Author Topic: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD  (Read 3850 times)

Offline Avron

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Offline MKremer

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #1 on: 05/25/2007 07:57 AM »
He "considered the meeting" between the head of a major gov't agency and it's IG to be "private" so he destroyed evidence of it?? Good Lord! What kind of  secretive/radical mindset has this current Administration engendered among it's political appointees?


Offline Antares

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #2 on: 05/25/2007 01:58 PM »
I'm leaning on the side that this is all Congressional camera preening (right down there with the William Jefferson case), because something called NPD 2530.1E Monitoring Or Recording Of Telephone Or Other Conversations exists.
http://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/displayDir.cfm?t=NPD&c=2530&s=1E
I would think it governs in this case.  Or, if in conflict with federal law, at least the NASA officials can say they were following an internal policy set before their tenure.
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Offline Tergenev

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #4 on: 05/25/2007 03:53 PM »
This whole story is so sad to me. It makes Michael Griffin's future at NASA seem highly rocky and likely a very short-lived one. I like Griffin. He was, I had hoped, one of the few administration heads in the Bush administration who would be able to maintain some credibility and possibly survive into the next administration.  But here, again, we seem to see the people put into place by the White House to be willing to skirt the law and to avoid transparency at every opportunity.

WHY did Griffin agree to go along with a political cover-up in order to protect the political watcher at NASA? Inspector General Robert Cobb's job was *supposed* to be that of the independent watchdog for safety and fiscal responsibility, but who ended up being nothing more than another political minder . . . no different than the political officer on a Soviet submarine.  Griffin is the ONLY department head in this administration I wanted to see survive the end of this administration. He won't now.

And to Antares, of COURSE this is Congressional camera preening . . . but it's also a real example of deliberate law-breaking by NASA officials.

Offline marsavian

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #5 on: 05/25/2007 04:12 PM »
maybe he can take Howowitz and his rocket, Ares I, when he goes.

Offline Naraht

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #6 on: 05/25/2007 04:23 PM »
Quote
Antares - 25/5/2007  2:58 PM

I'm leaning on the side that this is all Congressional camera preening (right down there with the William Jefferson case), because something called NPD 2530.1E Monitoring Or Recording Of Telephone Or Other Conversations exists.
http://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/displayDir.cfm?t=NPD&c=2530&s=1E
I would think it governs in this case.  Or, if in conflict with federal law, at least the NASA officials can say they were following an internal policy set before their tenure.

From what I've read I think it was pretty clear at the time that it was being recorded, if that's what you're getting at.

Offline waf102

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RE: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #7 on: 05/25/2007 04:25 PM »
Is there any speculation as to what the topic of discussion was?

Is it possible that the meeting was not particularly scandalous, but the lawyer (being a lawyer) over reacted?

Just curious about people's impressions.
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Offline Chris Bergin

RE: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #8 on: 05/25/2007 04:31 PM »
Quote
waf102 - 25/5/2007  5:25 PM

Just curious about people's impressions.

I'm just sighing at the possibility that this could take some media focus off STS-117.

Offline realtime

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #9 on: 05/27/2007 06:07 AM »
Griffin may be pure as the driven snow, but this makes him look like Richard Nixon.

Dumb.  Dumb.  Dumb.


Offline Naraht

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #10 on: 05/27/2007 08:34 AM »
Quote
realtime - 27/5/2007  7:07 AM

Griffin may be pure as the driven snow, but this makes him look like Richard Nixon.

Dumb.  Dumb.  Dumb.

Yeah, I know...

*sigh*

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #11 on: 05/29/2007 05:15 AM »
Just a little background info on this: This was not a violation of law. It was a case of extremely poor judgment once it was realized that the teleconference was recorded, after it had been requested NOT to be recorded so as to avoid the fact of it being recorded having a "chilling effect" on those in the room.

Mike Griffin wanted the IG staff to feel free to speak their mind about concerns they have with the year-long "tempest" in the NASA IG Office while its head, the Inspector General, has been subject of an investigation by the Integrity Committee of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency. Mike Griffin announced he would be holding such a meeting as part of the recommended disciplinary actions he forwarded to the White House on March 14, 2007. The idea was to try to "clear the air" and let folks "vent" and resolve any misunderstandings about the independent role and functions of the IG office, over which the NASA Administrator, by law, has "general supervisory authority," but does not "manage." The NASA Chief of Staff, when making arrangements to use the teleconference facility, directed it not be taped. According to the teleconference facility manager, in an interview I participated in, this was not unusual, since only about 20% of such conferences are routinely taped--and fewer than that actually end up having he recording archived--or even viewed by the requestor.

Just before the conference began, someone from NASA Public Affairs called and asked that it be taped, so they would have a reference for responding to any questions, since the plan to hold such a meeting was publicly stated in released letters about the IG investigation outcome. Rather than double-check that request with the Chief of Staff, the facility manager set it up to record.

Griffin and the Chief of Staff entered the room after the meeting had begun and the preliminary announcement about recording had been made. Griffin was already speaking when the Chief of Staff saw the notices about a recording in progress. Rather than inerrupt and stop the recording, he waited until afterward and learned then of the PAO request. He explained that request was unauthorized and requested any copies of the recording be provided to him. Unsure what to do with them when he got them, he went to the General Counsel and explained the situation. The GC said he would look into it and to leave it with him to handle. He made a legal determination that, under NASA and federal guidelines, as he understood them, they were not "official records" and he destroyed them.

Not, in my view, the "smart" thing to do, in any case, but especially knowing of the very active interest of at least two congressional subcommittees in the whole IG investigation issue, it made even less sense, again, in my view, to destroy them. Especially--though this is hindsight, too--with the fact that, as near as anyone can tell, nothing was said in the meeting that hasn't been said openly and publicly by Mike Griffin, or would present any sort of "political problem" for Griffin, NASA, or the White House. After all, the people in the room and connected via teleconference, include dozens of professional investigators and "watchdogs" and if things were said that were inappropriate, you can believe without a doubt they would have surfaced by now.

So...confused lines of authority, failure to follow through on conflicting directions, and a lack of sensitivity--and a House investigative staff bound and determined to find any hint of "dirt" they can bring to the doorstep of the White House--even indirectly, or by "association"--and you have all the ingredients of a breast-beating display of righteous indignation...followed by nothing after the initial attention dissipates. (What is also troubling to me about this is the staff-drafted hearing "Charter" for the House hearing that aired this issue last week reflects an incomplete and biased account of the scenario I've just described. (available through the Science Committee website.)

Bottom line...please do NOT just react to headlines and news stories on something like this..there is ALWAYS some combination of more to it than it seems OR that more is being made of it than it deserves.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline Chris SF

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #12 on: 05/29/2007 07:12 AM »
Quote
He made a legal determination that, under NASA and federal guidelines, as he understood them, they were not "official records" and he destroyed them.

That's a lawyer speaking, unless the guy was some rulebook robot, and from what I've read about him, he sounds like anything but.

Offline meiza

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #13 on: 05/29/2007 11:01 AM »
51D Mascot, that explains a lot - it doesn't really sound so serious.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #14 on: 05/29/2007 01:37 PM »
Quote
51D Mascot - 29/5/2007  6:15 AM

Just a little background info on this: This was not a violation of law. It was a case of extremely poor judgment once it was realized that the teleconference was recorded, after it had been requested NOT to be recorded so as to avoid the fact of it being recorded having a "chilling effect" on those in the room.

Mike Griffin wanted the IG staff to feel free to speak their mind about concerns they have with the year-long "tempest" in the NASA IG Office while its head, the Inspector General, has been subject of an investigation by the Integrity Committee of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency. Mike Griffin announced he would be holding such a meeting as part of the recommended disciplinary actions he forwarded to the White House on March 14, 2007. The idea was to try to "clear the air" and let folks "vent" and resolve any misunderstandings about the independent role and functions of the IG office, over which the NASA Administrator, by law, has "general supervisory authority," but does not "manage." The NASA Chief of Staff, when making arrangements to use the teleconference facility, directed it not be taped. According to the teleconference facility manager, in an interview I participated in, this was not unusual, since only about 20% of such conferences are routinely taped--and fewer than that actually end up having he recording archived--or even viewed by the requestor.

Just before the conference began, someone from NASA Public Affairs called and asked that it be taped, so they would have a reference for responding to any questions, since the plan to hold such a meeting was publicly stated in released letters about the IG investigation outcome. Rather than double-check that request with the Chief of Staff, the facility manager set it up to record.

Griffin and the Chief of Staff entered the room after the meeting had begun and the preliminary announcement about recording had been made. Griffin was already speaking when the Chief of Staff saw the notices about a recording in progress. Rather than inerrupt and stop the recording, he waited until afterward and learned then of the PAO request. He explained that request was unauthorized and requested any copies of the recording be provided to him. Unsure what to do with them when he got them, he went to the General Counsel and explained the situation. The GC said he would look into it and to leave it with him to handle. He made a legal determination that, under NASA and federal guidelines, as he understood them, they were not "official records" and he destroyed them.

Not, in my view, the "smart" thing to do, in any case, but especially knowing of the very active interest of at least two congressional subcommittees in the whole IG investigation issue, it made even less sense, again, in my view, to destroy them. Especially--though this is hindsight, too--with the fact that, as near as anyone can tell, nothing was said in the meeting that hasn't been said openly and publicly by Mike Griffin, or would present any sort of "political problem" for Griffin, NASA, or the White House. After all, the people in the room and connected via teleconference, include dozens of professional investigators and "watchdogs" and if things were said that were inappropriate, you can believe without a doubt they would have surfaced by now.

So...confused lines of authority, failure to follow through on conflicting directions, and a lack of sensitivity--and a House investigative staff bound and determined to find any hint of "dirt" they can bring to the doorstep of the White House--even indirectly, or by "association"--and you have all the ingredients of a breast-beating display of righteous indignation...followed by nothing after the initial attention dissipates. (What is also troubling to me about this is the staff-drafted hearing "Charter" for the House hearing that aired this issue last week reflects an incomplete and biased account of the scenario I've just described. (available through the Science Committee website.)

Bottom line...please do NOT just react to headlines and news stories on something like this..there is ALWAYS some combination of more to it than it seems OR that more is being made of it than it deserves.

Thanks for the background there Jeff.



Offline David AF

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #16 on: 05/29/2007 07:03 PM »
Quote
51D Mascot - 28/5/2007  12:15 AM

Just a little background info on this: This was not a violation of law. It was a case of extremely poor judgment once it was realized that the teleconference was recorded, after it had been requested NOT to be recorded so as to avoid the fact of it being recorded having a "chilling effect" on those in the room.

Mike Griffin wanted the IG staff to feel free to speak their mind about concerns they have with the year-long "tempest" in the NASA IG Office while its head, the Inspector General, has been subject of an investigation by the Integrity Committee of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency. Mike Griffin announced he would be holding such a meeting as part of the recommended disciplinary actions he forwarded to the White House on March 14, 2007. The idea was to try to "clear the air" and let folks "vent" and resolve any misunderstandings about the independent role and functions of the IG office, over which the NASA Administrator, by law, has "general supervisory authority," but does not "manage." The NASA Chief of Staff, when making arrangements to use the teleconference facility, directed it not be taped. According to the teleconference facility manager, in an interview I participated in, this was not unusual, since only about 20% of such conferences are routinely taped--and fewer than that actually end up having he recording archived--or even viewed by the requestor.

Just before the conference began, someone from NASA Public Affairs called and asked that it be taped, so they would have a reference for responding to any questions, since the plan to hold such a meeting was publicly stated in released letters about the IG investigation outcome. Rather than double-check that request with the Chief of Staff, the facility manager set it up to record.

Griffin and the Chief of Staff entered the room after the meeting had begun and the preliminary announcement about recording had been made. Griffin was already speaking when the Chief of Staff saw the notices about a recording in progress. Rather than inerrupt and stop the recording, he waited until afterward and learned then of the PAO request. He explained that request was unauthorized and requested any copies of the recording be provided to him. Unsure what to do with them when he got them, he went to the General Counsel and explained the situation. The GC said he would look into it and to leave it with him to handle. He made a legal determination that, under NASA and federal guidelines, as he understood them, they were not "official records" and he destroyed them.

Not, in my view, the "smart" thing to do, in any case, but especially knowing of the very active interest of at least two congressional subcommittees in the whole IG investigation issue, it made even less sense, again, in my view, to destroy them. Especially--though this is hindsight, too--with the fact that, as near as anyone can tell, nothing was said in the meeting that hasn't been said openly and publicly by Mike Griffin, or would present any sort of "political problem" for Griffin, NASA, or the White House. After all, the people in the room and connected via teleconference, include dozens of professional investigators and "watchdogs" and if things were said that were inappropriate, you can believe without a doubt they would have surfaced by now.

So...confused lines of authority, failure to follow through on conflicting directions, and a lack of sensitivity--and a House investigative staff bound and determined to find any hint of "dirt" they can bring to the doorstep of the White House--even indirectly, or by "association"--and you have all the ingredients of a breast-beating display of righteous indignation...followed by nothing after the initial attention dissipates. (What is also troubling to me about this is the staff-drafted hearing "Charter" for the House hearing that aired this issue last week reflects an incomplete and biased account of the scenario I've just described. (available through the Science Committee website.)

Bottom line...please do NOT just react to headlines and news stories on something like this..there is ALWAYS some combination of more to it than it seems OR that more is being made of it than it deserves.

Good to read. This is a lot less serious than some of the media are trying to claim.
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Offline Jeff Bingham

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RE: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #17 on: 05/29/2007 08:08 PM »
Quote
marsavian - 29/5/2007  2:23 PM

more detail

http://www.dailypress.com/news/local/dp-43113sy0may25,0,1317414.story?coll=dp-news-local-final
http://www.cfnews13.com/News/Local/2007/5/25/nasa39s_top_boss_standing_by_robert_cobb.html


I just love the media! These links provide no "new" information on this issue, and the second one, referencing the "second day of hearings" failed to note that the hearing initially scheduled for the 23rd--the day before the hearing being reported on--was cancelled, or rather postponed until June 7th, when it will be a joint hearing between the two subcommittees--one in the House and one in the Senate--that are reviewing this issue.  So this is the first day of hearings, and not strictly on the same topic. Wonder if they'll count that joint hearing twice?  Sorry, but just another example of why care should be taken in reading news reports, especially from the broader, or general  media, who are too often only looking for the eye-catching headlines and don't bother checking details.  I'm grumpy, I suppose...sitting in O'hare airport waiting a LONG time for a connecting flight, hehe.
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Offline kevwalsh

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #18 on: 05/29/2007 08:26 PM »
51D Mascot, your description of events has the ring of bland truth written all over it.  You'll never cut it as a journalist though, can you jazz it up a bit for your next draft.  Maybe something about somebody wearing a wire.  Something like that.

Seriously, politics is stoking these things up, but there also seems to be a certain post-Novak rise in media chatter about the "underside" of NASA - and I am not talking about tiles here - and I hope this is not a trend.

Offline clongton

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Re: NASA Lawyer Destroyed Meeting DVD
« Reply #19 on: 05/29/2007 08:56 PM »
Quote
kevwalsh - 29/5/2007  4:26 PM

51D Mascot, your description of events has the ring of bland truth written all over it.  You'll never cut it as a journalist though, can you jazz it up a bit for your next draft.  Maybe something about somebody wearing a wire.  Something like that.

Seriously, politics is stoking these things up, but there also seems to be a certain post-Novak rise in media chatter about the "underside" of NASA - and I am not talking about tiles here - and I hope this is not a trend.
Jeff, all you need to do now is to see if you can link any scandal to it, maybe a little Nicole connection. Your story will surely be good for a 3-week run, every night, on "ET".

Seriously, it's Sooo frustrating trying to get at the real story from what passes today as newsworthy. I've completely quit checking out network news except for the local weather forcast. But then that's a dream job, where you only need to be right 50% of the time. Maybe we're in the wrong business  :)
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