George Deutsch resigns NASA post after Texas A&M refutes his resume

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Thursday, February 9, 2006

George Deutsch, a controversial George W. Bush appointee at NASA, resigned his post as press officer the same day that Texas A&M University confirmed that he never graduated from the school. The resume of the 24-year old had claimed he received a "Bachelor of Arts in journalism, Class of 2003."

Mr. Deutsch gained notoriety when it was revealed he had instructed NASA web site designers to insert the word "theory" at every mention of the Big Bang, on the grounds that it was a religious matter. "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA." said Mr Deutsch in an e-mail.

Mr. Deutsch also told public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to James Hansen, a top climate scientist and longtime director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Dr. Hansen's lectures and papers were also to have been censored by public affairs workers. Dr. Hansen stated he would ignore the restrictions, which came through the less official channels of phone calls.

Dr. Michael Griffin, NASA chief, appeared to back Dr. Hansen's claims of internal censorship, when he sent a strongly worded email message to all NASA employees stating "It is not the job of public-affairs officers to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA's technical staff." Several other NASA employees reported similar tampering after the incident. NASA personnel told the New York Times that "Mr. Deutsch played a small but significant role in an intensifying effort at the agency to exert political control over the flow of information to the public."

Climate science has long been linked with the space program because many of the underlying mathematical modeling techniques were originally developed to help understand the atmospheres of other planets, such as Venus.

Mr. Deutsch was given his job in NASA's public affairs office in Washington after working on President Bush's re-election campaign and inaugural committee.