In the comments to a previous post, an anonymous reader cites an article at Media Matters for America, a fairly new organization devoted to identifying perceived [right-wing] biases in media reports. According to that article, one of the more, ah, embarrassing images from Kerry’s KSC visit, where the senator is in a bunnysuit on all fours crawling out of a hatch, was not posted on KSC’s web site, although 13 other images from his visit were. The implication from the report was that this image was somehow leaked to the media.
To check this, I went to the KSC PAO multimedia web site this morning and did a search on “John Kerry”. The result: “No records were found matching your search criteria.” I assumed that this was a momentary glitch, but apparently the images have been permanently removed. SpaceRef reports that the images were removed today by order of the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC) because of concerns that the images could violate Hatch Act rules that limit the political activities of federal employees. SpaceRef has archived nine of the images that had been posted; none of them feature a crawling Kerry.
I’m not surprised that at least some of the images were removed, particularly those that showed Kerry in a town hall forum campaign stop at the KSC visitors’ center. It may have been simpler for the OSC to tell NASA to yank all the images than determine whether a tour of the shuttle by one retired and three current senators (Glenn, Kerry, Graham, Nelson), two of whom flew on the shuttle, was a campaign stop or a standard VIP tour. However, I bet you won’t see any (vice-)presidential candidates visit NASA centers for the foreseeable future.