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Author of the Month

Richard Hoagland, Author of the Month for December 2007

Dark Mission: the Secret History of NASA (cont.)
By Richard C. Hoagland and Mike Bara

The NASA that we've known for over 50 years has been a lie.

My name is Richard C. Hoagland. I was a NASA consultant to the Goddard Spaceflight Center in the post-Apollo era, and Science Advisor to Walter Cronkite and CBS News, Special Events, advising CBS on the science of the NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, during the Apollo Program. I currently run an independent NASA watchdog and research group, the Enterprise Mission, attempting to figure out how much of what NASA has found in the solar system over the past 50 years has actually been silently filed out of sight as classified material, and therefore totally unknown to the American people.

My friend and colleague Mike Bara and I attempt the impossible in our book Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA. We describe, and then carefully document, exactly what's been going with NASA in terms of that classified data and information. It is not an easy task.

The predisposition of most Americans — even after the Challenger and Columbia disasters and a host of other "missing" spacecraft — is to place NASA somewhere on par with Mother Teresa in terms of public confidence and credibility. This is, in major part, due to the average American's (to say nothing of the media's) inability to figure out a reason why NASA — ostensibly a purely scientific Agency — would actually lie. NASA is, after all, holding high the beacon of our last true heroes, the astronauts. I mean, what's to hide regarding moon rocks, craters and space radiation?

If we're right, a lot.

However, even a hint that NASA — or, more precisely, its leadership — has been carrying out any kind of hidden agenda for over 50 years is, at best, met with disbelief. The vast majority of NASA's nearly 18,000 full-time employees are, in our analysis, innocent of the wrongdoing of the few that we are going to describe.

To even begin to understand the extraordinary case we are presenting in Dark Mission, to fully appreciate what NASA has been quite consciously, deliberately and methodically concealing from the American people and the world for all these years, you have to begin with NASA's turbulent past — specifically an account of its origins in the increasingly dangerous geopolitical environment Americans were thrust into in the wake of World War Two.

NASA

The governmental institution known as NASA is a department of the Executive Branch, ultimately answerable solely to the President of the United States, an Agency created through the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. NASA ostensibly is "a civilian agency exercising control over aeronautical and space activities sponsored by the United States." (Emphasis added.)[i]

But contrary to common public and media perception that NASA is an open, strictly civilian scientific institution, is the legal fact that the Space Agency was quietly founded as a direct adjunct to the Department of Defense, tasked with specifically assisting the national security of the United States in the midst of a deepening Cold War with its major geopolitical adversary, the Soviet Union. It says so right in the original NASA Charter:

"Sec. 305... (i) The [National Aeronautics and Space] Administration shall be considered a defense agency of the United States for the purpose of Chapter 17, Title 35 of the United States Code..." [Emphasis added.]

In another section[ii] of the act, this seldom-discussed defense responsibility — the ultimate undercutting of NASA's continuing public facade as a strictly civilian, scientific agency — is blatantly spelled out:

"Sec. 205... (d) No [NASA] information which has been classified for reasons of national security shall be included in any report made under this section [of the Act]..." [Emphasis added.]

Clearly, from this and the other security provisions[iii] incorporated in the Act, what the Congress, the press and the American taxpayers get to see of NASA's ultimate activities — including untouched images and data regarding what's really on the Moon, on Mars or anywhere else across the solar system — is totally dependent on whether the President of the United States (and/or his legal surrogates in the Department of Defense and the "intelligence community") has already secretly classified that data. This is directly contrary to everything we've been led to believe regarding NASA for over 50 years now.

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