Friday, June 11, 2010

Is He Or Isn't He? Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen

 Thad Allen is an admiral in the  Coast Guard, described this way in the following AP item: Coast Guard Adm. Allen in hot seat over oil spill

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, one of the few federal officials whose reputation survived Hurricane Katrina intact, is facing growing criticism that he and his agency are overwhelmed by the catastrophe. It's unfamiliar territory for a former Coast Guard Academy football captain who has managed responses to crises that include the earthquake in Haiti, Katrina and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Allen is a front man for BP, and is no longer an admiral, and therefore, no longer a governmental officer, or, is he?:

Allen, 61, who relinquished his role as head of the Coast Guard but is staying on as the spill's national incident commander, has since become the public face of the government's efforts. The Obama administration is increasingly relying on him in White House press briefings and elsewhere to try to assure the public that the government is in charge. Briefing reporters this week, Allen came off cool, calm and confident.
"National incident commander..." is that an offical, i.e. military postion, or the private/corporate sector? (Sigh, is there any difference, really?) Well, yes, Allen is still with the Coast Guard. Courted by the Obama administration, Allen decided to delay his retirement while he shills for BP and the government:
Early on, the Coast Guard was widely viewed as giving BP too much control on the scene, effectively looking the other way when the company offered misleadingly rosy assessments. Allen, for example, went along for weeks with BP's insistence that measuring the amount of oil spewing from the well was unimportant, only later pressing for accurate figures after scientists complained that it could help officials plan for containing the mess and account for liability.
He has broad authority from the White House to make decisions and can pick up the phone and call BP CEO Tony Hayward when he needs answers. Like the president, Allen in recent days has shown more impatience with BP, writing Hayward a terse letter this week demanding more information about how the company is settling claims.
Sounds like the man for the job. Supposedly Allen is becoming increasingly frustrated with BP, according to the article. Though not everyone's happy with Allen, the Coast Guard, the Obama adminstration's response, and all others working for BP:
David Camardelle, mayor of Grand Isle, La., said he meets daily with state and federal officials but that when he brings up a problem or offers a solution he's told "BP or EPA, or the Coast Guard is going to have to approve this before we can do anything."
Allen plans to retire July 1st. 

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