NASA Sued for Non-Response to FOIA

...and how many times did you deny FOIA requests Mr. NASA?

I got a “tweet” from Watts Up With That” this morning about NASA being sued per this article, which led to me reading their take on it, which linked to an article on The American Spectator by Chris Horner about it.  Here’s their take on it, my take on it, and some legal information from John O’Sullivan at the end.

CEI (The Competitive Enterprise Institute) is suing NASA because they’ve been requesting documents for about 3 years under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and NASA has been avoiding them like “warmers” avoid global cooling.

This morning in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is filing suit against NASA, calling the erstwhile space agency to account for its nearly three-year stonewall of access to internal documents exposing an abuse of taxpayer funds to advance the global warming agenda.

Seems there’s a lot going on at this agency that perhaps the general public is unaware of and the “warmers” either condone or look the other way about.  Based upon the information from the two source websites,  NASA  has been running a website, probably with your tax dollars, to surreptitiously try to back up their BS about anthropogenic global warming.  It’s called RealClimate.org, which is by the “warmers” for the “warmers” and of the “warmers.”  Evidently the people at GISS and NASA never watched Superman when they were kids and “truth, justice and the American way” are completely foreign to them.

In this process, if only thanks to pressure on NASA after a December 2009 news story about their games, we have already obtained important emails among 2,000 or so pages released. These include an admission to USA Today’s weather editor that NASA GISS is just a modeling office, using the temperature record of …CRU, the ClimateGate outfit. That means their “independent temperature record” is actually a recapitulation of one that …doesn’t exist, but was withdrawn as a result of ClimateGate when the custodians admitted they actually lost all original data.

So whether the CRU claims were actually made up, as seems entirely plausible reading that crowd’s own nasty anti-scientific campaign in their own words, it is as good as made up, meaning non-existent, for any legal or scientific purpose. So we already know that two of the four supposed “independent temperature records” are down the drain. And they’re the only two subjected to anything resembling scrutiny.

Sounds like NASA is so full of it they actually had to start another site to get the general public to believe what they evidently can’t back up.  They’re hiding out about that, too.

Also along the way, in recent months we won on administrative appeal after NASA denied that documents created and held on NASA assets were really agency records, if editing and managing a third-party activist and advocacy site, RealClimate.org. NASA originally denied access to the records (which they are still withholding) on the grounds that taxpayer-funded scientists were actually moonlighting and so the documents were not really the government’s property.

I had to ask what are the implications of all of this.  As such I forwarded this to John O’Sullivan for his expert legal opinion on what’s actually going on beyond the obvious allegations that NASA is not only pumping out bald-faced lies, but actually is running a website with taxpayer funds to try to back the bald-faced lies up.  Mr. O’Sullivan sent me the following email.

John,

Great link-thanks. CEI are onto something here and if they have smart attorneys they will, at some point along the legal line, employ the doctrine of spoliation (i.e. file a motion for relief for NASA’s evidence destruction/withholding).

If CEI’s lawyers have a credible prima facie case indicating taxpayer funds were misappropriated into, for example, creating and maintaining the advocacy website, ‘Real Climate,’ then the burden of proof shifts to the respondents (ie.Gavin Schmidt and James Hansen et al.) to disprove CEI’s claims-unreasonably denying the FOIA claims for a 3-year period may, in itself, be sufficient to cost NASA the case.

The law requires that if during this process, NASA fails to furnish any subpoenaed documents relevant to the CEI’s case, because they may have become ‘lost’ or destroyed, then those persons (but more likely NASA) become liable, under the spoliation doctrine, to a motion for summary judgment or an adverse inference jury instruction.

In plain speak, under U.S. civil and criminal law, any party destroying or hiding key evidence is very likely to lose the case. The result will probably be that the CEI claims will be upheld. But will anyone go to jail? Unlikely.

Because, just as in the U.K, American FOIA laws may ultimately prove toothless. Such regulations are ostensibly enacted and enforced by the current representatives of the people (i.e. the govt) for the benefit of the people (or in reality, the government). So, in effect, the whole circus may well be spun out, stymied or down played long enough to spare the blushes of the incumbent ruling political party.

So that all that may result is some ‘smacked hands’ and a token level of disrepute for the institution (NASA). As we saw in Britain (with CRU) an incumbent pro-warmist government like the current administration is not going to willingly pursue prosecutions that may create setbacks for their cap and trade agenda.

The U.S. Establishment will hope it all blows over, especially with the backdrop of a compliant-almost myopic-mainstream media that won’t make a fuss,either. I’m sure that’s close to what these characters hold up their sleeve.

Regards,

John

As you can see Mr. O’Sullivan is very aware of the laws regarding this and that while it sounds good on the face of it, the reality of the situation is that perhaps a few people will get sent to their room for a time-out but that most likely no one is going to lose their job or do any jail time.  It’s real CO2 Insanity that those who appear to be promoting bald-faced lies using your tax dollars won’t have much, if anything happen to them.  I can hope that this gets enough publicity in the MSM to at least embarrass them good and perhaps get the global warming fraud out more in the public eye, but I’ll bet (like John O’Sullivan) that the MSM (main stream media) will continue to act as though they’re “co-conspirators,” and no one’s going to hear much, if anything from them.

Where’s Perry Mason when you need him?  What would they call this episode?  How about “The Night of the Missing Climate Change?”  Or, “The Case of the Inconvenient FOIA request?”

Source:  Watts Up With That?

Source: The American Spectator

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