Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hey, Rand Paul, You Know What's REALLY "Un-American"?

Back in May, Rand Paul made a big stink over President Obama's criticism of BP for ruining thousands of American jobs and the Gulf Coast environment, calling it "really un-American." It was an absurd comment even at the time, considering that (1) any reckless corporation that does that much damage deserves its fair share of criticism, and (2) BP (formerly "British Petroleum") is not an American company.

Now, however, that comment is looking downright disastrous. Multiple outlets are reporting today that BP confirmed it had lobbied the British government in 2007 for a prisoner transfer with Libya in order to grease the wheels for a lucrative drilling contract off the Libyan coast. Per Mother Jones:
Robert Menendez (D-NJ) decried the release last August of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi as a "moral outrage" at a press conference on Wednesday. Megrahi is the only person who has been convicted of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing that killed 270 people in 1988. BP has admitted that it lobbied for a prisoner exchange—they have just not said which prisoners. Now Menendez and three other senators have called on the State Department and the British government to investigate precisely what role BP may have played in negotiating his release, as the company has since admitted that they pushed for a prisoner transfer to help ensure the $900 million oil deal went through.
Can the story get even more damning? Yes. Yes it can:
A top UK official has acknowledged that oil interests played "a very big part" in his release—and in securing BP's big deal.
This very clearly presents a national security threat:
The senators argue that the Megrahi example, and the overarching issue of a private company using a business deal to sway the justice system, presents a national security concern. The case "undermines our ability to hold international terrorists accountable," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Someone should ask Rand Paul: does this latest round of criticism of BP by Sens. Menendez and Gillibrand make them un-American, too?