Last week the NY Times reported that a young political appointee, George C. Deutsch, with no science background was interfering with the scientific mission at NASA. Specifically he was trying to ensure that scientists at NASA didn’t release information that conflicted with the policies of the White House. (He was not alone in this.) This was covered on many blogs. (Pharyngula has a list.)
The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose résumé says he was an intern in the “war room” of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he was also the public-affairs officer who sought more control over Dr. Hansen’s public statements.
In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word “theory” needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.
The Big Bang is “not proven fact; it is opinion,” Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, “It is not NASA’s place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator.”
It continued: “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. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most.”
Today the NY Times is reporting that Deutsch has resigned from his political position at NASA because Nick Anthis at Scientific Activist discovered that Deutsch was a college drop out, lying on his resume.
Through my own investigations I have just discovered that George Deutsch, the Bush political appointee at the heart of administration efforts to censor NASA scientists (most notably to prevent James Hansen from speaking out about global warming), did not actually graduate from Texas A&M University. This should come as a surprise, since the media has implied otherwise, with even The New York Times describing the 24-year-old NASA public affairs officer, as “a 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M.” Although Deutsch did attend Texas A&M University, where he majored in journalism and was scheduled to graduate in 2003, he left in 2004 without a degree, a revelation that I was tipped off to by one of his former coworkers at A&M’s student newspaper The Battalion. I later confirmed this discovery through the records department of the Texas A&M University Association of Former Students.
Deutsch’s former coworker informed me that in the summer of 2004, when Deutsch was the Opinion Editor for The Battalion, he was offered a position in George W. Bush’s presidential reelection campaign. The position was apparently too good to turn down, so Deutsch not only left his editorial post, but he also left A&M completely. Deutsch’s coworker was not aware of him returning to A&M to complete his education. I investigated this further, and through the Association of Former Students, I learned that George Deutsch never graduated from Texas A&M, and the last record of him was from June 9, 2004, when he withdrew.
I’m still wondering why a 24-year-old college dropout with no scientific experience was appointed to a position at NASA and encouraged to substitute his own opinion for NASA science.
I bet he gets a job working for the Discovery Institute.