like O'Keef writing non-stories such as this one, only serve to damage the reputation of the media and the WP.

Posted by: NewEra | May 6, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I thought that with Democrats in power, that we would return to the supervision of industry and the re-institution of federal agencies like OSHA and the SEC. It seems that I was wrong. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Big government relies on big business for money. The two flavors are interchangeable. Like Vanilla and Chocolate the Republicans and Democrats are nothing but ice-cream.

Posted by: gvelanis | May 6, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Why are you censoring my post that details the government actions during the time you mention Strickland was in AZ?

Is this not the type of information you should have checked to make sure the assumptions of your article (that the government was not taking the crisis seriously and so the response was harmed) were in fact founded on reality?

Posted by: BobSanderson | May 6, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

What a cheap shot. Is there some evidence that anything would have changed if Tom Strickland had canceled his trip? Would that really have made anything "better?" No. It's just the illusion you'd like to have that this oil spill is SO important everybody should have their eyes fixed on it, even if they are powerless to do anything about it.

Posted by: gasmonkey | May 6, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Scandalous! Someone who doesn't really have anything to do with offshore oil spills went to do some other official business for the Department and then came back when needed. This isn't really a story unless you can show something went wrong because of the action the Agency took. Instead, we just get hand waving, and the Post knows that's ll there is. Pathetic.

Posted by: aaronflynn | May 6, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

NOT ONLY WAS THE INCOMPETENT OBOMBER MARXIST CZAR rafting away from confronting the Gulf situation, which, it is TRUE, he REALLY IS too incompetent to ASSIST WITH IN ANY MEANINGFUL WAY, but, he was also HIDING from having to have to do ANYTHING to help the FLOOD-STRICKEN State of Tennessee with is drowning from an epic downpour, a 'BROWNIE'-MOMENT for both the Czar and OSTUMBLER.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Posted by: dumpbama | May 6, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Ridiculous article. The guy wasn't "rafting", he was working on Interior Dept matters. He was in contact and there were others who were managing and tracking the situation in the Gulf. What was he going to do? Put on a wet suit and cap the spill himself? Give me a break.

Posted by: CNY-DC | May 6, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

This is the 2nd worst piece of shoddy "journalism" that I've read in the WaPo today. The 1st worst is the article that describes Pres. Obama's weekly terrorism briefing with his Cabinet as a "tutorial".

Please cancel my home subscription to the Washington Post.

In 30 seconds, I'm going to sign off WashingtonPost.com for the very last time.

Sayanora Mr. O'Keefe! I hope you will enjoy working for Rupert Murdoch!

Posted by: dgloo | May 6, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Wrong! The guy was having FUN and SMILING while the TURTLES and the SEA BIRDS were DYING in the GULF all because his PATRON in the White House TOOK A BRIBE in April '09 FROM BP to LOOK THE OTHER WAY on drilling safety backups.

That's a FACT uncovered by WAPO yesterday.

Further, the crass and venile CZAR was CHUCKLING WITH GLEE going over rapids while RED STATE, Tennessee WAS DROWNING IN FLOODWATERS as he pondered the Wonders of Nature.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Posted by: dumpbama | May 6, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: solid3:
Waca, waca, wac, bohoo, I'm tiring of the partisan $%#. Can we once be creative problem-solvers over blame seekers. I'd just as soon hear more from the environmental engineers. One person offered an excellent solution to the problem, and another mentioned that the Norwegians place mandatory close off switch valves on their rigs, an engineering feat. Let's start thinking of these ideas!

============

Solid3,

If you had done your homework you would know that Clinton-era rules included all those safeguards. Bush-Cheney dropped those strict regs in 2003 and allowed oil companies and coal mines to regulate themselves.

So it's no surprise to me that we've had the biggest mine disaster and largest oil spill under the Bush regs. Obama should have reversed those regs on day on and didn't but clearly the lions share of the blame lies squarely at the feet of the Bush-Cheney Big Oil Presidency.

Posted by: Freestinker | May 6, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

dumpbama wrote:

" ... all because his PATRON in the White House TOOK A BRIBE in April '09 FROM BP to LOOK THE OTHER WAY on drilling safety backups."

=========

dumpbama,

Do you have a more exact source for your claim?

I'd be curious to read the article.

Posted by: Freestinker | May 6, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Ed, this is the lamest article yet. Congrats. An all-time low in moronitudinousness.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 6, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

There is no doubt that the current Administration is doing all it can to ruin America and 'Change' it for the worse.

Bribe taking to make drilling without adequate safety measures in place in the Gulf. Lax safety regulations and lazy Federal enforcement regulators, letting operators get away with shoddy safety circumstances in the West Virginia coal mines.

All these are Ostumbler incompetencies discovered, and FORCED upon the Press to report, despite all their attempts to COVER UP FOR THE ADMINISTRATION, without which they fear loss of ACCESS which is the mother's milk of CONTENT.

All of this COLLAPSE is due to the failure to PROPERLY VET the candidate, Obomber, a closet Marxist, though, 'outed' now by his own actions and positions and personnel selections.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Posted by: dumpbama | May 6, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I think this is great! People now this WaPo is a mouth piece for the right. Did you ever think to take your blue-tinted glasses off for a second and look at this form a non-biased perspective? The issue was not whether he was on vacation or not. The issue was that the CoS of Interior decided that Three Days AFTER the spill occurred. And if this was no big deal, then why not let him finish his work and come back as scheduled? Why fly him out on a helo?

I don't want this to come across as partisan, because I have no use for the Democrats nor the Republicans (as they are two sides of the same rusty coin) but people were outraged when Bush sat for another 3 or 5 minutes reading about the happy goat instead of swinging into immediate action. Last I checked, all those new fangled technology gizmos of which some of you speak, were available at that time as well...This is typical partisan BS...If you are a Democrat, you think this is not news and if you are a Republican, you think this is a dereliction of duty. And if the situation was turned around, GOP supporters would be saying tempest in a teapot, and the Dems would be shrieking for heads to roll.

Take the blinders off people. Your government officials are only looking out for number one.

Posted by: matcast | May 6, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"Bribe taking to make drilling without adequate safety measures in place in the Gulf. Lax safety regulations and lazy Federal enforcement regulators, letting operators get away with shoddy safety circumstances in the West Virginia coal mines."

==============

dumpbama,

Please provide a link to your source on the bribe!

I'm dying to see it with my own eyes!

As for the regs, see my earlier post above. BP/Haliburton was operating under Bush/Cheney regs, not Obama's. Clinton-era regs had much stronger safeguards until 2003 when Bush removed them.

Posted by: Freestinker | May 6, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

There is no doubt here that Obunker is a criminal bribe-taker.

'Feds let BP avoid filing blowout plan for Gulf rig'
By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN and RICHARD T. PIENCIAK
The Associated Press
Thursday, May 6, 2010; 4:50 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/06/AR2010050600805.html

Notice how the Press continue to shill for the TRASH in the Oval Office. If it were Bush, the headline would have read 'Bush let BP avoid...."

BP gave Oturnstile the millions to let them get away with drilling on the cheap without backup. Face it.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by: dumpbama | May 6, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Drill, Baby, Still.

This time, with adequate backup and no bribing the Present-dunce to get out of it.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by: dumpbama | May 6, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

This "story" is beneath you and beneath the Washington Post. You should be ashamed.

Posted by: susan55 | May 6, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

On April 22nd, the Horizon platform sank and left a 800 foot section of mangled riser pipe on the Gulf floor, leaking ...

A) 1000 barrels per day at the first 90 degree bend just five feet above the 4 story blowout preventer which sits on top of the well head.
B) 5000 barrels per day at a hole located just past the middle of the 800 foot section left on the Gulf floor.
C) 24,000 barrels per day still venting out the end of the pipe.

Tuesday night (May 4th) deep water submersibles cut off the end of the pipe and installed a valve, and then closed the valve on the 24,000 barrels per day leak. This put additional back pressure on the middle leak, likely kicking it up to around 6000 barrels per day. The dome is hoping to collect that 6000 barrels per day, and if they are smart, they will leave well enough alone with the 1000 barrel per day leak at the well.

The accident spilled roughly 16 million gallons of crude until they closed off the pipe end, (Tuesday night). Since then it has been leaking roughly 250,000 to 300,000 gallons per day, so figure another two million gallons will leak before they can get this dome thingie to work... if they get it to work.

So, if the dome works, you have a 18 million gallon spill in deep water, all of which is hit with a dispersant to keep it from surfacing, in the hope that it will not head inland. The northern edge of the spill is invading the outer islands of the Mississippi delta, 40 miles away, so the slick is currently 40 miles in radius (80 miles in diameter). It looks to definitely go to 50 miles in radius, even if the dome is successful. If the dome fails, the slick will grow by a million gallons every four days until they can plug this well with the relief well that is just starting.

Posted by: daysman | May 6, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Don't you just love these hypocritical libturdz.

While they feign love for the environment, as the worst episode of environmental pollution is unfolding on their watch they would rather cruise the Grand Canyon than impart all that wisdom from those big brains they supposedly have.

Come on 2012. I just hope the country can service these apathetic imbeciles.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | May 11, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company