Friday, February 03, 2006

You know why it takes a lot of guts to be an astronaut? Because these days, the most dangerous part of the job may be a knife in the back from those who are supposed to be supporting you.

NASA Inspector General probed; Failure to Investigate Safety Violations Is Among the Charges

An FBI-led watchdog agency has opened an investigation into multiple complaints accusing NASA Inspector General Robert W. Cobb of failing to investigate safety violations and retaliating against whistle-blowers. Most of the complaints were filed by current and former employees of his own office.

Written complaints and supporting documents from at least 16 people have been given to investigators. They allege that Cobb, appointed by President Bush in 2002, suppressed investigations of wrongdoing within NASA, and abused and penalized his own investigators when they persisted in raising concerns.

The complaints are being reviewed by the Integrity Committee of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency. The complaints describe efforts by Cobb to shut down or ignore investigations on issues such as a malfunctioning self-destruct procedure during a space shuttle launch at the Kennedy Space Center, and the theft of an estimated $1.9 billion worth of data on rocket engines from NASA computers.

In documents obtained by The Washington Post and in interviews, NASA employees and former employees said Cobb's actions had contributed to a lack of attention to safety problems at NASA.

The petitioners also said Cobb had disregarded the inspector general's mandate to root out "waste, fraud and abuse" and caused dozens of longtime NASA employees to leave the IG's 200-person office and seek investigative work elsewhere.

Where do they get these people? Oh, this explains where:

Cobb is among four of 11 inspectors general appointed by Bush who previously worked in the White House, and one of nine with no audit experience.

Well, they appointed a horse show operator with no disaster management experience to run FEMA, so I guess a guy with no audit experience to oversee NASA fits in pretty well with their theme.

Be an astronaut. Rickety old spaceships, rickety old equipment, rickety old party hack running the show.

Houston, we have a problem (if this blog allowed titles, there it would be.)

All rights reserved.
Disclaimer And Comment Policy