NASA managers today said published media reports
suggesting the agency plans to read the minds of potential
terrorists go too far and ignore the facts and science behind
the research.

The articles were based on a NASA presentation, which served
as talking points for a meeting with Northwest Airlines in
December 2001. The presentation was in response to the call
from the Federal Government for all agencies to look inward
and find what could be done to help in the war on terrorism.

“NASA does not have the capability to read minds, nor are we
suggesting that would be done,” said Robert Pearce, Director,
NASA’s Strategy and Analysis Division in the Office of
Aerospace Technology in Washington. “Our scientists were
asked to think outside the box with regards to ideas that
could aid the nation in the war on terrorism and that’s what
they are doing. We have not approved any research in this
area and because of the sensitivity of such research, we will
seek independent review before we do.”

The information contained in the presentation identified
research and development challenges that NASA is currently
aware of in the information technology arena, and the agency
offered some limited thoughts and proposed possible solutions
in this field. Some of the ideas will take several years of
effort to establish, if there is a practical application.