Congress, NASA, White House

Isakowitz is definitely out

If anyone had any doubts about whether Steve Isakowitz was still in the running to become NASA administrator, the White House wiped them away with an announcement about a new set of nominations. No, the administration didn’t announce their pick for NASA administrator, but did announce a number of selections for posts in the Energy Department, adding at the end: “President Obama also announced that Steve Isakowitz, the Chief Financial Officer at the Department of Energy, will continue serving in his current role.”

This, plus the selection earlier this week of Scott Gration as a special envoy to Sudan, means that half of the “conventional wisdom” shortlist of four candidates are ruled out, leaving Charles Bolden and Lester Lyles and the remaining candidates. (Plus Mae Jemison, according to one report. Not to mention who else might be under consideration but hidden from view.) Speaking of Gration, The New Republic reports that Gration “had his heart set on running NASA” but “defense lobbyists scotched the idea”. (Why defense lobbyists would be weighing in on Gration, or the NASA administrator position in general, is a detail overlooked by TNR.)

And Sen. Bill Nelson, who was reportedly the one originally opposed to Gration and then the one who took credit for having “taken down” Isakowitz, has other issues to deal with: hacking of computers in his office, reportedly traced back to China based on the IP addresses that the attacks came from. Perhaps the Chinese are curious about Nelson’s ideas of who should run NASA…

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