Skip to comments.Why Is NASA Hiding James Hansenís Ethics Records?
Posted on 03/16/2011 4:42:37 PM PDT by jazusamo
The climate change fanatic has plenty of outside income. Did he obtain the proper waivers from NASA as he must according to the law?
In this Sunshine Week amid revelations that the vow of transparency was not, as George Stephanopoulos famously said about Bill Clintons truthiness, one of the campaign promises Barack Obama intended to keep I have just filed an administrative appeal with NASA challenging its thoroughly puzzling refusal to release ethics-related records for its high-profile global warming activist/advocate, the astronomer Dr. James Hansen.
This request and appeal are on behalf of the American Tradition Institutes Environmental Law Center, for which I am pursuing a transparency project. Other efforts include seeking the same records from the University of Virginia, under the states Freedom of Information Act, that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is seeking through a taxpayer protection, anti-fraud statute.
On that front, we have been promised that a rolling production of documents will begin in mere days (which does not mean that we wont be forced to litigate over claimed exemptions).
NASA rejected our request for records relating to compliance with applicable ethics laws, particularly Hansens office, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). Hansen is NASAs highest-profile, most media-present employee and also very entrepreneurial.
Specifically, is he filing applications seeking waivers for outside employment for all of his paying activities like speeches, books (emails obtained already indicated NASA staff worked on this), and other support?
The reasons I ask are not limited to the public record indicating that this file if it exists must be quite robust. I ask because I learned as part of another Freedom of Information Act effort, on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (now in litigation with a reluctant and secretive NASA), about years of non-compliance by Hansens protege Gavin Schmidt.
Schmidt has been running a third-party activist website almost since the moment Hansen brought him on board. The site was originally established to assail author Michael Crichton and defend the risible Hockey Stick graph showing stable global temperatures until the past 150 years. He did this using taxpayer resources, on taxpayer time. NASA agreed with this when I won my administrative appeal seeking Schmidts RealClimate.org records on NASAs server.
But now, in a Washington, D.C., federal court, NASA is arguing that whenever Schmidt does this, at whatever time of day and in whatever office he sits, hes clearly punching out from his job at NASA, so his daytime moonlighting is none of your business.
Well see if that floats. But in the meantime, we learned something about GISS, of which Hansen is currently director: GISS was not requiring Schmidt to comply with ethics rules that direct employees to obtain waivers for such outside employment. He scrambled to do so, and NASA provided us those very records.
That got me thinking: Is it unreasonable to believe the same man allowing this as director is also skirting the laws requirements? NASA doesnt want me (or you) to know. It says that to release these records would clearly be an unwarranted violation of Hansens privacy interests.
Thats untrue, given applicable FOIA precedent, as we explain in our appeal.
But these are the same records NASA provided me regarding Schmidt, which confirmed GISSs deviation from the law in the first place. Apparently, Mr. Hansen is special. We know this from the way the media has treated him. The press repeated that any president named George Bush muzzled Hansen, while being entirely incurious about the possible implications of his various extracurricular activity.
What is even more puzzling is that NASA did not confirm or deny the existence of the records. It spoke generally about how any such records would contain information such as how much of his time Hansen spends on outside projects and for how much money. At least it sees what were getting at. And it said NASA would never dream of releasing such information except when it would, I suppose.
This treatment represents something of a desperate strategy for NASA, indicating that either it knows there is something amiss or, tantalizingly hinted at by the oblique language, it is planning to treat Hansens ethics file with a Glomar reply.
That gambit was pioneered by the National Security Agency to hide information about a secret plan using Howard Hughes Glomar Explorer to raise a sunken Soviet submarine, by which they refuse to either confirm or deny that requested records exist. (See, e.g., here) The request then goes before a judge for a private look at the files.
Will NASA really try to place Hansens applications for waivers on a par with national security records? The public record, as we detail, indicates that the files exist that is, if NASA is following the law, which as weve already seen in Mr. Schmidts case, it hasnt always.
Of course, ultimately the records will be released, just as NASA released Schmidts, sans the drama and selective guardian of privacy bunting. What we know already confirms there had better be a lot there, if NASA has been keeping up with its statutory obligations. If not, then climate activist, friend of the rich and famous (and left-wing), globe-trotting expert witness in support of civil disobedience and nanny statism James Hansen actually hasnt been filing the required applications for waivers for outside employment.
Stay tuned. NASA has 20 working days to remove or deepen the mystery.
Christopher Horner is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and author of the recently-published Power Grab: How Obamas Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America .
Guess they don’t want to reveal all those checks from George Soros.
That’s a strong possibility.
Hansen has ethics? Who knew.
Probably for the same reason that PSU whitewashed its investigation of Michael Mann.
Federal employees who take bribes usually neglect to mention them though.
Absolutely, they didn’t want the stink to rub off on them.
You people are all crazy. This administration just received a very nice little award for it’s transparency and openness.
He definitely should be filing a financial statement but he can’t, he’s making too much off his junk science and bribery is just what it amounts to. Very sad that NASA has facilitated this.
It is time to defund NASA.
Oh, man! What a joke.
Thanks for linking that.
I grew up with accomplishments from NASA in the space program from the beginning and never thought I'd say this but you may just be right, it's become a political football.
Hansen is a treasonous SOB masquerading as an objective scientist. Treat all his announcements and requests with the respect due a treasonous SOB masquerading as an objective scientist.
Amen to that. Hopefully people will keep the pressure on and nail this turkey.
Good post Jaz. NASA should be threatened with de-funding much of their operations that are not immediately connected with space flight, if they do not kick that far left radical bastard out. It is bad enough tax payers shall have to fund his retirement.
Add Gavin “Hansen’s pit bull” Schmidt to the short list.
They’re not really hiding them, they’re just so tiny that they’re hard to see. Thanks jazusamo.
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