October 18, 2000

The Honorable Daniel Goldin


NASA Headquarters

Washington, DC 20546

Dear Mr. Goldin:

Thank you for sending Mr. Frankle and Mr. Hawes to testify regarding the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 before the International Relations Committee on October 12, 2000. NASA Counsel’s interpretation of the crew safety exception as presented during the hearing clearly contradicts the intent and letter of the law, as its sponsors and the provision’s author made clear to Mr. Frankle during the hearing. Knowing that you have a difficult decision to make, we urge you to reject the NASA staff recommendation to purchase some $24 million in goods and services from the Russian Space Agency under subparagraph (f) of Section 6 in the Iran Nonproliferation Act. Continuing with the purchase in the face of clear statements from Congress that doing so will violate the law and undermine U.S. efforts to stem the spread of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles to Iran, can only encourage those who harbor ill will toward our country, our soldiers and sailors stationed in the Middle East, and our allies in Israel. NASA simply must not send that message.

Coming in the wake of the NASA Inspector General’s memorandum, “NASA Oversight of Russian Biotechnology Research 1994-1997,” a decision to proceed with purchases from the Russian Aviation and Space Agency would raise questions about NASA’s commitment to nonproliferation and the forthrightness of NASA officials who have stated their unequivocal support for, and compliance with, our national nonproliferation policies, goals, guidelines, and laws in hearings before Congress.

We stand ready to work with you to ensure NASA is fully capable of carrying out its ISS missions with the same commitment to safety it exhibited in launching STS-92 to the station last Wednesday. As always, we continue to support NASA’s efforts to eliminate its dependence on the Russian government, even if doing so costs us a little more, so that American taxpayers will never again be put in the position of having to choose between their support for the space program and their commitment to nonproliferation, peace, and stability in the Middle East.

We look forward to receiving your views on this matter, as well as your written response to the questions posed in our letter to you dated October 11, 2000.



Chairman Committee on Science


Chairman Committee on International Relations



Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics