Who's Really Running NASA ..?

By Richard C. Hoagland
(C) 2000 The Enterprise Mission

Well, folks, as I discussed in the first hour of Art's now-historic "retirement Show" (Friday, March 31), we seem to have finally come to a major "fork in the road" not the least, regarding NASA. And our "informant" there seems to be none other than Dan Goldin -- the current Administrator of NASA himself!

For the beginnings of this startling twist in the continuing saga, one must start a couple weeks ago with James Oberg's remarkable wire service accusation, carried by UPI, against his own former employer -- NASA! Oberg accused the Agency of a major cover-up regarding the latest "missing" NASA mission - the ill-fated Mars Polar Lander. NASA, in turn, called the story (and Oberg -- formerly, one of their own prime debunkers of all "conspiracy theories" against the Agency!)-

"... whacko in every particular!"

Then, a few days later, the official "independent committee" report on the bizarre failure of Mars Polar Lander -- the so-called Young Report -- was presented to NASA, the media and Congress.

In addition to attempting to identify the immediate cause of the Mars Polar Lander failure, the Report went on at length to probe an insidious series of more fundamental "management shortcomings" that have taken place at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), manager of NASA's deep space Mars missions. Especially, the Report singled out a "30% lack of funds, and an equal lack of experienced spacecraft personnel at JPL," even as engineers there were expected to build and launch an entire new generation of Mars bound spacecraft at an accelerated rate.

The Report underscored as the underlying reason for these shortfalls, NASA Administrator Goldin's own early decision to mandate an Agency-wide, "faster, better, cheaper" space management philosophy.

In response to the Young Report's grave findings, Goldin immediately moved to institute major changes at the Laboratory; not only appointing a new "Mars Czar" at NASA Headquarters to oversee all future Mars exploration programs (thus taking such management away from JPL), but the man he picked -- Dr. Scott Hubbard -- came from one of JPL's long-term rivals within the "NASA family": the NASA-Ames Research Center, in Northern California.

This was apparently only the first step in a series of new moves, designed ultimately to win back Agency management authority re "Mars" from JPL

A new "Mars Program scientist" was also simultaneously appointed: to act as interface at NASA Headquarters between the scientists conducting scientific experiments on future Mars missions and NASA proper; notably, this individual was also NOT from JPL ... but from another NASA Center, close by NASA Headquarters outside Washington DC: NASA-Goddard.

There were also rumors (so far, unconfirmed) of key "Mars" firings at JPL, as part of this sweeping "reorganization." Publicly, NASA has had "no comment" on these rumors ...

In addition to Young's finding of "serious JPL funding and experienced personnel shortages on the new missions," the Report also pointed out "serious communications problems" between NASA Headquarters and Laboratory personnel regarding all these project difficulties. In the Report, Young states that "no one at JPL raised a red flag to NASA management" [at Headquarters], regarding the increasing crisis of "decreasing money and knowledgeable personnel simultaneous with the increasing pace of missions."

Yet curiously, one major JPL management engineer, Donna Shirley (former JPL Mars Exploration chief), insisted that she herself had "raised these major management concerns numerous times" with NASA Headquarters ... only to be repeatedly ignored by Goldin. She even provided Young (who acknowledged their receipt) the key internal JPL memos backing up her serious assertions.

This striking, but little-noticed inconsistency within the Young Report -- documented refutation of its overall portrayal of "a JPL run wild ..." and NASA Headquarters "kept completely in the dark" -- is, however, totally consistent with our own developing suspicions ...

For, as we (and others) have previously reported here (and on Art's Show), there has been a deepening, long-term "war" within the Agency for many years, apparently since Viking (!) -- specifically, over who would ultimately control all NASA's Mars Missions (and the information they've recovered) -- NASA itself ... or JPL.

In keeping with these reports, it is our growing belief that NASA Headquarters (Goldin) deliberately allowed JPL to gradually overextend itself with "faster, better, cheaper" ... at the same time, deliberately exercising little management constraint on Cal Tech's Laboratory (in effect, pushing JPL into the inevitable spacecraft failures it has now experienced!). This policy might even have subtly extended to arranging (and then covering up!) those "altered test conditions" for the potentially defective retro rockets on Mars Polar Lander - as controversially reported via UPI by Oberg.

Once "caught" in this carefully pre-arranged predicament (read, "trap!"), Goldin then (according to this theory) swiftly moved this week, following the Young Report, to correct these "grave JPL management deficiencies," thus also striking to regain ultimate control of all of NASA's missions to Mars ... by NASA itself!

This theory would also be consistent with several other recent "puzzles" surrounding NASA's now highly confused Mars exploration program ... including, Goldin's sudden shortening (on CNN, just weeks ago) - even as the Agency reeled from two successive Mars failures within months -- of the long-range timetable for a "manned Mars Mission" ...

From a previous estimate of "30 years" ... to a sudden "within 10!"

This model would also explain the astonishing, recent paradox of NASA's quiet backing (via the NASA-Johnston Space Center -- headquarters for Manned U. S. Mars Exploration) of De Palma's recent blockbuster, "Mission to Mars"! This completely misunderstood (by most critics) yet highly revealing film, having as it's climax - after over twenty years of official obfuscation - the revelation of the reality of the intensely controversial "Face on Mars," seems, contrasted with JPL's consistent rejection of this subject, the not-so-subtle beginnings of another major NASA reversal of position if not a deliberate "public conditioning process" leading ultimately to a coming NASA announcement of the reality of "alien ruins at Cydonia"

All designed to spur an all-out manned Mars Mission to explore them!

All right: what evidence do we have to support such radical and "conspiratorial" assertions? Simple: the almost incongruous, deliberate revelation in the last few days, by none other than Dan Goldin himself, of the man (if not the Agency) which apparently has been quietly dictating JPL "suppression policy" on Mars for many years! An official censorship of not only the "alien ruins" at Cydonia, but also the presence of many other ruins (imaged by both Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor, and reported here at Enterprise) discovered on the same "Red Planet" across these 20 years

Following NASA's highly damaging last two weeks, stretching from Oberg's initial bizarre UPI accusation to the release of the Thomas Young Report, Dan Goldin flew on March 28th to JPL itself. His mission: to address the beleaguered personnel, scientists and engineers of the Nation's premier unmanned center for planetary exploration, and to somehow advise them of the new political and engineering realities, while simultaneously exhorting them to continue to new heights but now under more stringent NASA management.

Goldin's speech was provocatively titled: "When The Best Must Do Even Better."

It was in the second paragraph of this prepared text, that Goldin gave the total game away

"... I'd also like to acknowledge Admiral Inman, head of the JPL Oversight Committee at Cal Tech. He couldn't be here today, but I talked to him by phone. His commitment to the team here is also unwavering. And I thank him for that ..."

Admiral Bobby Inman, former director of the super-secret National Security Agency (NSA), Deputy directory of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and former Director of Naval Intelligence, was termed by Newsweek as "a superstar in the intelligence community." A White House press release, issued on the occasion of President Clinton's 1993 recommendation that Inman be confirmed as Secretary of Defense, noted: "As he rose through these posts, Inman won the Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy's highest non-combatant award, and the DIA's Defense Superior Service Medal for "achievements unparalleled in the history of intelligence."

So, what is the Nation's most celebrated "spook" doing heading an "oversight committee" at one of the Nation's leading private Universities?! And specifically: a committee overseeing all civilian unmanned exploration of the planet Mars ..?!!

Could it have anything to do with Viking's discovery, a quarter of a century ago, of a set of artificial ruins at a location called "Cydonia?" And the shattering national security implications (ala "Brookings") of that new reality ..?

The blatant "flagging" by Dan Goldin, of Admiral Inman's name, as well as his astonishing position vis a vis on-going "Mars mysteries" at JPL, was obviously NOT just "accidental." You mean, the folks at JPL would have recognized the Admiral but didn't know that Admiral Inman heads a specific "Cal Tech Oversight Committee" on their work?! Yet, Goldin carefully underscored this crucial point in front of JPL and yes, we GOT the message, Dan!! The next question logically must be: "Who else serves on this, until now, totally unknown "JPL Oversight Committee ..?"

The staggering implications of the most accomplished alumnae of the current "intelligence community" having legal "oversight responsibilities" of JPL drives home ALL the "alternative scenarios" that we've discussed on Bell for many years, certainly going back to the "missing Mars Observer": in light of Admiral Inman's presence, that these latest Mars missions also aren't truly "lost" at all but were merely "taken black" seems far more likely! That, even now, they are busily returning extraordinary data on the ancient Martians ruins

Directly to the NSA itself!!!

Obviously this continuing situation, in a so-called "free society," is totally untenable. Fortunately, the remedy seems crystal clear.

Senator John McCain, the man who ran to "reform government corruption" and whose presidential bid was clearly labeled "a crusade" in service to that major goal, chairs a key NASA Congressional oversight committee. When presented with the Young Report last week, McCain's response - obviously based on the flood of e-mails and faxes he's received since we exhorted Art Bell's audience to inform him of these gross violations of the Constitution - was strikingly straightforward:

"This report is an embarrassment to the agency I believe it's important that this committee exercises more rigorous oversight of NASA from this point forward [emphasis added]."

To which we say "Amen!!"

Senator's McCain's direct Washington D.C. Senate office fax number is:


His direct e-mail address in Washington D.C. is:

[email protected]

Let him know exactly how you feel about this extraordinary admission by Dan Goldin and what you want him (John McCain) to ultimately do to return this Nation's Space Program to the People including, "the Monuments of Mars!"

And then ... continue to stay tuned.