White House Announces Criminal Probe Into BP Over Spill

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Because sending the president of the United States down to help clean up the mess with his bare hands wasn't enough. Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Obama has appointed a commission charged with looking into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and seeing whether BP committed any criminal acts that may have led to the disaster. "If laws were broken, leading to death and destruction," the president said in the Rose Garden this afternoon, "my solemn pledge is, we will bring those responsible to justice." Attorney General Eric Holder also said that civil and criminal investigations have been launched by federal authorities. Helming the inquiry on the part of the White House will be Bob Graham, the former Florida senator, and former EPA administrator William Reilly. "We will closely examine the actions of those involved" in this, the worst oil spill in American history, Obama said. "If we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be extremely forceful in our response." As the oil spill continues unabated (with the exception of the brief stoppage during the failed "top kill" effort), the Obama administration has fretted over its seeming impotence. The president said today that no further offshore drilling would be allowed until this new inquiry has been completed.

Obama Pledges Criminal Inquiry Into Gulf Oil Spill [NYT]