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Publication date: Jun. 14, 2006

NASA ADMITS STIFLING CLIMATE SCIENTIST; PLEDGES TO STOP

A high NASA official acknowledged in a letter to Senators that the agency had "inappropriately" refused a news media request to interview climate scientist James Hansen, who heads NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Hansen has been outspoken in warning of the seriousness of manmade global warming. He sounded an early warning in 1988, and this year caused a stir when he complained publicly that Bush administration political appointees with no science background were censoring his web communications and cutting off press access to him for interviews.

In a June 6, 2006, letter, Brian E. Chase, NASA assistant administrator for legislative affairs, wrote: "an internal inquiry has revealed that one recent media request to interview ... Hansen ... was inappropriately declined." The letter was addressed to Sens. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME), who had inquired about the matter.

NASA has asserted, in Chase's letter and on other occasions, that its agency policy is "committed to open scientific and technical inquiry and dialogue with the public."

Chase's letter also acknowledged that "several instances of inappropriate editing of scientific materials have been alleged," adding: "These allegations, if true, are unacceptable at NASA."

"We will not tolerate any policy or action whereby Public Affairs Officers filter, alter, edit, or censor scientific findings and facts," Chase wrote.


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