CNBC Non-Interview Could Come Up in Waxman Hearing

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The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing Tuesday on "allegations of political interference with the work of government climate change scientists."

According to a committee staffer, one of the issues that could come up during the hearing is access to the media and some e-mails that suggested the administration was keeping a government scientist who did not toe the line on the administration's view of global warming and hurricanes from making an appearance on CNBC.

In October 2005, CNBC asked for an interview with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Scientist Tom Knutson on whether global warming was contributing to the number or intensity of hurricanes. NOAA is under the Department of Commerce.

According to one of the e-mails that surfaced, a Commerce press officer, after learning that Knutson believes there is some connection between the two, responds to the interview request--forwarded from the NOAA--by asking "why can't we have one of the other guys, then?" The interview request was ultimately denied.

Knutson is not on the witness list, but the chairman of the committee, Henry Waxman of California, is the one who told the Commerce Department in September that he had seen the e-mails and asked for all internal documents relating the the government's position on global warming and an explanation of how Commerce decides which scientists get to speak with the press.