NASA OIG Seeks Media Commentary For SOFIA Audit

Keith's note: I am really baffled by this. I got this unsolicted email today from the JPL OIG. I had no idea that this SOFIA audit was going on. My reply (to PAO, OIG): "Thanks for thinking that I may have opinions relevant to your audit/investigation. But what I want to know (and, heads up,  I consider this to be newsworthy and hence publishable) is why are you using an official  NASA.gov email address to send me (media) wholly unsolicited email with threatening legal language attached with regard to disclosure of this unsolicited email? Again, thanks for thinking I might have useful commentary, but I do not like to have people in government positions send me news about a government activity - in an official capacity - and then dangle legal threats at the bottom of the very same email."

After I sent my response I got this "Xu, Tiffany L (0920-NASA) would like to recall the message, "NASA - Discussion regarding SOFIA"." Duh. I do not work at NASA so you can't "recall" anything. Then I got the same (original) email again. I do not care what legal language the OIG attached. The email was official, unsolicted, and sent again after an initial complaint.

Keith's 30 Sep note: Neither PAO or the OIG has responded to the comments I included when I forwarded all of this to them. I have to therefore assume that they have no issues with this process.

Here it is - maybe some of you have information on the value of/problems with SOFIA to provide to the JPL OIG:

Mr. Cowing, My name is Tiffany Xu and work for NASA Office of Inspector General out of our field office at JPL. Currently we are conducting the survey phase of an audit on the SOFIA project. Since SOFIA has had many delay of instrument deliverables, one of the question that we are be tasked to find out is how astronomical society feel towards SOFIA: is it still an observatory that the general community is excited about, is the project delivering what it has been promised, and is it still relevant considering the up and coming JWST.

We have noted the many articles you had written about NASA and we are interested in getting your feed on this project. Specifically, we are trying to determine

1. What is the science community of the reception of SOFIA: given its long development cycle, is the community still interested in this project, will there a steady demand over its 20-year operation life cycle, how to keep the community interested

2. SOFIA has gone through so many changes, its promised capabilities in the early phases (around 1996) are very different than what the project has achieved or is projected to achieve. Is the community still interested in the capabilities SOFIA can deliver given what has already been accomplished by Herschel and Spitzer?

We had talked to a cross section of people (review board members, SOFIA instrument scientist in academia, and SOFIA project scientists). However, as he is with USRA, we would also like to people in the astronomical science community at large as well.

A few things for clarifications: we do not quote people directly unless given express permission to do so unless it has been publicly released. We also keep a written documentation of all interviews. If you have any concerns about what would be documented, we can email you a copy for your review and you would have editorial right on what is documented on paper. This is to ensure all interviewers that their views would be accurately captured and documented.

If you have a moment in the next week or so (Monday to Wednesday would be the best for our team, but we will work around your schedule), we would appreciate an opportunity to have a discussion with you and get your take on the SOFIA project.

Best Regards,


Tiffany Xu, CPA
NASA Office of Inspector General-Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive, M/S: 180-202
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099

Office: (818) 354-1310
Mobile: (818) 395-7891
Tiffany.L.Xu@jpl.nasa.gov

WARNING: This email (including any attachments) is intended only for authorized recipients and may contain non-public information subject to legal and other privileges that restrict its distribution. Accordingly, the use, dissemination, or distribution of this information to or by unauthorized individuals may be unlawful.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on September 26, 2013 12:06 PM.

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