During Henry Waxman's Oversight Committee's hearing today(the one Al Gore will be appearing at later this week) on Political Interference with Climate Science, Christopher Shays crossed the line when he stated to Dr. James Hansen (the NASA scientist who
"You're waving around the Constitution, saying 'I'm an American, I can say anything I want.'"
[Christopher Shays to James Hansen]
Shays went on to clarify that there are rules as to what Govt employees can say.
To which Hansen replied:
"Those rules don't extend to editing [of science] by the White House."
[Dr. James Hansen]
Now, in fairness to Shays, he did say that he didn't dispute the climate science or the implications therein (unlike other congressmen -- i.e. Sensenbrenner...), but there is NO excuse for treating a respected scientist like Dr. Hansen with such contempt or to cavalierly throw around (away) the constitutional right to freedom of speech.
But why are we surprised? Suppression of truth has been the hallmark of the global warming debate for years. In example: For those not familiar with the events that led up to this hearing, here's the info from the Wiki:
In 2005 and 2006, Hansen claimed in interviews with the Washington Post and the New York Times that NASA administrators have tried to influence his public statements about the causes of climate change. Hansen claims that NASA public relations staff were ordered to review his public statements and interviews after a December 2005 lecture at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
James Hansen has also appeared on 60 Minutes claiming that the White House edited climate-related press releases reported by federal agencies to make global warming seem less threatening. He is unable to speak "freely", without the backlash of other government officials. "In my more than three decades in the government I've never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public," he said in one of his many public appearances.
On July 30, 2006, 60 Minutes aired a story called "Rewriting the Science" revealed that:
Dozens of federal agencies report science but much of it is edited at the White House before it is sent to Congress and the public. It appears climate science is edited with a heavy hand. Drafts of climate reports were co-written by Rick Piltz for the federal Climate Change Science Program. But Piltz says his work was edited by the White House to make global warming seem less threatening...
Asked what happens, Piltz says: "It comes back with a large number of edits, handwritten on the hard copy by the chief-of-staff of the Council on Environmental Quality."
Asked who the chief of staff is, Piltz says, "Phil Cooney."
Piltz says Cooney is not a scientist. "He's a lawyer. He was a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, before going into the White House,"
Cooney was also asked to testify today, as was the man whom had hired him, James Connaughton, who referred to Cooney (the former Oil Lobbyist) as a man of 'integrity.'
But it wasn't only Cooney putting the kabosh on scientist's vis-a-vis climate change. Here's a link to the Washington Post article on censorship at NOAA:
James E. Hansen, the NASA climate scientist who sparked an uproar last month by accusing the Bush administration of keeping scientific information from reaching the public, said Friday that officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are also muzzling researchers who study global warming.
The hearing closed with testimony by Dr. James Spencer of the University of Alabama, who referred to Hansen's and the IPCC's findings (that global warming is caused by man) as a matter of "faith not science."
Waxman then asked Spencer about his position on Intelligent Design.
Spencer was for it...
Here's a link to Dr. Hansen's written testimony to the committee.
To the 60 minutes episode.
To the House Oversight's Committee's report on the hearing (with links to all the written testimony).