Ross Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets: Sources

"WASHINGTON — The Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at the federal scientific agency responsible for weather forecasts last Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, according to three people familiar with the discussion.

That threat led to an unusual, unsigned statement later that Friday by the agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, disavowing the National Weather Service’s position that Alabama was not at risk. The reversal caused widespread anger within the agency and drew accusations from the scientific community that the National Weather Service, which is part of NOAA, had been bent to political purposes.

NOAA’s statement on Friday is now being examined by the Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times, and employees have been asked to preserve their files. NOAA is a division of the Commerce Department.

The National Weather Service “must maintain standards of scientific integrity,” the inspector general, Peggy E. Gustafson, wrote in a message to NOAA staff members in which she requested documents related to Friday’s statement. The circumstances, she wrote, “call into question the NWS’s processes, scientific independence, and ability to communicate accurate and timely weather warnings and data to the nation in times of national emergency.”"

Christopher Flavelle, Lisa Friedman, and Peter Baker report for the New York Times September 9, 2019.


"NOAA’s Chief Scientist Will Investigate Why Agency Backed Trump Over Its Experts On Dorian, Email Shows" (Washington Post)

"NOAA Chief Scientist Condemns Agency's "Political" Backing Of Trump's Claims About Hurricane" (CBS News)

"NOAA Chief Scientist To Probe Response To Trump's Storm Forecast" (Greenwire)

"NOAA Scientist: Agency Likely Broke Science Integrity Rules" (AP)

"NOAA Assailed For Defending Trump’s Hurricane Dorian Claim" (AP)

"Commerce Dept Denies Report Ross Threatened To Fire Top NOAA Staff" (The Hill)

"Democrats Call For Ross To Resign For Reportedly Threatening To Fire Officials" (The Hill)


Source: NY Times, 09/10/2019