The Scientific Activist

NASA Admits Censorship Occurred

The Bad Astronomy Blog reports that NASA has officially admitted that censorship did in fact take place there recently. In a letter to Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT), NASA writes:

…an internal inquiry has revealed that one recent media request to interview Dr. James Hansen, of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was inappropriately declined. This action, which was contrary to NASA policy, did not spring from any change in policy or in any way change NASA’s commitment to fully and transparently communicate its findings, programs, and activities to the public. In addition, several instances of inappropriate editing of scientific materials have been alleged. These allegations, if true, are unaccptable at NASA.

The incidents mentioned were the actions of George Deutsch that made headlines in January when the NASA censorship scandal was first discovered. The scandal came to an abrupt halt when The Scientific Activist published its own findings that George Deutsch had lied on his resume, forcing him to immediately resign. Although NASA states that Deutsch’s activities were “contrary to NASA policy,” NASA had not actually done anything to correct the situation before these findings, partly because Deutsch’s status as a Bush Administration appointee made him somewhat untouchable. This should serve as another reminder of why impending legislation to counteract political interference in science is so important. It shouldn’t take such outrageous and unlikely findings to remove someone who is obviously doing something wrong.

Hat tip to Pharyngula.