House Dems accuse White House of censoring federal scientists

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Democrats issued a draft report Monday accusing the White House of censoring federal scientists, editing reports and otherwise politicizing global warming talks. The committee Wednesday will vote on the report, which is being released during the final week of U.N. climate change talks in Bali, Indonesia.

It summarizes 16 months of committee investigation, including two hearings, 27,000 pages of documents from the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Commerce Department, depositions and interviews, according to the draft report circulated by Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

"The evidence before the Committee leads to one inescapable conclusion: the Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming," the draft report states.

The White House dismissed the panel's conclusions. "It's rehashed rhetoric that has come out of the Democrats beforehand and it is rejected as being untrue," White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said. Asked if the White House had ever asked agency employees to suppress climate change information, Perino said, "Not that I'm aware -- I don't believe that is true." Perino sought to showcase Bush's efforts on global warming, including a Sept. 30 meeting on the issue with leaders of economic powers and U.S. participation in discussions in Bali.

The report said the White House exerted unusual control over the public statements of federal scientists on climate change issues. It heavily edited congressional testimony from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Julie Gerberding and other federal scientists on human activity's impact on climate change, the report states.

There were at least 294 edits to the administration's Strategic Plan of the Climate Change Science Program "to exaggerate or emphasize scientific uncertainties or to deemphasize or diminish the importance of the human role in global warming," the report states. White House edits of EPA's draft Report on the Environment also were "extreme" and included "a reference to a discredited, industry-funded paper."

In a preview of Wednesday's partisan fight, committee Republicans said the draft is flawed and blamed Democrats for politicizing the issue. "An investigation that began as a bipartisan inquiry into the role of the Council on Environmental Quality in climate change policy has veered into a partisan diatribe against the Bush Administration," according to a response from Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Tom Davis, R-Va.

"The Majority has relied on selective passages from two hearings, one deposition, and one transcribed interview to make grossly exaggerated claims of political interference with climate change science." Republican say there is no evidence of political interference with science.

The report is instead "directed at the role of policymakers in -- guess what -- making and expressing Administration policy," the Republican response said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.