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NASA's Controversial Inspector General Resigns

By Ed O'Keefe
Robert Cobb
NASA Inspector General Robert Cobb, stepping down April 11.

NASA's controversial inspector general Robert Cobb has resigned following bipartisan calls for his resignation and criticism from fellow watchdogs, most notably a recent Government Accountability Office report that determined he had done little to identify waste or fraud at the space agency. His resignation is effective April 11.

Appointed by then-President George W. Bush in 2002, lawmakers, former colleagues and government watchdogs had expressed concerns in recent years that Cobb compromised the integrity and independence of NASA's inspector general office by blocking or killing internal investigations and sharing investigative results with then-NASA administrator Michael Griffin before completion. Cobb disputed such accusations, investigations and reports.

News of Cobb's resignation pleased lawmakers long concerned by his tenure.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees NASA said in a statement last night that “News of Robert Cobb’s resignation is certainly welcome and this is an important step forward," adding later that "The time has come to close the door on this troubling chapter for NASA and a fresh start awaits.”

"It’s about time he heard the loud cries from all around him to step down. Now we can get someone in there who can keep an eye on our money," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said in a statement last night. Rockefeller, McCaskill and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to President Obama in mid-March requesting Cobb's immediate removal.

"If we are to strengthen our oversight system, we must set the tone at the top and hold inspectors general accountable for improper conduct and just plain not doing their jobs," the letter stated.

House lawmakers expressed similar concerns: "Mr. Cobb was not up to the job," House Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) told the AP. "But the end result can't just be the removal of an ineffectual IG. We need to put in place a strong IG. NASA is too important an agency, with too important a mission, to risk letting waste and abuse run rampant due to lax oversight."

In his resignation letter, Cobb said “A new inspector general will find an organization with extraordinarily talented employees dedicated to rooting out fraud, waste and abuse, and promoting the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of NASA.” He had previously handled ethics issues for the Bush White House, serving as as an associate counsel to the president.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 3, 2009; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Oversight  
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Comments

The depth of corruption in the various federal and state agencies is simply appalling.

Perhaps a lot if it is a result of this "consultant nation" privatization bred by various and sundry..st0opids.

And though I despise the corrupt, it becoems a cancer to our country, killing it, when the function of the various agencies are affected, when they can n longer protect the nation.


I think of defense, say -- who would bring in some tool consultant to run a program, putting the very security of our nation at stake?

Can you imagine some no mind suburban tool consultant, cleaning up over in defense, with an in, not understanding the ramifications of being a target of the most sophiticated of the KGB, for instance?

And I know that's really Tom Clancy, but certainly, nations play games.

What do you call it, though, when you set up dumb people to fight?

It's not dwarf tossing, dwarfs aren't (necessarily) dumb -- maybe kind of like "Dogfight" but with stupid people -- like Kyle, and Dusty and Andrew from the CIA, or even John Brennan. Can't wait until they start taking apart the military, "let's make a pool -- whomever brings the stupidest man in defense wins!"

Hm.

Why does America lose wars? Why did Doug Feith feel it was OK to dally with the Israelis?

See, anything goes -- not good to go to war when your own house has fallen.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | April 3, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance to more Bush rubbish. Best of luck finding a new job in the economy you loyal Bushies made!

Posted by: hairguy01 | April 3, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

It must be extremely depressing to have one's ethics criticized by a a couple of Congressmen, given our Congress's reputation for ethics.

Posted by: searcher911 | April 6, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

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