In this clip from CBS News Coast Guard Commander Thad Allen admits (at min 1:46) the federal government had video of the oil spill from “day one” but decided, for some reason, not to release it to the public. The footage, Allen admitted, has been coming in to the Coast Guard “in real time” since the beginning of the spill.
Allen, of course, serves under President “I’m in charge” Obama, his Commander in Chief.
Apparently the President wanted to deny independent experts or local Gulf officials the information they needed to determine the scale and scope of the spill. Given the fact that all new information about the spill indicates the size was wildly underestimated that suggests the President was simply overwhelmed by what he knew was coming down the pipe (so to speak) and decided to cover up the damning video shots.
More reporting here confirming Coast Guard had the footage. CBS reported they got the footage only after filing a FOIA request – which, of course, governs release of information by government agencies, not private corporations.
The Center for Public Integrity has learned that the Coast Guard had early estimates far higher than they admitted publicly. Presumably they shared their estimates with the White House.
Here is intriguing video from NOAA’s war room soon after the spill. The group seen here was reporting to the Coast Guard and its estimates on the impact of the spill were also being seen by the President, according to one uniformed participant. On the phone at 6:44 there is talk of an estimated 65,000 barrels a day leaking (at a point when the White House only admitted around 5,000) while on the white board is an estimate of between 64,000 and 110,000 barrels a day.