Spoiler alert: Because my source’s data was accurate.
Two weeks ago, in a deliberately provocative post entitled “84% of all MARAD employees who testify before Congress commit perjury,” I posted accurate — and extraordinarily disappointing — data about the progress of the restoration of sea year for KP midshipmen. In that post I asserted that Acting Maritime Administrator Szabat’s testimony to Congress about the “progress” made towards restoration of sea yea was “not remotely accurate.” I stated that I was very confident in my data, but acknowledged that because of MARAD’s lack of transparency, it was possible that my data was wrong. So I made an open offer to MARAD:
I will correct [my post] if any errors are called to my attention. Bottom line is that I am very confident that the overall picture that this data presents is far more accurate than MARAD’s data. But, I’ll invite MARAD to prove me wrong: If MARAD will provide a list of every ship presently carrying USMMA midshipman and the number of USMMA midshipman on each ship, I will gladly publish it on this blog. I can assure you that MARAD can easily put its hands on such a list.
MARAD has not taken me up on this offer. In fact, this is all I’ve heard from MARAD:
Ask yourself this: Why won’t MARAD release the actual data? The Academy Training Representatives know the names of all ships that are carrying USMMA midshipmen and how many midshipmen are on each ship. They have this information at their fingertips — their job requires them to know every ship that has midshipmen on it.
Szabat testified before Congress that “Collectively, the companies that have been approved, or are applying [N.B. for approval to host USMMA midshipmen on their ships], represent 84 percent of the commercial Sea Year training provided before the suspension.” I demonstrated in the “commit perjury” post that this statistic was meaningless. Best case scenario for Szabat: he inadvertently left Congress with a misunderstanding of the true nature of the restoration of sea year. Worst case scenario: He deliberately misled Congress. Either way, it is incumbent upon him to correct the record. He should correct the record with Congress and he should make that correction public. It’s the least we should expect from the Executive Director of MARAD and its Acting Maritime Administrator. And if he won’t be accountable to Congress, then Congress should demand that he be held accountable. It should insist that Secretary of Transportation Chao hold him accountable or it should take advantage of its recently revived rule and hold him directly accountable by cutting his pay to one dollar per year.