Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Lamar Smith

Smith, Palazzo Statement on Failed Launch at Wallops Island


Washington, D.C. – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) released the following statement in response to Tuesday's failed launch attempt at a Wallops Island,Virginia launch facility. 

Chairman Smith and Palazzo: “We add our disappointment to the thousands in the space community who worked tirelessly in support of Tuesday evening's launch attempt at Wallops Island. We are relieved to hear there are no reported fatalities, and we anticipate learning more about the circumstances surrounding the launch failure in the near future."

Tuesday's launch was intended to carry a Cygnus spacecraft into orbit to dock with and deliver supplies to the International Space Station. The Antares rocket carrying the craft appeared to explode just moments after liftoff.  


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Smith Issues Subpoena to Uncover White House’s Role in Faulty Security


Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) yesterday issued a subpoena to former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, a top Assistant to President Obama during the launch of last November. The subpoena compels Mr. Park’s appearance before the Subcommittee on Oversight to answer questions regarding his role in developing and evaluating the operations and security of 

After refusing to testify on five different occasions, Mr. Park scheduled a briefing for members of the Oversight Subcommittee on Wednesday September 10, 2014, regarding his management and oversight of the website, including security protocols. However, less than 24 hours in advance, the White House cancelled the briefing because it did not want any official transcript of the discussion.

Chairman Smith: “The Obama administration has failed to provide this Committee with information about the security of the Obamacare website. What is the White House trying to hide?  News reports in July revealed that a hacker successfully breached the Obamacare website. And we don’t know how many other security breaches have gone unreported. The American people deserve to know their personal information on is absolutely secure. That is why I issued a subpoena to compel Mr. Park to testify under oath about his role in the website’s development.”

Emails obtained by the Committee show that Mr. Park may have misled Congress and had more knowledge of the website’s development than he represented in testimony last November before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR). Mr. Park testified that he didn’t have “detailed knowledge” of the website before it was launched, and said that he was “not even familiar with the development and testing regimen that happened prior to October 1.”

Released today, the interim Majority Staff Report includes a timeline of events and emails obtained by the Committee that raise further questions about Mr. Park’s role and knowledge of security issues prior to October 1, 2013. Mr. Park, who recently stepped down as Chief Technology Officer, was the co-chair of the White House’s Affordable Care Act Information Technology Exchanges Steering Committee, a body responsible for overseeing security protocols during development of the website.

Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun (R-Ga.): “Despite the Obama Administration's attempts to stonewall this Committee from obtaining information on the security failures of - we will not stop working until we get answers that the American people deserve. Reports of a recent successful hack of the website provide us with further reason of the need to obtain this important information so that we can protect the American people from future cyber security attacks. It is my hope that with this subpoena - we can get to the bottom of the abject failures of and ensure these security breaches do not occur again.”

The subpoena requires Mr. Park to appear before the Oversight Subcommittee to provide testimony under oath on Wednesday, November 19.  A previous subpoena for documents was issued that required the White House to provide documents and emails pertaining to Mr. Park’s role in development of the website.

The Science Committee held two hearings since the website’s botched launch and heard from leading security experts, including David Kennedy, a “white hat hacker,” who warned that Americans’ personal and financial information remains vulnerable to hackers and cyber criminals. 

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Is your ObamaCare information safe?


Smith, Palazzo Letter to NASA Administrator Bolden re SLS and the Orion vehicle crew


This letter can be found HERE.

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The government wants to study ‘social pollution’ on Twitter


Smith: NSF Has No Business Using Taxpayer Dollars to Study Political Messages on Twitter


Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement after media reports highlighted a one million dollar research project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2011 to analyze political messages and discussion on Twitter. The goal of the project is to analyze and detect ‘subversive propaganda’ in order to mitigate ‘misleading ideas’ on social media.

Chairman Smith: “The government has no business using taxpayer dollars to support limiting free speech on Twitter and other social media.  While the Science Committee has recently looked into a number of other questionable NSF grants, this one appears to be worse than a simple misuse of public funds.  The NSF is out of touch and out of control. The Science Committee is investigating how this grant came to be awarded taxpayer dollars.  The NSF must be held accountable for its funding decisions.”

ICYMI: Additional Media Coverage:

Washington Post: The government wants to study ‘social pollution’ on Twitter

By Ajit Pai October 17, 2014 - Ajit Pai is a member of the Federal Communications Commission.

If you take to Twitter to express your views on a hot-button issue, does the government have an interest in deciding whether you are spreading “misinformation’’? If you tweet your support for a candidate in the November elections, should taxpayer money be used to monitor your speech and evaluate your “partisanship’’?

My guess is that most Americans would answer those questions with a resounding no. But the federal government seems to disagree. The National Science Foundation , a federal agency whose mission is to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” is funding a project to collect and analyze your Twitter data.

The project is being developed by researchers at Indiana University, and its purported aim is to detect what they deem “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? “Political smears,” so-called “astroturfing” and other forms of “misinformation.”  READ MORE


Fox News: '1984' in 2014? Fed Gov't Funds 'Truthy' Database to Monitor Hate Speech, Suspicious Memes

The federal government is spending close to $1 million of your money on an online tracking program that will supposedly search for so-called “hate speech” or “misinformation” on Twitter.

On Fox and Friends, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. brought us more details on the “Truthy” database, which intends to monitor suspicious Internet memes as well as false or misleading ideas spreading around social media. READ MORE


Washington Free Beacon: Feds Creating Database to Track ‘Hate Speech’ on Twitter

$1 Million study focuses on internet memes, ‘misinformation’ in political campaigns

By Elizabeth Harrington

The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and hate speech on Twitter.

The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online. READ MORE

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Smith Demands Analysis of EPA Electricity Regulations


Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a second letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy demanding transparency from the agency regarding the costs and benefits of proposed electricity regulations.

“EPA’s sweeping mandate requires a fundamental restructuring of our nation’s energy system; it transforms how electricity is both produced and used,” Chairman Smith wrote. “The broad new authority EPA claims raises critical questions about our ability to meet demand for reliable, affordable electricity.”

However, Chairman Smith wrote that “Systematic biases and major omissions in EPA’s limited evaluation produced a cost-benefit analysis divorced from reality. Consequently, EPA’s Regulatory Impact Assessment fails to assess whether the proposed rule will achieve meaningful benefits and, more importantly, whether the benefits are worth the heavy cost.”

Last week, a report released by NERA Economic Consulting projected that EPA’s proposed regulations will cause double digit electricity price increases in 43 states. It also found that over 15 years, compliance costs could total more than $400 billion.

Chairman Smith’s letter demands that EPA conduct comprehensive energy and economic modeling before moving forward with the rulemaking. 

“The American people deserve the facts.  This is impossible without a comprehensive, real-world analysis of your proposed regulations. We cannot afford to ignore inconvenient details when the truth hangs in the balance.” 

Chairman Smith’s full letter can be found here.

The August 13, 2014 letter can be found here.


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Smith Letter to EPA re: Analysis of Power Plant Regulations


The full letter can be found HERE

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Smith on Mars Flyby of Comet Siding Spring


Washington, D.C. – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today after the comet known as Siding Spring passed within 87,000 miles of Mars.

Chairman Smith: “The passing of Comet Siding Spring near the surface of Mars provides an unusual opportunity for us to observe a comet up close and learn about its effects on nearby planets. NASA’s Planetary Science assets – including the MAVEN spacecraft which just entered Mars’ orbit last month – are in prime positions to gather data and record this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. These are the events that inspire our imaginations and remind us why we must continue investing in planetary science and NASA’s primary mission of space exploration.”

Chairman Smith has consistently voiced support for robust funding of planetary science missions within NASA’s budgets. Congress recently approved funding above the president’s budget request for FY2015.

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Smith Op-ed: Let Technology Lead the Way


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Jim Bridenstine


Mo Brooks


Paul Broun


Larry Bucshon


Chris Collins


Kevin Cramer


Ralph Hall


Randy Hultgren


Frank Lucas


Cynthia Lummis


Thomas Massie


Michael McCaul


Randy Neugebauer


Steven Palazzo


Bill Posey


Dana Rohrabacher


David Schweikert


Jim Sensenbrenner


Lamar Smith


Steve Stockman


Randy Weber