Experts Call for 'Scientific Integrity'
More than 4,000 scientists, including 48 Nobel laureates, have joined a call for "restoration of scientific integrity in federal policymaking," charging that the Bush administration is packing scientific advisory panels with ideologues and imposing controls on collaboration with foreign researchers, a scientists' group said yesterday.
The Union of Concerned Scientists said the actions could take years to undo and in the meantime the best and the brightest would be frightened away from jobs at the National Institutes of Health and other government institutions.
Speaking for the group, Kurt Gottfried, emeritus professor of physics at Cornell University, said in a telephone briefing: "I don't think one should simply assume that the problem . . . will go away if there is a new administration in office. . . . What is happening under this administration is a cultural change. We have to address this cultural change and fix it."
John H. Marburger III, Bush's science adviser, said the administration has strongly supported science, increasing spending on research and development by 44 percent since 2001 to a record $132 billion in the fiscal 2005 budget request.
FBI Blocks Release of Report
The FBI has blocked the release of a 100-page report on the complaints of a bureau whistleblower by classifying the document as secret, officials said yesterday.
The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General completed the report on the case of former translator Sibel Edmonds last week, said spokesman Paul Martin.
Martin said the report has been provided to the Justice Department, the FBI and the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but it cannot be released to Edmonds or the public. Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) plan to ask Attorney General John D. Ashcroft to release a public version, a Leahy spokesman said.
The report examines Edmonds's complaints of security problems among FBI translators and her allegation that she was fired for reporting the lapses. A federal judge threw out her lawsuit Tuesday, agreeing with Ashcroft that her claims could expose secrets that could damage national security.
Edmonds's attorney, Mark S. Zaid, said that the inspector general's report is the latest example of overzealous secrecy in the case. "I don't have any problems believing some of it is classified, but this is overbroad," he said.
Forest Service Backs Logging Plan
The U.S. Forest Service signed off on a plan yesterday to log thousands of acres of trees in the Klamath Mountains that were killed by a huge forest fire in 2002 -- a decision that will probably bring a legal challenge from environmentalists.
Under the plan, loggers will be allowed to cut 370 million board feet of timber, enough to build 24,000 homes, from about 20,000 acres of federal land over the next two years.
-- Compiled from Staff Reports and News Services