The latest attempt by this White House to muzzle the truth isn’t about Haditha, domestic spying, or torture–it’s about salmon. That’s right, salmon.

It seems the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration–already infamous for reprimanding scientists who speak out on global warming–was none too pleased when a spokesman in Seattle made “positive comments about decisions by a federal judge and federal scientists that ran contrary to Bush administration policies on salmon protection.”

The day after the Seattle official was quoted in the Washington Post, the NOAA issued a directive that only three political appointees in the DC headquarters are permitted to speak about endangered salmon–and none are scientists or officials who actually participate in the salmon studies.

Headquarters spokesman Jeff Donald explained that the new policy was undertaken because “some folks were trying to consolidate a little bit and make sure everything we were putting out was accurate and as up to date as possible.”

Well, I’m sold, aren’t you? Nothing like a little consolidation by the Bush administration so that we receive accurate information.

And consider, if you would, the implications of this action. If they are willing to muzzle people over salmon, what might they do when the stakes are really high?

The New York Times wrote in an editorial on Haditha yesterday that “Americans need to be told what steps are now being taken, besides remedial ethics training, to make sure that such crimes against civilians and such deliberate falsifications of the record do not recur….[And] straight answers on what went wrong at Haditha and who, besides those at the bottom of the chain of command, will be required to take responsibility for it.”

One source in the Pentagon has already acknowledged that the ethics training is simply being undertaken “to make it look like we are doing something for the public.”

So does anyone–of any political stripe–still believe that this administration has any intention of giving us even an approximation of the truth on any matter of consequence? If so, I know of a great ocean view property in Iowa I’d like to sell you. And you don’t have to worry about any endangered salmon there either–because they fly. Just ask the NOAA.