President Obama told NASA administrator Bolden that one of his three top priorities was to help the Muslim world feel good about their contribution to science, mathematics and engineering.Bolden is hard at work doing what Obambi ordered. Not just meetings, but traveling to Saudi Arabia. Orlando Sentinel
At the same time, Bolden -- against the advice of several top NASA officials -- intends to lead a high-level agency delegation to Saudi Arabia this weekend to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first Arab astronaut's shuttle flight. The planned visit comes just a few months after Bolden told the Middle East news outlet Al Jazeera that one of the top three priorities assigned to him by President Barack Obama was to "find a way to reach out to the Muslim world" – a remark that ignited Obama's conservative critics and forced the White House to spend much of July trying to defend and explain Bolden's comments.But, despite President O, there are people in NASA who focus on the mission of space and air science. But they are muzzled. They can't speak on the record.
Another trip to the Middle East, coupled with the report about Bolden's ethical misconduct, could create new controversy at a time when the administration is trying to reach agreement with Congress on the future of NASA's human-space program. Congress has balked at Obama's desire to cancel the Constellation moon rocket program and rely on commercial spacecraft to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. A Senate-passed compromise plan has stalled. "Administrator Bolden continues to be not only a distraction for the administration, but most importantly to the mission of NASA," said an administration official, who is not authorized to speak on the record, about Monday's reprimand. The official could not recall another incident in which a similarly high-level leader was so publicly reprimanded.