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Airline Safety Coverup Within Bush Administration

The culture of corruption within the Bush Administration has been revealed yet again, as a congressional committee is having to race to gather information about public safety before Bush Administration officials destroy it. The Science and Technology Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives has sent a letter to NASA Administrator Michael Griffin demanding that he stop the destruction of information about a recent survey of airline safety.

In an earlier letter, written by NASA Associate Administrator Thomas Luedtke denied a request, through the Freedom of Information Act, for the results of the survey on the grounds that letting the American public know about the results of the survey, “could materially affect the public confidence in, and the commercial welfare of, the air carriers and general aviation companies whose pilots participated in the survey.” The financial interests of corporations is not legitimate grounds for the denial of a Freedom of Information Act request for information. It seems that Administrator Luedtke cares less about the law, however, than protecting corporate interests.

It appears that NASA is doing more than just keeping public information about airline safety from the general public, however. NASA also seems to be attempting to thwart congressional oversight of its activities, in violation of federal law. Right after a telephone conference between congressional staff and NASA officials, NASA ordered the contractor that conducted the airline safety survey to send all information about the survey to NASA headquarters, and then to delete all of its files on the subject.

Why would NASA tell the contractor to delete all information about the survey of airline safety, unless it was trying to prevent anyone from seeing that information? Ordinarily, the contractor would keep the files, for reference in future work on similar projects.

Before I step on another airplane, I want to know what’s in the files that were sent to NASA, and then deleted. How about you? Ask yourself this basic economic question: Are the financial interests of commercial airline companies worth you and your family riding on airplanes that are unsafe? If your answer is no, then the course of action you must take is clear. Purge the federal government of its Republican-appointed corrupt officials. Vote to elect a progressive President in 2008.

(Sources: House Committee on Science and Technology; Reuters, October 22, 2007)

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