Attorney General Eric Holder Announces Criminal Investigation into Gulf Oil Spill

Attorney General Eric Holder said today that federal authorities have opened criminal and civil investigations into the Gulf oil spill.

The developments were expected, and the Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend that the scope of the criminal inquiry seems larger than a mere formality even in these early stages.

Holder declined to name the specific companies or individuals under investigation, but said the criminal investigation has already been going on for "some weeks," reported ABC's George Stephanopoulos , who attended the afternoon press conference. The Justice Department had already asked BP to preserve documents related to the spill, including emails and memos.

President Obama on Tuesday vowed that government investigators would conduct a "full and vigorous accounting" of the BP oil disaster and said he has ordered the oil giant to compensate those whose livelihoods have been harmed.