IG Inspector Claims White House Obstructed Gulf Drilling Moratorium Report

The New Orleans Times Picayune reports the White House denied the Department of Interior’s Office of Inspector General access to e-mails and communications about White House revisions to a report Interior Secretary Ken Salazar relied upon to justify a moratorium in oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The story begins:

A senior federal investigator says he was denied access to a White House official and full email records as he tried to determine whether a BP oil spill report was intentionally edited to erroneously suggest outside experts supported the Obama administration’s deepwater drilling moratorium. The experts, in fact, did not endorse the moratorium the administration ordered after the 2010 spill. The White House and Department of Interior later said the mistake was inadvertent, a result of an early-morning edit that moved some material from the body of the report to the executive summary.

Although some e-mails were provided eventually, the IG’s office was never able to validate their authenticity or completeness, the investigator claims. He also alleges the White House did not allow the IG to interview a White House official involved in editing the report. An official in the IG’s office told the Times Picayune that his office “does not have authority to compel” White House cooperation with its investigation.