I was reading an article in the Financial Times this morning about ties between BP and Libya and how they have attracted the attention of U.S. congressmen. Seeing as how my mother's family hails from Louisiana, I don't have a problem with a lot of the current BP-bashing taking place. This business about Libya seems a bit excessive, though, and strikes me as if congressmen are searching for reasons above and beyond BP's safety record to demonize a transnational corporation.
The problem for BP is that the Congress will not have to look far before they get enough dirt on BP and Libya to make for some compelling hearings. Shortly after he left Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Sir Mark Allen, who got the honorific at the front of his name for bringing Gaddafi in from the cold, went to work as a senior advisor to BP. Now working in the private sector -- and, as far as I know, still working for BP -- Sir Mark is rumored to have been at the center of last year's negotiations which led to the release of the terrorist Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
You guys can see where the problems are, right? I myself have met and very much admire Sir Mark. He is the author of this book on Arab culture and is an urbane connoisseur of jahili poetry and falconry. But congressmen are going to ask in whose interests he was working when he helped negotiate Megrahi's release: BP's or HMG's? All of this attention will come as most unwelcome to Sir Mark, a true gentleman who served his country selflessly for several decades and was rumored to have once been a candidate to lead the SIS. But the questions the Congress will ask are fair game if unrelated to deepwater operations -- and more unwelcome attention for BP.