Pubic record (Administrative Record, August 6-9, 2001, Natural Resources Defense Council v. Evans)


E-mail exchange between a representative of the operational branch of the U.S. Navy and an official of the Office of Naval Research, upon receiving comments from ONR-sponsored marine mammal scientists “X” criticizing some aspects of the marine mammal science on the effects of noise in an environmental review of a U.S. Navy program.

[Operational U.S. Navy representative]: “[ONR official], is the Navy funding any of X's research? Did they say anything to you on this issue?”

[ONR official]: “[Op. Navy rep.], yes, I fund their research. They [Researchers X] did mention that they would be sending in comments on [the Navy program] but I did not get a copy of what they sent. I gather the input was not entirely positive.”

[Op. Navy rep.]: “[ONR official], their comments were in the attachment. Yes, they were negative and in my opinion, out of the box. If they are funded by the Navy, the proper way to bitch is via the sponsor (you), and not in a letter to [the regulator]. All of the data cited was run by your office...A letter from [Researchers X] to [the regulator] is nothing more than an attempt to discredit the Navy and stop [the Navy program]. Maybe I'm missing the big picture, what say you?”

[ONR official]: “[Op. Navy rep.], I told them as much in a pretty scorching phone call. I think they had some inkling that they might be about to take our money and make themselves look good to the enviros too, but I can't prove that...Scientists are like that, they'll review anything they're asked to review and give their honest, sometimes harsh critique, without knowing any of the politics or circumstances. Its [sic] the way you do things in peer review of a colleague's paper and they just apply the process to everything they read...”.