“They Just Don’t Know Who They’re Messing With”

Kate Sheppard
Mother Jones

If you’ve been reading Mother Jones lately, you’ve heard about BP’s stranglehold on media access in the Gulf, which has included preventing reporters from visting oil-soaked public beaches and barring its spill cleanup workers from talking to the press. Now, one of BP’s ex-media enforcers is speaking out.
Former BP contractor Adam Dillon went public last Friday, telling a local news station in New Orleans that he was fed up with BP’s handling of the spill response, not least of all its information clampdown. In an interview with Mother Jones this week, Dillon, who claims he was fired for raising concerns about the cleanup with his bosses, elaborated on his experiences in the Gulf and vented his frustrations with BP.
A retired Army special operations soldier who lives in Wilmington, North Carolina (and is running for sheriff in his home county), Dillon first worked security for BP on the beaches of Louisiana. In June, a camera crew caught him chasing reporters off a Grand Isle beach. Dillon was hired by O’Brian’s Response Management Group, which was in turn contracted by BP to hire an army of subcontractors to aid in various aspects of the the spill response, from cleanup workers to security guards to communications specialists. Based on his behind-the-scenes view of the spill response, he describes a cleanup effort in disarray, marred by unclear lines of authority and shoddy communications among the numerous players involved—from BP and its litany of contractors and subcontractors to the Coast Guard and local law enforcement agencies. “There’s just so many moving parts and moving pieces,” he says. “The right hand is just not talking to the left.” In BP’s attempts to control the flow of information, Dillon says, it has largely compounded these problems.”

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