Interview with Senator Bill Nelson

Interview with Senator Bill Nelson

By Anderson Cooper 360 - June 10, 2010

COOPER: We're talking about transparency from BP and communication from the federal government.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson is angry about both. I spoke to him earlier today about officials apparently not giving the word that oil had actually hit Florida's coastal -- coast and BP not coming clean. Take a look.


COOPER: I want to talk to you about the lack of transparency that we have been seeing all across the board now for 52 days now from BP.

You know, what a lot of people may not realize is, we only began to see the video images of -- of the underwater leak because you and other folks on Capitol Hill insisted that BP release those video images. And, even then, they only initially released a 30-second clip.

What is going on with BP? What - what do they not understand about the word transparency?

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: You know, that's exactly right. If we need to know for trying to clean up the gulf and protect marine life, how much oil is in there, then we need the clear pictures, and we need all the streaming video in order to let the scientists calculate how much oil is out there.

COOPER: When did you learn that there was high definition video? Because I - I talked to Congressman Markey, I guess it was two days ago, when - when it was finally released, and said he'd only learned about it that day in the newspaper.

And - and I talked to a scientist from the Flow Rate Commission, and he had only received those images on that day, and this is a scientist who's tasked by the government with actually coming up with the accurate figures, who needs that video. So when did you learn about the video, or first see it?

NELSON: Senator Boxer and I learned the same time as Congressman Markey. We saw it in the paper.

COOPER: I want to play you just something that the COO of BP, Doug Suttles, said to our John Roberts yesterday.

They refused to come on my program. They refused now for, I don't know, probably about three weeks or so. Every night we ask them, they - they don't return our phone calls at this point.

But I want to play you something that he'd said to John Roberts about the - the giving out of this video. Listen.


DOUG SUTTLES, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, BP: What I can tell you, since very early on, and it will be - I can't remember the exact day, day three, day four - everyone associated with this, all the government groups, all the BP and industry folks, were able to see all the videos from these - these remote vehicles (INAUDIBLE).


COOPER: He said all the - the government groups, BP people and industry people were able to see that video from like day three or day four. He's talking about, I guess, just the regular video. That just doesn't simply seem to be - that - that just is not true, right?

NELSON: That doesn't line up with the facts.

COOPER: So when the Obama White House says, we're in charge, you say, not enough?

NELSON: They're certainly not in charge when the communication is not going to our emergency operations center in Pensacola, when oil is coming into Florida waters. They're certainly not in control when I ask a week ago, how many boats are out there helping protect our shores, and within the span of an hour and a half, I get three different answers.

That's not the crisp command and control that you expect from the top that the president of the United States would expect, and he is not being served, nor Admiral Allen, in that command and control.

COOPER: Senator Nelson, I appreciate your time. Thank you, Sir.

NELSON: Thanks, Anderson.



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