John McCaslin

So boasts the State Department, which after the 2001 terrorist attacks began issuing new state-of-the-art passports with digitized images and other enhanced security features. And because the new technology wasn't available at U.S. embassies, previous overseas passport issuance is now transferred to a single processing center - in Portsmouth, N.H.

More and more Americans, meanwhile, are being issued U.S. passports. Inside the Beltway on Thursday obtained new statistics showing more than 16.2 million passports were issued in 2008. This is up from 8.8 million issued in 2004.

GO FIGURE?

Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says President Obama indirectly attacked his own nominee for White House science adviser - John P. Holdren - when signing a presidential memorandum this week on protecting scientific integrity in government policy.

How so?

Mr. Obama said the memorandum "is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda - and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology."

Says Mr. Ebell: "President Obama's goal is laudable, yet the scientist he wants to put in charge of implementing this memorandum ... is the very model of a scientist who puts his political agenda ahead of sound science."

The CEI director charges that Mr. Holdren has, of late, "distorted, concealed, exaggerated, and misrepresented the scientific data in order to promote his extreme global warming and energy-rationing agenda."


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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