Slams Report "Supported By Anonymous Sources and Hearsay"
Not surprisingly, NASA Administrator
Michael Griffin has denounced an Orlando Sentinel report asserting
he and members of the Obama transition team -- in particular, team
lead and former NASA official Lori Garver -- have butted heads over
the future of the Constellation manned space program.
As ANN reported, the Sentinel report cited
numerous -- though anonymous -- sources in reporting Griffin
allegedly told members of the Constellation team to watch what they
say to members of the transition team regarding problems with the
trouble-plagued program, and in particular the Ares I rocket.
Those sources also reported on a recent heated exchange between
the Administrator and Garver, a former NASA associate
"Mike, I don’t understand what the problem is. We are just
trying to look under the hood," Garver reportedly said, to which
Griffin allegedly replied "If you are looking under the hood,
then you are calling me a liar... Because it means you don't trust
what I say is under the hood."
Stung by comments that make him look less like the consummate
(albeit temperamental) professional associates know him to be --
and more like a "red-faced," petulant child -- Griffin roundly
denounced the Sentinel report Friday in an email to NASA workers,
reports The Washington Post.
"This report, largely supported by anonymous sources and
hearsay, is simply wrong," Griffin wrote, adding "we must make
every effort to 'lean forward,' to answer questions promptly,
openly and accurately.
"We are fully cooperating with transition team members," Griffin
added. "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
Griffin further asserted he has put no pressure on NASA
contractors to paint a rosy picture of the state of Constellation.
"I am appalled by any accusations of intimidation, and encourage a
free and open exchange of information with the contractor
community," he said.
When asked to comment on Griffin's latest remarks, Garver told
the Post she was not permitted to do so.
Chris Shank, the agency's chief of strategic communications,
added Griffin and Garver were friends. "He said to me this morning,
'I sure didn't think that was an argument, we were having a
discussion about stuff,'" Shank said of Griffin Friday.
There seems to be little dispute of another part of the Sentinel
report, however -- that Griffin has openly questioned the
qualifications of the six-member transition team to make
engineering-related decisions. And Griffin reportedly still wants a
one-on-one sit-down with President-elect Obama.