NASA, Obama Team Dispute Reports of Tension

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Barack Obama's transition team and NASA on Friday disputed a report suggesting there is tension between them over inquiries by Obama about cost cutting.

The report by the Orlando Sentinel says NASA Administrator Mike Griffin was not cooperating with Obama's team and that the friction came to a head last week. Griffin and Lori Garver, the head of Obama's NASA review team, clashed at the NASA library during a meeting last week, according to the Sentinel article.

"This report, largely supported by anonymous sources and hearsay, is simply wrong," Griffin said in a written statement. "We are fully cooperating with transition team members."

An Obama transition aide told that NASA officials have been mostly helpful over the past several weeks, and any "issues" are addressed with the White House. The aide, however, wouldn't say whether issues have cropped up nor whether the argument detailed in the Sentinel report took place. reported last week that Obama's team was asking the space agency how much money could be saved by canceling the Ares 1 rocket, which would be a core component in the Constellation program's effort to return astronauts to the moon by 2020 and later send them to Mars.

The Sentinel reported that those inquiries sent Griffin into a defensive mode. The article said he is "scripting" NASA employees and contractors on how to respond to transition team inquiries.

The report said Griffin told heads of companies working for NASA to either tell Obama's aides they support Constellation or decline to talk about alternatives.

According to witnesses, Griffin told Garver at the argument last week: "If you are looking under the hood, then you are calling me a liar."

Garver is a former associate administrator for NASA who currently is president of Capital Space LLC.

Click here to read the Sentinel report.