the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Comet Gleick

Posted by Jeff Id on February 23, 2012

The Peter Gleick story continues on.  An anonymous reader left a link to a Washinton post examiner article indicating that the FBI has been contacted on the matter.  Whether they react may be the subject of a “high level directive” at this point.

The only people who compare this to Climategate are those sold on the Mannian “cause”.   This was an activist, committing fraud, alleging snail-mail reciept of a document which I fully believe he wrote, who was caught pretending to be a Heartland board member to gain access to any document he could which would put them in a bad light.   The liberal press had joined in the chorus full bore, despite the lack of damning evidence like “hide the decline” and now has failed to retract or apologize for any of it.

The Chicago-based free market Heartland Institute has called in the FBI and threatened other legal action against a global warming proponent who has admitted stealing emails from the institute in a bid to embarrass and discredit the group’s questioning of climate change.

Heartland officials tell Washington Secrets that they have been in talks with the FBI over the case against prominent global warming proponent Peter Gleick, co-founder of the respected Pacific Institute. Heartland is getting ready to reveal their probe of the affair, which they hope the FBI will act on.

The media bias on this matter has reached new levels.  I’m thinking Gleick is on the Christmas list this year.

39 Responses to “Comet Gleick”

  1. Stick to facts, Jeff. He wasn’t “caught”, he admitted himself what he had done. Why budget documents should put a registered charity “in a bad light” is a puzzle to all registered charities that do not earmark half a million for “government relations”. You’re of course free to believe whatever you want to believe about the authorship of the strategy document, leaps of faith are a common trait of the denialist crowd. But to deny that this situation is a mirror image of the so-called “Climategate” with its stolen documents is a nice display of hipocrisy.

    One thing is sure as hell though: Craig Idso will have a hard time convincing anyone of his impartiality from now on, assuming he even bothers to do so.

  2. Jeff condon said

    Grzegorz,

    He admitted because of information we don’t yet have in our possession. Deny that at your own risk.

  3. stan said

    Sure he wasn’t caught. Mosher fingered him as the perp. Peilke, jr. asked him straight up to admit or deny that he did it. With the spotlight focused right on him, the world looking at him and the evidence mounting against him, he folded and admitted it.

    Grzegroz, that smell is roasted credibility. Yours.

  4. Chris Law said

    @1

    Holy ….. cow. I am in the presence of a ” True Believer “. Awed …. just …Awed

  5. @Stan

    Of course, you’re free to redefine the meaning of the verb “catch” to whatever pleases you. But it doesn’t have to appeal to anyone other than you. Normally, “catching” implies a bit more than just suspicions.

  6. @Chris Law

    I’m not in the least surprised. I’m sure you must be used to hearing only the choir of “correct” voices.

  7. Brian H said

    GS is nothing if not aggressively shameless.

  8. @Brian H

    Because? What IS the difference between one set of stolen documents and another set of stolen documents, apart from their utility to advancing your ideological cause?

  9. amabo said

    @8
    The audience is now awaiting prrof that the climategate emails were stolen.

  10. Jeff, I think your link is to a source rather more dubious than the Washington Post.

  11. @Amabo

    If you really want to be strict about it, the Heartland documents haven’t been stolen either.

  12. David Jay said

    GS:

    Okay, if you want to split hairs, instead of stolen, how about simply: “obtained through fraudulent means”

  13. Frank K. said

    Nick Stokes said
    February 24, 2012 at 9:14 am

    “Jeff, I think your link is to a source rather more dubious than the Washington Post.”

    What link it that, Nick? To the Heartland Institute? Why is it “dubious”? And why isn’t the Washington post equally “dubious”?

  14. Michael Hart said

    GS
    Not knowing who the source was, we cannot say whether they had legitimate access to the FOIA emails. But the argument that they were publicly owned is a compelling one. The people who connived to break the law and stop them being released have been fingered by enquiries, but they cannot be prosecuted due to a short statute of limitations. The authenticity and content of the emails is not disputed. They are true.

    The HI says that the only interesting one of Gleiks documents is a libellous forgery. A lot of sensible disinterested people believe them. We only have Gleicks word about much of his story. How much is his word worth on this matter? Not very much at all.
    I think identity theft and wire fraud are concepts well enough described in US laws.
    However, the concepts of truth and honesty seem to be given short shrift in your arguments.

  15. RomanM said

    #13 Frank K.:

    In this rare case, Nick is correct. The news link is not to the Washington Post, but to the Washington Examiner, a different entity.

    Jeff should correct this.

  16. Jeff Condon said

    Roman and Nick,

    You have caught me not reading the thread carefully enough. Thanks for the correction.

  17. Jeff Condon said

    I am amazingly busy these days.

  18. @12, 14

    I’d say cracking a server to copy files without authorization fits the definition of “fraudulent means” pretty well. Unless of course you want to defend the idea that an “outraged insider” copied the files and then cracked the RealClimate server, went to Tomsk, Russia to upload them from a foreign site, and en route home stopped in Saudi Arabia to write to the Air Vent. Who knows, perhaps “outraged insiders” at UEA are the modern Jameses Bonds and net hackers all rolled into one. Perhaps they even become “outraged”, copy files months before, but then just sit and wait for the climate summit to pull their trick. And by pure accident manage to get instant publicity in Murdoch tabloid press worldwide etc. Who knows.

    The “tax payers’ property” argument has some merit, but then so has e.g. the “whistleblower reveals charity abuse” argument about Gleick. One could argue that he hasn’t done anything that’s not done by investigating journalists on a regular basis. I still fail to see why anyone should be expected to “retract and apologize” for reporting the contents of the HI files anyway. The host of this blog considered it appropriate to use the caption “Free Speech” when reporting the original UEA emails affair, but somehow the rest of the world is supposed to “retract and apologize” for just reporting what’s available to them?

  19. RomanM said

    #18 GS:

    I’d say cracking a server to copy files without authorization fits the definition of “fraudulent means” pretty well.

    If you have actual evidence than any sort of cracking was involved, by all means share it with us. In fact, I have a strong suspicion that the material was left on an open server at UEA during the summer of 2009. Would you consider the downloading of such open files as cracking? Hacking into RealClimate is, in my view, an unacceptable action, but it has no bearing on whether the files were initially taken by “fraudulent” means.

    The fact also stands that up until this day, there has been no indication any of the files were faked in order to produce a more negative image of the community that generated those files – the individuals were capable of creating that image by themselves.

    I don’t know why you mistakenly refer to “charity abuse” since Heartland is not or as far as I know ever intended to be a charitable organization. And investigative journalists are regularly break the law to get their story? Are you watching too many movies or living in some ill-informed dream world that such criminal behaviour is viewed as the norm? Not much one can say about that type of mindset….

  20. Layman Lurker said

    #18 Grzegorz

    Unless of course you want to defend the idea that an “outraged insider” copied the files and then cracked the RealClimate server, went to Tomsk, Russia to upload them from a foreign site, and en route home stopped in Saudi Arabia to write to the Air Vent. Who knows, perhaps “outraged insiders” at UEA are the modern Jameses Bonds and net hackers all rolled into one. Perhaps they even become “outraged”, copy files months before, but then just sit and wait for the climate summit to pull their trick. And by pure accident manage to get instant publicity in Murdoch tabloid press worldwide etc. Who knows.

    Ah, the eloquent ‘argument by rant’ wins the day. That master of logic and critical thinking Grzegorz does it again.

  21. Frank K. said

    Well, well – it appears that our buddy Peter Gleick was a Phisherman.

    Maybe we can send him a gift card to Bass Pro Shops.

  22. Frank K. said

    Layman Lurker said
    February 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    #18 Grzegorz

    Let Grzehorz rant away. The great Global Warming defunding is coming in November…

  23. Mark T said

    I do not share your optimism, Frank. I do believe, however, that a tourniquet will be applied, however brief.

    Mark

  24. Gras Albert said

    Jeff

    As I’m sure you’re aware, there is great speculation at Lucia’s, seemingly justified, that the Heartland board member Gleick impersonated was Harrison Hagan “Jack” Schmitt, former astronaut and Senator

    I understand that impersonating a Senator is a Federal crime in the US, if that identity fraud is then used in an obvious case of wire fraud under U.S.C. § 1343 might the consequences be significantly more severe?

    I wonder if Senator Malarkey considered the possibility before writing his letter to Heartland?

  25. clivere said

    Roman M – whilst I would support some of your sentiment I would question your statement about the server being open as rather a stretch.

    Based on information provided by the enquiries which has been corroborated by other sources including the CG releases the IT infrastructure used by CRU for backup is becoming increasingly clear. I have discussed this at BishopHill in the following thread.

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/1/17/more-from-norfolk-police.html

    The backup server was built using open source software called BackupPc which does have security issues if not set up right.

    I have also covered what went on at Realclimate in some detail at another thread at BishopHill. Realclimate was vulnerable to some security issues because they had not updated their wordpress installation with key security updates..

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/8/19/has-the-climategate-hacker-just-spoken.html?currentPage=3#comments

  26. @RomanM

    If you question the UEA version of events concering the emails, why do you accept the HI version of events concerning the strategy memo? You may strongly suspect open access to emails and docs — directly denying what UEA administration indicated as the circumstances of the breach — but then I may strongly suspect the HI “it’s a fake” argument is a mere damage control move on their behalf.

    I may be mistaken about their status, but as far as I know they’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit and NOT a private foundation. Therefore, they’re a grant-receiving “public charity”, subject to509(a)(1)-(4) IRS code. Lobbying, however, is not an activity covered by the tax-exemption regulations concerning non-profits.

    The “fraudulent means” theory of legitimacy is not legally sound, and as far as the moral aspect is concerned, it rests on the assumption of the “outraged insider”. Now, even if the emails/docs were copied by an insider — for which there’s no evidence either — any higher moral ground they might have taken was effectively destroyed by their subsequent actions. I might believe in a whistleblower if the “leaked” documents were not a pre-packaged batch of denialist propaganda fodder — carefully torn out of their context, well-chosen juicy bits for all the Limbaughs of this world to burst their vessels about. Just a few weeks before the Copenhagen summit too, now there’s a nice coincidence, so that there’s time for the message to sink in, but not much time to set the story straight.

    In comparison, Gleick looks like a boy scout who’s been naughty and is now so sorry about it.

  27. lucia said

    GS

    I’d say cracking a server to copy files without authorization fits the definition of “fraudulent means” pretty well.

    Is there evidence a server was “cracked”?

    If you question the UEA version of events concering the emails, why do you accept the HI version of events concerning the strategy memo?

    First: I question all versions of events. But these are elements in favor of accepting HI’s version and not UEA’s version.

    1) UEA took a heck of a long time coming up with any story of how things might have become public. To this day I don’t know any details of how they think the emails were released. HI announced the general method promptly: one of their people did send them out by email.
    2) UEA did and has not not post a long story including evidence of their version. HI now has– and has done so quickly.
    3) UEA has not posted anything that might be slightly embarrassing. HI posting the emails shows their security was embarrassingly lax and they were easy to dupe.
    4) HI appears to have called in the policing authorities promptly; UEA did not.

    Now could you answer why, if you accept the UEA version of events why do you questions HI’s?

    • @27

      Is there evidence a server was “cracked”?

      Is there evidence a strategy memo was “faked”?

      UEA took a heck of a long time coming up with any story of how things might have become public

      So? Computer forensics is a bit more complicated than just checking a “Sent” folder to make sure something hasn’t been mailed to a wrong recipient. What makes you think UEA staff knew exactly what happened right from the start? Especially as there was a considerable delay between the breach and the publication of the emails and docs?

      UEA did and has not not post a long story including evidence of their version. HI now has

      Really? They posted evidence that supports their version of events? Where can I find it? Or did you mean just “they posted their version of the story”?

      HI appears to have called in the policing authorities promptly; UEA did not.

      Wrong. Norfolk police — and unspecified “other agencies” — have been “investigating criminal offences in relation to a data breach at the University of East Anglia” right from the beginning (November 2009).

      I’ve already written why I don’t believe in the “whistleblower” theory — it’s a strange “whistleblower” that arranges evidence into nice propaganda fodder and waits until before a climate summit to release it, while they just must’ve known what “hide the decline”, “travesty” etc. really meant — unless of course you want to argue that the “whistleblower” was a janitor. Also, somebody did crack the RealClimate server, and posted from an IP address in Tomsk. Did the “whistleblower” contact hackers first? “I’m the outraged insider, I can’t stand how science is subverted here, so I’ll copy some stuff, sift through it to find catchy phrases that will work well in Murdoch tabloids, wait until right before the climate summit, and make my hacker friends crack the RealClimate server, so that the whole world can see my higher moral standards”. REALLY?

  28. lucia said

    I should have added: On the UEA issue, we have positive evidence that UEA staff routinely left lots of “sensitive” material on easily accessible public servers. To rebutt the presumption that material was just left on a publicly accessible server with no hacking whatsoever, UEA ought to provide positive evidence of some sort of crack-type-hack.

  29. Niels A Nielsen said

    Grzegorz: “Really? They posted evidence that supports their version of events? Where can I find it?”

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2012/gleick-fakegate-emails-posted/

  30. Niels A Nielsen said

    @31
    It is evidence of their story, as was Lucias claim.

    There are plenty of indications that Gleick forged the strategy document as is HI’s claim. It seems highly likely. For HI to be in possession of evidence of the forgery would seem highly unlikely, wouldn’t it?

    • @32

      “Their story” includes the allegation of forgery, the rest is not particularly dispjtable, since Gleick admitted to most of it, didn’t he? Your assertions about “plenty of indications” are not particularly convincing as long as you don’t specify these indications. And there are also strong indications to the opposite, like agreement in details between the allegedly forged confidential strategy memo and the budget documents, whose authenticity HI hasn’t questioned.

  31. Lucia’s certainly right about one important thing. Neither the UEA nor anybody supporting the theory of a break-in has given anything like a point to point scenario about how it might have/should have/could have occurred. Had anybody at UEA done so, the police investigating the incident could have looked for specific information in server logs, etc. Instead, the story line is ‘we wuz robbed’ without pointing to any evidence of forced entry, missing goods or a hasty exit.

    • @34

      Have you got sources in the Norfolk police or whoever is dealing with the investigation these days? Do you actually know what was reported to the police and what wasn’t? Because otherwise it’s still speculations. I can see at least one important detrimental factor in the investigation: the delay between the breach and the publication of the documents. In those four, five, six months, with a bit of bad luck, you could have a new server deployed, disks files replaced multiple times, daily backups overwritten etc. Also, I’ve worked at a university and I certainly wouldn’t say I haven’t found the IT practices there simple messy and insecure, at least at times.

      The “whistleblower” theory in turn just doesn’t hold water. No real whistleblower goes to hackers and Murdoch media with a prepared propaganda package that still can be easily debunked — if there’s time for doing it. It’s clear that all that counted then was the impact on the Copenhagen summit, not the credibility of the documents as such. And, pray, who’s this that you think released the second batch recently? The same morally offended whistleblower? Who just happened to wait for another climate summit to make use of his arsenal? That’s some “whistleblower”. Looks like he’s not in the least interested in setting the story straight, but simply carefully extecutes a FUD campaign plan.

  32. Niels A Nielsen said

    Grzegorz, just for the record, do you believe Gleicks story?

  33. Jeff Condon said

    #37,

    Tiny keyholes allow tiny arguments to squeeze through; Mosh spotted the scam because of the idiotic letter.

    As the great Mosh said, Gleick is a genius!

  34. @38

    How does that disprove the “anonomous source” possibility?

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