Wednesday, January 02, 2008

NASA coverup revealed

Like many who grew up in the 1960's, I tend to think about NASA as a different kind of government agency, one that I expect more of. Maybe I shouldn't, but it's an emotional response based on the excitement and optimism that space travel fostered. Whatever the reason, it's disappointing when they show themselves to be the same kind of liars that the rest of the Bush Administration is.

This week's installment relates to a study NASA did on the safety of air travel, and in their study they found that dangerous incidents like near misses happen more often than you would think, and way more than you would want to think if you ever fly.

Big news, right? Sounds like something they'd want to publicize so that the public can start agitating and policy makers can start fixing the problem, right?

Government officials and politicians know that if they want to downplay an announcement, they release it on Friday afternoon. NASA didn't do that, they went one better. This report was released on New Year's Eve. Late in the afternoon. With no advance release of the report so journalists could ask informed questions.

And get this: instead of releasing it in PDF, a universally available, easy-to-read format, NASA did not provide documentation on how to use its data, nor did it provide keys to unlock the cryptic codes used in the dataset.

And they even admitted, in response to a FOIA request, that the reason they held back on the data was that they didn't want to cost the airlines money.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised, but I still get pissed off when it happens.


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