NASA whistleblower and leading climate scientist James Hansen has become more and more unmuzzled: He went on NPR’s “On Point” yesterday and really didn’t hold back. You should listen to the whole interview, but I must say that from my perspective, I found one part particularly interesting.
At around minute 26:30, Hansen is comparing political control of scientific information in this administration to the way things worked in previous administrations (of which he was a part). Here’s the gist:
What I see is an increasing control of what scientists are able to say. There are political appointees in the public affairs office, from the top it seems all the way down. And it’s much more extensive now than it was several years ago.
I think that the attempts to influence what comes out of the agencies has probably existed in all administrations, Democrat and Republican. But it has, I have never seen it anywhere nearly this strong as it has been in the past few years.
This is particularly revealing in that Hansen had political problems with the Office of Management and Budget trying to edit his congressional testimony during the George H.W. Bush administration. Nevertheless, based upon this statement, it would appear that Hansen thinks that the interferences with science today have reached a new peak.
For me, this is just another point of evidence–coming, as ususal, from someone in the position to know–demonstrating the severe problem with political control of scientific information in the government today. Journalists can write fluff pieces about how Bush suddenly loves science and technology, but this is the real story his administration is telling.