ALLEN: Well, there has been some reporting from some of the local university research vessels of higher-density clouds below the surface. I've done a lot of work with Jane Lubchenco on this, and NOAA has taken the lead. They dispatched research vessels to start taking samples of the percentage of hydrocarbons in the water column at various depths, and they're putting together a massive model of what the Gulf looks like, and that is in progress right now.
TAPPER: BP has constantly downplayed the severity of the leak. They've denied the existence of the underwater plumes, they've refused to release underwater video. They've downplayed the risks of various efforts to contain the leak. You in the federal government have relied and continue to rely on their information. In retrospect, have you been too trusting of BP?
ALLEN: I'm not sure it's a matter of trust, and I hear that word a lot. We have to work in parallel, in a cooperative manner to get this thing done, because they own the means of access.
TAPPER: But are they always honest with you?
ALLEN: When I ask them for something, I get it.
TAPPER: But including correct information?
TAPPER: OK. If you have all the resources you need, as you've said, why is there still massive amounts of oil coming onto the shore and coming into the marshes?
ALLEN: The reason is this spill is just aggregated over a 200-mile radius around the wellbore, where it's leaking right now, and it's not a monolithic spill. It is literally hundreds of thousands of smaller spills. And it could be anywhere from 20 to 100 yards to several miles in length, and we are conducting surveillance. What we're going to have to do is not only be prepared to deal with the oil onshore, we are going to have to push it out to 50 miles offshore and basically have skimming capability that runs from southern Louisiana to Port St. Jill, Florida, and we are in the process of putting those things in place right now. We can't wait for it to get close to shore. We've got to skim it further out.
TAPPER: But do you have all that you need in order to keep this oil from hitting the shore?
ALLEN: Well, what we're doing right now, we're bringing all the skimming equipment in the United States that is not being used for anything else and bring it to bear down there. And frankly, the further this gets disaggregated from west to east, it's going to create a continual demand so there will always be an unmet demand for skimming capability, in my view.
TAPPER: Lastly, I saw firsthand when I was down in Louisiana over the weekend, all the workers there, whether they work for the governor or for BP or for private contractors who work for BP, they've all been told not to talk to the press, not to talk to the public about their work. Shouldn't they be allowed to share with the public the work that they're doing?
ALLEN: I put out a written directive and I can provide it for the record that says the media will have uninhibited access anywhere we're doing operations, except for two things, if it's a security or safety problem. That is my policy. I'm the national incident commander.
TAPPER: Well, I can tell you firsthand people are not -- people are not following that.
ALLEN: You take (ph) the information and you tell me where it's at, and we'll get the word to them.
TAPPER: All right, Admiral Allen, thanks so much for joining us.