Transition trouble at NASA

TRANSITION TROUBLE AT NASA…. Almost immediately after the elections last month, George W. Bush publicly vowed a smooth transition, and for the most part, it’s been going well. There is, however, a rather glaring example to the contrary. (via Ben Smith)

NASA administrator Mike Griffin is not cooperating with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, is obstructing its efforts to get information and has told its leader that she is “not qualified” to judge his rocket program, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.

In a heated 40-minute conversation last week with Lori Garver, a former NASA associate administrator who heads the space transition team, a red-faced Griffin demanded to speak directly to Obama, according to witnesses.

In addition, 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, sources said.

NASA, as an agency, has struggled over the last eight years. It’s reportedly muzzled scientists who disagree with the Bush agenda, and it’s led by an administrator who isn’t sure if global warming is real, and believes we should ignore the crisis, even if the evidence is right.

It stands to reason, then, that Griffin might be inclined to give Obama’s team a hard time, but if this Orlando Sentinel report is right, his obstinacy is rather extreme.

At one recent NASA event, Garver told Griffin, “Mike, I don’t understand what the problem is. We are just trying to look under the hood.” Griffin replied, “If you are looking under the hood, then you are calling me a liar. Because it means you don’t trust what I say is under the hood.”

Griffin is apparently interested in staying on as NASA’s chief. Somehow, that seems unlikely.

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