Top Climate Expert: Bush White House Edits Testimony of Government Scientists
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In 2006, the government's top global warming researcher, James Hansen, revealed the government's efforts to muzzle him from speaking out about climate change. NASA political appointees reviewed all his lectures, papers, and requests for interviews from journalists.
In a new e-mail, Hansen reveals that the censoring is not only happening to him, but to all government scientists. He writes that the White House Office of Management and Budget reviews all scientific testimony to make sure that it's "consistent with the President's budget":
Do you know that before a government scientist testifies to Congress his/her testimony is typically reviewed and edited by the White House Office of Management and Budget? When I asked for a justification, I was told that a government scientist's testimony "needs to be consistent with the President's budget".
Huh? There have never been any budget numbers in my testimony or in the testimony of most scientists. And OMB's editing of the scientific content is invariably designed to make the testimony fit better with the position of the political party in power (yes, it is a bi-partisan problem). Where is it stated or implied in the Constitution that the Executive Branch should have such authority? (Actually, does the Constitution not vest control of the purse strings to Congress?) Why does not Congress get incensed about this and fight back?
In October, Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had her congressional testimony on the "Human Impacts of Global Warming" "eviscerated" by the OMB. The final version had almost no references to the impacts of global warming.
Amanda Terkel is Deputy Research Director at the Center for American Progress and serves as Deputy Editor for The Progress Report and ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress.