June 9th, 2010
02:53 PM ET

Whistleblower says poor inspections partly to blame for spill

Abbie Boudreau and David Fitzpatrick
CNN Special Investigations Unit

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/06/08/govt.whistleblower.on.bp/story.mms.whistleblower.jpg caption="Bobby Maxwell says he spoke out because he was 'tired of seeing us not being able to do the job we were hired to do'." width=300 height=169]

A history of slipshod inspections is at least partly to blame for the disaster that destroyed the drill rig Deepwater Horizon and unleashed the worst oil spill in U.S. history, a former Interior Department official says.

Bobby Maxwell worked for 22 years as an auditor and audit supervisor for the Minerals Management Service, and he said the disaster would not have happened if inspectors had done their jobs. But he said a "culture of corruption" enveloped the agency, "and it permeated the whole agency, both the revenue and the inspection side."

The Minerals Management Service, a division of the Interior Department, is the primary federal agency that conducts safety inspections and collects revenue on the more than 3,500 oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Before leaving the agency in 2006, he supervised more than 100 auditors, who dig through oil company documents to make sure the federal government is getting all the royalties it's owed.

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Filed under: David Fitzpatrick • Gulf Oil Spill
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