Picture 1Last November, Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, wrote a letter to the White House requesting information about the government's handling of the BP oil disaster. In particular, the Arizona Democrat was looking to flesh out the dubious assertions made by Carol Browner and others that the "vast majority" of the oil was gone by early August.
This week, the White House finally responded to Grijalva's request -- but not with an abundance of actual information. Instead, the lawmaker found himself wading through a bunch of heavily redacted emails like the one to the right. He has since fired off another letter to the White House labeling the redactions "unacceptable and overreaching," adding that such secrecy violates "the spirit and principle of the accountability" that President Obama promised voters on the 2008 campaign trail.
Even with so much material blacked out, some of the emails forwarded to Grijalva shed light on the intra-White House intrigue surrounding public statements about the spill. There's correspondence that shows, for instance, that some officials at the Environmental Protection Agency were not on board with the push to make public a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stating that three-fourths of the spilled oil was no longer soiling the Gulf. Dissenting EPA officials insisted that such findings "should not be considered accurate" -- but their views obviously did not carry the day.Read More »from Heavily redacted emails offer a window into WH effort to spin oil spill