WASHINGTON, DC, September 10, 2019 – Yesterday, the New York Times reported “Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at NOAA on 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.”
Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) made the following statement.
“I am extremely disturbed by the directive that NOAA leadership sent on September 6, which threatens the integrity and public trust of weather forecasts at the peak of Hurricane season. I am even more distressed to learn that political interference from the Secretary of Commerce may be behind the directive. The Committee will pursue this issue and we expect full cooperation from the Department of Commerce in our efforts. I would remind Department employees of the whistleblower protections afforded them by law. Any employees with information are welcome to share anonymously via the Committee Whistleblower Page.”
Statement — September 5, 2019
Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) sent a letter to President Donald Trump questioning the contents of a video released yesterday afternoon by the White House Twitter account. In the video, the President was shown holding an out-of-date forecast of Hurricane Dorian that appeared to have been modified to suggest a forecasted impact to Alabama.
“In times of emergency, the American public need to have confidence in the information being provided by the White House, and misrepresentation of National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts is especially disturbing when it concerns an ongoing natural disaster that has already killed twenty people,” said Chairwoman Johnson in the letter. “Yet whether or not any law was violated in the alteration of the NWS forecast map, the result is a misrepresentation of what the NWS data is telling forecasters, sowing confusion that could adversely impact our citizens’ ability to prepare for a deadly weather emergency.”
A copy of the full letter can be found here.