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Political Pressure Pushes NASA Technical Reports Offline

timothy posted 1 year,26 days | from the beware-the-trade-federation dept.

NASA 140

Trepidity writes "The extensive NASA Technical Report Archive was just taken offline, following pressure from members of U.S. Congress, worried that Chinese researchers could be reading the reports. U.S. Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) demanded that 'NASA should immediately take down all publicly available technical data sources until all documents that have not been subjected to export control review have received such a review,' and NASA appears to have complied. Although all reports are in the public domain, there doesn't appear to be a third-party mirror available (some university libraries do have subsets on microfiche)."

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140 comments

shitty (0, Troll)

Pi Is A Rational (1106177) | 1 year,26 days | (#43238965)

well, that's shitty.

Re:shitty (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239271)

well, that's shitty.

Pfft. Just mix in some of the bills in the US House every few pages and the Chinese government will become so encumbered and gridlocked they won't know if they are coming or going.

Re:shitty (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43240503)

The Chinese just have to approach the House bills mix-a-lot with the same attitude like they apply their own legislation, selective reading and application against the enemy in the local business and political wars.

Re:shitty (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | 1 year,26 days | (#43240005)

The lack of third party hosting probably implies nobody cared to begin with BUT possibly the Chinese... who we're supposed to have a good relationship with so they can keep making my nikeys.

oh no (4, Funny)

X0563511 (793323) | 1 year,26 days | (#43238977)

The commies are coming!

It's Joseph McCarthy all over again...

Re:oh no (3, Informative)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239065)

To be fair, McCarthy was right. There really were Communists in the State Department.

Re:oh no (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239135)

To be fair, McCarthy was right. There really were Communists in the State Department.

To be fair, he tried to identify Communists in all walks of life and ran through Hollywood suppressing freedom of speech and using strong arm tactics to destroy the rights of non-state department citizens. Under Joseph McCarthy, Ayn Rand testified in front of congress against film makers to have them fined and jailed. How fucked up is that? He made it illegal to be a Communist no matter how nonviolent or extreme you were. It was the definition of witch hunt and suppressed freedom of speech in American media. It's fine to ferret them out of the State Department but why the private sectors?!

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239651)

To be fair, Ayn Rand saw the horrors and bloodshed of Communism up close and personal in Russia.

Re:oh no (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239725)

To be fair, I myself have seen the horrors and bloodshed of Capitalism up close and personal in the United States of Amerika.

On another note, I have been screwed a lot more by Big Business than by Big Government.

Re:oh no (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239775)

To be fair, Ayn Rand saw the horrors and bloodshed of Communism up close and personal in Russia.

Yes and she left for a better place where her speech would not be suppressed ... how sad that she eventually forgot such notions and then suppressed the speech of those who opposed her ... of course, she was all about hypocrisy as she didn't appear to be above utilizing social programs ...

Once the oppressed now the oppressor ...

Re:oh no (5, Funny)

abirdman (557790) | 1 year,26 days | (#43240059)

Ms. Rand would have had a better time of it in the USA if she hadn't insisted on writing children's books. Eventually her audience grew up. Oh wait, a few stayed back.

Re:oh no (5, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239951)

That wasn't Joseph McCarthy, that was the Democrats on the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, or don't they teach that part in school? When Ayn Rand testified before HUAC, Joseph McCarthy was in the Senate. The HUAC was controlled by Democrats when Joseph McCarthy was making a name for himself.

Re:oh no (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43241133)

This was the old Democratic party. The one popular in the deep south (yes, I knew McCarthy was from the north). It wasn't until the late 60's and the civil rights fight that the bigots left the Democratic party and joined the Republicans. McCarthy was already dead a decade by that point.

Re:oh no (5, Insightful)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239153)

To be fair, McCarthy was right. There really were Communists in the State Department.

Even if that's true, it doesn't make McCarthy right. In this country, the government isn't allowed to prosecute people for their political beliefs. The problem with McCarthy wasn't just that there was a witch hunt in place. The problem was that if every single person he accused to be a communist was indeed a communist, the proper response is, "so what?"

Re:oh no (2, Insightful)

LaggedOnUser (1856626) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239323)

They were not just communists, but communist sympathizers of a major hostile foreign power to whom they were transferring valuable secrets, such as nuclear technology, in the middle of the Cold War. I don't think "so what?" quite covers the possibility of treason by State Department employees.

Re:oh no (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239369)

The cold war was not a war, so I am not sure how that factors into it.

They might have been guilty of espionage, I am not sure how it goes to the level of treason unless they also plotted to overthrow the government.

Re:oh no (4, Interesting)

Linux Torvalds (647197) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239523)

I don't think "so what?" quite covers the possibility of treason by State Department employees.

Well, "so what?" seems to covers the reality of treason [bbc.co.uk] in the Oval Office, so I don't see why the State Department should be held to tighter standards.

Re:oh no (5, Insightful)

Rufty (37223) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239527)

If they transfer valuable secrets, prosecute them for that, and if they didn't then leave their political beliefs out of it.

Re:oh no (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239551)

In this country, the government isn't allowed to prosecute people for their political beliefs.

Bullshit. Try running for office without a (D) or (R) next to your name and see how far you get.

You can do it your own way
If it's done just how I say

Re:oh no (3, Insightful)

PlastikMissle (2498382) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239783)

Bullshit right back at you. Sure you won't win, but the government doesn't prosecute you if you run as a third party candidate.

Re:oh no (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239691)

When your political beliefs include the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, that's where the line is drawn. The 50s Communists believed exactly that. They weren't being persecuted for their political beliefs, they were being persecuted for the fact that they wanted to do the federal government what the Tea Party wants to do today. Do you agree with the Tea Party?

Re:oh no (4, Insightful)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239835)

When your political beliefs include the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, that's where the line is drawn. The 50s Communists believed exactly that. They weren't being persecuted for their political beliefs, they were being persecuted for the fact that they wanted to do the federal government what the Tea Party wants to do today. Do you agree with the Tea Party?

I don't agree with the Communists, and I don't agree with the Tea Party. I don't want to prevent either of them from being in positions in government, however. Other than by not voting for them, that is. If other people vote them in, that's their right, because I do believe in a representative government.

The line, by the way, isn't whether your political beliefs include violent overthrow of the U.S. government. It's when your actions support that. The moment you take up arms and try to force the government out and put your own government in place, I expect you to be shot down and arrested. I'm not going to support the government going after you for pre- or thought-crime, though.

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43241469)

The moment you take up arms and try to force the government out and put your own government in place, I expect you to be shot down and arrested.

You do realize this is exactly how America started, right?

Re:oh no (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239999)

The Tea Party does not advocate the violent overthrow of the government today (although some of their more extreme members are beginning to believe that it will be necessary), unlike our current President's political mentor.

Re:oh no (4, Informative)

abirdman (557790) | 1 year,26 days | (#43240309)

Are you referring to the right Rev. Jeremiah Wright? Because Rev. Wright is an honorable, articulate, educated, honest, and forthright man, who is at least second generation military, served as a Marine and a Navy corpsman, has more academic degrees than most Tea-Baggers have fingers on their right hand, is a college professor and runs a church. The fact that the fucktard-right-- errr, I mean mainstream media-- in this country can't tell the difference between an intelligent man's hyperbole (used to illustrate a point about the history of racial oppression) and violent insurrection-- does not condemn the man.

And if not Rev. Wright, then who are you talking about?

Re:oh no (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | 1 year,26 days | (#43240493)

No, I am referring to Bill Ayers, the man who ghost wrote Obama's first autobiography. If you are not familiar with Bill Ayers violent attempts to start a revolution to overthrow the U.S. government, you should do some research into the matter.

Re:oh no (2)

abirdman (557790) | 1 year,26 days | (#43240725)

Oh, the SDS guy. OK then. And no one has explained how Mr. Ayers was not interested in the violent overthrow of the government, he was interested in resistance to specific injustices, specifically the draft and the Viet Nam war in general. Then as now the arms were nearly always in the hands of the police. He was never charged or convicted of any crime-- his only crime was thinking (and writing and speaking) against the status quo. He's now dragged out as a symbol of violent insurrection by the right because the media knows almost no one will bother to look him up to find out the real story anyway. Besides, no one is interested in Ayers-- he's been a college professor for 30 years-- only in his relationship to Obama, which was slight, and the opportunity to use an unfair and incorrect innuendo to besmirch the President.

Sorry to nit-pick, but it's important to be informed.

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43241331)

I brought up the subject of what's going to happen after we take over the government. You know, we become responsible for administrating, you know, 250 million people. And there was no answer. No one had given any thought to economics. How are you going to clothe and feed these people? The only thing that I could get was that they expected that the Cubans, the North Vietnamese, the Chinese and the Russians would all want to occupy different portions of the United States. They also believed that their immediate responsibility would be to protect against what they called the counter-revolution. And they felt that this counter-revolution could best be guarded against by creating and establishing re-education in the Southwest where we would take all of the people who needed to be re-educated into the new way of thinking and teach them how things were going to be.

I asked, "Well, what is going to happen to those people that we can't re-educate, that are die-hard capitalists?" And the reply was that they'd have to be eliminated and when I pursued this further, they estimated that they'd have to eliminate 25 million people in these re-education centers. And when I say eliminate, I mean kill 25 million people. I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of whom have graduate degrees from Columbia and other well-known educational centers and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people and they were dead serious.

-- FBI informant Larry Grathwohl, on a meeting attended by Obama and Ayers

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43241463)

There's a set of credentials that guarantees veracity and candor.

Re:oh no (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43241313)

Do you agree with the Tea Party?

No, but I'd rather not have them suppressed.

Have your TSA and eat it too. The terrorist bogeyman is after you!

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43240753)

The paranoia of US individuals was somewhat understandable, considering the actions, beliefs and attitude of revolutionary communists in Europe and Americas. Our young home-communists only managed to "overthrow" the local university but the real effects on policies and functions on security and defense and random things like art world with the constant unofficial communication (called spying today) going on with the Russia and East Germany were significant. That might explain why our capital were targeted during the cold war by the US even as we were independent country and not member of the Warsaw Pact.
The idealization of the Soviet Union and East Germany was at a completely irrational level.

Re:oh no (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239163)

That doesn't necessarily justify his policies.
Is there any prohibition against Communists being in the State Department?
Espousing a certain socio-economic or political viewpoint isn't illegal, nor does it disqualify one from employment at the State Department.

Re:oh no (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239249)

At the time, I believe Communist party membership was illegal, at least in some sense of the word. I'm not sure when or if that ever changed.

I guess we have more "freedom" in this country than we can handle.

Re:oh no (1)

compro01 (777531) | 1 year,26 days | (#43240383)

Still is, technically. The communism control act (50 USC, Chapter 23, Subchapter IV), which outlawed the Communist Party of the United States, was never repealed or struck down, the latter because it was never actually enforced, and thus never went to court.

Re:oh no (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239287)

There really were witches in Massachusetts, too.

Re:oh no (4, Insightful)

the gnat (153162) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239309)

If McCarthy was right it was entirely by accident. Many innocent people were smeared as Communists simply for advocating policies that McCarthy personally disagreed with. Among the many was George Marshall, the man responsible for the Marshall Plan and thus one of the people most responsible for saving Western Europe from a Communist takeover. The character of the McCarthy-like senator in "The Manchurian Candidate" is uncomfortably close to the truth.

Re:Right by accident (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43240033)

Actually, not an accident. IIRC the man who gave McCarthy his list was (unknown to McCarthy) KGB. Everybody on that list was deemed either expendable (to make it seem more legitimate) or someone they wanted marginalized (like Marshall). It also served to distract people from the agents they had in place in the CIA and DOD by de-legitamizing any real investigations.
I have heard it said that the one thing the KGB was very good at was spreading dissent. McCarthy served that aim very, very well.

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43240027)

More dangerous and ominous for the country, though, was the number of Republicans in the State Department.

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239081)

The commies are coming!

It's Joseph McCarthy all over again...

Joseph McCarthy represented a threat to the freedom of United States citizens and their freedom of speech. I fail to see how this is equivalent. The Chinese represent a threat to the United States. The United States is wary of sharing technical data with the Chinese for this very reason ...

Re:oh no (2)

blue trane (110704) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239157)

Like the Chinese haven't already hacked into NASA's computers. This is like shutting the barn door after the horse has been stolen. Export controls just hurt little people by removing our access to knowledge. The big players like China already know how to get access.

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239189)

Like the Chinese haven't already hacked into NASA's computers. This is like shutting the barn door after the horse has been stolen. Export controls just hurt little people by removing our access to knowledge. The big players like China already know how to get access.

Ah yes, the "security through insecurity" defense.

Re:oh no (2)

bware (148533) | 1 year,26 days | (#43241229)

Everything on that website had already gone through document review and export control. It's just part of the process. So taking if offline and asking that it be reviewed again is doubly stupid. And wasteful, given sequestration and travel restrictions and shutdown of awards and...

This is just political posturing from Congress and CYA from NASA.

What is that? "National" science or what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239005)

I thought science had no borders.

Re:What is that? "National" science or what? (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239251)

It doesn't really, but funding does. I hear whining here about politicians passing laws on the internet and computers when they clearly don't understand it, the same is problematic for science. I've heard suggestions that the cancelled superconducting super collider [slashdot.org] would have been completed had the US government not insisted on funding it exclusively to spite the Soviets. That was in a museum of scientific instruments in France though, so that may have been slightly anti-american. I dunno, I was one at the time it was started and ten at the time it was killed.

Either way, politicians always have and probably always will use science to their own ends without regard for actual progress, and it's harder to claim ownership of something you don't own if someone else has contributed equally to it.

lol (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239023)

The Chinese, Russian, North Korean, whoever governments probably all have a complete copy. The only ones this is gonna hurt is ourselves.

Re:lol (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239529)

I've referred to the NASA archive several times during my own research (based in the US, by the way). The only documents I've downloaded are from pre-1980, and they're all marked as "unclassified". I'm pretty sure that my university doesn't have a microfiche archive of this information, so now my only means to access has disappeared without warning. So, yeah, I'd agree that this is only going to harm ourselves. I find it unlikely that the evil Chinese scientists developing doomsday devices would have much use for 40 year-old, unclassified technical reports.

Re:lol (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239675)

I've referred to the NASA archive several times during my own research (based in the US, by the way). The only documents I've downloaded are from pre-1980, and they're all marked as "unclassified".

THIS.in theory all of NTRS is reports that have already been reviewedthe only possible issue is if the review was done wrong, but at this point its too late anyways (the information has beeb up there for decadesor if there are specific new pieces of concern, just pull those down not the whole site).

I'm pretty sure that my university doesn't have a microfiche archive of this information, so now my only means to access has disappeared without warning. So, yeah, I'd agree that this is only going to harm ourselves.

Not just your university. Many current folks working Day-to-Day on NASA projects use NTRS regularly to find reports of interest--usually a good general overview, and even if some of the technical details are excluded to meet export control, it at least to identifies who is working in the area to contact for more information

All this does is put us at a competitive disadvantage to the evil Chinese scientists--who can get their copies directly by going to the meetings that NASA workers can no longer afford to.

Classified vs. Export-controlled technologies (1)

dtmos (447842) | 1 year,26 days | (#43241293)

You're talking apples and oranges.

Classified technologies must be kept secret from everyone not authorized to see them, regardless of their nationality.

In the U.S., export-controlled technologies [doc.gov] are technologies that may be freely distributed to anyone in the country -- and indeed, to anyone in most countries -- but not to members of certain "lists." [doc.gov] One of the lists is for entities, and includes, "China." Such technologies may be even discussed in public forums -- stadiums, even -- as long as one is assured that no one from the restricted lists is present. Note that one does not have to physically export anything to be in violation of these laws -- discussing the wrong technology with the wrong foreign national is all that is required.

I'm not an expert in this field, but I seem to remember an exception to the rules in that anything intended for publication is permitted to be exported. That's how technical journals continued to exist. Strange, I know.

Re:lol (3, Insightful)

hardie (716254) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239903)

This is usually referred to as closing the barn door after the horse gets out.

Maybe some other country will post the reports so we can have access to them.

Fighting a smarter enemy (4, Insightful)

game kid (805301) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239045)

"Export control", just like DRM, deprives good citizens from the ideas of their own peers, while still allowing malicious types with connections and know-how to have the controlled ideas anyway.

Both forms of idea control fight a smarter enemy...by making non-enemies even dumber.

Re:Fighting a smarter enemy (1)

steelfood (895457) | 1 year,26 days | (#43240621)

This reminds me of the 128-bit encryption "export controls" from back in the day. All this paranoid political hubbub does is make the entire world (including ourselves) poorer.

Re:Fighting a smarter enemy (1)

neonv (803374) | 1 year,26 days | (#43241485)

If you're a citizen, you can have access to it.

Export control information usually involves technology that can be used to create missiles or others armaments. NASA works with rockets, so some of that material may have information involving missiles. It's a good idea to have some control over where that information goes so it doesn't help a hostile entity and come back to us.

Now only the Chinese will be able to read them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239057)

because they'll hack and download anyway.

Like the old saying, "When guns are criminalized, only criminals will have guns."

Re:Now only the Chinese will be able to read them (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239227)

"When guns are criminalized, only 3D printer owners will potentially have colorful guns."

There doesn't appear to be a mirror? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239083)

No doubt the Chinese have that covered.
        Just more security theater, move along.

Barn Door (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239131)

Would not the first thing one would do, if interesting in these technical reports, is to download them all. I have done such things in the past with documents sets I wanted to review. Taking them offline does not make all the copies already generated disappear.

I wonder how much money has been wasted discussing this, making it happen, and how much money will be wasted reviewing the documents. I am glad sequestration hasn't done anything to impair congresses ability to waste money.

Re:Barn Door (1)

dargaud (518470) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239871)

Would not the first thing one would do, if interesting in these technical reports, is to download them all

You mean, like Aaron Schwartz did ?

Maybe we can ask the chinese to put a mirror up? (4, Funny)

leehwtsohg (618675) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239133)

I mean, we could ask really nicely, no?

Hey, china, how about it? In the name of humanity? Openness?

There it is AGAIN! (1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239137)

There's the party affiliation right in the story! It's an (R) again. Whenever a (D) does something reprehensible, the party affiliation is omitted. Is this a rule or something?

It's always "both parties are equally bad, there is no difference between them" until the offender is identified as an (R), when the narrative about-faces in pure "we have always been at war with Eurasia" fashion to "those (R)s are uniquely horrid".

What are the bosses trying to do with these tactics? Divide and conquer? Perhaps we should all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

Re:There it is AGAIN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239213)

It only means as much as you're willing to look into it.
If you want to see it that way, go ahead, but you've got no one but yourself to blame.

Re:There it is AGAIN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239233)

It's always "both parties are equally bad, there is no difference between them" until the offender is identified as an (R), when the narrative about-faces in pure "we have always been at war with Eurasia" fashion to "those (R)s are uniquely horrid".

You have already admitted that this is a lie.

Re:There it is AGAIN! (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239247)

The (Party-State) thing is pretty common for both parties, especially when talking about someone less known. If I were writing about Dick Cheney or Barack Obama or something, I wouldn't put it there, but if we're talking about regular Congresscritters, it seems like useful information to know their party affiliation and where they come from.

If you're seeing a pattern, perhaps rather than a conspiracy, it's simply that one party is attacking science more than the other one is, at least lately?

Re:There it is AGAIN! (0)

Linux Torvalds (647197) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239417)

Just another day in the (R-etarded) party.

Republican politicians are basically the intellectual counterparts of the dead-end Japanese soldiers from WWII, isolated in the jungle for 40 years and cut off from civilization. Eventually, someone will manage to convince them that the war's over, that the radio isn't broadcasting elaborate propaganda to fool them, and that they can stop taking potshots at tourists anytime now.

Brilliant (3, Interesting)

joe_frisch (1366229) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239161)

The reports were on line so we can assume the Chinese have already downloaded all of them. Now we take them offline so that US businesses can't take advantage of the technical data that they contain.

Then we will add a likely complex and expensive process of vetting the reports which will delay any future releases - except for organizations that are good enough to hack the NASA computers and download them immediately.

Whose side are WE on????

"There doesn't appear to be a third-party mirror" (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239167)

Of course there is - it's in Beijing. We just don't have access to it, nor do we have access to the original anymore.

Context (0, Troll)

TubeSteak (669689) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239177)

This is all in the context of a Chinese national who was arrested at the airport,
on his way to China, with NASA materials he wasn't supposed to have.

This isn't some random act of political pressure.
The reality is that NASA is trying to get its house in order.

Re:Context (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239283)

I don't see how taking down an archive of publicly available documents, many of which have been publicly available for decades, is reasonably related to someone stealing documents that aren't publicly available.

Re:Context (3, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239877)

Does the phrase "absurd knee-jerk overreaction" ring a bell?

The panic spasms of a bureaucracy discovering they've facilitated espionage are so powerful you could probably do pinch-confinement fusion in their rectums.

Re:Context (1)

Trepidity (597) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239905)

The bureaucracy didn't come up with this idea of their own accord, unless by "the bureaucracy" you mean the U.S. Congress rather than NASA. The chairman of the Congressional committee that oversees NASA's funding explicitly and very specifically demanded that they take down this archive. And they gave in, and did so.

Re:Context (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239425)

So a chinese national who formally worked with NASA is arrested at an airport for lying to investigators (he agreed to be searched, they asked him what computers/storage disks he had with himhe said he had a cell phone/memory stick/external hard drive/and a new computer; when his searching his luggage they found an additional SIM card, old hard drive, and laptop---thus he was arrested for lyingnot for having NASA material).

Yes--previously an investigation had shown that while working for NIA he had traveled to China with work materials that shouldn't have left, but with knowledge of his supervisors.

So in response we take down a publicly facing database with thousands of articles that have been online for years and have all been subject to an export control reviewon the chance that some of them were not properly reviewed the first time around?

Taking away NTRS doesn't keep foreign spies from downloading the exact same information form other technical journals. Nor does it keep someone who had accessand whom the agency knew had accessto data internally from walking out with it.

No this is just Wolfe's ongoing NASA witch hunt and a fundamental lack of any practical understanding.but wait he has offered to help get congressional approval to transfer money from actual "real" work at NASA to the task of re-reviewing 300,000 documents that are already publically released so they can be put back online.

Waste of time (2)

airishtiger (1223838) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239235)

If China or any country wanted to study this information they would have already downloaded and saved this stuff. It would have taken them 5 minutes. The information is already in every countries' hands and there is nothing that can be done about it.

Just what NASA needed (1)

Qzukk (229616) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239241)

NASA's still moving? Quick find something to drain its budget!

How many millions of dollars will have to be spent on this "export control review"?

So much random criticism (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239243)

What's wrong with the observation "NASA should immediately take down all publicly available technical data sources until all documents that have not been subjected to export control review have received such a review"? If China already had it, they wouldn't have a spy trying to carry it back to their country.

Re:So much random criticism (2)

Trepidity (597) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239299)

If they could get what they wanted from documents that have been publicly available for decades, they wouldn't have a spy trying to carry it back into their country, either. The archive has been online for a long time, and China hardly needs to spend spies into the U.S. to copy it. They probably already made a local archive, anyway. All taking it down does is harm researchers.

Re:So much random criticism (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239459)

Because much of the information on NTRS has been subject to review. The only question is can NASA guarantee that all those reviews were done correctly and nothing slipped through.

Sequester-related? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239259)

NASA also just announced that they're cutting a bunch of other stuff thanks to the sequester. A whole lot of US scientists won't be attending international space conferences this year.

WTF? (0)

Yvanhoe (564877) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239265)

What the fuck were the congressmen thinking?

What the fuck was NASA thinking when it complied?

Ok, NASA has been shut off in everything that it was meaningful.

Re:WTF? (1)

mbkennel (97636) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239907)

"What the fuck were the congressmen thinking?"

Evidence for Red-baiting to smear Obama.

"What the fuck was NASA thinking when it complied?"

These idiots are in control of the future of our entire space program and get their panties all twisted because of something stupid and trivial, but if we anger them they may start cutting billions out of spite.

Keep out the good guys (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239291)

Much of the kind of information on NTRS (the recent stuff that would be a valid export control concern, not the historic archive--which while useful seems to be a much less reasonable concern--"OMG the durn commies might find out about Republic's failed proposal for the X-15") is also available in published journals, or in multiple independent online archives/cache's...just NTRS provides easy access without a paywall and at one place.

Of course the end result is that those of us who are funded by NASA and find NTRS useful in are day jobs end up spending three times as long to find the information we need (guess it's time to renew those AIAA, AAS, IEEE journal subscriptionsor go to a technical library). BUT, if the Chinese accidentally delete their copy of NASA TN D-683 and all their backups, now we'll force them to walk to a librarythat's sure to slow down their rocket program.

I have no doubt that in an archive that size/scope, there might of been somethings that slipped through, but everything I've had published over the years has had to go through an export review process before it would even be accepted for NTRS.

This is just stupid.

NASA and secrets (2)

johnny cashed (590023) | 1 year,26 days | (#43239337)

My father worked at NASA for 30 years. He was involved in guidance and navigation. Worked on the IU on the Saturn V.

In the '90s, he told me the only thing classified at NASA was the vehicle destruct system details. Don't want someone intentionally blowing up a manned rocket on its proper course. He said that they were denied access to classified gyroscope materials from the spy satellite and ICBM world. Other secrets may have fallen under "trade secret" status as NASA contracted the building of most things.

However, just the other day I downloaded information about the F-1 rocket engine. At one time the documents I downloaded were classified. I guess they didn't want the Soviets to learn more about our tech.

Then the DART mission occurred. Within the report, there was information that might make it easier for bad actors (terrorists/states) to use GPS navigation for munitions. That information is restricted as is some more recent information.

Re:NASA and secrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239537)

Classification isn't the issue. Little that NASA does is classified (some but little).

Many projects touch on ITAR information (a horribly misguided policy, but it is the law).

Many more deal with SBU (sensitive but unclassified) that include things that aren't classified but can't be released---personal information about individuals, company sensitive information (if you are providing oversight to some commercial contract, you want to know everything about how their vehicle worksbut they might not want publishing it for all their competitors unless you paid them for that privilege).

BUTthe vast majority of documents on NTRS are published reports/presentations from technical meetings, all of which should already of been reviewed before ever being submitted to NTRS.

Re:NASA and secrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43241475)

"He said that they were denied access to classified gyroscope materials from the spy satellite and ICBM world."

Not so. The Apollo Guidance and Navigation System was developed by the MIT Instrumentation Lab (now Draper Lab) and based on the based on the Polaris missile guidance system, which MIT also developed.

Obligatory Simpsons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239445)

To shut them down now would be twisted; we just learned this place existed...

All this does is hurt US businesses (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239473)

As a small business owner in the aerospace field I have a number of times used information in the NASA technical report series. Now Rep. Wolf has removed that ability, and has made my job more difficult.

China to the rescue (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43239769)

In a bizzare twist today China announce it would begin archiving & mirroring *all* Public Domain materials. US Citizens appauded the move as it meant they might finally be read about the results of the research their tax dollars paid for. /sigh

NASA Tech reports and export controls (3, Insightful)

cyberfringe (641163) | 1 year,26 days | (#43240153)

I have direct experience with submitting a number of my technical reports to the NASA Technical Report Archive, a requirement for reports of research sponsored by NASA. The submittal process included a third party assessment of the applicable technology export control laws. In my case, this was performed by our Office of General Counsel. However, I was also asked whether controlled information was included in the report or not under the assumption that it was my responsibility to know the rules. While I believe I was personally scrupulous, I will wager that many report authors saw the whole process as a poor use of their time and were not so careful. So I believe the archive probably does contain export controlled information. On the other hand, the really interesting work gets published in the relevant journals and professional society conferences, and there is no way to control that except through the classification process.

Demand? (1)

marcroelofs (797176) | 1 year,26 days | (#43240451)

Since when is a demand by a mere member of Congress a reason to withold information from the taxpayers? Shouldn't this be put into law or at least made official somehow?

Why Have an Archive (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43241499)

Why have technical reports that don't... er... get reported to anyone?
I understand classifying certain things, but holy hell, the whole thing? It frustrates me to no end when I'm researching something and I find a definitive report for the subject... behind a pay-wall. This just takes that to a whole new level.

A review will find what's been leaked. (2)

thebiss (164488) | 1 year,26 days | (#43241599)

Instead of looking at this as a way to stop a leak of non-exportable information, the purpose of a review is to determine what has already been leaked, and therefore, what's no longer really a secret.

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