Once again, the office of Sen. James Inhofe (Denier-Okla.) has put out a press release riddled with misstatements, this one attacking the nation’s top climate scientist James Hansen.

Their last release was notable for the outright lies and distortions by Inhofe and his top staffer, Marc Morano.

Now they are making stuff up about Hansen, claiming the Bush Administration did not try to muzzle him, when they clearly did, as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee documented in a December 2007 report. Somehow I think that report — which is based on “over 27,000 pages of documents from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Commerce Department,” two investigative hearings, and the depositions and interviews of key officials — is a tad more credible than the words of some former NASA engineer.

It is absurd for Inhofe to have a blaring headline that “Hansen’s Former NASA Supervisor” says Hansen “was never muzzled,” when this guy does not appear to have been Hansen’s supervisor (he “did not have the authority to give him his annual performance evaluation,” an authority possessed by every supervisor I ever had in government — see also NASA’s Gavin Schmidt here) — and in any case, had a position above Hansen only from 1982-1994, a full decade before the muzzling occurred!

I don’t want to waste a lot of time debunking pathological make-stuff-uppers like Inhofe and Morano, but let me point out one representative lie. The Morano post blares:

NYT’s Revkin chides Hansen for promoting sea level claims that are not ‘even physically possible’

But let’s go the link and see what Revkin actually wrote.

This is a post by David Lewis of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network on an interview Mike Tidwell did with me and Revkin that turned into a little debate. I meant to blog on this earlier but I didn’t have a transcript. It gets further in to some of the disagreements I have with Revkin. But let’s cut to the chase.

Revkin replied to the post as follows:

Jim Hansen is a remarkable climate scientist, and now also a passionate climate campaigner, and has been a trusted source of mine since 1988. But his views of some of the science are not always in sync with those of scientists focused on specific questions. Sea level is a case in point. Jim’s views are clearly at the upper boundary of what many glaciologists and oceanographers together see as realistic, or even physically possible, in a warming world.

Whether you agree with Revkin or Hansen on the science, Revkin never asserted that Hansen promoted sea level claims that were not even physically possible. Revkin is saying that Hansen’s views are at the upper boundary of what “many” scientists say is physically possible. Okay. It’s an upper bound in the view of many experts. I won’t disagree with that.

The Inhofe/Morano headline is simply a lie. Like pretty much everything else they publish.

I assume the media will ignore this latest fabricated smear, but in any event it’s worth remembering that, as I blogged earlier this month, the American Meteorological Society just awarded Hansen its highest honor, the 2009 Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal [PDF]:

For outstanding contributions to climate modeling, understanding climate change forcings and sensitivity, and for clear communication of climate science in the public arena.

Shame on Inhofe and Morano for trying to tarnish the reputation of this great man.

[Note: On RealClimate, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt writes: “Dr. Theon appears to have retired from NASA in 1994, some 15 years ago. Until yesterday I had never heard of him (despite working with and for NASA for the last 13 years). His insights into both modelling and publicity appear to date from then, rather than any recent events. He was not Hansen’s ‘boss’ (the director of GISS reports to the director of GSFC, who reports to the NASA Administrator).”]

This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.