Saturday, April 07, 2007

Hail Columbia ... or ... Columbia Rains

posted by The Sailor @ 12:10 PM Permalink

Report: NASA watchdog too cozy with boss

WASHINGTON -- NASA's top watchdog routinely tipped off department officials to internal investigations and quashed a report related to the Columbia shuttle explosion to avoid embarrassing the agency, investigators say.

A report by the Integrity Committee, a government board that investigates inspectors general, found that Robert Cobb "created an appearance of a lack of independence," and it questioned whether NASA would do enough to reprimand him.
"All members of the committee believe that disciplinary action, up to and including removal, could be appropriate," he said in a previously unreleased report that also accused Cobb of abusing authority to create an "abusive work environment."
Only President Bush can dismiss Cobb, a former White House aide and 1986 law graduate whom Bush selected as NASA's IG in 2002. The White House has said it is satisfied with NASA's plans to require leadership training for Cobb, who once was an adviser on ethics to then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, now the attorney general.
Cobb also routinely sought O'Keefe's advice on how to structure audit investigations and he let O'Keefe review a draft IG opinion regarding the independence of the Columbia accident investigation.
In a meeting with one of his staff, Cobb, who demanded that a tape recorder in the room be shut off, said no report on the ring would be issued because the "whole NASA Columbia investigation was not going well, NASA wanted it finished, and for the outcome to reveal nothing that would make NASA look bad."
"Please keep close hold," Cobb wrote in an e-mail June 16, 2004, regarding forthcoming warrants in an undercover operation targeting suppliers of bad parts to NASA.

O'Keefe replied: "OK - keep me posted. More incoming cowpies I suspect."
So yet another Bush appointee and crony tips his boss off to upcoming investigations and most importantly interferes with the investigation into the Columbia disaster. He not only should be fired, he should be in prison.

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