June 1st, 2010
01:57 PM ET
5 years ago

Administration to end joint briefings on oil spill with BP

Former Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, pictured here with President Obama, will now handle the administration's daily briefings on his own, CNN has learned.
Former Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, pictured here with President Obama, will now handle the administration's daily briefings on his own, CNN has learned.

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration will no longer do joint briefings with BP on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and instead will have former Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen handle the daily briefings on his own, senior administration officials told CNN on Tuesday.

According to the senior administration officials, the change is an effort to control the message, release accurate information about the oil spill and speak in one voice to deliver the daily message on latest developments.

Allen, the administration's point man on the oil spill, later told reporters in New Orleans that his job is to speak "very frankly with the American public."

"I think we need to be communicating with the American people through my voice as the national incident commander," he said.

The move comes amid growing frustration from the White House that BP is delivering inaccurate information and not being transparent, said the senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of not being identified by name.

One official said the last straw was Saturday, when BP officials downplayed the possibility that the amount of oil flowing could actually increase from BP's latest strategy to cut the broken pipe and cap the leak.

"Instead of being straight with the American people as Carol Browner (the assistant to the president for energy and climate change) has done on behalf of the administration, BP minimized its significance," the official said.

Senior administration officials say Browner appeared on several Sunday political talk shows to set the record straight. Browner has said the flow of oil could increase by as much as 20 percent when the pipe, known as a riser, is cut.

The end to joint briefings also comes as the White House has been using progressively tougher language against BP after coming under fire for appearing to be BP's partner in fighting the oil spill.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry, who had acted as one of the principal government briefers, will no longer participate in the daily briefings, the officials said. They added that Landry was not being pushed out,
but instead was resuming her duties preparing for hurricane coverage.

The Coast Guard's Unified Area Command spokesman, Howard Wright, said Landry's shift in duties had been in the works.

"As planned, starting Tuesday, June 1st, the first day of hurricane season, Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry will rotate back to her role as Coast Guard Eighth District Commander in order to focus solely on coordinated federal hurricane response planning and preparation efforts in the Gulf of Mexico," Wright said. "She will clearly bring an expert consideration of the effects the BP oil spill could have on all Gulf Coast hurricane response capabilities and recovery scenarios."


Filed under: BP • Energy • Obama administration
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. A.B.

    I think that is good news the Obama Administration will no longer be doing briefings with BP. BP should also not do anymore public briefings on its own about the oil spill and should just concentrate on stopping the gushing oil spill in the Gulf. Right now, the federal government has more credibility than BP and will do public briefings through pointman Thad Allen. BP created this mess and must assume full responsibility and pay the full cost.

    June 1, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Justin

    WOW Global Warming just won't stop at the polar bears

    June 1, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. MCat

    I wonder if Obama is starting to regret having the Navy Seals sink the rig in the first place.

    June 1, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Mark from Louisiana

    This "transparent" administration has been controlling the message since it came in office, easy to do when the main street media acts like a lapdog to obama

    June 1, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Jerry

    To control the message, wow enough said!!

    June 1, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Norm

    It's about time.

    June 1, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Andrew from New York

    This is an effort to spin by Obama and control the messege. With BP providing joint brifings, it was clear that they did not have a clue and were not trustworthy. But Obama does not get it and continues to deal with the problem from the rear rather than from the front. Who would have thought that his Crisis Management skills were so deficient.

    June 1, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Charles

    Why do we have a bozo with a business management degree commanging an environmental clean-up? Are there no environmental engineers around? Is the only guy available the one in charge of the armed lifeguards?

    June 1, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. nini

    Now that is not childish at all.
    Who are these people and why do they act like bunch of kids.

    June 1, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. ga

    It is no coincidence that Obama got lots of campaign contributions from BP and Goldman Sachs...then he goes easy on them! It is not a coincidence that he had full support of ACORN then their corruption is swept under the rug. Obama like all of the previous Presidents (republican and democrat) is corrupt and bought and paid for. We need to impeach him and we need moderate, independent candidates for president who will not take bribes, will balance the budget with mostly spending cuts and will shrink the size of this corrupt government!!!! President Obama is a criminal, he isn't fooling anyone.

    June 1, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. wayne

    Why don't we just use the military and take BP? Attack Britain. I mean, they've done more damage than Afghanistan or Iraq.

    June 1, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. Jim

    Admiral Thad Allen is great! He is Pres. Obama's point person on the ground. I have tremendous confidence in him, as does our President. It's outrageous how BP minimizes the risks and is not being transparent about the scope of this catastrophe.

    June 1, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. JJ in NY

    Open and transparent ???

    Not very likely.

    I guess the obama administration was afraid that the truth might leak out to the American people.

    June 1, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Naqib

    This administration is accusing BP of not being transparent...

    Oh man... I almost spit up my coffee on that one... lol

    June 1, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Robert Stroney

    Tell B P – DO NOT CUT FIRST. Drill holes around existing pipe, first.

    June 1, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. FM

    I am not defending BP but when someone works on something which needs concentration, a lot of constructive thinking, they don't need any pressure placed on them. The outcome of it is making mistakes and lie to serve themselves at that moment!

    June 1, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. HR

    Even the great Obama can't get the truth out of BP!!!!! Just shows that the Obama administration is much lacking in general control over the oil industry – just look at Janet Napolitano – what a joke! Obama has filled the administration with political hacks with no knowledge or any clout to make things happen – America is now more of a worldwide laughingstock than ever!!!! – That's reaL CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN!!!!

    June 1, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. Steve

    If there was one area I would fault the administration in their handling of the oil spill it is in communication...whether you believe that the government could be doing more to correct the situation or not it is not having a defined point person who is out there saying 'failure is not an option' that has lead to the majority of the criticism. It may be that there isn't anyone in the administration that can perform this role, but I have observed that President Obama, despite being excellent at giving speeches, doesn't always seem to control the discussion (see Health Care debate).

    June 1, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Betty

    It is about time we have one voice and a person who will relay the message correctly. BP has been stalling and there is no way a major company don't have a backup plan for potential danger to the American People like BP. They should be force to pay and cut their losses just like the fisherman and tourist industries in that state. Well done Mr. President by taking control and now you call the shots since BP don't have a clue as to how and when the oil spill will be corrected.
    Now the people who show their hate for the President will shut the fk up.

    June 1, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. wake up

    why are we stuck with this fraud of a president!

    Maybe he can offer the BP oil a job!

    June 1, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. Tom

    I live in the Gulf region, and I speak for all residents of the Gulf region, Obama has failed us! This is the worst oil spill in U.S. history and our joke of a president has come here for 3 hours! thats it! 3 hours, because he didn't want to miss his vacation. thousands upon thousands of people down here are now out of work, and starving because of this disaster. It took Obama 12 days to even consider this a major problem. He spent more time at Barbara Boxer's fundraiser than he did down here to try and help people. Obama is a failure, liar, incompotent, token president. He didn't even go to Arlington National Cemetary on Memorial Day! Maybe he doesn't think that the over 1000 deaths in afghanistan is his fault, even though he sent those soldiers over there to die.

    June 1, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. Angus McDugan

    That's it Mr. Obama. Drive a wedge between you and the people you NEED to get the job done. I know this is to help salvage what is left of your reputation but can you focus on getting the job done first.

    Govern and lead please!

    June 1, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. Don

    Maybe Obama is afraid some of the lame will rub off if they continue to have joint briefings.

    Since BP is controlling the effort to stem to spill, what will the Administration report on other than to ratch up their bashing of big oil.

    June 1, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Fine bp 5000000 a day to stop the oil leak you will see how soon they stop tgat leak

    June 1, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. Brian

    What a horrible shame that these crooked companies were allowed to ravage our planet's resources and our citizens' pocketbooks for the past decade — I support President Obama in his efforts to FIRST get this fixed using BP's time, money and resources. But then he better go after these powerful and deeply entrenched criminals and hold them fully accountable for this grave assault on our nation's security, health and environment.

    June 1, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |