In responding to the growing furor over the public release of a scientifically dubious and overly rosy federal report about the fate of the oil that BP spilled in the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA director Jane Lubchenco has repeatedly fallen back on one particular line of defense -- that independent scientists had given it their stamp of approval.
Back at the report's unveiling on August 4, Lubchenco spoke of a "peer review of the calculations that went into this by both other federal and non-federal scientists." On Thursday afternoon, she told reporters on a conference call: "The report and the calculations that went into it were reviewed by independent scientists." The scientists, she said, were listed at the end of the report.
But all the scientists on that list contacted by the Huffington Post for comment this week said the exact same thing: That although they provided some input to NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), they in no way reviewed the report, and could not vouch for it.
So is Lubchenco lying? Intentionally distorting the truth? Just a blathering idiot? All of the above? Well ...
In addition to disputing Lubchenco's characterization of their role, several of them actually took issue with the report itself.
In particular, they refuted the notion, as put forth by Lubchenco and other Obama administration officials, that the report was either scientifically precise or an authoritative account of where the oil went.
Ian R. MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University who was not one of the scientists on NOAA's list, sees this latest incident as part of an ongoing problem. "The consistent theme," MacDonald said, "seems to be to minimize the impact of the oil -- and to act as a bottleneck for information."
There you have it. Just SUSPICIOUS PACKAGING.
Image - Tom Siglich, Journal Resister Newspapers