NASA's Administrator vs. the Transition Team

Dec 13, 2008
A recently-written blog on the website of the Orlando Sentinel on the relation between Michael Griffin, NASA's administrator, and president-elect Barack Obama's new NASA transition team sparked a dangerous fire. Reactions to the article indicated that such attempts pose a large threat to the credibility of NASA officials and to the public trust associated with the new Constellation program. In this respect, Griffin responded by a media statement, sharing his surprise and disappointment towards the accusations.
Robert Block, the blogger whose post that cites unnamed sources started the dispute, wrote that "Griffin is scripting NASA employees and civilian contractors on what they can tell the transition team and has warned aerospace executives not to criticize the agency's moon program". Furthermore, "Griffin's resistance is part of a no-holds-barred effort to preserve the Constellation program, the delayed and over-budget moon rocket that is his signature project".

Also, Griffin is reported to supposedly have had a long and acrimonious discussion with Lori Garver, the chief of the transition team and former NASA associate administrator. "Mike, I don’t understand what the problem is. We are just trying to look under the hood," Garver told Griffin. "If you are looking under the hood, then you are calling me a liar," Griffin answered. "Because it means you don’t trust what I say is under the hood," writes the blog, again quoting unknown sources that reportedly overheard the talk.

The incisive article determined Griffin to intervene, "This report, largely supported by anonymous sources and hearsay, is simply wrong. I would like to reiterate what I have stated in a previous email to all NASA Officials: we must make every effort to 'lean forward,' to answer questions promptly, openly and accurately. We are fully cooperating with transition team members. Since mid-November, the agency has provided 414 documents and 185 responses to 191 requests. There are six outstanding responses, and the agency will meet the deadline for those queries," stated the administrator.

"Also," he continued, "we strongly urge full and free cooperation by companies performing work for NASA. I am appalled by any accusations of intimidation, and encourage a free and open exchange of information with the contractor community. The transition team's work is too important to become mired in unsupported and anonymous allegations. The President-elect's transition team deserves everyone's complete cooperation".


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