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Meeting canceled over 'Gestapo' comment

Sept. 21, 2011 at 11:46 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The chief oil and gas regulator for the Obama administration has called on Rep. Jeff Landry to publicly apologize for likening his agency to the Gestapo.

Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, also canceled a scheduled meeting with Landry, a Louisiana Republican, over the comparison, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Tuesday.

Landry told the Times-Picayune last week the bureau was acting "like the CIA and Gestapo" after he was forced to wait 20 minutes for a meeting with bureau staff members, then told they weren't available when he sought an unscheduled meeting on a recent Friday afternoon.

In a letter to Landry, Bromwich wrote, "I would strongly suggest you consider a public apology to our personnel, which include many of your constituents."

Landry said the Gestapo comparison offended employees at the bureau's Gulf of Mexico Regional office in New Orleans, where Landry sought the meeting about permitting matters.

"Your comparison of the minor inconvenience you experienced to the tactics and methods of the Nazi secret police is simply unacceptable from anyone, but especially from a public official," Bromwich wrote.

Because of the "defamatory remarks," Bromwich wrote, the regional office had asked him to cancel a scheduled Sept. 30 meeting with Landry.

Landry, in a Tuesday letter to Bromwich, said if "any apology is necessary it would be from you to me and -- more importantly -- to the hard-working people of South Louisiana, many of whom are now unemployed as a result of decisions from your agency."

Landry's letter said Bromwich had "attempted to completely mischaracterize" his comments.

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