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E-mails Suggest That Administration Stopped Global Warming Interview

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif) has internal Commerce Department e-mails that suggest the administration was keeping a government scientist who did not toe the line on the administration's view of global warming and hurricanes from appearing on CNBC.

CNBC had, in October 2005, asked for an interview with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Scientist Tom Knutson on whether global warming was contributing to the number or intensity of hurricanes. NOAA is under the Department of Commerce.

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Waxman cites an e-mail in which a Commerce press officer, after learning that Knutson believes there is some connection between the two,responds to the interview request--forwarded from the NOAA--by asking "why can't we have one of the other guys, then."

Knutson told the Wall Street Journal in February of 2006 that he had felt censored by the administration for his view, says Waxman, while the administration said it did not censor its scientists. The interview request was ultimately denied.

"If accurate, this e-mail exchange appears to be an example of press officials in the Department of Commerce blocking federal scientists from discussing their research with the news media."

Waxman has asked for all internal documents relating the the government's position on global warming, and for an explanation of how Commerce decides which scientists get to speak with the press on the issue.

A Commerce Department spokesman had not returned a call for comment at press time.