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Lawmakers to get access to private Columbia testimony
Posted: Sat, Jun 14, 2003, 10:37 AM ET (1437 GMT)
STS-107 patch (NASA) Members of Congress, but not the general public, will be allowed to review private testimony the Columbia Accident Investigation Board received, according to an agreement announced Friday. The agreement will allow the chairman of the House Science Committee, the ranking minority member of the committee, as well as other committee members and staffers selected by the two, "full and repeated access" to the testimony the CAIB collected in private sessions. A similar agreement was reached with the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Congress had lobbied for access to the testimony, which the CAIB had originally declined to provide because of concerns it would break any pledges of confidentiality between the board and witnesses. Congressmen and staffers granted access to the CAIB testimony will be allowed to take notes but will not be allowed to copy the information nor release it to the public. While the chairs of the Congressional committees appeared satisfied with the agreement, at least one Senator was not. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who flew on the shuttle in 1986 while a member of the House, believes the agreement does not go far enough, and that all CAIB testimony should be made publicly available.
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