Star Wars

Dec 11, 2008 12:16pm

Barack Obama does not need any headaches from Michael Griffin.  He has enough because of the economy and Rod Blagojevich.  But Griffin, the head of NASA, has made it apparent that (1) he’d like to stay on the job, and (2) he’s convinced the agency’s new Ares I rocket, meant to replace space shuttles as the way to launch astronauts into orbit, will work, despite budget and engineering problems. Robert Block and Mark K. Matthews of the Orlando Sentinel report today that Griffin is already making enemies in Camp Obama.  Take a look at their piece HERE. "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 four 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." The Sentinel reporters say Griffin blew up when the Obama team began to ask too many questions: "they asked the agency, among other things, to quantify how much could be saved by canceling Ares I. Though they also asked what it would take to accelerate the program, the fact that the team could even consider scrapping the program was enough to spur Griffin and his supporters into action. "According to industry officials, Griffin started calling heads of companies working for NASA, demanding that they either tell the Obama team that they support Constellation or refrain from talking about alternatives. "The companies, worried that Griffin may remain and somehow punish them if they ignore his wishes, have by and large complied." Is this a way to make friends?  The Sentinel quotes John Logsdon, a George Washington University professor who served on the Columbia Accident Investigation Board: "Mike is dead-on convinced that the current approach to the program is the right one. And Lori’s job is to question that for Mr. Obama. The Obama team is not going to walk in and take Mike’s word for it." ——————— Update: Griffin’s reply

NASA has provided a response to the Sentinel story, and Keith Cowing has posted it on his NASA Watch site:"A recent report in the Orlando Sentinel suggested that NASA is not cooperating with members of President-elect Obama’s transition team currently working at Headquarters. 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. "Also, 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. "Michael D. Griffin

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