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NASA Inspector General Issues Letter to NASA Administrator Regarding Observations on the Independence of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board

Press Release From: NASA Office of Inspector General
Posted: Friday, August 15, 2003

Today, NASA Inspector General Robert W. Cobb issued a letter to Administrator Sean O'Keefe highlighting his observations on the independence of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB). As an observer to the CAIB activities, Inspector General Cobb focused his efforts on whether the CAIB could address the challenging questions associated with the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia in good faith and without material impediments from organizational or personal conflicts of interest.

In his August 15, 2003, letter to Administrator Sean O'Keefe, Mr. Cobb said, 'Although NASA policy and the CAIB's original charter contained provisions that could have hindered an independent investigation, based on my observations, I believe the CAIB, under Admiral Harold Gehman's leadership, is and has been conducting its investigation independently and without undue influence from NASA.'

The Office of Inspector General has several audits and reviews planned and underway regarding the CAIB's activities, the Agency's implementation of the Board's findings and recommendations, and NASA's return-to-flight activities.

For more information on this release, please call Madeline Chulumovich, Executive Officer, NASA Office of Inspector General at (202) 358-0615. The August 15, 2003, letter 'Observations on the Independence of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board' has been posted to the NASA Office of Inspector General Web site at: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oig/hq/columbia081503.pdf

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