But Ronald R. Rigby Jr., the leader of Perkin-Elmer's mirror-polishing team, who is now retired, said he knew of no technical report on the mirror that ever made use of a cut-down interferogram, and he strongly insisted, contrary to the Allen report, that the discordant data from ancillary test equipment "was shared with NASA."
For instance, Mr. Rigby said, the walls of his office were covered with copies of all the interferograms, including the discordant ones. "They were aware," he said of the NASA inspectors. "Anybody who came into my office could see them. There was no attempt on anybody's part to ever hide any of that information."
A senior official at Hughes Danbury Optical Systems Inc., the successor company, said he knew of a report on the mirror that contained a cut-down interferogram, but insisted that this cropping was a normal step done because the ancillary device was used only for measuring the mirror's center. The critical area was enlarged and the fringes eliminated, he said, to better reveal the area of interest.
"From the beginning," the official said, the NASA inspector general "took the position that this was purposeful act to hide information" when it was standard procedure.
Federal officials say such disputed reports are only a piece, though an important piece, of the evidence the government has gathered.