Interior watchdog probes oil drilling report

But some of the engineering experts consulted for the report say they did not endorse a ban as sweeping as Interior ultimately called for and implemented, noting that the draft they reviewed contained a ban that was more limited in several respects. The experts say the report wrongly implies their endorsement of the broader moratorium.

Critics of the drilling ban — including many Republicans and Gulf Coast lawmakers from both parties — have called attention to the engineers’ claims in political attacks against Interior, alleging they show the report was inappropriately altered.

But an Interior Department spokeswoman said earlier this week that the National Academy of Engineering experts were not asked to review or comment on the moratorium decision. “They were asked only to peer-review the 22 safety recommendations contained in the report on a technical basis, and they performed that task,” spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said.