Under pressure, BP released this still image of the leak on Tuesday
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Throughout the clean-up effort, BP has monitored the spill site around the clock using submarine-mounted cameras at the mouth of the spill. An official at Oceaneering International, the company that operates the submarines under a contract with BP, told ABC News he "could walk right down the hall and watch it, but I can't share it without BP's express permission."
Eric Smith, a professor at Tulane University's Energy Institute said that footage could help in making independent assessments of the scope of the spill. But it also could do public relations damage to BP. It has remained closely guarded and cannot be made public under the argument that it is "proprietary," according to Coast Guard officials who have received repeated requests to release the images.
On Tuesday, BP released two still images of the oil gusher in the Gulf (the image above and this one), but ongoing access to all video in BP's possession is essential for independent scientists to understand what is happening to the Gulf.
BP is trying to position itself as a responsible corporate citizen, but its decision to keep this video secret from public scrutiny in the midst of what is likely to become the single largest oil spill in American history underscores the fact that first and foremost, BP wants to protect its own interest, everyone else be damned.