NASA: “We suppressed global warming data. Sorry.”

It’s reports like these (a pdf) that challenge one’s sense of hope. On the other hand, at least we can read it now.


On September 29, 2006, 14 United States Senators cosigned a letter to the NASA Inspector General to request a formal investigation into allegations of “political interference” with the work of scientists at NASA. In particular, the letter conveyed the Senators’ concern with apparent and “repeated instances of scientists . . . having publication of their research and access to the media blocked, solely based upon their views and conclusions regarding the reality and impacts of global warming.”

Accordingly, the NASA Office of Inspector General conducted an administrative investigation to examine reports of alleged “political interference,” predominantly by senior NASA Headquarters Office of Public Affairs officials, with the work of NASA scientists pertaining to climate change….

Our investigation found that during the fall of 2004 through early 2006, the NASA Headquarters Office of Public Affairs managed the topic of climate change in a manner that reduced, marginalized, or mischaracterized climate change science made available to the general public….

Apparently, once senior administrators caught wind of what the Public Affairs officers were doing, they put a stop to it.

But still:

…the Agency mismanaged this activity insomuch as it occurred over a sustained period of time until senior management was eventually alerted by congressional staff and the media. That senior management did not know before then was emblematic of ineffective internal management controls such as a dispute resolution mechanism between contributing scientists and public affairs officials. This is especially true in that relations between NASA’s climate change science community and the NASA Headquarters Office of Public Affairs had somehow deteriorated into acrimony, non-transparency, and fear that science was being politicized—attributes that are wholly inconsistent with effective and efficient Government. The investigation also uncovered that one of the underlying contributing factors of these problems may have, in fact, been in the very structure of the NASA Headquarters Office of Public Affairs, where political appointees were placed in the seemingly contradictory position of ensuring the “widest practicable” dissemination of NASA research results that were arguably inconsistent with the Administration’s policies….