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back to article Ex-BP engineer cuffed 'for deleting Deepwater spill texts'

A former BP engineer has been arrested and accused of covering up how badly the Deepwater Horizon oil spill clean-up was going by deleting text messages. Kurt Mix was cuffed in the US on the charge of obstruction of justice, for which he could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 (£309,617). “The …

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I smell a scapegoat

See title

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Devil

Re: I smell a scapegoat

Was stupid of him to delete the stuff, he was basically 'toeing the party line' on the amount of oil leaking. If he had just said, "Yes, I knew at the time that the flow rate was over 15,000 and the cap wouldn't work, but Mr. Big-shot executive said go ahead anyway because we're pretending publicly the flow rate is 5,000" , then he would have got away with a rap on the knuckles and they'd have gone after Mr Big Shot.

Funnily, I suspect that Mr Big Shot's instructions to his underlings were voice-only, no records. Misplaced sense of loyalty is costing this guy dear

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GBE

No problem too big or too small

There's no problem too big to attempt a coverup, or too small to get in big trouble for doing so.

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look it's vital

Look it's vital that we find someone irrelevant a powerless and that we blame them and punish them with a long prison sentence.

It's how justice works. In America.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: look it's vital

"Look it's vital that we find someone irrelevant a powerless and that we blame them and punish them with a long prison sentence. It's how justice works. In America."

That's a really stupid post. Really very very stupid. Nowhere is it said that he is being blamed for the oil spill. What he is being accused of, is deleting evidence relating to the spill, its causes and extent. See the difference? No? Well then you are even stupider than your post would indicate. Irrespective of whom he was trying to protect by attempting to destroy the evidence, what he is being charged with is not being responsible for the oil spill, but for destroying evidence needed for the investigation of the oil spill.

Probably you are just not capable of understanding that, right?

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Re: look it's vital

It's still obstruction of justice even if he's a pawn in the grand scheme of how things went down. I assume the investigating authorities really wanted to see his texts for a very good reason.

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Joke

Americans.

"I used to love the Americans, but I went off them last year, the Americans, because of them all ganging up on the bloke from BP. Do you remember? All the Americans picking on the bloke from BP about that oil slick. It seems unfair, doesn't it, given that America is the largest consumer of oil per head in the world and they seemed annoyed with the bloke from BP for merely trying to provide them with the oil that they craved. Americans, picking on the bloke from BP. It's ridiculous. It's like a furious customer punching a prostitute in the face because he's sickened by his own desire."

--Stewart Lee.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDAZiIdyPeg

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Re: Americans.

Yeah, I agree. Just like car owners picking on some poor guy just because the car he designed had an exploding petrol tank.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Americans.

A couple of things to remember:

BP Were national heroes in America a few months earlier because they'd "done daring do" and drilled the deepest well yet in unforgiving seas. Part of the reasons that they were national heroes was because of the risk involved. Just to say that bit again: Heroes because of the risk involved.

BP became British Petroleum in the USA remarkably quickly after the start of the leak, despite being 50/50 US/British ownership.

The Gulf of Mexico was portrayed as being pristine crystal clear waters before the oil spill. This was very far from the case indeed.

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FAIL

Re: Americans. from AC @ 14:45

And I suppose if the countries were reversed...i.e. it was an American oil company buggering up a well of the coast of Britian, fouling the waters, killing wildlife, putting thousands of people out of work, and polluting the beaches, you would say the same? Right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Americans. from AC @ 14:45

And I give you...

Piper Alpha

(google it)

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FAIL

Re: Americans. - AC @ 14:45

Yup. It's amazing how fast we'll turn on you when you've sold us a bill of goods, and your fraud is found out. Expecially when your froud also happens to seriously fsk up the lives of a lot of other Americans.

Quit whinging - BP fsked up horribly, knowingly, and preventably. They deserve every single boot they've recieved, and then some.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Americans. - AC @ 14:45

More like bp's American contractors fucked up. Never get a yank to do a Germans job. Trolololol

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Facepalm

Re: Americans. from AC @ 14:45

I heard it was an Americanistani company that supplied the dodgy tap to an Americanistani company that was doing the derring deed. And that BP was the company they were working for.

I didn't hear BP was an Anglo American company.

And that the blame is thus mostly Americani.

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Re: Americans. - AC @ 14:45

Quite right, it was Halliburton who cut corners on valve safety (they didn't put in a second safety valve to cut costs). Didn't hear them getting too much stick, but then, they're best mates with some VIPs that side of the pond

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Devil

Bubbling up from below: message to all - all your messages belong to us

I see this as strategy on the Feds' part.

We have your messages. We know lots of what you did (or didn't do). Now turn state's evidence or we'll be coming for you also. Repeat - we have your messages from other sources. Give in now. You have been warned...

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Anonymous Coward

re: Scapegoat

Scapegoat? Not until he deleted the messages.

What's strange is that it sounds like he was trying to warn them the flow was much higher than they thought (or were willing to admin publicly). If he was pressured to delete the messages I hope he's smart enough to give up whoever put him up to it.

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WTF?

Re: re: Scapegoat

I think that's more likely. it seems that that engineer would WANT his texts to be read as an "I told you so" measure - after all, he was right, wasn't he?

I don't see a motive for HIM to want to delete the texts. It makes him look good and his management look bad, true?

I would deeply suspect that his upper management pressured him to delete those texts.

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FAIL

Let the record show...

I crap on everything that Sicherheitsdienst General Holder emits ... but that guy is not smart.

Asleep during the engineering ethics course?

Not groking that BP might hang him out to dry if SHTF?

Not keeping a personal copy or an annotated action log? One of the portable recorders that medical personnel use might come in handy. Well, one is always smarter afterwards, but at least a notebook...

BP not dumping all the conversations to WORMs in triplicate with a notary sitting on each?

The blame train is just leaving the station...

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Forward thinking

He should have said he leaned over a boat rail or platform rig and the phone fell out of his breast pocket.

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FAIL

Too cheap to drop the thing in the sea

The best death for any potential hassle should have been sufficient to bury the damn thing in Davy Jones locker.

These drilling rigs come with all mod cons including satellite feeds for high-speed InterNet, numerous TV channels and even their own cell base station.

They might be smart enough to drill holes kilometres below the surface but they sure are slow in choosing optimum secure communications. Even MS owned Skype would have offered much more security.

When will people learn that cell systems serve the authorities and not the user?

Now this poor slob, who no longer works for BP, will spend a fortune on lawyers, after he gets bail.

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WTF?

Only Texts

The part that bothers me is that they're only bloody text messages, informal communications which would easily be taken out of context.

The important part of the investigation is what caused the spill in the first place not some comments from one engineer to another after the fact.

Whatever about him, I certainly make sarcastic, black comments to colleagues which would have no use to a formal investigation and could easily be misconstrued. And he's not a scum sucking lawyer so he shouldn't be expected to have the same appreciation for the legal requirements.

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WTF?

Re: Only Texts

How long is he supposed to keep texts on a mobile phone?

Until he was asked for them formally he had every right to delete them to make room for new messages or if (as someone on here said he) left the firm.

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FAIL

Is that it?

Seriously, is that it?

After all the millions spent on investigations, all they can do is charge one guy with deleting text messages? Oh sure, this is just the start etc. etc., but - I have to say it again - is that it?

What a farce. Somebody should point out that shit happens. Of course you don't want it to happen, nobody plans for it to happen and - often with hindsight - you can see what you could have done to stop it happening, but shit happens! The only way to stop it happening again is for people to be honest about what happened - and who the hell is going to do that when some poor bloody engineer gets threatened with 20 years for deleting some text messages?

As was said previously, he could have just dropped the phone in the water - and I am sure he will next time - along with everyone else the next time something like this happens!

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This is bollox

It is not "evidence" until a charge is made. Prior to that it's just emails and clutter and private stuff. Deleteing emails knowing there's an investigation going on is naughty, but until the emails are seized and plopped into the evidence nag, they really are, not evidence at all.

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Def
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Re: This is bollox

Not quite. Knowing the authorities wanted to review the messages and then deleting them before they could is an obstruction of justice.

What is bollocks is the way things were handled. The first he should have known about the authorities wanting the messages should have been when they turned up on his doorstep with all the right paperwork asking to download them from his phone.

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nag = bag

doh

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"Too much flow rate – over 9,000,"

Fixed it for you

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Yag
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Trollface

I guess BP was quite efficient on the cleanup

on the evidence cleanup at least.

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Black Helicopters

Halliburton...

are the real villains here...

there are suspicions that it was a deliberate act of sabotage...

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