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Lawmakers Seek Access to NASA Testimony
Washington Post ^ | Friday, May 9, 2003 | Eric Pianin

Posted on 05/09/2003 1:44:44 PM PDT by anymouse

'Privileged' Statements on Columbia Won't See 'Light of Day,' Panel Chief Says.

Lawmakers and the board investigating the Columbia space shuttle disaster are locked in a dispute over congressional demands for access to information gleaned from hundreds of "privileged interviews" that investigators have conducted with NASA officials, engineers and others directly involved in the failed mission.

The lawmakers, including Science Committee Chairman Sherwood L. Boehlert (R-N.Y.), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), said they received assurances during a meeting with Gehman last week that they and their staffs could see expurgated copies of the transcripts, with the names of the witnesses removed. They said they were also promised full access to other data and material generated by the probe.

"As long as confidentiality is being taken care of, there is no reason for members of Congress not to see all the information that has been available to the board during this investigation," said Rohrabacher, chairman of the space and aeronautics subcommittee. "Members of Congress are elected by the people in order to look at information."

By contrast, the blue ribbon commission appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 to investigate the Challenger shuttle explosion carried out most of its business in public and used FBI agents to conduct many interviews.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Extended News; Government; Technical
KEYWORDS: columbia; congress; goliath; nasa; shuttle; space; sts107
Note to NASA: Saying no to Congress can negatively affect your budget.
1 posted on 05/09/2003 1:44:45 PM PDT by anymouse
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To: *Space
Space ping
2 posted on 05/09/2003 1:45:02 PM PDT by anymouse
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To: anymouse
There is no justification for any testimony not directly related to national security to remain classified. Expose it all, unless it gives away specifics on classified technologies.
3 posted on 05/09/2003 1:53:33 PM PDT by eno_
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To: eno_
The problem is that investigators gained this testimony from key NASA and contractor managers and employees with the understanding that it would remain private and only used to figure out what went wrong and to fix it. Even if the names were redacted it wouldn't take too much effort by the media to connect the dots to put names to the statements, as only certain people know the details that they are testifying about.

This is a real problem for NASA's panel, as they are in a legal quandry. They are legally bound to protect their sources, yet Congress can compell them to provide that testimony. Congress can also get pissed and slash NASA's budget too.

I suspect the testimony will eventually be provided to Congress, but NASA is going to drag their heals as much as they think they can get away with.
4 posted on 05/11/2003 9:43:04 PM PDT by anymouse
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