Inspector General report on NASA alleges past political bias

WASHINGTON: A new report from NASA's inspector general claims that the NASA press office appeared between 2004 and early 2006 to withhold or delay dissemination or research on climate change for political reasons.

NASA public affairs chief David Mould, who joined the agency in mid-2005, said that what appeared to NASA scientists as a pattern of withholding research for political reasons was simply the result of an overly lengthy, bureaucratic process of editing press releases or other communications that led to the delay of their release or changes in phrasing purely for furthering the public's understanding.

“I think we worked to fix the process and bring more efficiency and cooperation and trust,” Mould said. “I hope we're making progress and I think things are better in the organization. This is a wonderful group of public affairs people. If there's a better group of public affairs officers out there, I'd like to meet them, please.”

Though the report concludes that the department quickly and effectively took a number of steps to fix the perception of political bias, it nevertheless drew editorials in the New York Times and Orlando Sentinel excoriating the Bush Administration for its alleged past quashing of scientific research confirming global warming.

The issue first came to light with a 2006 New York Times article on claims by NASA scientist James Hanson that NASA officials were trying to prevent him from speaking about global warming issues. NASA countered that it simply sought for scientists to provide prior notice before speaking to the media.

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