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Obama briefed on the magnitude of the oil spill back in April (UPDATED)

Richard Wolffe reports that Obama was told how bad things were going to be with the BP oil well disaster more than 6 weeks ago:

Critics have bashed President Obama for being slow to seize the political initiative in combating the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, now widely believed to be the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. The White House has battled back, releasing a timeline of events showing that Obama was briefed--and deploying the Coast Guard--within 24 hours of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

What has not been previously disclosed: The president was not only briefed on the real-time events of the spill, but also on just how bad it would be--and how hard it would be to plug the hole.

Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, told Obama at one of the earliest briefings in late April that the blowout would likely lead to an unprecedented environmental disaster, senior White House aides told The Daily Beast. Browner warned that capping a well at such depths had never been done before, and that they ought to expect an oil spill that would continue until a relief well was drilled in August, the aide said.

That early briefing on the scope of the spill--and enormous technical challenges involved in fixing it--might help explain the sense of fatalism that has infused Obama's team from the start.

Little that has happened since has changed their mind-set. Now six weeks later, the president's top advisers expect the oil spill--and the negative stories--to continue through August.

The fact that Team Obama was warned of the extent of the disaster so early on suggests that White House officials were aware of the environmental challenge long before they decided to demonstrate concern via presidential visits to the Gulf.

The Anchoress reacts... and speaks for me:

Hey, America, I knew it was hopeless, and I couldn't change anything, so I couldn't see the point of accepting the help of 17 nations offering their technology and their expertise in attempting to contain the damage as much as possible; no point in even attempting to use supertankers to try to remove as much oil from the surface as possible, even if they have to do it for months.

Hey, America, I knew it was bad, so there was no sense in telling you anything, or in helping Governor Jindal try to protect the marshlands and coasts of Louisiana.

President Obama surely cannot be blamed for (or personally do anything about) "the damn hole," that-even "capped"- is still gushing oil into (and beyond) the Gulf of Mexico, and that's why reasonable people have not been the ones insisting that the president play superhero, or display reassuring "concern" by
doing a public freak-out. In a crisis, you want the president to be calm and collected.

But Obama just as surely could have informed the nation that we were facing a long-term assault on our environment that would have wide repercussions.

He could have put his legendary oratorical skills to work, communicating an appreciation of the gravity of the situation, and an assurance that everything that could possibly be done to protect the environment was being done.

That was his fundamental job as president: clear communication of the struggle ahead, and reassurance that all possible efforts at collection and containment were operational. That is what he could have done, and did not; six weeks into it, he still has not really managed it.

What Obama has instead done is act in large part as if nothing calamitous has happened.  Instead he's participated in White House parties, sing alongs with aging crooners, numerous vacations as well as more than a handful of meaningless press events, all of which is not going unnoticed.  See this CBS News piece:

The Obama White House is offering no apologies for the light-hearted events on the president's schedule even as he faces "the worst environmental disaster of its kind" in U.S. history.

It was an easy target for mocking last Thursday - and some pundits couldn't resist taking swipes -- when on Day 38 of the oil spill crisis - President Obama hosted a Rose Garden reception for the Duke Blue Devils and a North Portico photo op with the U.S. World Cup Soccer teams.

Later on that same day, he presided at an East Room social event marking Jewish American Heritage Month. And that evening, he flew his family to Chicago for a getaway back home over the Memorial Day weekend.

The White House says not to judge Mr. Obama's level of engagement to the oil spill calamity by a few unrelated events on his schedule.

It's tough not to harken back to the campaign and to think of the starry-eyed who were fainting at the feet of Barack Hussein Obama and who, with tears in their eyes, spoke in awe of how America might be transformed by the man and the hope and change he would manifest during his administration.

The narcissism, the detachment, the aloofness, the radicalism that many of us saw during that time is now being seen by those blinded by his candidacy.

We have an ecological disaster on our hands, an economy that teeters on the brink of collapse, jihadists emboldened by our treatment of Israel, North Korea feeling their oats after getting away with sinking a South Korean war ship and countless other problems too numerous to mention... and at the helm, we have a President who has little respect for America's momentous past and who diddles while America faces an uncertain future.

We are in deep kimchee people.  So very deep.

I'm trusting that leaders will rise from these events, that we as Americans who've faced and overcome such grimness before will do so again.  And that we will cast aside and leave behind those who instead define America by what she has done wrong.

It's time.

Crossposted at Brutally Honest.

UPDATE: Instapundit reader provides, given this President, a most plausible reason for Obama inaction:

Reader Martha Hearron writes:

I hate to be a cynic, but have you looked at how the affected states have voted? How many of them did Obama carry? Also, at least 3 of the 4 governors are Republicans, although Charlie Crist is questionable.

I bet if it was California it would be all hands on deck from day 1.

It rings so true with this bunch in power.


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Comments (33)

Remember, Bush had warned t... (Below threshold)
Roy:

Remember, Bush had warned the country that our fight in Iraq and against Islamists was going to be a "long, hard slog". Some people didn't like to hear the truth. Obama is a thin-skinned narcissist and can't take any criticism, so he froze up, like a rookie amateur, and did nothing.

If Barry were to be concern... (Below threshold)
Heinz 57 State Sauce:

If Barry were to be concerned about damage containment He would resign pronto!

As I have previously pointe... (Below threshold)
ParisParamus Author Profile Page:

As I have previously pointed out, disguising actually doing little to look like "everything possible is being done" and "being on top of it" is the perfect way to demonize Big Oil, and fossil fuels, and advance the fraud that is climate change and the hoax that is "green energy."

JUST SAYIN....

Incompetence and an attitud... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Incompetence and an attitude that say's "Fuck 'em, it's the states that didn't vote for ME so let them figure it out." have led to consequences that are going to destroy the Gulf tourism and seafood industries economies of four states at this point.

Still NO help from other countries that have the equipment and go to knowledge to mitigate the problems thanks to the ignorance of the administration.

Goes a long way in explaini... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Goes a long way in explaining why THE ONE did nothing. Except milk it for every political point he could with the environmentalist. And get them aboard for 'cap and trade'. The MFM is all a-twitter with the latest polls about the public against off-shore drilling - which Barry expands to "no more drilling".

Let's see what the public polls will say when gas hits $7 gallon. Most of the army will then be tied up protecting the White House from pitchforks and torches.

"That was his fundamental j... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"That was his fundamental job as president: clear communication of the struggle ahead, and reassurance that all possible efforts at collection and containment were operational."

But you're describing what A LEADER would do.

Berry will get right on it ... (Below threshold)
Heinz 57 State Sauce:

Berry will get right on it Come October!!

Obama delayed, the Gulf Coa... (Below threshold)
Caesar Augustus:

Obama delayed, the Gulf Coast paid.

"Obama delayed, the Gulf Co... (Below threshold)
Drago:

"Obama delayed, the Gulf Coast paid."

Well, lets face it. The Gulf Coast states will all vote republican, so our alinsky-trained diversity hire isn't really interested in solving the issue. He simply wants a "screaming" issue.

Further, there sure are alot of white people along the gulf coast, and, as we can see from Obama listing only "black" on his census form for himself, (thereby negating the entire "white" half of his lineage) obambi sure doesn't think too highly of those bitter-clingers whitey's.

Bottom line: little barry obambi hates white people.

(For the record, I'm simply applying the same rules to obambi that the left applied to W.)

He was briefed!! Now he ... (Below threshold)
Heinz 57 State Sauce:

He was briefed!! Now he has to be updated!!!

"Carol Browner, director of... (Below threshold)
HughS:

"Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, told Obama at one of the earliest briefings in late April that the blowout would likely lead to an unprecedented environmental disaster, senior White House aides told The Daily Beast."

I would like to know who those "senior White House aides" are. Every anonymous leaker has an agenda.

"Every anonymous leaker has... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Every anonymous leaker has an agenda."

Hugh, evidently SOMEONE (environmentalist) has become disenchanted with THE ONE. Probably about the time they found HE looked on this as a POLITICAL event rather than an environmental disaster.

Seeing as it was HIS hand-picked honcho at MM that signed off on ignoring current federal laws and requirements, it was DAMAGE CONTROL from Day One.

Rahm and Axelrod are probably out beating the Bushes (pun intended) now. The Obamabot clan doesn't tolerate leakers very well. History often repeats itself. Maybe we're looking at the birth of a new set of "Plumbers".

"Obama briefed on the ma... (Below threshold)
Heinz 57 State Sauce:

"Obama briefed on the magnitude of the oil spill back in April"

Did they tell him he'd have to clean the mess up after he blew it?? Oh well, poor Barry, or make that, "poor us", Cause of his traitorous treasonous activities! He learned one thing very well from Harvard or wherever they teach "affirmative action", He learned its ok to steal from the masses... Until they kick your M f N ASSSSSSSSSSESSS!!

GarandFanThe Plumb... (Below threshold)
HughS:

GarandFan

The Plumbers scenario may not be too far off. My interest in the leaker goes back to a point you made in a thread last week about the Kennedy primary challenge to Carter, to wit, that these things only happen with the approval of the real power brokers in the Party.

We're beginning to see more and more genuine anger at Obama within the Party faithful. I don't think old line Democrats will let him ruin the Party for a generation. This is going to get very interesting.

Here let me save Lee Ward t... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Here let me save Lee Ward the trouble.


The republicans didnt mind ecological disasters until a black man became president.

I just keep in mind that th... (Below threshold)
Neo:

I just keep in mind that the "LightWorker" only likes to make an appearance when there is "good news" to be spread. Hence his reappearance in the Gulf area only after BP finished their last attempt at a partial cap. Besides, "bad news" generates "Bad Karma."

"I don't think old line Dem... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"I don't think old line Democrats will let him ruin the Party for a generation. This is going to get very interesting."

They're between a rock and a hard place. They've seen what he's done, yet cannot stop him. The extreme left has taken over. The Democrats have pandered to the Black vote for years. Now Blacks have 'one of their own' in the White House. Figure THE RACE CARD to be played prominently in 2012. Never mind the failed promises, the failed programs, HIS signature ObamaCare falling apart and unable to meet even minor deadlines. The 'doc fix' is still in until 2014. Cap & Trade will die in the senate - no one's touching that before an election. And Barry will be a lame duck after November. Given his ego, HE could be TWICE as UNPOPULAR as Carter, HE won't give up the mantel in 2012. He'd rather take the party down with him. (just like that little ex-corporal). Things COULD change between now and Nov 2012, but I doubt it. Every time Barry comes to bat, it's literally with something else to club the economy.

retired military ~ Thanks f... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

retired military ~ Thanks for sitting in for Lee . . . Nice impression - and without that awful odor!

It wouldn't suprise me that... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

It wouldn't suprise me that Obama was told that the leak would likely continue until August. I'm a liberal and Chris Matthews, the only liberal pundit I listen to and respect, reported in the first weeks of the spill that sources told him none of the techniques to plug the leak were expected to work.

I did hear Thad Allen say that Tankers would not work for the Gulf oil spill because the layer of oil was too thin.

I do not fault Obama for not imediate approving Jindal's plan. It would cost $360 million to implement fully and much of the sand may not stay put for more than a few months. But most importantly it could also make things worse by changing the currents and spread the oil into even more delicate areas.

There are 2 areas I think Obama has failed in. Allowing the use of toxic dispursements when less toxic one's are available. If the less toxic ones would not be affective than I fault Obama for not communicating this.

I also think the government should either be monitoring the leak with its own camera's or allow an independent company to do so. The movie director James Cameron has extensive experience in filming at depths of up to 2 miles. BP turned him down and Jame Cameron said he will make a similar offer to the government. I think with James Cameron we would have a much clearer picture of what is happening down there. It would be nice to see what the spill looks like from multiple angles and to have the camera move so that it follows the plume. Supposedly there are only a handful of subs that can go a mile under water and James Cameron owns a fleet of them. Plus James Cameron's camera's are movie quality.

Nobody ever told Obama that... (Below threshold)
Ken Hahn:

Nobody ever told Obama that the Presidency was a full time job.

Tina SI am told by E... (Below threshold)
HughS:

Tina S
I am told by Emergency Response environmental contractors that were on site early the same thing about the dispersant. Apparently the one being used is more toxic than the oil and is creating a lot of damage.

TinaYou dont think... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Tina

You dont think that Cameron has an agenda there do you?

I'm surprised Tina S admits... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I'm surprised Tina S admits fault in THE ONE. Guess that's another for LW's hate list. As for: "James Cameron's camera's are movie quality." I'm not looking for entertainment.

Sounds nice, but the logistics suck. How long to get BP's cameras out of the way so we can use Jimmy's? And what happens when Jimmy gets pissed and turns his cameras off at a vital moment?

Cameron wants in for a reason. Publicity. You can have all his capabilities - but he comes with the package. How many wild wells has Cameron capped?

HughS - "I would like t... (Below threshold)
Marc:

HughS - "I would like to know who those "senior White House aides" are. Every anonymous leaker has an agenda."

I'd also like to know who all those experts, "brightest minds," scientists etc, etc Browner and others cite as being corralled by obummer to solve this problem.

Besides a movie producer of tedious big screen productions and two "global warmists" assigned to yet another "commision" to "investigate to the accident.

A note on instapundit reader "Martha Hearron."

She damn sure isn't the only one floating that BS.

Former Shell Oil CEO John Hofmeister was a guest on CSPAN's Washington Journal this morning.

The first caller, a female dem from Maryland, used the "bush/Chaney fault card" called the rep party demonic and and she wouldn't be surprised if the accident wasn't done on purpose to hurt obummer.

Remember that he basically ... (Below threshold)
hermie:

Remember that he basically did nothing about the spill until it looked like BP was successful with 'Top Kill'. Then he went and made a speech stating that he was in charge all the time, directing efforts. When 'Top Kill' failed, he and his minions quickly went back to a CYA mode.

Now he makes noises about BP dividends and prosecuting BP, but nothing...absolutely nothing... about what they are doing to stop the oil from reaching the beaches of the Gulf states. There are Governors like Jindal trying their best to keep their states and economies from being severely damaged. Yet the 'Won' prefers to send lawyers rather than engineers.

If environmentalists were really interested in the safety of the beaches instead of their political power, they'd be putting pressure on Obama to do something other than wring his hands and make speeches about BP dividends. However, they want to see this massive damage because they desire unchecked political power more than a protected environment.

You dont think that Came... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

You dont think that Cameron has an agenda there do you?

Retired Military,

I have no reason to believe he does. But BP has shown that they are trying to hide the damage being done. They aren't allowing reporters on a cleanup and sites and they are not allowing their workers to talk to the media.

Aren't there something like 3 leaks. BP only shows one of the leaks. They also have multiple cameras on it from different angles but they only show one at a time. If the leak looks worse from a certain angle than maybe BP will change the angle, or zoom in or out. Also, how do we know that BP is preserving the video from all of the cameras. I just don't trust BP.

I am told by Emergency R... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

I am told by Emergency Response environmental contractors that were on site early the same thing about the dispersant. Apparently the one being used is more toxic than the oil and is creating a lot of damage.

HughS,

It's also been reported by the main stream media that the company that makes the dispursement being used has ties to BP.

They aren't all... (Below threshold)
They aren't allowing reporters on a cleanup and sites
What you seem to think is evidence of a cover-up, I consider evidence BP doesn't want some nitwit reporter to get himself and a bunch of BP employees killed.
the company tha... (Below threshold)
the company that makes the dispursement being used has ties to BP.
In journalistese, "has ties" often means "sells product to."
What you seem to think i... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

What you seem to think is evidence of a cover-up, I consider evidence BP doesn't want some nitwit reporter to get himself and a bunch of BP employees killed.

ak4mc,

You no what I think the biggest difference between you and I are. I have a strong distrust of both government and corporations. You seem to have a distrust of government but not of corporations. I only trust government slightly more than corporations because ultimately government has to answer to voters while corporations primarily answer to a board of directors and stockholders. Plus government is required to be more transparent than corporations.

If BP is so concerned about keeping people from getting killed than why is that there have been so many reports of clanup workers being told they would get fired if they wear a mask? Supposedly fumes from either the dispursement fluid or the crude oil has caused people to get sick.

I'm surprised Tina S adm... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

I'm surprised Tina S admits fault in THE ONE. Guess that's another for LW's hate list. As for: "James Cameron's camera's are movie quality." I'm not looking for entertainment.

Sounds nice, but the logistics suck. How long to get BP's cameras out of the way so we can use Jimmy's? And what happens when Jimmy gets pissed and turns his cameras off at a vital moment?

Cameron wants in for a reason. Publicity. You can have all his capabilities - but he comes with the package. How many wild wells has Cameron capped?

GarandFan,

I'm not saying that BP remove their own camera's. I think BP should continue to use there camera's but allow for independent camera's to be used as well. It's possible that scientist can learn more about the nature of the leak if they can see it better and from more angles and wider views. Maybe with a wider view they can better determine the size of the underwater plumes and the direction they are moving in.

I'll post a follow today that addresses publicity as a motive a little later today. I'm house sitting right now and watching 4 german shepherds. There outside barking there heads off at something so I have to check on them.

There has been much of clea... (Below threshold)
clyde:

There has been much of clean up costs and liability.Suppose that any oil gathered would belong to the gatherer and could be sold to a refinery. The technology exists but is stymied by our nobel peace prize bumblers.had they went after it at the source surface little would be on our shores.

ak4mc, Hugh S, Retired Mili... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

ak4mc, Hugh S, Retired Military & GarandFan

All of you provided valid and respectfull arguments. I would like to continue the discussion. If any of you are still reading this thread let me know and I will continue where I left off on post 31.




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