December 13, 2010, - 5:21 pm

Affirmative Action?: Meet Obama’s New Top NASA Scientist, Waleed Abdalati, But . . .

By Debbie Schlussel

True to the asinine Charles S. Bolden, Obama’s NASA chief’s declaration that NASA’s primary mission is outreach to the Muslim and Arab worlds, the Obama Adminstration picked an Arab–whose surname indicates that he might be Muslim (but it’s not certain)–as its top scientist.  Figures.  You’ll notice there’s a “But” in my headline above.  That’s because, as noted in a story I broke on this site, the Clinton and both Bush Administrations NASA employed the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief Iraqi spy (who worked on Saddam Hussein’s behalf and later ran a charity that sends millions to Al-Qaeda and HAMAS) as one of their top scientists at the space agency.  That’s far more scary. It’s like no-one cares, despite the fact that many of our NASA activities are highly classified and lead to important discoveries or concern important missions that we need to protect.

It sounds like Abdalati has plenty of scientific credentials . . . if the study of ice clouds is a NASA priority (and since Obama’s NASA chief said Islamic outreach is the primary function of NASA, maybe those ice clouds contain 72 virgins or a secret zabihah halal cryo-shawarmeh stand). But so do a lot of scientists who’d love to be the top NASA doc. Was his choice an affirmative action pic in pursuit of the announced purpose of Obama’s NASA as outreach to the Muslim world and Arab street? I doubt we’ll find out. What are his politics? What’s his background? His bios all over the net are carefully cleansed of such information, and it leaves a huge question mark. On the other hand, maybe he keeps his nose out of Arabist politics (which would be a good thing), but I doubt it. What do you think? Reagan & Bush practiced pan-Arabist politics with NASA, so I’d hardly put it beyond Obama to continue doing the same. Here’s NASA’s press release:

Subject: NASA Names Waleed Abdalati As Agency’s New Chief Scientist
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 11:00:44 -0500
From: NASA News
To: NASA News

Dec. 13, 2010

David Weaver
Headquarters, Washington

RELEASE: 10-332


WASHINGTON — NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Waleed
Abdalati the agency’s chief scientist, effective Jan. 3. Abdalati
will serve as the principal adviser to the NASA administrator on
agency science programs, strategic planning and the evaluation of
related investments.

Abdalati is currently the director of the Earth Science and
Observation Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He also
is an associate professor in the university’s geography department.
Between 1998 and 2008, Abdalati held various positions at NASA in the
areas of scientific research, program management and scientific
management. His research has focused on the study of polar ice cover
using satellite and airborne instruments. He has led or participated
in nine field and airborne campaigns in the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Abdalati will represent all of the scientific endeavors in the agency,
ensuring they are aligned with and fulfill the administration’s
science objectives. He will advocate for NASA science in the context
of those broader government science agendas and work closely with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget.

“We are excited to have Waleed return to the agency during such a
critical transition period,” Bolden said. “His experience, wide-range
of scientific knowledge and familiarity with NASA will greatly
benefit the agency. He will be a true advocate for our many and
diverse science research and exploration programs.”

During his first tenure at NASA, Abdalati served as the head of the
Cryospheric Sciences Branch at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight
Center in Greenbelt, Md. He also managed the Cryospheric Sciences
Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Abdalati is a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in
Environmental Sciences, a joint venture between the University of
Colorado at Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. His research examines how and why the Earth’s ice
cover is changing and what those changes mean for life on our planet.

Abdalati received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from
Syracuse University in 1986, a Master of Science in aerospace
engineering sciences from the University of Colorado in 1991, and a
doctorate in 1996 from the Department of Geography at the University
of Colorado, where he was one of the first graduates of the
university’s Program in Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences.

He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and NASA-related technical reports, with approximately 1,500 citations in the peer-reviewed literature. Abdalati has received numerous awards
for his research and service to NASA, including the Presidential
Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a NASA Exceptional
Achievement Medal, and two NASA Group Achievement Awards.

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31 Responses

“You’ll notice there’s a ‘But’ in my headline above.”

Nope, I didn’t notice it – because it’s not there.

Mike on December 13, 2010 at 5:26 pm

I guess the ‘but’ is the question mark in the title.

Unfortunately this may be a twofer in political correctness. Not only is this probably affirmative action, but, considering this person’s background, it probably means that NASA’s mission will, at least to some extent, be redirected to ‘fight’ global warming, or as they now say, ‘climate change

I wonder why he stopped in 2008. Did he fail a security exam at that time?

Little Al on December 13, 2010 at 5:43 pm

We must always remember that the 72 virgins muslims believe in are also 72 years old.

Pamela on December 13, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Debbie, this reeks of affirmative action. Can you remind me how Obama got into Harvard Law School, how he got to be editor of HLR (where he never published one article under his own name), and who paid for it all?

A1 on December 13, 2010 at 6:26 pm

These NASA guys Obama has appointed could declassify whole realms (and I mean realms) of NASA technology: rockets, guidance systems, sensors, gravity maps, radiation records from satellites – lots of stuff that gives the U.S. a commercial or security edge over other nations. They only need a single person in the executive branch to agree with their choices and its all done.

Solomon2 on December 13, 2010 at 6:42 pm

This really comes as no surprise. The US Government always seems to want to give away all our technological and military secrets. If it’s not to the Muslims, it’s to China.

“Oops! We don’t understand how they could have gotten so far ahead of us.”

John on December 13, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Many former presidents like Bush did damage to our national security with their pandering to muslims but it seems that Obama wants to outdo them all combined. And we worry about wikileaks?

Quote from article: “His research examines how and why the Earth’s ice cover is changing and what those changes mean for life on our planet.” So he got all those awards by simply spreading lies about global warming? How convenient.

Little Al, you were saying…

theShadow on December 13, 2010 at 7:14 pm

What’s the problem? Didn’t muslims invent math or something?

Anonna on December 13, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    or something.

    Certainly NOT “math”. One of the most famous LIES of islam is that muslims invented algebra and the concept of zero, as well as the falsely named “arabic” numerals…

    Most of these things were invented/discovered by Hindu Indians, some LONG before the advent of “islam”.

    Doda McCheesle on December 14, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Actually, no. Muslims in their Golden Age translated mathematical and scientific texts from other civilisations. It enabled them to build on what they learnt.

    Anorak on December 14, 2010 at 2:40 pm

It’s a NASA tradition starting with Werner Von Braun in 1958, the year NASA was created.

There is NO Santa Claus on December 13, 2010 at 9:35 pm

So, NASA hires the Moslems, and then the Moslems pass the technology to build intercontinental ballistic missiles to their pals back home. Nice job, Obama.

RT on December 13, 2010 at 11:18 pm

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wulijun on December 14, 2010 at 1:19 am

This is not a joke is it?

poptoy on December 14, 2010 at 7:57 am

I see he is a compatriot of James Hansen, The Weather Clown, who is the individual primarily responsible for hysterical proclamations on global warming. Not real scientists.

pat on December 14, 2010 at 11:35 am

Political correctness and appeasement has gone way too far under Obama. how would you feel if you had been a longtime employee of NASA or an American born with a non muslim sounding name,that was much more qualified for this appointment. Reverse Discrimination at its worst.

Sal on December 14, 2010 at 11:49 am

This guy has pretty good credentials including several awards from NASA, a phd and years of experience. So what’s the problem? Are you gonna cry affirmative action whenever someone who is not white, Christian, or a man, gets a job? Why don’t you actually go to nasa’s website and take a loom at his credentials.

Nak on December 14, 2010 at 12:26 pm

If he’s a practicing Muslim, he’s most likely a problem.

son of ape and pig on December 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm

He really doesn’t have to know anything. Obama only wants NASA to be outreach to other Muslims.

burt on December 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Perhaps he’s seeding the clouds to rain zam zam water? Are you up with that? Could be useful for your beautiful rants.

Tony Gieske on December 15, 2010 at 1:46 am

Just stumbled on this. What pure stupidity to be concerned about his religious affiliation. Yes, he was a name that, to a thorough bigot, as you seem to be, can be considered scary-sounding. As it turns out, he’s a U.S. high school grad, has not even a trace of a foreign accent, and an accomplished scientist whose work on ice sheet disappearance is critical in studies of climate change. OK, if you’re really scared about expertise in climate change, then just admit that. So you bet there is political bias in this appointment, but the bias is climate change science!

Gee, did you even try getting in touch with him? I’m sure he would have answered your questions, so you’d have real answers to report instead of made-up worries.

DL: Only a moron goes by accents. A wise person goes by ideology, which in the case of Islam, includes religion. Get a clue. Are you saying that only those with accents are dangerous? No-one with an American accent is bad? Are you that xeonophobic and idiotic? DS

Doug Lassiter on February 17, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Let me ‘splain what a bunch of idiots you are. I was Waleed’s neighbor in Maryland. He is nothing even close to a Muslim fundamentalist. In fact, I’m pretty sure he attended a christian church. Either way, he is more of an American than any of the xenophobic jerks on here who are willing to judge someone by the spelling of their name. Does that make it OK for me to assume you’re an imbecile since you look funny or because you can’t spell?
Get your head out of your ass so you can see what’s happening. And stop spreading you hate, ’cause god hates haters.

Max Q on March 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Nidal Malik Hasan (a.k.a. the Fort Hood Shooter) was also “more of an American than any of the xenophobic jerks”, a “mostly very quiet person” and a fine neighbor from almost all accounts. He just happened to read the Koran a lot, but hey, what’s wrong with that.

    Good for you, you have already gotten your own head out of your ass, being able to see what lots among the rest of us cannot see: That giving a top scientific position in the top US scientific agency to a moslem has nothing wrong, specially when there certainly isn’t any other, better, equally-qualified, truly American scientist. And maybe you also believe that Obama is a Christian too.

    Min Q on June 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm

This might be the first time in my 26 years on Earth that I’ve ever responded in a forum type setting. I found this random post as I was following up on the career of the last professor & class I had at CU-Boulder; as I graduated in Dec. ’10. Waleed Abdalati is a true scientist, teacher and an individual with extreme attention to detail; as if words ever do justice….. I was humbled listening and learning from him as he explained remote sensing applications. Clearly Waleed and others in his field are the top echelon of researchers attempting to bring more clarity of our place in the universe, which starts with attempting to understand the systems that govern our small planet & ecosystems. Why the animosity always in our culture? To those bringing the term “Muslim” and “affirmative action” into the equation seems so absurd from an individual who listened to this man speak many hours each week. Where you there? There was no single drop of religious innuendo, accent, etc. We focused on science; empirical data and science alone. As a result of this course; by the way a combo of undergrad/graduate students; I have become more conscience and knowledgeable regarding what has, is and may occur around me at any moment. We need to think more big picture; but always be conscience that the big picture results from all the little moving parts of the “little picture.” The synergy and the balance/equilibrium is what will bring longevity to our species and planet. Let us all promote new avenues of learning and exploration; for that facilitates humility and promotes new seeds of growth for our civilization. Waleed is another ‘strong’ warrior seeking truth, depth and a foundation to understand how we as a species (and all the others) have come to be where we are right now: here and now (2011). We need to stop with the distractions; the easy explanations; the easy rebuttals. It’s easy to sling a quick and sometimes eloquent rebuttal. But if one does not know the facts, they simply distort, taint and slow down the mechanism of learning. And time is certainly precious. We all know this. No more speed bumps of absurdness. We are all ONE. The more we can learn and perceive, the better. Seems straight right? Curiosity leads to experimentation and discovery, which leads to new knowledge. Of course nothing is 100% black and white; for instance, gravity isn’t technically a law of physics. But every step forward is a step forward. The more we know the better. We are one. I hope that this motion continues. Hell, shit is just to interesting not to explore….

CU Alum on August 9, 2011 at 5:48 am

I just thought I would chime in, as I am also a former student of Waleed’s. Never in my life have I had a teacher or professor who is so respected and well-liked by his/her students. He is very much an American, and in my opinion, more so than all of the racists and ignorant nut-cases on this page. Do some research before you spray hate.

another CU alum on September 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Debbie is right, Waleed Albati is a muzzie so he must be kicked out of America!

G-D Bless Israel!

IDF-Soldier on October 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm

What a hateful, ignorant post. Just because his name has Arab connotations does not mean he is bad person, terrorist, etc.

What I find funny is that if he was a Jewish man, your comments would be regarded as antisemitic. But just because his name is of Arab origins you take it for granted to insult his achievements, intentions and integrity. How very Nazi-like of you.

There are bad and good Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. Some Christians practice Christianity but they themselves are not good human beings. The same goes for every religion as well as people’s descent and origins i.e. some Indians are mean, some are nice, some Ukrainians are bad apples, some are amazing people. Avoid misjudging people based on how they look, what their name sounds like, their religion, etc. Then again, it’s hard to do that since the US has an unfortunately rich, racist history.

And about Muslims inventing Algebra, read the following. Don’t worry, it’s not from an “Islamic” website:

Erzulie on July 25, 2012 at 2:46 am

Hello, super geniuses. My name is Joe Perry and I can tell you that Dr. Waleed Abdalati grew up across the street from me in New Hartford, NY, one of the most rock-ribbed Republican leaning towns in upstate NY. He and my brother were best friends as young children. He is not some kind of stealth extremist – he is a very decent, very bright individual who worked hard to get where he is. Not that he needs defending from crypto-racists… just thought I’d chime in. jp

Joe Perry on August 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Haha, as a non-american living in Holland, reading all this really makes me pity those who are so full of blind hate that they can’t see straight. What the hell is wrong with you people?! You are afraid of muslims and arabs because you think they hate you for being american. In reality, you are the ones full of hate as even a name brings you to rage! Who are the people to be feared most, the muslims/arabs or you, the haters who judge people by their names?

Of I were president of the US, I would clean up by kicking the haters out and cheriching the muslims and arabs who contribute to science and prosperity!


Pim on August 28, 2012 at 7:37 am

Epic! I found this site on yahoo poking around for something totally unrelated,
and now I’m going to need to go back and go all the old material.
Good bye free time this morning, but this was a
truly spectacular find.

Vishakh Beharry on October 19, 2013 at 4:43 am

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