Faith-based reasoning

An administration official who censored and excised scientific reports on climate change has been defending himself before of a House committee this week.

A House committee released documents Monday that showed hundreds of instances in which a White House official who was previously an oil industry lobbyist edited government climate reports to play up uncertainty of a human role in global warming or play down evidence of such a role.

Mr. Cooney [was] chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Before joining the White House, he was the “climate team leader” for the American Petroleum Institute, the main industry lobby.

He was hired by Exxon Mobil after resigning in 2005 following reports on the editing in The New York Times. The White House said his resignation was not related to the disclosures.

Mr. Cooney said his past work opposing restrictions on heat-trapping gases for the oil industry had had no bearing on his actions once he joined the White House. “When I came to the White House,” he testified, “my sole loyalties were to the president and his administration.”

With this president and administration, isn’t that the same as loyalty to the oil industry?

Mr. Cooney, who has no scientific background, said he had based his editing and recommendations on what he had seen in good faith as the “most authoritative and current views of the state of scientific knowledge.”

The hearing also produced the first sworn statements from George C. Deutsch III, who moved in 2005 from the Bush re-election campaign to public affairs jobs at NASA. There he warned career press officers to exert more control over James E. Hansen, the top climate expert at the space agency.

Mr. Deutsch resigned last year after it was disclosed that he had never graduated from Texas A&M University, as his résumé on file at NASA said. He has since completed work for the degree, he said Monday.