Sunday, November 4, 2007

Unclear on the concept

The news last week that NASA has agreed to release the results of an aviation survey that cost taxpayers $11.3 million was both gratifying and troubling. The agency agreed Wednesday under pressure from Congress to release the data, at least by the end of the year. The Associated Press had been requesting the information for the past 14 months. No matter what the topic, we have both a right and an obligation to know what our government agencies are doing and it's very weird, although fairly typical under the Bush administration, for them to try to prevent us from finding out. But the topic of this study was airline safety, something anybody who flies commercially really ought to know about. The study interviewed 24,000 pilots about near collisions and other safety problems and the results, NASA claimed in explaining why it withheld them, could negatively affect the airline industry. Oh, isn't that reassuring.

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