Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) is taking NASA to task for what he believes may be a violation of a law that he helped put on the books 2 years ago.
Wolf wants NASA to bar any Chinese citizens from attending a meeting next week of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), an international body whose membership includes several Chinese organizations. In a letter sent to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden yesterday, Wolf said he was concerned that Chinese officials were planning to attend a gathering of the CEOS Strategic Implementation Team being held at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, from 12 to 14 March. If those officials were to attend the meeting, Wolf noted in his letter, it would violate a provision in a 2011 law that prohibits NASA from hosting Chinese officials at any NASA facilities. According to that law, the only way the administration can get around this restriction is by certifying to the House of Representatives and Senate appropriations committees at least 14 days in advance of a visit that the visit poses no threat to national security.
"Because it is now less than 14 days before the commencement of the CEOS meeting and no such certification has been provided, the hosting of any Chinese visitors would be in clear violation of the law," Wolf says in his letter. "Accordingly, I expect any participation by official Chinese visitors will be promptly cancelled."