Today, NASA Inspector General Robert W. Cobb issued a letter to
Administrator Sean O’Keefe highlighting his observations on the
independence of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB). As
an observer to the CAIB activities, Inspector General Cobb focused his
efforts on whether the CAIB could address the challenging questions
associated with the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia in good faith
and without material impediments from organizational or personal
conflicts of interest.

In his August 15, 2003, letter to Administrator Sean O’Keefe, Mr. Cobb
said, ‘Although NASA policy and the CAIB’s original charter contained
provisions that could have hindered an independent investigation, based
on my observations, I believe the CAIB, under Admiral Harold Gehman’s
leadership, is and has been conducting its investigation independently
and without undue influence from NASA.’

The Office of Inspector General has several audits and reviews planned
and underway regarding the CAIB’s activities, the Agency’s
implementation of the Board’s findings and recommendations, and NASA’s
return-to-flight activities.

For more information on this release, please call Madeline Chulumovich,
Executive Officer, NASA Office of Inspector General at (202) 358-0615.
The August 15, 2003, letter ‘Observations on the Independence of the
Columbia Accident Investigation Board’ has been posted to the NASA
Office of Inspector General Web site at: