CNN is running a story today entitled CNN.com - Shuttle engineers warned of burning wing - Feb. 27, 2003.
It appears that serious doubts about the original analysis of wing damage to the shuttle were made right up until reentry, including a recomendation that they examine the damage
prior to reentry via an EVA and to prepare for a potential bailout.
It appears that these exchanges amongst shuttle engineers weren't forwarded up the chain of command. Sigh.