Charles of WUWT offers a new and interesting theory of the file: that the file was not “stolen”, it was “found”. See
here. Charles’ epithet: “Never assume malice where stupidity will do”.
Here’s his scenario.
The collation of files was made by the university in connection with the FOI appeal – an appeal that they were going to thoroughly document because of all the publicity during the summer. They then used the intranet server to share the file among interested parties for the FOI review on Nov 13.
And then between Nov 13 and Nov 17, someone came along and found this astonishing file sitting on the server. Sound impossible?
Read last summer’s posts on the “Mole” at CRU. Phil Jones had refused to provide station data claiming that it was covered by all sorts of confidentiality agreements (though he couldn’t find the agreements and couldn’t remember who they were with.
One day in late July, I discovered that they had left station data versions from 2003 and 1996 on their server – without webpage links but accessible all the same. They were stale versions of the requested data, but this data was supposedly hugely “confidential”. They were just sitting in cyberspace waiting for someone to download.
Charles hypothesizes that that’s what happened here. No hacker, no mole.
This theory could be disproved one way or another by the university’s FOI department. I’m sure that someone will ask them about their role, if any, in compiling the zip file.