On July 29, 2009, Phil Jones emailed Tom Peterson of NOAA (1248902393.txt)
… I have a question for you. I’m going to write a small document for our web site to satisfy (probably the wrong word) the 50 or so FOI/EIR requests we’ve had over the weekend. I will put up the various agreements we have with Met Services.
The “document” was subsequently put up at the CRU website here and, as Jones said, it was “small” (1257 words plus references). Jones put up four scrappy agreements, none of which included language that supported his refusal to send me station data – that their confidentiality agreements precluded transmission of the data to a “non-academic”.
In today’s Times, the work involved in creating this “small document” of 1257 words increased to over 1000 hours.
Last year in July alone the unit received 60 FoI requests from across the world. With a staff of only 13 to cope with them, the demands were accumulating faster than they could be dealt with. “According to the rules,” says Jones, “you have to do 18 hours’ work on each one before you’re allowed to turn it down.” It meant that the scientists would have had a lot of their time diverted from research.
Jones blamed his notorious emails (e.g. his May 29, 2008 request that Mann, Ammann, Briffa and Wahl delete their correspondence on AR4 or his Feb 2005 refusal of station data to Warwick Hughes) on the provocation arising from the July 29, 2009 FOI requests for confidential agreements:
But he pleads provocation…. It was pure irritation, he says, that provoked him and others to write the notorious emails apparently conspiring to destroy or withhold data. “It was just frustration. I thought the requests were just distractions. It was taking us away from our day jobs. It was written in anger.”
And oh yes, Jones’ correspondent, Tom Peterson of NOAA, wrote back:
Yes, Friday-Saturday I noticed that ClimateFraudit had renewed their interest in you. I was thinking about sending an email of sympathy, but I was busy preparing for a quick trip to Hawaii ...
Not Tahiti, as some speculated.