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No wonder finger-pointing Obama wants oil spill finger-pointing to stop; Update: Interior Dept. official resigns

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 17, 2010 12:14 PM

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You remember that old saying: When you point a finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you.

Well, here are a few photos that certainly helps explain why the finger pointer-in-chief doesn’t want anymore finger-pointing over the Transocean Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill:

The man on the left in the top picture is one of President Obama’s Department of Interior officials. He’s handing a national safety award to a Transocean official. The men in the second picture, posing with their district U.S. Department of the Interior’s Mineral Management Service (MMS) safety award, work for the Deepwater Horizon rig.

And here’s an image of the Safety Award letter from the Obama administration:

Note: “The SAFE Program, established in 1983, recognizes companies that expend extra effort to enhance safety, conduct their operations in a manner that adheres to all regulatory requirements, and employ trained and motivated personnel.”

I dug up the photos after reading the Associated Press report on the Obama Interior Department/MMS officials’ lack of candor about its federal inspections at Deepwater Horizon:

The federal agency responsible for ensuring that the Deepwater Horizon was operating safely before it exploded last month fell well short of its own policy that the rig be inspected at least once per month, an Associated Press investigation shows.

In fact, the agency’s inspection frequency on the Deepwater Horizon fell dramatically over the past five years, according to federal Minerals Management Service records. The rig blew up April 20, killing 11 people before sinking and triggering a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

…The AP sought to find out how many times government safety inspectors visited the Deepwater Horizon, and what they found. In response, MMS officials offered a changing series of numbers. The MMS has had long-standing issues with its data management.

At first, officials said 83 inspections had been performed since the rig arrived in the Gulf 104 months ago, in September 2001. While being questioned about the once-per-month claim, the officials subsequently revised the total up to 88 inspections. The number of more recent inspections also changed — from 26 to 48 in the 64 months since January 2005.

No explanation was given for the upward revisions. AP granted the officials anonymity because without that condition, communications staff at the Interior Department, which oversees MMS, would not have let them talk.

More non-transparency from the Most Transparent Administration in History Ever:

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by AP, the agency has released copies of only three inspection reports — those conducted in January, February and April. According to the documents, inspectors spent two hours or less each time they visited the massive rig. Some information appeared to be “whited out,” without explanation.

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Update: Chris Oynes, the MMS official in the top photo, has resigned.

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