[FPSPACE] Senseless secrecy encroachment: NASA invokes ITAR on request fo...

DSFPortree at aol.com DSFPortree at aol.com
Sun Oct 7 10:25:35 EDT 2007


Read the note at the bottom of the Spaceref piece; the request was granted, 
and the headline is misguided. 

Getting things through FOIA is always a chore because the people involved 
often don't have a clue about the context of the documents, so they interpret 
everything very literally. It's not about secrecy so much as ignorance. I've been 
told that documents I wanted on 20-year-old plans for Mars Sample Return 
"would aid terrorists." Persistence typically leads to release of such historical 
documents, either through FOIA or through other means - not everyone at NASA 
is an idiot. I see FOIA as only one way to get what I want; in fact, it's 
unusual for me to use that process. 

FWIW, I have a new job - I'm running the Regional Planetary Information 
Facility at USGS Flagstaff. Among other things, I'm the guy who sends out USGS 
planetary maps to planetary researchers.

Thanks again to all who contributed to the Martha Portree's Family Fund and 
sent along kind words of support. The fund raised ~$16,000 from all over the 
world. That has come in very handy these past three months. For one thing, it 
has enabled me to pamper Samantha a bit, which she certainly deserves, after all 
she has been through. 

The only writing I'm doing right now is my blog. The loss of my wife has 
entirely taken the wind out of my sails. My last published print piece was her 
obituary for the local paper.


David S. F. Portree
dsfportree at aol.com
Flagstaff Arizona USA

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