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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

What is Going on at AP? Sen. Collins says O'Keefe not Target of GAO Audit Request

U.S. News & World Report's Paul Bedard, author of the mag's influential "Washington Whispers" column, reports that Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, recently asked GAO to audit NASA's credit card expenses. Soon thereafter, an AP story from its Baton Rouge bureau cited four unnamed sources claiming the probe is aimed at former NASA head Sean O'Keefe, the new chancellor at Louisana State University.

Only problem is, according to Bedard, Collins, who asked GAO to conduct the audit, says her request had nothing to do with O'Keefe. Washington Whispers quotes O'Keefe confidently predicting the probe won't find anything out of order with his expenses while at NASA, as well as this lament from retired NBC reporter Fred Francis, who is now a NASA consultant:

"After 38 years as a journalist, I wish I had the talent of an AP reporter from Baton Rouge who was able to get four unnamed sources in Washington to trash someone. The story was just flat wrong."

Even so, Bedard says AP is sticking with its story. You can read Bedard's complete item by clicking on the headline above this posting.