Why Is NASA Afraid to Release FRR Documents?

NASA will not release FRR documents, Florida Today

"The legal reason cited for not releasing the documents from this year's FRR is that they are exempted from public release under a provision of the FOIA law that protects records that are part of a deliberative process."

Editor's note: This decision by NASA is in clear, blatant contradiction to NASA's own previous actions - most notably the public posting of FRR documentation for the first Return to Flight mission, STS-114, prior to that mission last year. Indeed NASA set a legal precedent by providing these documents in response to a FOIA request (as Florida Today notes) and then posted them. How NASA can make such an excuse with a straight face given previous FRR document releases is laughable. It is also troubling.

To be certain, keeping things secret does allow some people to speak their minds more openly knowing that their words will be kept from the public eye. However, this same secrecy also allows NASA to keep any instances of suppressed or contrary opinions from seeing the light of day.

Besides, if there is another serious incident involving a shuttle mission - even if no lives are lost - the inevitable investigation board is going to publish all of this information in their report anyway. Everyone in the FRR had to know that as they spoke.

Given the controversy that has surrounded Mike Griffin's overruling of objections raised by NASA's Safety Office and its Chief Engineer with regard to STS-121, and abrupt reassignment of JSC's Director of Engineering, Charles Camarda, (just days before launch), you have to wonder why NASA doesn't want anyone to see what was presented at this FRR - and hear what people said.

If everything was as cordial and collegial as Mike Griffin's team would have you believe, then there shouldnt be anything embarrassing contained within these materials, right?

Mike Griffin didn't have a problem with releasing STS-114 FRR materials. Why the sudden change of mind for STS-121? NASA has spoken of these two missions as being highly related to oneanother. Has something changed?

As such, what is it about this process that Mike Griffin is afraid to release? What is NASA trying to hide - and why are they trying to hide it?

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 30, 2006 12:01 AM.

FY 2007 Budget and RIF Threats was the previous entry in this blog.

New Evidence of Internal Concerns Over Shuttle Safety is the next entry in this blog.

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