Monday, October 22, 2007

We Can Handle the Truth!

The Emperor's folks sure like to suppress or destroy evidence. We all know how global warming discussions were kept on ice for some time. And we also know how they tried to keep us from hearing how the Emperor may have illegally directed the Inspector General's folks. Fortunately, only the Emperor's credibility, something always in short supply, was at risk that time. And each time the Emperor stepped in at the last possible moment and claimed he would get to the bottom of or reverse the transgression.

This time they are trying to keep us from knowing how unsafe we are when we fly.

The National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service is a national survey of pilots that has uncovered safety problems that are occurring far more often than previously thought. Problems like near collisions and runway interference. Problems that could kill people. But NASA is withholding the information, fearful it would upset air travelers and maybe hurt airline profits. Worse yet, NASA ordered the contractor that conducted the survey to delete all related data from its computers.

NASA has another stinker on its hands. Or, as Rep. Brad Miller, D-North Carolina, chairman of the House Science and Technology investigations and oversight subcommittee put it, "There is a faint odor about it all."

Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tennessee, chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, is getting ready for an investigation. Gordon won't have to work too hard to prepare for it. He'll just strike "IG" in his previous directions to NASA and write in "airplane safety" in its place. Those previous directions were given to the Emperor after the DVDs of his discussions with the IG's people were destroyed.

Knowing how the Emperor is supposed to set the example for his minions, this repetitious behavior becomes even more disturbing. Imagine that his shuttle management team decides to hold back a piece of data on shuttle safety that might convince a reasonable person that the shuttle is not safe to fly. Imagine that they decide to shred that data to keep the public from knowing the full extent of the issue and to the maintain the schedule. But imagine a smart reporter smells a rat and asks for the data. Just how many times does this have to happen before the Emperor takes ultimate responsibility for his defective leadership?

Speculation? Let's hope so.

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