Monday, November 12, 2007

Secrecy is like a weed

Unless you take steps to keep it under control, it spreads and takes over everything.

The Bush government has been one of the most secretive ever, for less reason than ever before. This stain has started spreading to even scientific organisations like NASA, which has refused to release the results of a survey into airline safety.

Anxious to avoid upsetting air travelers, NASA is withholding results from an unprecedented national survey of pilots that found safety problems like near collisions and runway interference occur far more frequently than the government previously recognized.

NASA gathered the information under an $8.5 million safety project, through telephone interviews with roughly 24,000 commercial and general aviation pilots over nearly four years. Since ending the interviews at the beginning of 2005 and shutting down the project completely more than one year ago, the space agency has refused to divulge the results publicly.

Just last week, NASA ordered the contractor that conducted the survey to purge all related data from its computers.

The Associated Press learned about the NASA results from one person familiar with the survey who spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to discuss them.

A senior NASA official, associate administrator Thomas S. Luedtke, said revealing the findings could damage the public's confidence in airlines and affect airline profits [emphasis added].

Heaven forbid if the airlines profits were hurt because people could make informed decisions. That's not the capitalist way!

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