Big Business as Evil as Everyone Thought, Basically

“I became a villain for doing the right thing,” BP chief Tony Hayward said this July in a huge interview, in which he intermittently spoke in the third person, and disclosed that in London strangers send over glasses of brandy to his table. Following suit, successor Bob Dudley complained this month that BP had been the victim of a “great rush to judgment.” He continued: “I hope for everyone’s sake that over the next months and years we can reach a balanced and informed judgment about what happened.”

But one always has to watch out for what one wishes for, doesn’t one?

Today, the presidential commission investigating the explosion that killed 11 workers, causing the worst offshore oil spill ever in this country’s history, released its first official finding. According to internal memos, Halliburton, the giant formerly run by Dick Cheney, and the cementing contractor on the fated well, knew of dangerous flaws in their cement before the explosion. Halliburton shared test results with BP, but the companies did nothing. “Halliburton and BP both had results in March showing that a very similar foam slurry design to the one actually pumped at the Macondo well would be unstable,” a letter from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill says, “but neither acted upon that data.”  

The Journal has excellent coverage, including a gaggle of troubling graphics on the spill.

Related: Halliburton’s Greatest Hits

Big Business as Evil as Everyone Thought, Basically