Re: [asa] Hadley files stolen and published on the internet...

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Mon Nov 23 2009 - 14:16:44 EST

> On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 10:12 AM, Keith Miller <> wrote:
> With utter and deserved shame, if the contents of those emails are accurate, and if we had any decency.
> The content of the e-mails is utterly irrelevant to the unethical nature of their aquisition and distribution. Distributing private e-mails is a breach of professional ethics, let alone Christian ones.
> Keith

On Nov 23, 2009, at 8:29 AM, Schwarzwald wrote:

> There's something innately humorous about suggesting no one read, distribute or discuss the content of those emails owing to, of all things, professional ethics. The violation of which these emails, if they are accurate, are exposing in great detail.

Excuse me. This is a Class A Felony. On the BBC World Service I heard a Cato Institute spokesman issue a deafening "no comment" on how these e-mails were obtained when asked whether it was "dirty". This shocked me since I thought libertaria ns were supposedly worried about protecting people's privacy rights. Anyway, quoting from the e-mails is in essence trafficking in stolen goods and as such has no place on this or any other Christian forum.

We recently had a board meeting for the regional ASA in Colorado. Given the topic for this Summer's meeting we were looking for speakers who are both high level scientists/managers and outspoken Christians in the government laboratories. This has proved difficult as the higher up you go the more Christians had to lie low. The exception that proves the rule is Dr. Francis Collins. There was another exception that we found but we still got turned down and the reason for the denial was interesting. It seems during the previous administration climate research results were actively being suppressed by the WH and this individual was actively trying to get the truth out then. Now that the suppression has stopped he's simply too busy to speak. When we asked about this from the government lab people on our board one of them responded "It actually happened."

So, we have a non-hypothetical situation here where Christians alleged that the truth about climate change science was being actively being suppressed not by scientists but by the government itself. It's interesting how this was addressed versus the felonious theft and public distribution of private e-mails. Here's what happened: the people who thought the climate data was being suppressed lobbied Congress who then had the NASA Inspector General investigate. Here's the IG's report issued prior to the change in Presidents:

After carefully reviewing the relevant facts and circumstances in this matter, we conclude that officials in the NASA Headquarters Office of Public Affairs did, in fact, manage the release of information concerning climate change in a manner that reduced, marginalized, and mischaracterized the scientific information within the particular media over which that office had control. Further, on at least one occasion, the Headquarters Office of Public Affairs denied media access to a NASA scientist, Dr. Hansen, due, in part, to that office’s concern that Dr. Hansen would not limit his statements to science but would, instead, entertain a policy discussion on the issue of climate change.

We also conclude that inappropriate political posturing or advantage was the proximate cause in at least some of these actions. While we did not find that all Headquarters Office of Public Affairs’ adjustments to climate change news releases were politically motivated, the preponderance of the evidence does, however, point to politics inextricably interwoven into the Headquarters Office of Public Affairs’ news dissemination process at that time. Climate change scientists and affected career Public Affairs Officers believed that, as a result of their proposed media releases being altered, delayed, or converted to other (lesser) media, their work was in fact compromised for political advantage—especially when it conflicted with the Administration’s policies or priorities. We uncovered no direct evidence to substantiate their beliefs, but the circumstantial evidence (to include the apparent mendacity of one or more senior Public Affairs officials) gives far more credence to the position of the climate change scientists than it does to the argument set forth by NASA Headquarters Office of Public Affairs (that the changes and delays were due to the heavy volume and poor quality of the news releases drafted by the scientists). We maintain this opinion even while recognizing that some of the complaining scientists may have had their own political or pecuniary agendas as well.

We also note that the NASA Headquarters Office of Public Affairs’ unilateral actions in editing or downgrading press releases or denying media access on a known controversial topic—and doing so without collaborating with the submitting scientists (as then required by NASA policy)—minimizes, in our view, the persuasive weight of their arguments as to volume or quality as the cause. Moreover, their failure to adhere to a prescribed process—where the goal was transparency and “consensus”—resulted in complaints, negative media attention, Congressional oversight, and, ultimately, this investigation.

The actions of the NASA Headquarters Office of Public Affairs also had an impact on many levels of Agency operations. News releases in the areas of climate change suffered from inaccuracy, factual insufficiency, and scientific dilution. Some scientists claimed to have self-censored; others simply gave up. Worse, trust was lost, at least temporarily, between an Agency and some of its key employees and perhaps the public it serves. Congressional relations, at least at the staff level, were also strained. Finally, these allegations proved to be an unnecessary but significant distraction to an Agency that was otherwise fully engaged in other areas of science, exploration, aeronautics, and space operations, each with its own breathless operational pace, in which safety was paramount. Certainly, all those actions and effects were inconsistent with the purpose and intent of the Space Act and other NASA regulations requiring the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning NASA’s activities and research, especially on a topic that has worldwide scientific interest. In sum, when it pertains to dissemination of the Nation’s hard science, none of this course of conduct was in the public’s best interest. Furthermore, to the extent that these allegations transpired for more than 1 year, the Agency as a whole (particularly the Science Mission Directorate and the Office of Public Affairs) bears responsibility for not appropriately elevating these matters to senior management for resolution. [emphasis in the original]

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Mon Nov 23 14:17:12 2009

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