James Hansen: Abusing the Public Trust

Monday, James Hansen, Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), addressed Congress and brought a new twist to his tired global warming song and dance routine.  Hansen now seems to be calling for the chief executives of Big Oil to be tried for high crimes against humanity.  Their crime?   Spreading doubt about global warming. 

Actually, it is Hansen who is guilty. Guilty of abusing the public trust.

James Hansen is the recognized international arbiter of the global temperature record-past, present and future.  Armed with a network of thermometers, state-of-the-art satellites, computers and a huge chunk of NASA's near $18 billion budget, Hansen is the man who is deemed the final authority on Al Gore's constant claim that "the earth has a fever." 

All this despite the fact that GISS' own data clearly illustrates that the Earth's temperature has been flat since 1998 and recently has been dipping downward.  Hansen's shenanigans on Capital Hill are not about climate-they are about money.

As is the case with all government agencies, maintaining a budget is critical.  The bureaucrats at NASA boast of their obvious needs for cash:  completion of the International Space Station, furthering the Space Shuttle Program, and, of course, preventing the world from spontaneously combusting in a ball of flames.  Hansen is a zealous promoter of the latter, and, since the 1980s, has been able to keep the funds flowing-both into NASA, as well as into his personal pocket-to study the world's climate.  A slick marketer, Hansen possesses an insatiable appetite for media attention -- as long as the person asking questions is favorable to his point of view.

In 2007, Hansen agreed to an interview conducted on a rooftop in downtown San Francisco with a counterculture, internet-based outfit called TUC Radio (TUC is an acronym for "Time of Useful Consciousness"-the time between the onset of oxygen deficiency and the loss of consciousness").  During the interview Hansen hardly sounded like an honorable director of a U.S. government agency, but rather more like an underground community agitator: 

"I tell young people that they had better start to act up.  Because they are the ones that will suffer the most.  Many of the changes will take time, but we're setting them in motion now.  We're leaving a situation for our children and grandchildren which is not of their making, but they're going to suffer because of it.  So I think they should start to act up and put some pressure on their elders, and on legislatures, and begin to get some action."

I assume that prior to the interview, Hansen made it clear that all his comments were his own and not representative of NASA.  That is a line he uses from time to time to appear as pure as the wind driven snow.  But the truth is, Hansen a proclivitiy for popping off at the mouth.

Early in 2006, a major story in the New York Times pointed a finger at the Bush Administration for supposedly trying to censor Hanson.  In part, it read:

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Can you blame the administration for wanting to review his content?  As a NASA Director, his role should be collecting data and truthfully sharing results, not trying to influence policy and legislation.
Congressman Darryl Issa (R-San Diego) called Hansen on his continual talking out of turn.  During a hearing on Capitol Hill regarding his abuse of his government status, Issa said, "You're speaking on federal paid time.  Your employer happens to be the American taxpayer."  Issa went on to say that an internet search showed Hansen had had stated on more than 1,400 occasions in over a year's worth of interviews and appearances (15 interviews alone in the month that the congressional hearings were taking place) that the Bush Administration had censored him. 

According to the Associated Press: 

"Hansen said...as a matter of free speech, government scientists should not be restrained in their remarks or have public affairs officers listening in on interviews."

I agree with Congressman Issa.  Government bureaucrats should not be allowed to use their job as a soapbox; nor should they be allowed to receive huge sums of cash for work they have conducted on the taxpayer's dime, from private, liberal interests with a global warming agenda. 

Examine the largess culled by Hansen.

In 2001, the Heinz Foundation "awarded" James Hansen with a payment of $250,000 for his work on global warming.  According to the foundation: 

"It was Dr. Hansen who, in the sweltering, drought-scorched summer of 1988, went where few scientists were willing to go-before Congress, to explain just how serious the potential for global warming truly was."

The Heinz Foundation, directed by the wife of U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate, John Kerry, is widely known for its support of liberal causes. Is it any surprise that James Hansen also endorsed John Kerry for President in 2004?  The quarter of a million was just a tease of additional monies to come.  In 2007, Hansen split a $1 million prize from the Dan David prize category of "Future Quest for Energy" (layman's translation:  a world without oil).  In addition he also reported to have acted as a consultant to Gore's global whining slide show, which was the impetus to the Prince of Peace's film, "An Inconvenient Truth."  In fact, in 2006 Hansen had the gall to appear on a New York City stage with Mr. Gore to promote the then upcoming film-though he did reportedly inform the audience, "I'm not speaking as a government employee."
Topping it all, Hansen has allegedly received hundreds of thousands of additional dollars to further politicize the issue of global warming.  According to Investors Business Daily, "How many people, for instance, know that James Hansen, a man billed as a lonely ‘NASA whistleblower' standing up to the mighty U.S. government, was really funded by [George] Soros' Open Society Institute (OSI), which gave him ‘legal and media advice'?  That's right, Hansen was packaged for the media by Soros' flagship ‘philanthropy' by as much as $720,000, most likely under the OSI's ‘politicization of science' program."

Hansen denied any relationship with OSI, but Investor's Business Daily refused to back off on their story, "claiming the funding first passed through the Government Accountability Project, which then used it to package Hansen for the media."

With that kind of cash allegedly lining his pockets, do you think that Hansen will ever allow the data that he is charged with maintaining to point to anything but disaster? 

In talk-radio such conflicting activities would be deemed "payola" with the guilty party booted out the door.  For the sake of truth, and the proper use of the taxpayer's dollar, James Hansen needs to be relieved of his NASA duties. 

Show Mr. Hansen the door -- for the sake of humanity.

Brian Sussman is a radio talk show host on KSFO-AM in San Francisco and formerly an award-winning television meteorologist.  He is currently writing, "Global Whining, a Denier's Handbook", a book represented by WordServe Literary Group, Ltd. 
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