World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


U.S. Govt. Officials Routinely Rewarded for Lying

Officials Routinely Rewarded for Lying and Punished for Telling the Truth

For Immediate Release: July 20, 2005

Washington, DC - The federal government suffers from a "severe disinformation syndrome" in which agency specialists are pressured to alter reports by managers who are promoted for breaking the law, according to congressional testimony delivered today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). As a consequence, scientific and technical papers, particularly within environmental agencies, are routinely censored, altered or manipulated for political purposes.

"The Bush administration obsession with controlling the flow of information means that factual information that does not serve its political agenda rarely sees the light of day," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch who testified today. "Public servants who wish to speak honestly about matters outside officially approved agency talking points are required to cast a profile in courage because their honesty could cost them their jobs."

Ruch appeared today before the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs of the House Committee on Government Reform in a hearing entitled "Improving Information Quality in the Federal Government." The other listed witnesses were Kim Wilson, the assistant administrator for the information office of the Environmental Protection Agency, and William Kovacs, an official with the Chamber of Commerce.

The PEER testimony outlines a pervasive effort to edit out vital but discordant information across the range of environmental activities:

Science: PEER and the Union of Concerned Scientists have conducted surveys among federal scientists showing a high degree of political intervention to amend scientific findings;

Land Management: Federal agencies are routinely issuing documents that do not withstand judicial scrutiny because the documents are at variance with the agency's own internal data; and Public Health" Whistleblowers lack meaningful protections so that professionals who raise concerns are banished or terminated as a result.

A major problem cited by PEER is that Congress extends no meaningful legal protections for executive branch employees who communicate information to oversight committees or individual members. As a consequence, official reports to Congress are often inaccurate, incomplete or untimely.

"If agencies can lie with impunity to Congress, why should they be expected to tell anyone else the truth?" Ruch asked, calling for Congress to put teeth into laws forbidding interference with or retaliation for transmitting information to elected representatives. "Right now, the federal civil service is scared to death."

Contact: Chas Offutt (202) 265-7337


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news