Sunday, March 10, 2013

Crying Wolf

NASAWatch is an interesting blog run by mostly Keith Cowing that deals with the ins and outs of the agency with an emphasis, if any, on manned space flight.  The header goes:

This is not a NASA Website. You might learn something. It's YOUR space agency. Get involved. Take it back. Make it work - for YOU.
If Eli had to describe the group politics, it would be slightly libertarian, slightly Republican, full spacenut.  Well anyhow there have been several recent posts on Frank Wolf, a Republican Congresscritter from Northern Virginia who has been on a tear accusing NASA of talking to Chinese people
 House Chairmen Say NASA May Have Released DOD Secrets To China, Aviation Week
"According to sources at Ames and on Capitol Hill, the case involves Ames Center Director Simon P. "Pete" Worden and members of the center's staff who are not U.S. citizens. ... Among the charges mentioned in the congressional letters are allegations that the protected technology information has been disseminated in public conferences overseas "with Chinese and other foreign officials present," and that information-protection "safeguards may not have been used or may have explicitly been ignored on multiple occasions" at Ames."
Keith's 8 Feb note: Its is rather odd that Aviation Week would make this statement about Worden's personal "involvement" given that his name is not even contained in the letters (linked below). What is especially baffling is how Rep. Wolf, an avowed China hater, could think that a former Brigadier General - someone who worked throughout the Cold War to defend the U.S. against potential foes such as China, would suddenly - and knowingly - allow his employees to leak things to China or to condone such behavior.
This is serious enough stuff that the US Attorney for Northern CA issued a statement denying that there was any investigation and the Ames Center Director, issued a Center wide announcement calling Wolf's claims rubbish

From: Centerwide Announcement
Date: February 12, 2013

MESSAGE FROM THE CENTER DIRECTOR
Ames and National Security.

Last week a news story appeared regarding national security and access to Ames by foreign national individuals. The article referenced letters written by US representatives. The article and the letters mentioned in it are littered with inaccuracies. I take very seriously our responsibility to safeguard sensitive information, so I wanted to let you--Ames employees--know the facts. To the best of our knowledge I am not, nor have I been, the subject of an International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) investigation. I have offered to talk to the news reporter, meet with the US representatives and/or testify under oath regarding export control issues at Ames.

Since NASA's inception, the contribution of foreign nationals has been an important element in making the agency the world's leading space program. Indeed, NASA's most successful space project- the International Space Station - inherently involves ongoing collaboration with Russia, the European Space Agency and numerous other international partners and that very collaboration is recognized as the core to its success.

I am justifiably proud of our international collaborations at Ames. We have had more than 50 International Space Act Agreements in the past five years. Last year we conducted a successful audit of all 114 projects and programs where there might be ITAR concerns. The next Ames export control audit, which includes ITAR, will occur in the next two weeks.

A goal of our country's National Space Policy, ( http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/national_space_policy_6-28-10.pdf ) is to "Expand international cooperation on mutually beneficial space activities to: broaden and extend the benefits of space; further the peaceful use of space; and enhance collection and partnership in sharing of space-derived information."

Working with international partners is, has been, and will continue to be, a central part of our civil space effort. Ames will continue to exercise the fullest diligence in monitoring these collaborations and ensuring their compliance with ITAR policy as well as making sure NASA export control procedures are followed.

See me if you have any questions.

Godspeed Ames!
 Wolf has an excellent record on human rights, is a champion of Tibet, and is a Republican in a district that is trending Democratic (see, Morella, Connie).  Now some, not Eli to be sure, may think that this all has something to do with his recent behavior.  It also looks like some unfortunate is being nominated for the Wen Ho Lee prize but bunnies can get a better idea over at NASAWatch

1 comment:

kT said...

Space cadets don't get no respect.