NASA Inspector General Paul Martin Is Not Going to Comment About An Abused Elderly Woman in Botched Moon Rock Sting

Keith Cowing's personal opinion: Several days ago news stories began to appear as to how a botched Moon rock sting conducted by the NASA Inspector General's Office had resulted in the detaining of an elderly woman accused of selling a small Moon rock she claimed was given to her deceased husband (bother former Rockwell International employees) during the Apollo era by Neil Armstrong. Since then hundreds of stories have appeared focusing on the way that that this 74 year old, 4'11" grandmother was treated. It has been 5 months and she has yet to be charged with anything.

Yesterday I put on hold for a day in protest of a lack of response from NASA's Inspector General Paul Martin on the manner in which this woman was treated. Obviously Paul Martin has said nothing. I did not expect that he would - certainly not in response to anything I did or did not do on NASAWatch. For what it is worth there is extreme concern at senior levels of the agency (as expressed to me) that this sad episode has resulted in a black eye for NASA when in fact it was the NASA OIG who was responsible for this mess. Alas, hundreds of stories appeared in newspapers and online - with the fault focused on "NASA" in the headlines and lead sentences.

Due to the fact that Inspector Generals are independent of the agency they "inspect" (this is actually a very good thing) NASA management has near zero ability to affect the behavior of the IG's office - or publicly comment on it. Paul Martin is apparently quite comfortable with not explaining to taxpayers (he works for them too) why an elderly woman was roughed up and detained by half a dozen police officers with weapons and then released - with no charges filed after 5 months. That is his call to make. Alas, only a truly insensitive creep would think that it was O.K. not to at least express regret that this situation happened to a small, elderly woman the way that it did. But Martin is tone deaf and oblivious to the real world aspects of what his office does.

To those of you who questioned why I used NASA Watch the way I did to make this point - well its simple: this is a matter of conscience for me. I make no apologies. This is just plain wrong. I have done things like this before and I will most likely do so again.

Earlier posts on NASA Watch

- It's up to you Mr. Martin. Say something.

- NASA IG Refuses To Comment on Official Abuse of Elderly Woman

- NASA IG Sends Cops in Flack Vests After 74 Year Old, 4'11" Grandmother

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