The Vergano FOI Request

On Oct 21, 2010, Dan Vergano submitted an FOI request to George Mason University for email records of Edward Wegman and Yasmin Said under the Virginia FOI, requesting both expedited treatment and waiver of fees. On November 4, 2010, GMU sent him a flash-drive with the requested information, which included Wegman’s correspondence with a journal about Said et al 2008.

Vergano’s original request was as follows:

Oct 21, 2010 ATI
FOIA REQUEST
Fee benefit requested
Fee waiver requested
Expedited processing requeste

Dear Mr. Hunt:

Pursuant to the Virginia Freedom oflnformation Act (FOIA), located§ 2.2-3700 et seq. of the
Code of Virginia, I request access to and copies of information and documentary materials,
including electronic mail and other communication, made by Dr. Edward J. Wegman and his
associates, Yasmin J. Said and Walid Sharabati, in connection with I or related to the following
grants:
1. National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant 1 F32 A A015876-01A1
2. Army Research Office contract W911 NF-04-1-0447
3. Army Research Laboratory under contract W911 NF-07-1-0059
As well as in connection with I or related to the following reports created by some or all of these
authors at George Mason University:

1. Computational Statistics & Data Analysis 52 (2008) 2177 – 2184, Said, Y. et al
2. COMPST AT 2008 – Proceedings in Computational Statistics: 18th Symposium Held in Porto,
Portugal, 2008 Wegman, E. et al, pp. 173-189

Please note that Dr. Wegman uses the e-mail address: xxx and Dr. Said uses
the email address: xxx to conduct university business as seen in 2008 study’s
author information, which cites their university affiliations. Please restrict the search to Sept. 1,
2005 to the present ..

If the university employees included in this request inform you that any ofthis material is not
available, I am requesting a copy of their communications to that effect.
I would like to receive the information in electronic format.

Through this request, I am gathering information on a news story that is of current interest to the
public because recently-emerged analysis suggesting scientific misconduct by these state and
federally-funded researchers. This information is being sought on behalf of USA TODAY for
dissemination to the general public.

Please waive any applicable fees. Release of the information is in the public interest because it
will contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations and activities. I
am requesting a waiver of fee’s because I am acting to bring this information of conduct that has
shaped public perception of a high-profile environmental issue and was used to shape
Congressional testimony made by Dr. Wegman. I request that you estimate in advance the
charges for supplying the records that I have requested.

If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to
specific exemptions of the act. I will also expect you to release all segregable portions of
otherwise exempt material. I, of course, reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any
information or to deny a waiver of fees.

As I am making this request as a journalist and this information is of timely value, I would
appreciate your communicating with me by telephone, rather than by mail, if you have questions
regarding this request.

Please provide expedited processing of this request which concerns a matter of urgency. As a
jpurnalist, I am primarily engaged in disseminating information. The public has an urgent need
for information about scientific misconduct affecting federally-funded research. I certify that my
statements concerning the need for expedited processing are true and correct to the best of my
knowledge and belief.

I look forward to your reply within 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Dan Vergano

On October 26, 2010, the University responded as follows:

Dan Vergano
USA TODAY
7950 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA 221 08

Dear Mr. Vergano:
I am responding to your email dated October 21, 2010 and as received by this office for
records under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§2.2-3 700, et seq.).
Please be advised that, due to the expansive nature of your request, it is practically
impossible to respond to your request within five working days. Therefore, we are invoking
subsection B.4. of §2.2-3704 to provide us with seven additional working days to respond to
your request.

In the meantime, I am
Sincerely .yours,
Philip Hunt

On November 4, 2010, the University provided the requested data as follows:

Dan Vergano
USA Today
7950 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA 22108

Mr. Vergano,
In accordance with the Virginia Freedom oflnformation Act (§2.2-3700, et seq.) and per your request on
October 21, 2010, for “information and documentary materials, including electronic mail and other
communication, made by Dr. Edward J. Wegman and his associates, Yasmin J. Said and Walid Sharabati,
in connection with I or related to the following grants”:
1. National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant 1 F32 AA015876-01Al
2. Army Research Office contract W911NF-04-1-0447
3. Army Research Laboratory under contract W911NF-07-1-0059

As well as in connection with I or related to the following reports created by some or all of these authors
at George Mason University:
1. Computational Statistics & Data Analysis 52 (2008) 2177 – 2184, Said, Y. et al
2. COMPST AT 2008 -Proceedings in Computational Statistics: 18th Symposium Held in Porto, Portugal,
2008 Wegman, E. et al, pp. 173-189

Please find the requested information as electronically copied on the enclosed CD. Further, note that there
are no fees associated with your request. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact me
at 7031993-7081.
With Kind Regards,
Philip Hunt

The above information was obtained by ATI through their own recent FOI request to George Mason, who will be forwarding them a CD as well.

According to Mashey, the README included by George Mason stated the “documents may not be forwarded to a third party”. It also included the GMU policy on academic misconduct, stating Bradley had violated the confidentiality terms – a point not reported by USA Today:

The materials in this USB are being provided in compliance with the Virginia FOIA. Many of the documents are published research papers that are copyrighted by their respective publishers. All other documents are copyrighted by Edward J. Wegman and Yasmin H. Said or by their respective authors. All rights are reserved. These documents may not be forwarded to a third party. Also included in this USB is the George Mason University policy document 4007 on academic misconduct. This policy requires confidentiality for all parties including complainants, in this case Professor Raymond Bradley. This confidentiality requirement was violated by Professor Bradley.

The difference in how academic institutions have responded to the seemingly similar requests in respect to Wegman and Mann is quite startling. George Mason gave expedited service to a request for Wegman’s emails; the U of Virginia has done the opposite. George Mason turned over Wegman’s correspondence with an academic journal without litigation; the University of Virginia has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on litigation. Multiple academic lobby groups protested the production of Mann’s emails as a matter of principle; the same organizations were and remain silent in respect to Wegman.

297 Comments

  1. Posted May 28, 2011 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    Hypocrisy is so damaging. The “Multiple academic lobby groups” have now made it clear that (as Instapundit likes to put it) they don’t have principles, they are just on the other side.

  2. MarkB
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    So did George Mason hand over the documents because they wanted to do the right thing, or because they were selling out Wegman?

    Steve: I presume that they were complying with the law as they understood it. Wegman has had a distinguished career and there is no evidence that he personally copied any text.

  3. genealogymaster
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    It looks like a double standard to me, I could be wrong.

  4. Posted May 28, 2011 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    There is a big difference in the specifity of the requests. Vergano was specific. Here is the ATI request.

    It says:
    “We seek materials that Dr. Michael Mann produced and/or received while working for the University of Virginia and otherwise while using its facilities and resources, as specifically enumerated in the Attachment. We seek these records from a backup server identified already by the University as part of a related search, as detailed, below.”

    The attachment gives a very long list, stating:
    “The scope of this request is to reach any and all data, documents and things in your possession, including those stored or residing on any of the specified or referenced(see FN 1, supra) computers, hard drives, desktops, laptops, file servers, database servers, email servers or other systems where data was transmitted or stored on purpose or as a result of transient use of a system or application in the course of day to day research or product processing work that is owned or contracted for by you or any of your officers, managers, employees, agents, board members, academic departments, divisions, programs, IT department, contractors and other representatives.”

    They say things like:
    All documents that constitute or are in any way related to correspondence, messagesor e-mails sent by Dr. Michael Mann to, or received from, any of the following persons:
    and then a list of 39 people, which at least sounds specific, except for the last item:
    “All research assistants, secretaries or administrative staff with whom Dr. Mannworked while he was at the University of Virginia.”

    And then, despite that attempt at specificity, some catch-alls:
    “Any and all e-mails or pieces of correspondence from or to Dr. Michael Mann since he left the University of Virginia that are in your possession, including but not limited to, those stored on any of the specified or referenced (see FN 1,supra) computers,hard drives, floppy drives, tape drives, optical drives, desktops, laptops, file servers,database servers, email servers or any other systems, and all backup copies used for archive, continuity or disaster recovery purposes, where data was transmitted or stored on purpose, or captured as a result of transient use of a system or application inthe course of day to day research or to produce any work product or result. Include messages that may have been kept by individuals who interacted on the Grants.

    9.Any and all computer algorithms, programs, source code or the like created or edited by Dr. Michael Mann, in the time period from January 1, 1999, to the present that are in your possession, including but not limited to, those stored on any of the specified or referenced (see FN 1,supra) computers, hard drives, floppy drives, tape drives optical drives, desktops, laptops, file servers, database servers, email servers or anyother systems, and all backup copies used for archive, continuity or disaster recoverypurposes, where data was transmitted or stored on purpose, or captured as a result of transient use of a system or application in the course of day to day research or toproduce any work product or result.

    And it goes on. Apparently there were 34,000 emails.

    So yes, it took a little longer.

    • Posted May 28, 2011 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

      Re: Nick Stokes (May 28 16:00), generic requests are easier to respond to.

      Having had the pleasure of responding to discovery motions I always liked the ones that said ‘all records…”

      Specific requests “all mails related to the licensing agreement with company xyz” took longer because one has to go through all the mails to find those that are covered. A generic request would just get a full dump.
      way easier.

      • Posted May 28, 2011 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

        Re: steven mosher (May 28 16:10),
        No, then you have to go through them all to find those that are exempt. For example,
        “All research assistants, secretaries or administrative staff”
        If any of those have student info, there’s another big lawsuit.
        And the demand for any correspondence since he’s left? That means they have to go through everyone else’s emails (and “…letter, correspondence, memoranda, notice, facsimile, e-mail,manual, press release, telegram, report, study, handwritten note, working paper,…”).

        And any source code that he’s edited? How would they even know?

        • genealogymaster
          Posted May 28, 2011 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

          What I’m saying is why the delaying tactics they didn’t delay on the Wegman material. So why delay with Michael Mann’s. Give your charges for getting the stuff and then get it, don’t fight it.

        • Tom Gray
          Posted May 28, 2011 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

          The lawyers responding to this request will likely have automated tools to do all of this. At least there are such tools available for use.

          This is just discovery in a law suit. This request is nothing out of the ordinary

        • Posted May 28, 2011 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

          This is just discovery in a law suit. This request is nothing out of the ordinary

          Discovery in a lawsuit isn’t ordinary. Anyone can make a FOI request any time, for any reason. Academics don’t have lawyers with automated tools. And I don’t believe tools for scanning emails for FOI exemptions exist.

        • Posted May 28, 2011 at 7:53 PM | Permalink

          Certainly the institution for which they work(ed) has the resources and dedicated personnel.

        • Posted May 28, 2011 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

          Re: Jeff Alberts (May 28 19:53),
          In fact they don’t. UVa are normally represented legally by Cuccinelli’s department. And they currently have law students going through the emails by hand.

        • David Schnare
          Posted May 28, 2011 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

          ATI narrowed it’s request and UVA did a key word search on less than 40 names and 5 research grants. When they got around to it, it took less than two weeks to design and conduct the search. Mr. Stokes is entirely in error.

          David Schnare
          ATI

        • Posted May 28, 2011 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

          Re: David Schnare (May 28 20:52), yup. But you will not see nick Stokes admit that he was wrong. even about stuff that doesnt matter.

        • Posted May 28, 2011 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

          Re: David Schnare (May 28 20:52),
          I described the request as submitted, accurately. This post is posited on UVa’s failure to produce the goods within 14 days, as GMU did. If other conditions had to be subsequently negotiated, that is in itself a clear indication that the GMU and UVa cases were different.

        • David Schnare
          Posted May 28, 2011 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

          Nick

          After the search was narrowed, UVA produced less than 20 percent of what they have to produce – according to UVA. It’s been nearly two months since they started on their narrowed search. That is identical in nature to the GMU search. You need to get the facts straight. If you want them, contact me and I’ll help you out. Other wise, you are just adding confusion to the discussion.

          David Schnare

        • Posted May 28, 2011 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

          Re: David Schnare (May 28 21:38),
          “Other wise, you are just adding confusion to the discussion. “
          You have not indicated anything that I actually said that is in error. I am simply responding to this key statement in the head post:
          “The difference in how academic institutions have responded to the seemingly similar requests in respect to Wegman and Mann is quite startling.”
          You are not relating what you say to this post. But if you are concerned to eliminate confusion, you might like to address the follow-up claim about these “seemingly similar requests”:
          “George Mason turned over Wegman’s correspondence with an academic journal without litigation; the University of Virginia has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on litigation.”

        • RomanM
          Posted May 29, 2011 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

          “George Mason turned over Wegman’s correspondence with an academic journal without litigation; the University of Virginia has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on litigation.”

          Are you talking about this, Nick?

          Wood said Monday that the university has incurred $352,874.76 in legal fees so far because of the Board of Visitors’ decision to pursue litigation over the CIDs, fees which have been paid from private funds.

        • Posted May 28, 2011 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

          Re: David Schnare (May 28 21:38),
          In terms of confusion, you might like to resolve:
          “it took less than two weeks to design and conduct the search. Mr. Stokes is entirely in error. “
          “It’s been nearly two months since they started on their narrowed search.”

        • Punksta
          Posted May 29, 2011 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

          So UVa spent over $350,000 (of taxpayers money?) in an attempt to stop the public finding out what it is doing with the money the public gave it.

          On such obstinate coverups does the global warming consensus rest.

        • oneuniverse
          Posted May 29, 2011 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

          Punksta, it was paid from private funds, so not taxpayers’ money in the usual sense.

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 12:23 AM | Permalink

          Re: Nick Stokes (May 28 21:21),

          “If other conditions had to be subsequently negotiated, that is in itself a clear indication that the GMU and UVa cases were different.”

          No, it’s evidence that UVa has treated the case differently.

          Rather than availing themselves of an extension and taking the two weeks
          to write a tool and produce the data, they have fought the issue on the basis
          of phantom exclusions.

          The solution they finally negotiated was always available to them from the start

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 1:58 AM | Permalink

          Re: steven mosher (May 29 00:23),
          “they have fought the issue on the basis of phantom exclusions. ”

          Evidence?

          The “data” is some subset of 34,000 emails and an unknown amount of code. Plus “algorithms”. And in the original demand, just another example:
          2. If any responsive document requested was, but is no longer in the University’s possession, subject to the University’s control, or in existence, state for each such document:
          (a) the type of document;
          (b) whether it is missing, lost, has been destroyed, or has been transferred to the possession, custody, or control of other persons;
          (c) the circumstances surrounding, and the authorization for, the disposition described in (b) above;
          (d) the date or approximate date of the disposition described in (b) above;
          (e) the identity of all persons having knowledge of the circumstances described in (c)above; and
          (f) the identity of all persons having knowledge of the document’s contents.

          Sounds like they’re demanding an inventory of everything Mann took with him (or threw out). If there were 34,000 responsive documents that they had, imagine going through what they don’t have. Including every email that had been deleted over the years. It’s a lot more than Vergano was asking.

        • Rob
          Posted May 29, 2011 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

          In the software industry, it is not uncommon to charge $10 per line of source code, which is still bound to a strict license agreement with restricted use. It seems to me that there is a serious lack of accountability to the US tax payer going on with these FOIA requests.

          If an average email is 10 lines, then a request like ATI (with 34,000 emails matching the request), a charge of $3.5 million should not be unreasonable (with the additional constraint that the receipient should guarantee not to further distribute the received data). In fact, because of the risks of accidentally making a mistake and releasing an email that would have been exempt under FOIA law, the charge should probably be much higher than that.

          Instead, the US government allows itself to be abused by frivolous requests from entities in obscurity (like ATI) and serves such entities over the backs of US tax payers.

        • MrPete
          Posted May 29, 2011 at 4:07 PM | Permalink

          Re: Rob (May 29 03:35),
          You missed a small distinction: in the SW industry, it is not uncommon to charge $10 per line of source code created from scratch. All they had to do here was search a set of email for a variety of “to” and “from” addresses.

          It is actually quite simple to do this with modern text processing tools.
          Version 0: use your already-existing email archive system that’s designed to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley discovery rules. Major organizations are already required to do this by now-normal audit rules.

          Version 1: write it yourself from scratch.
          a) Collect email From, To, Date, Subject, Id for all emails everywhere in our possession.
          b) Collect the list of pertinent names (this is probably the long part. One could do it by examining all names from (a) if necessary. Should not be necessary, as HR should have a list of appropriate names.
          c) Compare (a) and (b), producing the list of pertinent emails.
          d) If necessary, black out all names of students that are not in the (b) list above. This can also be automated the same way.

          Note that current law requires all significant entities to be able to produce such material rapidly, due to Sarbanes-Oxley. An entire industry has grown up to support proper archiving and retrieval of email, documents, etc for just such purposes.

          Not being able to produce the material in a timely manner is no excuse.

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

          Re: steven mosher (May 29 00:23), of
          course we will see how well Uva has performed in this matter:

          http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/uva-asked-produce-faculty-record-policy

          i wonder what their document control looked like for confidential student records?

          Seems to me that the excuse they are using about student records should be investigated. Are they comingling student records with other documents?

          They appear to be arguing that they have to check all the documents they produce for information that might be confidential.

          That’s weird, wouldn’t that confidential data have to be controlled?

          Crap, I wonder if they are handling student health records according to regulation.

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

          Re: steven mosher (May 29 00:23),
          Why on earth do you want to set yourself up as an auditor of UVa admin processes?

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

          Re: steven mosher (May 29 00:23), I’m not interested in auditing them. I’m suggesting that ATI and others may want to take a look at this material.

          If Uva uses an excuse, then I think ATI should hunt down all the implications of that excuse.

          They argued that the material may contain student records, so they have to look through all of it.

          That might indicate that they are

          1. co mingling
          2. delaying for delayings sake

          If ATI looked at this and found out that Uva had strict controls for student records, then their excuse looks rather thin.

          If ATI looked at this and found that student records were co mingled then
          Uva might come under some well deserved pressure

          if you wanna play the student record hole card, be prepared to have your bluff called.

          Just sayin.

          I guess the next thing to look at is communications between Uva and the ACLU

          or we can test your theory about sharply defined FOIA requests. I like testing theories. Maybe even breaking up ATI’s request into many smaller requests. do you think they would grant them or fight them?

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted May 29, 2011 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

          It wouldn’t be hard to develop an FOI request that tracked Vergano’s language but changing the grants and papers.

        • Rob
          Posted May 30, 2011 at 1:35 AM | Permalink

          It wouldn’t be hard to develop an FOI request that tracked Vergano’s language but changing the grants and papers.

          Would you have any suggestions on which grants and papers you would like a FOI request to be developed for ?

        • Rob
          Posted May 30, 2011 at 2:22 AM | Permalink

          Mr.Pete

          You missed a small distinction: in the SW industry, it is not uncommon to charge $10 per line of source code created from scratch.

          Pete, it would be hard to argue that these emails were not “created from scratch”.

          All they had to do here was search a set of email for a variety of “to” and “from” addresses

          Apart from the fact that your simple search does not guarantee that administrators won’t accidentally release an exempt email (which could trigger an expensive lawsuit, you don’t seem to understand business. If the US government would operate as a business, FOI requests would be $10/line released (or more).

          The law as it is allows for parties in obscurity to demand information without cause, for a heavily subsidized rate, and with extreme media benefits to the receiving party. No wonder the FOIA requests are becoming so popular these days amongst conspiracy theorists.

          What I’m saying is that the US government is overly generous, providing premium services to obscure parties, at substandard rates over the backs of the US tax payer. That’s gotta change.

        • Punksta
          Posted May 30, 2011 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

          If Rob gets his way, corruption in government institutions will now have to be privately funded – the overall objective and effect being to limit such uncoverings, and so leave the ‘consensus’ in peace.

          The real problem here is the deliberate co-mingling of confidential and open data as a ploy to stifle economic release of the open data. The easiest way to discourage this, is to enforce FOI much more vigorously than now, so that institutions that do this suffer financially.

        • MrPete
          Posted Jun 2, 2011 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

          Re: Rob (May 30 02:22),
          [Sorry, life's full :) ]

          Pete, it would be hard to argue that these emails were not “created from scratch”.

          You still don’t get it. The emails were not written at the behest of the FOI requestor. They are only being searched and released.

          The original “work” involving writing of the emails was bought and paid for long ago, through your taxes and mine. All of these FOI-able documents are literally owned by the public.

          …you don’t seem to understand business. If the US government would operate as a business, FOI requests would be $10/line released (or more).

          You certainly don’t understand business if that’s what you think. Businesses currently spend millions making it possible to release this exact kind of information for a variety of legal purposes… and they don’t get to charge for the privilege. Only the lawyers, and businesses who provide search services, win ;)… the cost of doing business (or government, or education, or science…) today has increased dramatically in recent years. And compliance with these kinds of rules is no small part of that cost increase.

          Believe me, I resonate strongly with the desire to simplify and eliminate many restrictions like this. One of the easiest ways would be for publicly-funded scientists to adhere to open-science practices, such as Reproducible Research. Do that, nurture a culture of open communication, and things would rapidly become quite different. (Note that reproducible research is not pie in the sky — it is becoming standard in various labs and departments at significant universities, such as Stanford.)

          What I’m saying is that the US government is overly generous, providing premium services to obscure parties, at substandard rates over the backs of the US tax payer. That’s gotta change.

          There are people on both sides of a number of issues who will vehemently agree with you…and vehemently disagree. This is a huge bone of contention! In general though, I believe sunshine is a great disinfectant. And those who invest to keep things in the dark are the ones wasting our resources.

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 7:11 AM | Permalink

          Romanm. Posted May 29, 2011 at 6:57 AM

          No, that’s my point. Steve is comparing the GMU and UVa FOI requests (“seemingly similar requests“). You are referring to the defence of the Cuccinelli CID.

        • Michael Smith
          Posted May 29, 2011 at 6:38 AM | Permalink

          Nick Stokes wrote:

          “Discovery in a lawsuit isn’t ordinary.”

          I’ve been a participant in 5 intellectual property lawsuits and a discovery period was a mandated-by-statute part of every one of them.

          In all 5 cases the very first thing the judge did upon agreeing to adjudicate the plaintiff’s claims was to set a discovery period beginning and ending date, and those periods ranged from 6 months to a year.

          This was 5 different judges from 4 different jurisdictions.

          Coping with discovery is a way of life for those seeking to protect their intellectual property. I suspect it is the same for those subject to FOI requirements.

        • RobertInAz
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

          re: Automated tools.

          I consult for an insurance company that is just installing a decent discovery support tool (I’m not on that project). IMHO, it is it is very possible that UVA does not have a sophisticated tool.

          That said, getting a grad student to build a specific search tool is a few days work.

        • Posted May 28, 2011 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

          Re: Nick Stokes (May 28 16:28), The would know he had edited code by two simple means.

          1. If the code was in a repository that required checkout
          2. If he put his name in the code when he made changes.

          If the code showed no signs of mann editing it then it would not be produced.

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 8:26 PM | Permalink

          Optimist

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

          Re: Eli Rabett (May 29 20:26), No realist.

          having been on the receiving end of discovery requests for code that was written or edited by named individuals I can tell you exactly what we do.

          for all the code in repositories we run a simple check to see who made what changes.

          for code not in a repository we grep for the name of the individual in the source
          code. If those come up empty there is no code to produce.

          Of course if a guy never puts his name in the code as author either as the original author or as somebody who changed it, then there’s no evidence that he worked on it.

          Very simply, if you have evidence that he worked on it, you produce it. You dont have to prove he didnt work on stuff.

      • jim
        Posted May 31, 2011 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

        Actually, someone has to go through all the documents to redact personal information. Any SSNs, phone numbers, home addresses, etc. must be redacted.

  5. Posted May 28, 2011 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    “George Mason turned over Wegman’s correspondence with an academic journal without litigation; the University of Virginia has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on litigation. Multiple academic lobby groups protested the production of Mann’s emails as a matter of principle; the same organizations were and remain silent in respect to Wegman. “

    I think you are confusing an FOI request with the Cuccinelli CID, which as I recall, you also opposed.

    • Jeff Norris
      Posted May 28, 2011 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

      Nick
      The question is why GMU did not decide that Wegman’s private email exchanges among scholars or professional associations were exempt from FOI and that unless he violated state law or university policy as determined by GMU then Wegman must be assured of his right to privacy.
      So had GMU did this would you have objected.

      • Posted May 28, 2011 at 10:52 PM | Permalink

        Re: Jeff Norris (May 28 22:28),
        I have not objected to the implementation of FOI law with regard to either GMU or UVa. If I were designing the law, I wouldn’t have done it that way. But I am addressing the comparison made in this post.

        • Jeff Norris
          Posted May 28, 2011 at 11:32 PM | Permalink

          Nick
          Fair enough, my hypothetical was based on reasons stated by various academic groups not to release certain emails that Steve alluded to in his original post. While I agree that the two situations are not identical should not have the same concerns about academic freedom been raised?

  6. NikFromNYC
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    In my latest AGW poster I include soundbites which capture the FOIA issue as has been detailed on Climate Audit.

    “Data deletion righteously protects selfless heroes.”

    “FOIA requests are harassment by data terrorists.”

    • NikFromNYC
      Posted May 28, 2011 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

      In your Greasemonkey widget, the image showed up in the preview just fine, but was then stripped out. Here’s a link instead.

      Authority

  7. mpaul
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

    The thumb drive was produced on November 4, 2010, more than 6 months ago. This is the first that I’m hearing about it. From that, I’m assuming there was nothing unusual in the emails – otherwise, people like Mashey would be trumpeting it. So I guess unlike climate scientists, Wegman makes no threats of violence aimed at people who disagree with him, makes no celebratory comments about the death of a rival, doesn’t orchestrate the deletion of materials covered by FOIA, doesn’t scheme to have journal editors removed, doesn’t allude to efforts to evade taxes, makes no mention of hiding adverse data … The Team’s defense has been that everyone’s emails contains these sorts of things — I guess not.

    • Posted May 28, 2011 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

      Vergano sought very specific emails between Wegman and his editor and grantors etc. He wasn’t looking for stuff that could be beaten up into a gossip “scandal”. Mashey did write a report on the result here.

      • mpaul
        Posted May 29, 2011 at 12:03 AM | Permalink

        OK Nick, I’ll bite. Are you saying that GM was correct is producing the requested material because the request was specific? And more generally, do you support the idea that public universities should produce emails in response to a FOIA request if that FOIA request is specific in nature?

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 12:20 AM | Permalink

          Re: mpaul (May 29 00:03),
          Again I’ll quote the post:“The difference in how academic institutions have responded to the seemingly similar requests in respect to Wegman and Mann is quite startling.”
          All I’m saying is that there was a startling difference in the FOI demands. One required, apparently, about 6 emails, but for the other, UVa says 34,000. And much else besides. Mr Schnare says the requirement has been reduced.

          As a matter of good governance, I think requiring UVa to cope with that (at taxpayers expense) is bizarre. But the system has to cope with it somehow – it’s not my problem. I generally think FOI laws are too intrusive when applied to academia and scientists – I agree with Sir Paul Nurse.

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

          I noticed in the GMU request that the requesters noted that Wegman and Said used non-uni email accounts to conduct uni business. How would they obtain emails from Gmail or Hotmail?

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

          Re: Jeff Alberts (May 29 09:43),
          Maybe the FOI response only included a subset that were available on GMU email. Mashey’s report (which redacted email addresses) only showed Wegman emails to Azen, the journal editor.

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

          You can’t unless it passes through a university server and is captured or it is copied and stored on a university computer which is why many people at state universities no longer use the University Email system. Besides which gmail works better.

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

          Re: Eli Rabett (May 29 20:29), where was the ACLU, I missed them coming to the defense of Wegman?

      • Posted May 29, 2011 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

        Re: Nick Stokes (May 28 20:02), What you miss Nick is that UVa can start to produce documents as quickly as GMU did. You seem to think that they have to do a complete check of everything before delivering anything.

        If you cannot see the difference between GMU and UVA then I’ll suggest this.

        Write a very tight FOIA to UVA and see how they respond. That’s an idea for everybody.

        All the readers here could take a specific aspect of the ATI FOIA and ask UVA to deliver on that specific aspect.

        Wanna bet they fight it

        • Hu McCulloch
          Posted May 29, 2011 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

          Mosh —
          The point is already made, so please let’s not inundate either UVA or GMU with makework FOI’s.

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

          Re: Hu McCulloch (May 29 15:19), Its not makework to test Nick’s thesis. Nick’s thesis is that if we make a narrow request of Uva that they will respond quickly as GMU did.

          Why didnt GMU call in the ACLU?

        • Posted Jun 2, 2011 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

          They will estimate the cost and send you a bill. Next.

      • Posted May 29, 2011 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

        Re: Nick Stokes (May 28 20:02),

        Reading wegmans mail and look at the texts it appears that there is something that Mashey misses.

        The SNA boilerplate material in the Wegman report was produce by Denise reeves

        She is the plagiarist for the SNA material in the wegman report

        The Wegman report was used by Sharabati in the first 31 pages of his dissertation

        Sharabati then wrote section 1 of Said, which is the paper that got retracted

        Wikipedia -> Reeves(Wegman)–>Sharabati(dissertation) -> Said (Sharabati)

        here is what Mashey writes about Sharabati taking from Reeves(Wegman report)

        “The SNA introduction was about 5 pages of text in the WR, of which some
        came from Reeves, but may have been edited further. Said (2008),
        Sharabati(2008) and Rezazad(2009) used shorter extracts, pp.118-128.
        It is difficult for text to be both original work and standard ―boiler plate.‖

        Here is the problem. In Sharabati(2008) the first 31 pages ARE boiler plate.
        It is explicitly NOT presented as his original work.

        We know this by reading the dissertation and noting that he closes the first 31 pages
        by saying in the chapters that follow I present my original work

        So, it’s not too difficult to see that in Sharabati’s dissertation the boiler plate
        is NOT presented as original work. what follows the first 31 pages is presented explicitly as his original work. One may have hoped that he use proper citation in the
        prefatory material for his original work. Had he cited the Wegman report as his source
        it would have been clearer. Also, when this work became section 1 of Said 08, he also
        face a problem. How could he cite his dissertation? Section 1 of Said 08, which was written by Sharabati, is word for word out of his dissertation. So, he makes up a cite
        for it. bad move.

        to recap: Reeves takes material from Wikipedia and other sources and gives wegman a few pages of boilerplate ( with no cites) for the Wegman report. Wegman and company do not
        check this for plagairism. Sharabati writing his dissertation lifts from the wegman report for the prefatory material for his dissertation. he does not represent this as his original work. His original work he claims explicitly follows page 31. Later, Sharabati cribs from his own dissertation to write section 1 of Said 08.

        The editor accepts the proposal to fix the problem in said 08 by including proper citation.

        he is over ruled and the article is retracted.

        Wegman is then tarred for plagiarism when

        1. he did not write the section 1 (Said 08)where the plagiarism occured
        2. Sharabati, borrowed from his own dissertation
        3. The dissertation cribbed from the wegman report
        4. Reeves wrote that section of the Wegman report

        Weird.

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

          Re: steven mosher (May 29 21:43),
          Well, it seems that Wegman just didn’t want to know about SNA.

          But he wanted a tool to beat Mann with. He didn’t have anything new to say about the stats.

          So they gave it to him.

        • mpaul
          Posted May 29, 2011 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

          Nick, I think we are making progress with you. First we have established that you support the notion that public universities should produce emails when requested under FOIA. Second, you are now in support of retracting papers from journals for improper citations. I will join you in making sure that this policy is uniformly enforced.

        • Posted May 29, 2011 at 11:36 PM | Permalink

          Re: mpaul (May 29 23:16),

          I’d suggest modified rapture.

          Yes, of course the law should be followed, including exemptions. But I don’t think snooping through people’s private emails is a dignified activity.

          I’ll leave citation policies to the Journals. But if they feel they need to withdraw papers that have chunks of material from Wikipedia and textbooks, uncited, I am sympathetic.

        • mpaul
          Posted May 30, 2011 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

          But I don’t think snooping through people’s private emails is a dignified activity.

          Nick, I’ll turn the sarcasm off for a moment. I agree with you on this point. I have been an advocate for Cuccinelli CID process. Say what you will about Cuccinelli’s motives, but the American justice system provides protections for the accused and standards of procedure that do not exist in the court of public opinion.

          We have arrived at this point in history along the following path:

          (1) Steve wanted to replicate MBH98 and asked for data. Mann initially complied, but then began to obstruct.

          (2) Steve successfully obtained the needed data and demonstrated serious flaws in Mann’s approach.

          (3) Mann defended his work by saying that other Hockey Stick reconstructions validated his method and his conclusions.

          (4) Attention turned to replicating the other reconstructions. By now, the Team had become extremely defensive and a sort of bunker mentality took over. Years of obstruction followed.

          (5) Those seeking the data and methods used in the HS reconstructions became more and more aggressive, eventually turning to FOIA as a tool to pry loose the information.

          (6) Then “a miracle happened’. A file containing materials and emails requested under FOIA turned up on the internet. Most everyone would agree that the contents of the emails warranted an investigation. The only investigation that specifically looked into Mann’s conduct was undertaken by Penn State. Penn State cleared Mann noting that Mann stated:
          (a) he had never falsified any data, nor had he had ever manipulated data to serve a given predetermined outcome;
          (b) he never used inappropriate influence in reviewing papers by other scientists who disagreed with the conclusions of his science;
          (c) he never deleted emails at the behest of any other scientist, specifically including Dr. Phil Jones, and that he never withheld data with the intention of obstructing science; and
          (d) he never engaged in activities or behaviors that were inconsistent with accepted academic practices.

          (7) Critics have charged that the Penn State investigation was inadequate. Michael Mann has subsequently stated that he did, in fact, participate in an orchestrated effort to delete emails covered under FOIA, raising questions about the veracity of statements he made to the Penn State investigators. Penn State seems untroubled by this.

          A real, independent investigation, subject to rules of evidence and judicial procedures, is needed. Such an investigation is the only way to put and end to Climategate and is the only way to restore the tattered reputation of climate science. I think both Virginia and Pennsylvania should conduct an investigation. However, if UVa continues to obstruct the CID, then FOIA is the only option and Mann will be afforded no protection of his privacy.

          Mann and UVa are playing a losing game. Its sheer folly to attempt to frustrate a State AG in a law enforcement investigation. Cuccinelli has nuclear weapons at his disposal and UVa has water pistols. If Cuccinelli loses the CID battle, he will simply file a lawsuit and obtain the materials through discovery. Or, if UVa really pisses him off, he will convene a Grand Jury. For Mann personally, this would be catastrophic. Mann and UVa should cooperate with the CID process.

          It’s sad that we have arrived at this place. But at every juncture in this journey, Mann has chosen the wrong path.

    • geronomo
      Posted May 29, 2011 at 12:43 AM | Permalink

      You can say the same about Pat Michael’s emails,they’ve been in the hands of Greenpeace for some time now and nothing has come out of it. Seems like the Team and their followers are pretty unique. Certainly in my own experience they are, I’ve never seen, or been party to emails, like those we saw in the climategate mails.

      Steve: it seems that Greenpeace did not pursue their request after ATI launched a similar request and, according to UVA, emails were not sent to Greenpeace.

      • Posted May 29, 2011 at 2:09 AM | Permalink

        Re: geronomo (May 29 00:43),
        Greenpeace never got any of Pat Michaels’ emails.

        • tetris
          Posted Jun 2, 2011 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

          Nick Stokes:
          How do you know that? Did anyone at Greenpeace provide specifically you with an affidavit to that effect? You may wish to share if that is the case. Even if so, given that organization’s track record of elasticity with the facts, you have a credibility problem.

        • Posted Jun 2, 2011 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

          Geronimo made the assertion – ask him for some evidence. Or go look.

    • Posted May 29, 2011 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

      Re: mpaul (May 28 19:12),
      “So I guess unlike climate scientists, Wegman…”
      Before being too holy about that, you might note from the head post that Wegman, unlike those climate scientists, conducted uni business from a private gmail account. This FOI response probably has only some official subset for which he was required to use GMU email.

      • Posted May 29, 2011 at 9:20 PM | Permalink

        You can bet that Mann, Jones and all the rest are now doing the same.

  8. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

    Thank you Nick Stokes for your input. It is important to see both sides of an issue so that we may struggle to weigh and assess the merit of respective arguments and concerns.
    A FOI request would seem to be similar in context and purpose to a discovery request in litigation, in which case there are extensive rules and analysis governing the concerns you have raised. I see nothing new or extraordinary in these instances. Your concerns have been dealt with and resolved many many times in legal systems all over the world that are based on or arise from the British system.

    • Posted May 28, 2011 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

      Re: Barclay E MacDonald (May 28 20:52),
      “A FOI request would seem to be similar in context and purpose to a discovery request in litigation, in which case there are extensive rules and analysis governing the concerns you have raised.”
      Well, yes, for discovery demands there are. But not for FOI. And anyone at all can lob a FOI request at any academic (or government scientist) at any time, for any reason (or none at all). Nominally it goes to the institution, but they usually pass it on. And scientists don’t have teams of lawyers available.

      • Tom Gray
        Posted May 29, 2011 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

        Well, yes, for discovery demands there are. But not for FOI. And anyone at all can lob a FOI request at any academic (or government scientist) at any time, for any reason (or none at all).

        Anyone can sue anyone for anything at any time. There are rules againts trivial and abusive lawsuits (Rule 11 in the US) just as FOIs can be refused as trivial. Indeed FOIs can be refused if the cost is too high. So it would seem that the rules regarding FOI are much more stringent and protective than those regarding law suits

      • John Slayton
        Posted May 29, 2011 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

        But not for FOI. And anyone at all can lob a FOI request at any academic (or government scientist) at any time, for any reason (or none at all).

        They can do this when no government funding is involved?

  9. Soronel Haetir
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 9:25 PM | Permalink

    Nick Stokes,

    And given the very broad nature of FOIA legislation, with the narrow carve outs it doesn’t really matter whether the request is tailored or not. I’m not aware of any FOIA legislation having a “we just don’t feel like producing it” exemption. Perhaps people need to think a bit more carefully before they sign on the dotted line accepting grant money when it comes with strings they don’t like.

  10. Gerald Machnee
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

    RE Nick Stokes
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 8:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    **Vergano sought very specific emails between Wegman and his editor and grantors etc.**

    Steve requested very specific data and code from Mann and others.

  11. kramer
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    “The difference in how academic institutions have responded to the seemingly similar requests in respect to Wegman and Mann is quite startling.”

    Which really makes me mad…

  12. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

    Nick, you might want to start here: https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+2.2-3713

  13. Punksta
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 12:55 AM | Permalink

    So essentially what Nick Stokes is saying, is that because the UV request wasn’t specific enough, UV was right to spend hundreds of thousands in litigation.

    Does this non-specifity also explain why (politically-funded) academics opposed production of Mann’s emails, but not those of Wegman?

    Or is it really all about political correctness and buttressing the Consensus, no matter what ?

    • Posted May 29, 2011 at 2:42 AM | Permalink

      Re: Punksta (May 29 00:55),
      No, I’ve been repeatedly trying to correct that mis-statement of Steve, but it seems without success. UVa fought the CID of Cuccinelli. Many people, including Steve McIntyre, objected to that, and rightly so.

      AFAIK, neither UVa nor any large number of academics have objected to ATI’s FOI application as such. It is provided for by law, which also provides numerous exemptions. We’ll just have to see how that plays out.

      • Posted May 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

        I think Steve and everyone else who opposed the CID was wrong.

        UVa said:

        ““Some claimed that those e-mails showed that certain members of the climate science community manipulated research data and conclusions,” UVa’s filing says. “Those allegations have been investigated and refuted by numerous entities, including an international panel established by the University of East Anglia, the United Kingdom’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, and Pennsylvania State University, where Dr. Mann has been a faculty member since 2005.”

        We now know that UVa that the “refutations” were no such thing.

      • Punksta
        Posted May 30, 2011 at 12:39 AM | Permalink

        So, Nick, your ‘correction’ of Steve’s comment, is that there were NOT objections from academics at Mann’s correspondemce being produced? Which means their silence of Wegman’s mails being produced is NOT unprincipled partisanship?

  14. Stacey
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 4:19 AM | Permalink

    Steve
    Did you mean to give out Prof. Wegman’s email address et al? Maybe they are in the public domain?

  15. stan
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Nick, if a skeptic said the sky is blue and grass is green, you’d write 5 paragraphs to disagree.

    It is crystal clear to everyone that UVA and GMU took very different approaches in responding to these requests. You can debate distinctions without difference until Christmas and it won’t change the soundness of Steve’s point. We can speculate whether global warming politics may underlie the different responses, but it is pointless to try to say that they were not different.

  16. kramer
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    I almost tempted to send George Mason University a FOI request for the email records of some of their environmental scientists.

  17. Hoi "Bodge" Polloi
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

    UEA’s position on FOI is “Why should I give you the data when all you want to do is find something wrong with it?”, no more, no less. No matter what spinmeister Nick Stokes is trying to make of it…

  18. bob
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    Nick Stokes wrote: “The “data” is some subset of 34,000 emails and an unknown amount of code.”

    Text searches are easy. Try the Unix utility, grep. It is a powerful tool. I once searched a 150mb text database for certain combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols. It did the whole thing in less than 10 minutes, and that was in the days before Pentium processors.

    If you can’t do that, go to your start button on your Windows PC and type your search string into the search bar. It will search you entire computer in just minutes.

    In today’s computerized world, searching 34,000 emails is not that big of a deal.

  19. Posted May 29, 2011 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

    Wasn’t there just a thread on how no FOI request asks for everything and how silly it was for Paul Nurse to claim that?

    Steve: Nope. That wasn’t what Paul Nurse said. Try reading the point of criticism, rather than fabricating things.

    • Posted Jun 2, 2011 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

      Hmm, my lying eyes again

      ———————–
      I haven’t heard of any incidents in which anyone requested “drafts of scientific papers prior to their publication in journals, with annotations, explaining why changes were made between successive version”, let alone “lots of requests” of this nature to multiple scientists.

      Are any readers aware of any such requests? Or is this more fantasizing by climate scientists? Like the time reversal mechanism assumed by Nature when they blamed data obstruction by climate scientists back in 2005 on FOI requests in summer 2009.
      ————————

      Care to parse your way through that one?

      • Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

        Re: Eli Rabett (Jun 2 22:56), requests to scientists.

        Nurse’s point was that people were requesting drafts to papers prior to their publication and that this was intimidating.

        mann has left Uva. The FOIA is directed at Uva not a scientist. It is for past work, not drafts of papers prior to their publication.

  20. Posted May 29, 2011 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    Wanna bet UVa provides paper. Look at the order.

    • Posted May 29, 2011 at 8:16 PM | Permalink

      My mistake, there was a separate order saying electronic with a written list for the items claimed exempt.

    • Tom Gray
      Posted Jun 2, 2011 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

      Optical character recognition equipment is standard and has been for many years.

  21. David Schnare
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 10:33 PM | Permalink

    Mosh and Steve:

    Stop already. Let the ATI process work. There is no benefit to asking for more than what we agreed to in terms of a slightly narrower request. Horner and I will get to look at everything. If UVA is obstructionist, we will make our arguments to the court. None of what you folks are suggesting is going to change UVA’s mind. Something we have in the works might, so be a little patient. This ain’t our first rodeo, you know.

  22. Rob
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 2:00 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Schnare, why did ATI file this FOI request ?

    • David Schnare
      Posted May 30, 2011 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

      Rob,

      We had several reasons, but the main one was to examine the history of this important period of time. Mann is an iconic figure and his work from this period had a large influence on what are becoming massive changes in social and economic policy. The debate over his conclusions continues. The process through which he reached his conclusions are as important as the conclusions themselves. If he demonstrated less than full intellectual honesty, the foundation of the new social policy will not support that policy. The size of the economic implications of climate change alarmism justify an investigation into the process.

      • Rob
        Posted Jun 1, 2011 at 4:11 AM | Permalink

        Thank you for your reply Dr.Schnare.

        Regarding “scientific honesty”, anything scientific that Mann published is already out there for anyone to investigate for honesty. Steve McIntyre did that and challenged Mann’s findings via the scientific process. In return, he was challenged for the significance of his own findings. That’s how the scientific debate is conducted. It is wide open for anyone to challenge any other one’s scientific findings in scientific literature.

        Also, the “process through which he reached his conclusions”, is scientifically irrelevant. It’s like investigating how the Wright Brothers achieved an device that became airborne. There is no need to demand release of all their drawings and communications with other engineers and scientists. The plane is already airborne, and others replicated the same findings. Nothing that FOIA requests can change about that.

        So what are the other of the “several reasons” to file a FOIA request ?

        • Posted Jun 1, 2011 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

          “Also, the “process through which he reached his conclusions”, is scientifically irrelevant. It’s like investigating how the Wright Brothers achieved an device that became airborne.”

          It’s not even close to being the same thing.

        • Rob
          Posted Jun 2, 2011 at 3:09 AM | Permalink

          Would you care to elaborate on that statement ?

        • gober
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 1:53 AM | Permalink

          Rob,

          To give an extreme example: if someone builds and crashes 100 planes before he finally gets one to fly, his eventual success is still a historic achievement if his is the first plane ever to fly.

          If someone builds builds 100 statistical models before he can find one that gives him the desired result, his successful result is very probably artificial: a consequence of his flawed methodology. If a drug company keeps launching field-testing its drug until one study finds that it works, that does not mean that the drug (or the drug company) can be trusted.

          These last two examples show why the “process through which he reached his conclusions” is highly relevant to any statistical endeavour.

        • D. Patterson
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 12:21 AM | Permalink

          It is immediately obvious the “process through which he reached his conclusions”, is scientifically relevant

      • Punksta
        Posted Jun 1, 2011 at 4:32 AM | Permalink

        1. Climatology today is nothing at all like the Wright brothers – there is as yet no known, working machine that has been built and can be replicated. Merely some hypotheses of a process.

        2. As such the honesty and openness of the hypotheses is crucial. Hiding of data, hiding declines, cherry-picking proxies, etc etc, all give us an indication of how mnuch credence to give them. Auditing is both crucial and very cost effective in this.

        • Rob
          Posted Jun 2, 2011 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

          Punkstra,
          The hypothesis for GHG induced AGW was posted more than 100 years ago, and quantified 50 years ago. The empirical evidence has been accumulated accurately over the past 30 years, and is statistically significant since 20 years. It’s been an open process, for anyone to challenge scientifically.
          No FOIA request can change the scientific data and methods that are already presented, and confirmed, and re-confirmed. The science is wide open and completely visible for anyone to challenge. Auditing private communications between scientists at this point can thus serve only the purpose of intimidation of scientists and anti-science media propaganda.
          If you think otherwise, why don’t you present scientific arguments instead of presenting cherry-picked beliefs in hyped media propaganda.

        • Steve Fitzpatrick
          Posted Jun 2, 2011 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

          I am not sure if you are really serious in making this comment. Climate science is uniquely and oddly convoluted with a clear set of political goals and desired public policy outcomes, and many reasonable people who disagree with those goals and policies can (and do) think that casts doubt on whether the published scientific work is a fair representation of reality. The “private emails” from UEA only confirm (without any doubt) that there was a lot of unscrupulous political activity going on behind the scenes for a very long time in climate science… even more reason for doubt. Politics and science ought not share the same bed.

        • Rob
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

          Climate science is uniquely and oddly convoluted with a clear set of political goals and desired public policy outcomes

          Can you point out ONE political statement (opinion) in ANY of the thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers that have been cited in the IPCC AR4 WG 1 (scientific basis) ? Even a single mentioning of ‘alarmist’ or ‘denier’ would do.

          If you can’t find any, then ask yourself why you believe that the science is convoluted with political goals, and if so, who is doing the ‘convoluting’ ?

          The “private emails” from UEA only confirm (without any doubt) that there was a lot of unscrupulous political activity going on behind the scenes

          Now it is my turn to ask if you are really serious in making this comment. The “private emails” show that climate scientists are seriously annoyed when scientifically very seriously flawed papers get elbowed through the peer-review process, and foreign individuals file dozens and dozens of FOIA requests for information that is completely unrelated to their scientific findings.

        • gober
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

          “…climate scientists are seriously annoyed when… and foreign individuals file dozens and dozens of FOIA requests for information that is completely unrelated to their scientific findings.”

          I’ve read here previously that “between January 2005 and January 2009 the CRU received six requests for information 4 in 2007 and 2 in 2008.” I.e. the 58(+?) in 2009 were all in response to the obstruction of previous FOI requests.

          Can someone who is better informed than me confirm/comment on whether those numbers (the 6 in four years) are accurate? Is there a source for that?

        • Rob
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 4:11 AM | Permalink

          gober, are you saying that 59(+?) FOIAs were filed simply because the OP was not satisfied with the information received ?

        • gober
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 4:39 AM | Permalink

          My understanding (from what people have written here previously) was that the 58 or so were requests, not for data, but for agreements that CRU had cited as a reason for not releasing data. (Agreements which in some cases, if I remember correctly, CRU had difficulty actually finding.)

          So not so much “simply because the OP was not satisfied with the information received” but that people were dissatisfied with information NOT received.

          But again, there are many people here who are better informed than me, and I’d be happy to have someone confirm/comment/correct my understanding.

        • Punksta
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 4:57 AM | Permalink

          hardly any of these confidentiality agreements existed

          I believe the actual number is zero.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

          Jones had claimed that the confidentiality agreements prohibited CRU from sending the data to a “non-academic”. Quite aside from whether there were any confidentiality agreements at all, there were no confidentiality agreements that contained this language. It was a total fabrication by CRU and the University of East Anglia. They admitted that no confidentiality agreements contained this language in their reply to my appeal – a decision rendered a day or two before Climategate.

        • Rob
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 2:12 AM | Permalink

          Steve, do you have a link to the “their reply to my appeal” and the statement where Jones claimed that “that the confidentiality agreements prohibited CRU from sending the data to a “non-academic”.” ?

        • Punksta
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 2:59 AM | Permalink

          Jones’s words were that, to make sure McIntyre didn’t get whatever he was asking for, he (Jones) would “hide behind” confidentiality agreements.

          Has anyone ever found any evidence whatsoever of these alleged confidentialty agreements, or was that just Jones doing what he does best?

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 3:10 AM | Permalink

          Rob, the request and response can be found here:

          http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/24/cru-refuses-data-once-again/

          Specifically, it say:

          Regulation 12(5)(f) applies because the information requested was received by the University on terms that prevent further transmission to non-academics

        • Rob
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

          Thanks Brandon, I appreciate the link to the first piece of information I requested.
          Seems to me that UEA as interpreting the regulation “Reg. 12(5)(f) – Adverse effect on the person providing information” quite liberally.

          Note that it was signed by David Palmer, and not by Dr. Jones as Steve suggests.

          Do you have a link to “their reply to my appeal” that Steve refers to ?

        • Rob
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 4:58 AM | Permalink

          Steve,

          Thanks to Brandon and L.J.Lim (below), we have at least the two most important parts needed to decipher what you are talking about.

          You asserted : “Jones had claimed that the confidentiality agreements prohibited CRU from sending the data to a “non-academic”. ”

          In reality, Palmer (not Jones) stated 2 arguments to deny the data you asked for :
          (1) Information is covered by a confidentiality agreement.
          (2) information requested was received by the University on terms that prevent further transmission to non-academics.

          And after your appeal, Jonathan Colam-French (again not Jones) replied that “the reference to non-academics was in error”,
          but the decision not to grant you the data immediately was correct, because “There are restrictions on the release of at least some of the data cited”.

          Still, CRU was willing to do go to extremes for you : Jonathan states “proceeding with efforts with the international community to secure consent from national meteorological institutions for the release of the information that they provide us with”.

          In summary :

          First, the data you asked for was neither
          produced nor owned by CRU. National meteorological institutions provided the data under an agreement that governed confidentiality.

          Second, your assertion that “Jones had claimed….” was flat out wrong.

          Third, your assertion that ” It was a total fabrication by CRU and the University of East Anglia.” is disenginous at best, given the fact that they admitted a mistake (point (2) above was not correct), provided you with an appeal process, and were bending over backward to satisfy you wants (without you even mentioning for which purpose you wanted that data).

          If I were in CRU’s shoes, I would have sent you straight to the national meteorological institutions, and that would have been the end of it. Good thing that I’m not running CRU.

        • Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 4:44 AM | Permalink

          Re: gober (Jun 3 02:32),
          Gober, yes, this is correct, see page 90 of the Russell review final report for example. Four in 2007, 2 in 2008, one in first half of 2009.

          The approx 60 requests in July 2009 were all in response to a bogus response to a previous request, claiming that the reason the data could not be released was because of confidentiality agreements.
          Furthermore, dealing with these 60 requests took virtually no time, because hardly any of these confidentiality agreements existed :)

        • gober
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 5:01 AM | Permalink

          Thanks PaulM – that is a great reference, but I have to disagree: I find searching for things which don’t exist takes much longer than searching for things we do:)

          It is probably easier to answer Rob’s question (“are you saying that 59(+?) FOIAs were filed simply because the OP was not satisfied with the information received”) by quoting from the p90 you mention:

          “But in the third quarter of 2009 a wave of requests was received. In the five days starting on 24th July, some 60 requests were logged by the IPCM. A further 10 requests were logged between the 31st July and 14th August. Some related to the raw station data underpinning the CRUTEM data sets and the vast majority sought details of any confidentiality agreements related to this data.”

        • D. Patterson
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

          It appears as though you choose to mislead readers by trying to create a false appearance of the FOI requests being excessive and abusive. The number of FOI requests were a direct consequence and result of the attempt to obstruct disclosure by forcing the requestors to guess which nation was the source of an alleged proprietary interest in the data whose disclosure was being refused on the grounds it was subject to non-disclosure agreements. The tactic of blaming the victims of this charade is backfiring with the public, and the endless manipulation to avoid disclosure of the publicly funded research for whatever reasons is unacceptable.

        • MrPete
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

          Re: gober (Jun 3 05:01),
          Let’s bring this into the sunshine.

          Facts:
          * A very small number of FOI requests had taken place before July 2009.
          * CRU refused to respond on the basis that confidentiality agreements with unspecified nations precluded response. And they refused to be more specific.

          It was on THAT basis that a scheme was devised to force revelation of which nation(s) were covered by such agreements. By creating separate FOI’s, it was assumed that only some would produce a “sorry, confidential” response. Be glad there were only 60 requests, not one-per-nation!

          It does not take a long time to search for nonexistent documents, when it is known the documents don’t exist. And CRU knew that all along. That’s what is so sad about this.

          If CRU had been truthful up front, none of this would have happened.

          gober, you are defending those who obfuscate to protect their previous lies. Is that really the side you want to be on?

        • gober
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

          I don’t get the option of replying directly to MrPete or D. Patterson (seems that there are limits to how many layers of replies are allowed), but in response to “gober, you are defending those who obfuscate to protect their previous lies.”

          Err, no, I’m not.

          Admittedly there is a typo: I meant to write “I find searching for things which don’t exist takes much longer than searching for things which do:)”

          But irrespective, even if the “:)” in my post doesn’t convey tone to everyone, the context (i.e. my and others’ previous posts in this thread) makes it pretty clear what this is about. If you don’t get that, I give up.

        • Punksta
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 2:43 AM | Permalink

          snip – OT

        • Steve Fitzpatrick
          Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

          WRT politics in climate science publications: the words “denier” and “skeptic” do not need to be included in journal publications. These words were (and are) used by many climate scientists, and convey nothing but outright contempt for anyone who dares to question the quality of the science used to justify a specific set of policy goals. And you need only read the text of the UEA email messages to see that many (all?) have a clear public policy agenda WRT to CO2; I rather suspect that you share that same policy agenda. OK, good for you; but that doesn’t mean everyone does. IMO, people are rightly concerned about both the tone and content of the UEA email messages. I personally found the efforts to influence peer review simply appalling.

        • Rob
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 2:23 AM | Permalink

          I personally found the efforts to influence peer review simply appalling.

          Especially since we have at least two papers where the peer review process was seriously compromised. Soon and Baliunas 2003 and now Said, Wegman et al 2008. Truely appalling indeed.

    • Posted May 30, 2011 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

      David Schnare Posted May 30, 2011 at 8:48 AM
      We had several reasons, but the main one was to examine the history of this important period of time.

      I assume you have also FOId the sceptics emails, funding, grants, etc., etc.?

      Might I suggest McIntyre, McKitrick, Wegman, Singer, Lindzen, …..
      As these people have nothing to hide perhaps you already have the information? Perhaps you couold publish it?

      I hope you are not trying to examine the history of this important period from one man on one side of the debate?

      • sleeper
        Posted May 30, 2011 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

        Re: thefordprefect (May 30 15:22),

        Why don’t you TFP? The emails are out there. Instead of just armchair criticizing others’ work, why don’t you do it yourself?

      • Posted Jun 1, 2011 at 1:08 AM | Permalink

        And exacly how much policy, legislation, regulation and public pending is based on sceptic viewpoints, TFP?

      • tvin
        Posted Jun 1, 2011 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

        thefordprefect:

        Your knowledge of FOI seems rather lacking. McIntyre is a private individual so is obviously not subject to FOI. Lindzen works for a private institution (MIT) and Singer is retired from GMU. I can’t comment on Canadian FOI law as regards McKitrick.

        So when you say “fois were refused”, who exactly were the FOIs submitted to and who refused them?

        • Posted Jun 1, 2011 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

          see:

          http://climateaudit.org/2011/05/28/the-vergano-foi-request/#comment-280589

        • Posted Jun 1, 2011 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

          Freedom of Information Requests
          by admin on December 16, 2009
          Today we sent Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests to the home institutions of several prominent global warming skeptics. The request letters were sent to various state governors’ offices and state universities, as well as to the Smithsonian Institute, seeking information on scientists who are employees or former employees of these institutions.
          The FOIA filings request a listing of all grants in support of research, copies of conflict of interest and outside income disclosures, copies of all email sent and received, and copies of CVs on file with the institutions.
          Several of these individuals have been very vocal commentators over the past month in response to the story of the stolen or hacked email from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. Other individuals are the subject of emails within the stolen CRU cache.
          We at PolluterWatch believe in transparency and freedom of information and think it is only fair that the public get an equal viewing of the email from the other side of the coin.
          The FOIA requests were sent to:
           Dr. Patrick Micheals, recently retired from University of Virginia
           Dr. David Legates, University of Delaware and Delaware State Climatologist
           Dr. John Christy and Roy Spencer, University of Alabama in Huntsville
           Dr. Willie Soon and Dr. Sallie Baliunas, Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysics Research Center
           Dr. Fred Singer, Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia

        • Posted Jun 2, 2011 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

          Well, Eli got a reply from the Smithsonian on Soon and Baliunas’ funding from Exxon when he asked in 2008.

  23. Phil Clarke
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    Tis true. people have tried

    UNIVERSITY of GUELPH OFFICE OF THE PROVOST

    Dear Mr. xxxxxxx,

    I write in response to your request which was received by the University on May 3, 2010 under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) for access to the following:

    “…copies of all letters written to and received from Stephen McIntyre, Patrick J. Michaels and Anthony Watts for the period of 2002 to current date by Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph. The information is to include all copies of documents that may be backed up in mail servers.”

    Your request for access to the responsive records is denied. The reasons for this decision are outlined below.

    Subsection 65(8.1) of FIPPA states that the Act does not apply to “a record respecting or associated with research conducted or proposed by an employee of an educational institution, or by a person associated with an educational institution”. This exclusion is intended to preserve academic freedom and competitiveness; in particular with respect to specific, identifiable research projects that have been conceived by a faculty member of the University. Records identified as responsive to your request are in regard to research being conducted or proposed by the authors, thereby excluding them from the scope of the Act.

    Additionally, s.21(1) of the Act requires that the University refuse to disclose personal information to any person other than the individual to whom the information relates. Responsive records that were not respecting or associated with research conducted or proposed by Professor McKitrick were personal in nature; therefore, the University is obliged to protect these records.

    In light of these factors, your request for access to responsive records is denied

    This outrageous stonewalling by a taxpayer funded body is nothing short of outrageous. Words fail me. I am outraged I tell you, outra…. nope, sorry, can’t keep it up. Tis too silly for words.

    • Rob
      Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

      “a record respecting or associated with research conducted or proposed by an employee of an educational institution, or by a person associated with an educational institution”

      Thanks Phil, for digging up this information.
      It seems that Canadian law makers (so far) actually respect academic freedom, as opposed to the rules and rulers of the state of Virginia, which seem to pride themselves in intimidating and attacking scientists that discovered scientific findings unpopular with the (local) fossil fuel industry.

    • Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

      Re: Phil Clarke (May 30 21:10), did you file an appeal? I will say that I have had FOIA denied by CRU without making a peep about it. why? well, because they followed their rules. At its heart that is all you can ask them to do. Its when they make stuff up or “bring trouble on themselves” as CRU did that you see issues

  24. Posted Jun 2, 2011 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    There is no need to demand release of all their drawings and communications with other engineers and scientists.

    There is no need because there have been dozens of books written and documentaries produced that document that very thing! The science and process of how they achieved flight is quite literally an open book.

    • Rob
      Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

      AFAIK, the Wright Brothers released any information only when and what they felt comfortable with (often only after monetary compensation), including note books and sketches etc. Besides that, the would file law suits against anyone who they suspected of copying their ideas, to the point where other plane builders declared that “if someone jumped in the air and waved his arms” the Wright brothers would sue them.

      Now don’t get me wrong. The Wright Brothers were brilliant engineers, and their heroic efforts to create powered flight rightfully was written into history.

      But from an information disclosure point of view, they were anything but an “open book” as you suggest.

      • Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

        And your analogy with the current situation is still totally irrelevant.

      • Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

        The Wright Brothers vs. Glenn Curtiss was a classic patent war

      • gober
        Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

        It is pretty simple. The Wright brothers demonstrated that they were right because they got their plane to fly. If someone had managed to get hold of their designs and showed that they did not work, they would have been laughed at… because the plane flew. If they’d been hiding proof that the plane flew, that would be another matter.

        Michael Mann on the other hand… he has been accused of using methods which give a misleading conclusion. He doesn’t have the defence that “well, I don’t care if you doubt my calculations, because the plane still flies”. That is the problem that he faces – along with other climate alarmists: essentially his conclusions are based on computer models which are suspected of not being very robust.

        There is no “the plane still flew” defence to his models. Attempts to hide the provenance of those computer models simply makes sceptics believe that he knew all along that his approach would not stand up to scrutiny.

  25. Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    David Schnare refused to answer my questions. He does not answer anonymous blog posters apparently. We have since exchanged a non disclosure agreement and my details. Hopefully he will now answer my simple questions posed a few days ago.:

    David Schnare Posted May 30, 2011 at 8:48 AM
    We had several reasons, but the main one was to examine the history of this important period of time.

    A rephraaed version of my questions are below

    You specifically state that you wish to examine the histor of this important period. It is therefore very important that both sides of the debate should be examined in equal detail. You are requesting unpublished notes, full communications, jottings and “things” of Mann. For balance are you therefore going to request the same level of detail from all those involved including Jones, Briffa, McIntyre, McKitrick, Wegman, Singer, Lindzen etc?

    Presumably will be demanding emails, funding, grants, etc., etc. from people on both sides of the debate?

    As most FOId information obtained so far has be openly published will you be publishing the data from both sides on the web?

    Will you confirm that you are not trying to examine the history of this important period from one man on one side of the debate?

    • David Schnare
      Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

      I have now visited Mr. TheFordPrefect’s home webpage and can report he is a human being like the rest of us. In fact, it appears he is a former member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and . . . No he isn’t. Just giving him a scare.

      The question he poses is sort of interesting. We have asked for the Mann documents because we want to know what was going on at that point in time. He asks, what about “the other guys”, and are we going to post everybody’s stuff on line.

      Well, we do plan to post what we get from UVA, except for copyrighted materials (sorry, its a legal thing and UVA has a fair argument that we would violate the law if we did that, and GMU has the same policy, so we won’t do that). But, what about the rest?

      Jones and Briffa are not currently on our list of targets. Might be in time, but we are not big enough to go after everyone, nor are we trying to develop a definitive history of the entire event. We are just trying to help build the history.

      McIntyre is a private citizen, so he is not subject to FOIA. More significantly, he has made all his work about as public as possible. He is also helping build the history. He is part of it too, but not in the same way as Mann. McKitrick, like McIntyre, is pretty much an open book. If someone had found that he appeared to refuse to play nice in the sandbox, we’d take a look at his work, but that doesn’t seem to have happened yet.

      Wegman is one for which we have requested his work. GMU gave it to us in an extremely timely manner and we are going over it now. If there is anything of significance to the science, we’ll post it, but so far, it appears he failed to ensure his students (or Said’s) did their job properly, but nothing seems amiss in the science itself.

      Singer is a colleague, but is an elder statesman as well. (That’s a nice way to say he’s been retired a long time.) No one has questioned his work, and his recent efforts are very public. UVA has nothing of his anymore. He got his PhD the year I was born [1948] and left the UVA campus in 1994. Email did not become meaningfully commercial until 1993, and UVA did not have servers for that purpose in 1994. So, all they would have would be his written papers, and they don’t have any, it appears.

      Lindzen is subject to FOIA, but who wants to take him on. Noone has made any credible effort to impeach his work, and that’s pretty much a no brainer. The man is a walking paragon of academic rectitude. I have no plans to go down that road. If you want to, dandy.

      You didn’t mention Pat Michaels, also from UVA. Pat is also a colleague, and he suffered from disagreeing with AGW alarmists, including some on the UVA campus. However, he is an open book and no one has seriously suggested any of his work or efforts reflect “political” science or bad science or anything else. He is an important figure in that he is an example of what happens to someone who stands up for their own work that happens to depart from the politically correct script. However, he had no significant role in development of the hockey stick graph or the defense of that work, so he’s not central to the history of that period.

      Finally, we filed the FOIA for other purposes as well. We believe that when the public pays a scientist to do science at a public academic institution, they should not only have the opportunity to see all of what they bought, but have a legal right to see how that work was done. Because Mann has been accused of less than honorable behavior, the public has a right to know whether his papers reflect such behavior or exonerate him. That purpose does not require examination of others’ papers.

      That’s about all I intend to say on this subject. For those of you who want to follow our work, take a look over at http://www.atinstitute.org (and throw some money in the bucket so we can bring you the stories behind the headlines.)

      • Rob
        Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 3:26 AM | Permalink

        Dr. Schnare, thank you for a detailed reply.

        Wegman is one for which we have requested his work. GMU gave it to us in an extremely timely manner and we are going over it now. If there is anything of significance to the science, we’ll post it, but so far, it appears he failed to ensure his students (or Said’s) did their job properly, but nothing seems amiss in the science itself.

        Wegman is kind of interesting, since he authored the Wegman report to Congress. It was never peer-reviewed, and the only scientific paper that came out of it has just been retracted.

        Besides, Wegman has been very extremely secretive about the science in his report, failing to answer basic questions such at the ones from Prof. Ritson :

        http://deepclimate.org/2010/10/24/david-ritson-speaks-out

        even after personal intervention by Congresman Waxman.

        If you found that “nothing seems amiss in the science itself” then maybe you can answer Prof. Ritson’s questions.

        Meanwhile, Dr. Mann, who published all his data and methods long ago is on what you call your current “list of targets” is still being investigated by ATI, while you could not find the blatant violation of peer-review as well as plagiatism that USA Today found on the Said, Wegman et al 2008 publication.

        Is ATI deliberately cherry-picking “targets” or is that just my perception ?

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 3:48 AM | Permalink

          I’m not going to address everything in your post, but Michael Mann did not publish “all his data and methods long ago.”

          Also, USA Today did not find plagiarism in anything. It was found by John Mashey/Deepclimate.

        • Rob
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 4:24 AM | Permalink

          Michael Mann did not publish “all his data and methods long ago.”

          http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v430/n6995/extref/nature02478-s1.htm

          Been there since 2004.

          USA Today did not find plagiarism in anything. It was found by John Mashey/Deepclimate.

          Thank you for the correction. Indeed, Mashey and Deep Climate deserve the credit for uncovering the plagiarism in Said,Wegman et al, as reported by USA Today. USA Today’s FOIA request just revealed the blatant violation of the peer-review process that ATI failed to detect.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 4:57 AM | Permalink

          I am well aware of that page. However, it does not include all of Mann’s data and methods. The fact he posted something does not mean he posted everything. For example, nobody knows how Mann calculated his confidence intervals in MBH99. You won’t find the code for that anywhere online, nor will you find any meaningful description of it.

          Making blanket statements without knowing the details you’re covering is usually a bad idea.

        • Rob
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 6:20 AM | Permalink

          Point well taken.
          Indeed claiming that Mann published “all his data and methods long ago” is overstreching the point. There will always be someone who is of the opinion that some data or some methods were not properly explained, no matter how many times theconclusions of the paper were confirmed by other data and methods.

          My point of course is that the vast amount of data that Mann did release is in stark contrast to the secret obscurity around the Wegman report. Not only did Wegman fail to release any data and methods beyond what we read in the report itself, even though he promised to do so, he also mentions the “Navy’s public release process” and “not federally funded” as arguments to NOT release any information on what he actually did in the Wegman report.

          This secrecy and evasiveness by Wegman, and unanswed scientific questions about Wegman statistical methods by Ritson, the inability to reproduce the red-noise hockey sticks other than by copying McIntyre’s graphs, which are excluded from FOIAs by Canadian law, combined with the fact that the Wegman report was itself not even a scientific publication, was not peer-reviewed, was summoned by a politician and presented in a political forum (Congress), and the report is under investigation for plagiarism by Wegman’s own university, makes one wonder why anyone is even remotely interested in investigating anything else but the Wegman report.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

          Rob, your response is extremely obnoxious. In your second sentence, you say your comment was “overstretching the point.” No it wasn’t. Your comment was wrong. You said Michael Mann published all his data and methodology. He did not. You made a blanket claim, and it was untrue. That’s all.

          You then follow this with a very peculiar sentence. There are two ways I can see interpreting it. The first interpretation holds you are referring to me with the sentence. This would have you suggesting the reason I said Mann didn’t publish his methodology for calculating confidence intervals is because I have extremely unreasonable expectations for what should be provided. This would be a flagrant misrepresentation as Mann’s methodology doesn’t conform to any sort of standard procedure, and it is (basically) impossible to replicate.

          The second interpretation holds that sentence is simply a bizarre non-sequitur. In this case, it is completely irrelevant, and posting it is nonsensical. The only thing it would accomplish is to give the implication those questioning Mann’s methodology are being unreasonable. The result is the same as the first interpretation, save that it is by implication rather than by statement.

          Finally, the last clause of this sentence makes no sense at all. It doesn’t matter if a paper’s conclusions have been confirmed a thousand times. It doesn’t matter if everyone in the world agrees with the conclusions. Neither has any bearing on whether or not the paper’s methodology has been adequately described/published.

          Given how much difficulty you cause with issue of simple facts, it’s hard to imagine having any sort of actual discussion with you. It’s also worth mentioning, while I stuck to discussing a single issue, there are many more issues with your response. For example, in your comparison between Mann and Wegman, you make no mention of the events around Mann’s publishment. This gives the impression Mann was simply being open while Wegman was being secretive. Of course, that isn’t accurate.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

          Oh, and in case it wasn’t clear enough, the methodology for calculating confidence intervals in Mann’s work isn’t the only thing he failed to publish. There has still never been anything published which explain Mann’s PC retention numbers. This issue is especially problematic as Mann and cohorts have claimed to use one particular rule (Preisendorfer’s Rule N), but that rule could not possibly get the results they got. This means Mann isn’t simply hiding what he did, he is saying things about it which are untrue.

          This distortion has been actively used to mislead people about the controversy around Mann’s work. Even if one took the worst possible view of Wegman, he still wouldn’t be actively campaigning to mislead people.

      • Rob
        Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 4:55 AM | Permalink

        Wegman is one for which we have requested his work. GMU gave it to us in an extremely timely manner

        Dr. Schnare, do you have a link to this request that you filed with GMU, and GMU’s reply ?

        • David Schnare
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 6:29 AM | Permalink

          We don’t have it all up yet. It’s 42 megabytes of material, some of which is copyrighted and thus material we are not allowed to post. Some of it is graphics that don’t have legends, but might be of archival interest if they are different from the final published graphs. It’s a fair amount of stuff, and will take us a little bit of time to parse. Keep in mind, the climate ate emails and files were not a raw dump of records. The were selected in some manner. We will do some of that too to sort out the dreck from the material that we suspect may be of interest.

        • Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 6:43 AM | Permalink

          Wegman’s “work” does not seem to have the same extent as “Mann’s documents”.

        • Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

          David Schnare Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 6:29 AM | Permalink | Reply
          We will do some of that too to sort out the dreck from the material that we suspect may be of interest.

          Might I suggest that removing the DRECK constitutes chery picking and can lead to misinertpretation of the emails. All should be published. Let others decide what is dreck and what is not dreck!

        • Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 7:52 AM | Permalink

          Hmm
          So it will take a little bit of time? Yet you are upset by UVA requesting payment for their time to retrieve many times as much data!!

        • Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

          The people who would be collecting the data would be getting paid regardless of how many FOI requests came in. I’d say most institutions pay people specifically for that purpose. Obviously they need something to do.

        • zinfan94
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

          Jeff Alberts: I don’t know how many legal cases or lawyers that you have dealt with, but in my case my lawyers, legal assistants, and clerical staff, charge their time and work to my charge code. It is illegal for them to charge me for work that isn’t done for me.

          IMO, in the case of FOI requests, the work that is done in assembling, copying, and sending the information should be charged to the person filing the FOI request. If the recipient of the FOI request elects to forego charging the person who made the FOI request, that is entirely at the discretion of the recipient. There should be no free ride for FOI requests!

        • Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

          I think that would depend on the institution. I have no experience in the matter, but it’s clear that the UEA had dedicated people for the job.

        • Phil Clarke
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

          In the climategate mails, which the panel list as one of their references, is a mail in which Mann stated that he would notify Wahl of Jones’ email, which he did.

          The obvious conclusion is that the panel were aware of the facts, but concluded that they did not amount to ‘credible evidence that Dr. Mann had ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails

          And since no mails were deleted at Mann’s request, this seems eminently reasonable.

        • John M
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

          Yes Phil, you can stick with that story.

          Forwarding an e-mail that said “delete your e-mails” did not “participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails…:

          Next, the defintion of “is”…

        • John M
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 6:38 PM | Permalink

          Sometimes, it seems that climate science and its band of groupies is like the dry-cleaning business.

        • RomanM
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 7:19 PM | Permalink

          The obvious conclusion is that the panel were aware of the facts, but concluded that they did not amount to ‘credible evidence that Dr. Mann had ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails …

          How dense can you get (although I know the answer from reading your earlier comments)???

          So Jones request was not made “with intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails”? Jones was just fooling and didn’t mean it? And when Mann “engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly” (sounds like directly to me) by passing on the message without qualification and this actually resulted in the deletion of emails by a third party, this shows that “there exists no evidence that Mann ever performed any action that he intended to result in the deletion of emails, which is entirely germane and responsive to the question the panel was considering”?

          Did the panel SEE the email forwarding the request? How do YOU know? Why did they not explicitly address the issues which would be raised by the existence of the forwarded request? Perhaps they did not expect that this fact would emerge to public view. The information that Mann forwarded the request only came out after the investigation had been completed.

          If the panel were aware of the real facts then their import should have been explained in the report and the conclusion rendered in that context. As it is, the panel looks to have been incompetent … or worse.

        • gober
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

          “The obvious conclusion is that the panel were aware of the facts”

          Since the panel don’t acknowledge that Mann forwarded the request to delete emails, it is far from “obvious” – in fact there is nothing to suggest that the panel “were aware of the facts”.

          One fact which is relevant – but again is not noted by the panel (so the “obvious conclusion” is that the panel wasn’t aware of it), is that Wahl has said that he did in fact delete emails, after receiving the email which Mann had forwarded to him which requested him to delete emails.

          Mann and Wahl have both since said that there was no additional comment from Mann with the forwarded email, but given that Wahl did in fact act on the email, Mann would have a hard time persuading most people that he wasn’t part of the process.

        • Rob
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 5:17 AM | Permalink

          Actually, Dr. Schnare, I was not asking for the 42 Mb of data. I was just asking for the link to the request (was that a FOIA request?) that you filed with GMU, and GMU’s reply to that request.

      • Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

        Information released by FOIA is public. Anyone can, if they wish, get a duplicate from the original source

        Copyright of work by a faculty member belongs to the university unless transferred (and there have been cases on this)

        GMU is blowing smoke with its little disclaimer

        Schnare is blowing smoke about what he can release until and if authorized by the court

  26. Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 7:22 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the belated response. David Schnare Posted Jun 3, 2011 at 10:20
    PM | Permalink | Reply
    … We have asked for the Mann documents because we want to know what was
    going on at that point in time. McIntyre is a private citizen, so he is not
    subject to FOIA.

    Your request to UVA is not limiting itself to just Mann and co-workers – indeed
    I should like to point out this inconsistency in your comment and your FOI

    “All documents that constitute or that are in any way related to correspondence,
    messages or emails sent by Dr. Michael Mann to, or received from, any of the
    following persons:
    (x) Stephen McIntyre”

    More significantly, he has made all his work about as public as possible.
    He is also helping build the history. He is part of it too, but not in the same
    way as Mann.

    Your UVA FOI is not just requesting data,code documents it is requesting emails
    and things – why. One can only assume this is to create another misinterpretation
    the email type of scandal c.f. LEA. If not then why request such things? If
    it is genuinely requesting the information for background then emails MUST be
    requested from all others involved in the climate debate. Otherwise it is one
    sided.
    McKitrick, like McIntyre, is pretty much an open book. If someone had found
    that he appeared to refuse to play nice in the sandbox, we’d take a look at
    his work, but that doesn’t seem to have happened yet
    .
    How do you know that McKitrick and others did no conspire to discredit invalidly
    other’s documents ?
    Wegman is one for which we have requested his work. GMU gave it to us in
    an extremely timely manner

    "Timely manner"!!! the 2 fois are completely different kettles of
    fish. One you demand a life history including any doodles made on the way. Wegman
    you ask for very little (and get it!)
    Singer is a colleague, but is an elder statesman as well. (That’s a nice
    way to say he’s been retired a long time.) No one has questioned his work, and
    his recent efforts are very public.

    Mann’s data had been deleted from their system. It was not until a disused
    server was found could any data be retrieved. Being OLD does not make you honest!.
    Indeed being old makes it more likely that you do not care what happens in the
    future – you’ll be dead! How can you say "no one has questioned his work"
    that is just not true.
    Lindzen is subject to FOIA, but who wants to take him on.
    No one wants to take on the Mafia but that does not make it right to allow
    them to escape punishment!
    You didn’t mention Pat Michaels, also from UVA.he is an open
    book and no one has seriously suggested any of his work or efforts reflect “political”
    science or bad science or anything else
    .
    I did not mention many people who disagree with AGW. That is what the ETC.
    is for. He’s an open book – yes he admitted to being funded 40% by the oil industry.
    Do you not think that perhaps his emails may be of some slight interest (of
    course he would have to be pretty dumb to have used UVA email system – but you
    never know unless you request)
    We believe that when the public pays a scientist to do science at a public
    academic institution, they should not only have the opportunity to see all of
    what they bought, but have a legal right to see how that work was done.

    Fine, but do you not just purchase the final report and the data and calculation.
    Do you really purchase his life?
    Because Mann has been accused of less than honorable behavior, the public
    has a right to know whether his papers reflect such behavior or exonerate him.

    Is this accusation a legal one? Or is it a blogging one? Can I accuse all the
    anti-AGW scientists similarly and cause you to then FOI their lives?
    To me, sir, it appears you are going after one man for the purpose of discrediting
    climate science.
     
    Will you publicly state that you are honestly requesting the information solely
    to understand the history?
    Will you also publicly state that you have not been financed by parties (possibly
    energy related) interested in disproving AGW?

    • Punksta
      Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

      Will you also publicly state that you have not been financed by parties (possibly energy related) interested in disproving AGW?

      Yes indeed, he who pays the piper calls the tune. In science at least as much as anywhere else.

      Somehow though, this issue is only ever raised with AGW skeptics, never with AGW believers.

      Probably because close to 100% of believers are financed by an absolutely enormous party with a huge vested interest in proving AGW – ie government, since this gives it the go-ahead to raise taxes, expand itself and generally promote a more totalirian society.

    • Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 8:26 AM | Permalink

      MIT is a private institution and not subject to FOIA requests, thus Lindzen is not subject to FOIA requests, nor for that matter is Kerry Emanuel. Just a point of information

      • Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

        Unless Lindzen engaged in projects which were federally funded. I don’t know if he did.

        • Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 10:09 PM | Permalink

          Doesn’t matter. The only things you could get would be stuff that he sent to the federal sponsor by requesting that from the federal agency. You can’t, for example, use FOIA to get internal communications from LockMart or any other federal contractor. Universities are federal contractors.

        • Richard T. Fowler
          Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

          Eli Rabett, Jun 5, 2011 10:09 PM: “Doesn’t matter. [. . .]”

          I’m sorry to disagree, but if you are a government contractor, and you are holding any information that was generated for the performance of this contract, and the contract specifies that that information must have already been made public by the present time, and you have not released the information to anyone else, then you may be subject to FOIA, because being the exclusive holder of what by law is public information, you are acting as an agent of government. The fact that you are also a private entity or citizen does not matter. You may still be subject to FOIA because you are acting as an agent of the contracting agency by being the exclusive holder of the information.

          If, on the other hand, you gave a copy to whomever the contract said you had to, and this individual did not publish it as required by law, then you are not subject to FOIA. However, to refuse to respond to the requestor would seem to me to be an unnecessary risk on your part. There could be matters of interpretation in the contract.

          A private individual is not released of the responsibilities of being a government agent by the fact that he doesn’t know or doesn’t believe he is an agent. All that matters is that he _is_ an agent.

          Also, if a private corporation is doing government work under contract, and getting most of its money from such work, then in some sense it is a government agency. After all, what is a government employee but a contractor? He has an _employment contract_. It is the contract which makes him an agent, and it is the nature of the work (i.e. government-ordered) which makes him to be in any sense “of the government”. He, himself, is a private individual. It is his _contract_ for employment that makes him _also_ a member of government (in addition to a private individual), and thus subject to FOIA.

          RTF

  27. J Bowers
    Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre Jun 3, 2011 at 6:48 AM — “Jones had claimed that the confidentiality agreements prohibited CRU from sending the data to a “non-academic”. Quite aside from whether there were any confidentiality agreements at all, there were no confidentiality agreements that contained this language. It was a total fabrication by CRU and the University of East Anglia.”

    http://badc.nerc.ac.uk/data/surface/met-nerc_agreement.html

    UK Met. Office

    Meteorological Office (UKMO) data supplied through NERC Data Centres to bona fide research programmes.

    Conditions of Use

    Arrangements have been set in place whereby bona fide academic researchers working on agreed NERC-endorsed scientific programmes may obtain access on favourable terms to UKMO data (and associated software). To streamline the process, UKMO is providing relevant datasets / software ‘wholesale’ to NERC and NERC will then undertake the subsequent sublicensing and distribution to individual scientists.

    The British Atmospheric Data Centre and the British Oceanographic Data Centre will handle requirements for the atmospheric and oceanographic user communities respectively. Requests for UKMO data / software should therefore be sent to the appropriate Data Centre and not directly to UKMO.

    UKMO data / software so obtained may be used solely for the purpose for which they were supplied. They may not be used for any other projects unless specific prior permission has been obtained in writing from the UKMO by a NERC Data Centre. Note that this applies even for other bona fide academic work.

    UKMO does not discourage the use of its data for commercial applications, but different licensing arrangements and charges will apply. Should any commercial prospects emerge subsequent to the original supply of the data, the licensing position must be clarified, and any appropriate fees negotiated with UKMO before such prospects are followed up.

    Data sets must not be passed on to third parties under any circumstances. Any scientist requiring data which happens to have been supplied already to someone else, even within the same institute or programme of research, must first approach one of the NERC Data Centres, who have agreed to maintain records of data users for UKMO.

    Once the project work using the data has been completed, copies of the datasets and software held by the end user should be deleted, unless permission has been obtained for them to be retained for some alternative use.

    It is to be expected that ‘bona fide academic research’ using the data will eventually result in scientific publications in the open literature. The Data Centres will request details of such publications in due course, and if they do not arise UKMO may seek further evidence that this was at least the intention at the outset of the research. Scientific papers must give due credit to UKMO, either through acknowledgement or, if the data provide a significant basis of the work, co-authorship. Any processed / derived datasets resulting from the project should be made available to the appropriate NERC Data Centre for licensing / transfer to other researchers and the UKMO.

    The copyright / intellectual property rights of any data, software, information or documentation so supplied by UKMO in support of such a programme are retained by the original owner (generally the UKMO or its subcontractors). UKMO will protect its IPR by legal action if there is misuse of these rights such as the passing on of data to other third parties. NERC recognises that some data holdings supplied by UKMO under the arrangements are commercially valuable : the recipients of data are under an obligation to respect the terms and conditions of data supply, and to have regard to the security of datasets entrusted to them. Any infringement, whether by deliberate abuse or negligence, will be regarded extremely seriously by NERC, as endangering Council’s own reputation and the integrity of the NERC supported scientific community. The introduction of sanctions against individuals or Departments may be considered if breaches occur.

    Now I thought that was also archived in the FOIA.zip.

    • Spence_UK
      Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

      The NERC-UKMO agreement you list are commercial terms that UKMO has (arbitrarily, it appears) imposed on their own datasets. Unsurprisingly, this is meaningless in the context of FOI. Government agencies cannot arbitrarily impose conditions like this that prevent the release of data, for obvious reasons that it would be too easy to hide behind.

      The only relevant agreements that would prevent the station data being released under FOI would be agreements that the UKMO had placed upon them by external organisations that had supplied the data in question. The agreement you have identified there does not fall into this category and is therefore irrelevant to the FOI rejection.

      As an aside: whoever wrote up that agreement is astonishingly inept. IANAL, but even I can spot both unenforcable statements in that agreement, and ones which are irrelevant in law (trying to negotiate liabilities under tort law in an agreement? Good luck with that one in court!)

      The test they want to invent seems to be whether or not a paper is likely to be produced at the end of the project (no reason why Steve would not have been willing to have this as a goal, pal review notwithstanding), but then their agreement almost certainly contravenes the data policies of many journals, so you couldn’t use the data in the paper anyway… oops! I think we could call this a self-defeating agreement, or maybe just a crude attempt to try and keep outsiders finding out climate scientists’ dirty laundry.

      • Punksta
        Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

        maybe just a crude attempt to try and keep outsiders finding out climate scientists’ dirty laundry.

        From the author of “Why should I show you my data when I know you’ll try and find something wrong with it” ??

        Surely not.

      • J Bowers
        Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

        Government agencies cannot arbitrarily impose conditions like this that prevent the release of data, for obvious reasons that it would be too easy to hide behind.

        Crown Copyright says not. The UK is not the USA.

        • John M
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

          Soon to be a moot point, assuming they actually will follow their new rules.

          http://www.nerc.ac.uk/research/sites/data/policy2011.asp

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 5:19 AM | Permalink

          Which you can probably thank Phil Jones for, which he was working on making happen
          prior to the Climategate emails release.

          “Although Jones agrees that the data should be made publicly available, he says that “it needs to be done in a systematic way”. He is now working to make the data publicly available online and will post a statement on the CRU website tomorrow to that effect, with any existing confidentiality agreements. “We’re trying to make them all available. We’re consulting with all the meteorological services – about 150 members of WMO – and will ask them if they are happy to release the data”, says Jones. But getting the all-clear from other nations could take several months and there may be objections. “Some countries don’t even have their own data available as they haven’t digitized it. We have done a lot of that ourselves”, he says.”

          http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2009/08/mcintyre_versus_jones_climate_1.html

          August 2009.

        • Spence_UK
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

          Copyright is entirely separate from FOI. Information gleaned under FOI can still be subject to copyright, which does not prevent information being provided under FOI, but may prevent it being republished (which may be a breach of copyright).

          Probably the best known example are Ordnance Survey maps. These aren’t any kind of government secret (well, not in 2011 anyway); you don’t even need FOI, you can probably wander into a local library in the UK and get any OS map you want. But the maps are covered by crown copyright, which is rigidly enforced, and prevents you from redistributing the maps.

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

          The claim was made that none of the agreements had specific requirements that the data be used for academic purposes. The NERC/Met Office agreement has such a requirement. It was not CRU’s decision to make, it was NERC’s. For data, you guys contacted the wrong department.

          Jones et al published their methods in their published papers. What more do you need?

        • John M
          Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

          Jones et al published their methods in their published papers. What more do you need?

          The stations he used? And don’t give us the equivalent of “the number’s in the phone book someplace”.

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

          Roy Spencer replicated Jones’ work using his own data. What’s the big deal?

          “We just didn’t realise in those days how important and controversial this would all become – now it would just all be stored on computer. Phil Jones has been looking at climate records for a very long time. Frankly our data set agrees with his, so unless we are all making the same mistake we’re not likely to find out anything new from the data anyway.”

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8694544.stm

        • Spence_UK
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 5:48 AM | Permalink

          Hmm, still not quite getting the whole “science” thing, are you?

          Nobody is saying there are definitely serious problems. Of course, if we had the data, we could know whether there were or not for sure. But Phil Jones would rather foster doubt by trying to hide his data for as long as possible behind apparently false claims regarding confidentiality agreements between UEA and its suppliers.

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

          Jones just wishes you’d read the published literature and do some science. Rote repetition is not scientific replication.

        • Spence_UK
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

          With the presence of complex computer programs and statistical procedures, rote replication has been shown to be important for discovering errors in science in fields from medicine to chemistry to physics. Your point demonstrates that you know nothing about the conduct of modern science.

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 3:55 AM | Permalink

          Are you saying that rote repetition is an essential part of the scientific method, and CRU’s results have not been reproduced using original code and independently sourced data?

        • Spence_UK
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 4:01 AM | Permalink

          As explained in my first comment, the agreement you pointed to is imposed by the UKMO on NERC. Not the other way around.

          Several points here. Firstly, the UKMO is not the UEA. They are separate entities. Secondly, to prevent the release of data under FOI, the restriction must be one that a supplier imposes on the UEA. Not an agreement the UKMO imposes on a consumer of their information. Only the former can be used as a basis for refusing FOI, not the latter.

          This stuff is not that hard to understand, and I’m not sure why you are struggling with it. If that agreement could have been used, then the UEA would without doubt have raised it when asked. They did not use it as evidence, because they knew that such evidence would have looked ridiculous. Of course, they failed to produce any compelling evidence at all, which perhaps speaks volumes about their original hand-waving claim.

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

          Again: A claim was made that none of the agreements specified that the data is for bona fide academic work. The NERC/UKMO one did. So, the claim was wrong, right? It’s there in black and white.

        • Spence_UK
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 5:41 AM | Permalink

          Ah, I see, quote mining and taking things out of context. The claim was not a broad brush one about any agreements between any parties. We are testing whether the *specific* claim made by UEA in their FOI rejection was actually true. Basically, were the UEA lying to evade FOI rules. The agreement you refer to is irrelevant to the original claim as made by UEA.

          The claim was made with respect to the FOI against UEA. UEA specifically claimed they could not provide station data because they had commercial agreements with suppliers that prevented release to non-academics.

          Steve suspected that no such agreement existed between UEA and its suppliers, and so far this is true. The fact you have found an unrelated agreement, that is not between UEA and its suppliers, is not relevant to the original claim.

          If you can find such an agreement that materially affects the FOI claim – which must be between UEA and its suppliers, not between NERC and UKMO – then that would be interesting. As I noted, not even the UEA tried the line you are currently trying, because your claim is so wrong-headed and devoid of any understanding of the actual issues being discussed.

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 6:05 AM | Permalink

          If you can find such an agreement that materially affects the FOI claim – which must be between UEA and its suppliers, not between NERC and UKMO – then that would be interesting.

          The agreement is between an individual scientist and NERC/UKMO.

        • Spence_UK
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

          Oh dear oh dear. The agreement is one that NERC places on UKMO data for download, which in turn will be requirements that UKMO has placed on making its data available to others via NERC. That is, the agreement is based on terms which UKMO has placed on NERC to make its data available.

          None of which is relevant to the original question that was posed. You’ve beaten up your own little straw man that has nothing to do with the original claim.

          The original claim was that the UEA could not release information due to commercial agreements between it and third party suppliers. This would, if it were true, be a valid reason to not release information under FOI.

          The existence of an agreement between NERC, UKMO (and any number of scientists you care to introduce) is completely irrelevant to the point at hand. If the agreement is between other parties, it is irrelevant to the UEAs original claim.

          I could write out an agreement between me and some random person on the internet. It would have no bearing whatsoever on the ability of UEA to provide information under FOI, which was the issue at hand. Unfortunately your inability to understand this trivial and obvious point makes me wonder if you are not simply deliberately trolling.

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

          The agreement is one that NERC places on UKMO data for download, which in turn will be requirements that UKMO has placed on making its data available to others via NERC. That is, the agreement is based on terms which UKMO has placed on NERC to make its data available.

          Of course UKMO put conditions on the release of data. The UKMO was an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence, and a Trading Fund from April 1996.

          So you have both a statutory requirement for the UKMO to both generate funding and satisfy its defence obligations.

          If you had a problem with the NERC/UKMO setup you should have had a go at your MP, not Phil Jones.

        • Spence_UK
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 2:00 AM | Permalink

          Still wrong. What on earth has an agreement between NERC/UKMO to do with Phil Jones’ evasion of FOI law? Answer: absolutely nothing. I have no beef with the NERC/UKMO agreement because it has nothing whatsoever to do with the UEA who claimed that such agreements existed that affected their obligations under FOI.

          The NERC/UKMO has no effect on the UEAs obligation under FOI. So is not relevant to the point Steve made. Full stop. You’ve been told, but you are just ignoring it and continuing to state 2+2=5, you are a troll.

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 4:14 AM | Permalink

          Which bit of “UKMO data product is proprietary and a commercial product, ergo UEA, or Jones, or anyone else, are under contract to not give their product out willy nilly as defined in the NERC Conditions of Use” is so difficult to grasp?

          Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act says that a “right to know” is inapplicable if, “release of the information is likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person. (A person may be an individual, a company, the public authority itself or any other legal entity.)”

        • curious
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

          J Bowers – what is the commercial value of this information? Who pays for it and how is the value calculated? Whose commercial interests would be prejudiced and how?

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 6:02 AM | Permalink

          @ curious

          2009/2010:
          Turnover: £192 million
          Commercial revenue: £29.4 million
          Total expenditure: £185.3 million
          Operating profit: £6.6 million

          Dividends payable to the owner, the Ministry of Defence:
          2009/10: £4.5 million
          2008/09: £17.2 million

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 6:08 AM | Permalink

          Forgot to add the source:

          European Public Sector Information (PSI) Platform

          UK Met Office Annual Report and Accounts 2009/10. (71 pages, ISBN: 9780102966381, ID P002368729 07/10)

        • L.J. Lim
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 6:29 AM | Permalink

          Re: J Bowers (Jun 5 06:05),
          It is Jones who supplied the data in question to the UKMO. Not the other way around.

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

          @ L.J. Lim

          Land temperatures only. Where did CRU get sea temperatures from?

        • curious
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

          J Bowers – thanks for the follow up but how do the aggregated figures for all the UKMO activities relate to the commercial value of a specific historic dataset?

          As per your bold above: “NERC recognises that some data holdings supplied by UKMO under the arrangements are commercially valuable”. Therefore they recognise that not all their data holdings are of commercial value.

          My questions are what is the commercial value of this particular information, who is/are current customer(s) for it, how much do they pay for it, on what terms, and whose commercial interests are at stake?

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

          Curious, here you go:

          * Ministry of Defence: Contact Us
          * Met Office: Contact Us
          * HM Treasury: Contact Us
          * Find your MP

          Let me know how you get on.

  28. L.J. Lim
    Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    Re: Rob (Jun 4 04:07),

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/11/21/test/

    As a result of this investigation, I am satisfied that our overall decision to not disclose the requested information is correct.

    In response to your first point in your email of 24 July regarding the non transmission of data to non-academics, I have concluded that the reference to non-academics was in error and that the status of yourself, or any other requester, is irrelevant to the factors to consider regarding disclosure of the requested information.

    • Rob
      Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 6:31 AM | Permalink

      Thanks L.J.
      I replied above, in the thread where Steve posted his statements.

  29. barry
    Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 10:44 PM | Permalink

    “Michael Mann has subsequently stated that he did, in fact, participate in an orchestrated effort to delete emails covered under FOIA”

    This is news to me. Is there a link to corroborate?

  30. Phil Clarke
    Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    “Michael Mann has subsequently stated that he did, in fact, participate in an orchestrated effort to delete emails covered under FOIA”. Critics have charged that the Penn State investigation was inadequate. Michael Mann has subsequently stated that he did, in fact, participate in an orchestrated effort to delete emails covered under FOIA, raising questions about the veracity of statements he made to the Penn State investigators. Penn State seems untroubled by this

    This is disingenuous, at best. It refers to the fact that Mann forwarded the now-infamous ‘please delete’ mail from Phil Jones to Eugene Wahl. The mail was forwarded without comment, Mann never deleted mail nor did he personally request anyone to do so. He said subsequently that he thought Wahl should be aware of the request. The FOI issue is also moot as neither Mann nor Wahl were UK Goverment employees. As this fact was in the climategate mails reviewed by the Penn State enquiry it is unsurprising that the University is ‘untroubled’ by this non-revelation.

    • John M
      Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

      It refers to the fact that Mann forwarded the now-infamous ‘please delete’ mail from Phil Jones to Eugene Wahl.

      Which of course leads to a lot of tap-dancing to pretend that this finding from Penn State passes the sniff test.

      Allegation 2: Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4, as suggested by Phil Jones?

      Finding 2. After careful consideration of all the evidence and relevant materials, the inquiry committee finding is that there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data related to AR4, as suggested by Dr. Phil Jones. Dr. Mann has stated that he did not delete emails in response to Dr. Jones’ request. Further, Dr. Mann produced upon request a full archive of his emails in and around the time of the preparation of AR4. The archive contained e-mails related to AR4.

      Talk about disingenuous.

  31. barry
    Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

    “Which of course leads to a lot of tap-dancing to pretend that this finding from Penn State passes the sniff test”

    No, the statement I quoted doesn’t follow the sniff test.

    “Michael Mann has subsequently stated that he did, in fact, participate in an orchestrated effort to delete emails covered under FOIA”

    Michael Mann “stated” no such thing. If this inflation of fact is typical of the request, little wonder UVA complained about ATI’s mischaracterisations.

    • John M
      Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

      Barry,

      I think you’re mis-construing what I’m referring to as “tap-dancing”.

      Penn State was supposed to be answering the allegation raised in Issue 2. Issue 2 has nothing to do with “orchestration”, but rather “participation”.

      You are arguing with someone else on that one.

  32. Phil Clarke
    Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

    …there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails …

    Mann asserts that his intent in forwarding the mail was to alert Eugene Wahl of it, Wahl says

    For the record, while I received the email from CRU as forwarded by Dr. Mann, the forwarded message came without any additional comment from Dr. Mann; there was no request from him to delete emails.

    So in fact Dr. Mann disregarded the request to delete mail (and provided the mails in question to the enquiry), there was no request from Mann for anyone to delete anything, in short no evidence of intent to delete mail, and considerable evidence to the contrary.

    Exactly as the panel concluded, so the implication that Mann misled the panel by exclusion and later admitted same is pure handwaving.

    • John M
      Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

      As I said…tap dancing.

      And I guess the Penn State panel just forgot to mention he forwarded the e-mail.

      Since you seem so good at divining “intent”, why do you suppose that is?

      • Phil Clarke
        Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

        The panel read the illicitly-released personal emails and so were clearly aware that Dr Mann pressed ‘Forward’.

        As Gene Wahl is clear that he did not regard this as an instruction by Mann to delete, as Mann did not himself delete any mails, it is not ‘tap-dancing’ to state that there exists no evidence that Mann ever performed any action that he intended to result in the deletion of emails, which is entirely germane and responsive to the question the panel was considering.

        Couldn’t be any clearer and I won’t be repeating myself again.

        • John M
          Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

          Phil Clarke,

          Unfortunately, I have to repeat myself, since you continue to ignore the fact that the panel didn’t even acknowledge that Mann forwared the e-mail. How do you know they read it? Were you there? Where do they say they read it?

          Since you want to play word games, all they say is Mann “produced” the e-mails. Maybe they just weighed a big Manilla envelope he gave them.

          If they did read the e-mail that he forwarded to Wahl, and didn’t put it in the report, that suggests their intent was to save face, not investigate. If they didn’t read the e-mail or didn’t even have it, that suggests even worse possibilities.

        • Posted Jun 5, 2011 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

          Re: John M (Jun 5 16:52),
          What on earth is the point of this argument?

        • Phil Clarke
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 3:53 AM | Permalink

          Hi Nick.

          Please pay attention. This is important.

          -> Phil Jones sent a mail to Michael Mann requesting the deletion of mails relating to AR4 and asking him to ask Eugene Wahl to do likewise. The background is a somewhat arcane dispute about IPCC processes, and an FOI request to UEA about this. I think everyone is agreed that this request was a lapse of judgement by Jones.

          -> Mann replied saying he would ‘notify’ Wahl, in fact he forwarded the request without comment.

          ‘Asked why he sent the e-mail to his colleague, Mann said, “I felt Eugene Wahl had to be aware of this e-mail … it could be used against him. I didn’t delete any e-mails and nor did I tell Wahl to delete any e-mails. [...] It’s much easier to e-mail somebody. No where did I approve of the instruction to destroy e-mails.”

          -> The investigation by Penn State considered whether there was any evidence that Mann took any actions with the intent of causing mails to be deleted and concluded that there was no such evidence. Excitable ‘auditors’ around here seem to think that simply ensuring the mail reached its intended recipient is evidence of such intent. Presumably the internet, which also passed on the mail without comment, should now be investigated.

          ” online reports on the investigative files have misconstrued a central point, he says, assuming that embattled climatologist Michael Mann of Penn State Univeristy told him to do so. On the contrary, Wahl says, he was responding to a request by East Anglia’s Phil Jones that Mann forwarded to him “without any additional comment … there was no request from [Mann] to delete emails.”

          -> The FOI request was to UEA and so would not have covered non-UEA employees such as Wahl and Mann, in any case, according to Wahl: The emails I deleted while a university employee are the correspondence I had with Dr. Briffa of CRU regarding the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all of which have been in the public domain since the CRU hack in November 2009. This correspondence has been extensively examined and no misconduct found.

          Next week, angels and pinheads.

          Quotes from http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/03/exclusive-climatologist-says-he-.html

        • John M
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 6:35 AM | Permalink

          Actually, he said “I’ll contact Gene about this ASAP”.

          Not exactly as non-interested as you imply.

          Direct quotes in context are so much more powerful than after the fact rationalization.

        • Phil Clarke
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

          And ‘contact Gene about this’ is substantively different from ‘notify Gene’ how exactly?

        • John M
          Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

          You forgot the “ASAP”.

          I know I always do things “ASAP” when I’m disinterested, reluctant, or don’t have the intent of doing what the requestor requested me to do.

          /sarc

        • barry
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 9:57 PM | Permalink

          Nick, I was querying the ATI assertion that Mann “stated” he was involved in an “orchestrated campaign to delete emails”. I’d not heard that. Now I know it is a false claim. My question was soon bent into a rehash of the discussion of Penn U’s conclusions on the matter.

          Has anyone pointed out that the illustrious GMU delayed Ray Bradley’s call for an investigation on plagiarism of his work in the Wegman Report for a year, stretching their own policies to breaking point?

          I personally don’t care about that. All this hugger-mugger on uni administration practises is highly speculative and just plain grubby. I’m content to wait for the results.

  33. Phil Clarke
    Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 2:27 AM | Permalink

    I guess I must be pretty dense indeed!

    So Jones request was not made “with intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails”? Jones was just fooling and didn’t mean it? And when Mann “engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly” (sounds like directly to me) by passing on the message without qualification and this actually resulted in the deletion of emails by a third party, this shows that “there exists no evidence that Mann ever performed any action that he intended to result in the deletion of emails, which is entirely germane and responsive to the question the panel was considering”?

    Duh! Jones’ intent was obvious, but it was not an enquiry into Jones’ intent.

    Mann passed on the mail without comment, and he says (in the climategate mails) that his intent was to ‘notify’ Wahl. Wahl says explicitly

    For the record, while I received the email from CRU as forwarded by Dr. Mann, the forwarded message came without any additional comment from Dr. Mann; there was no request from him to delete emails.. At the time of the email in May 2008, I was employed by Alfred University, New York. I became a NOAA employee in August 2008.

    So no action of Dr Mann’s resulted in the deletion of a single mail. In fact he himself declined to act on Jones’ request. He requested nobody else to delete mail. So where exactly is the evidence of intent on Mann’s part to delete mails, which is was what the panel were looking for?

    Answers in short words please, I am a bit dense.

    • RomanM
      Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 6:49 AM | Permalink

      Mann passed on the mail without comment, and he says (in the climategate mails) that his intent was to ‘notify’ Wahl.

      To notify him of WHAT? That Jones wanted Wahl to delete emails or to tell him that he shouldn’t delete them?

      You bolded the wrong portion of text:

      For the record, while I received the email from CRU as forwarded by Dr. Mann, the forwarded message came without any additional comment from Dr. Mann; there was no request from him to delete emails

      Does it not strike you as strange that if Mann wanted to genuinely alert Wahl that deleting the emails was not a good thing to do, he would do so by forwarding the very explicit request without a single word to the contrary. Mann expected Wahl to read his mind? His excuse was that he was very busy and didn’t have time then (or later) to actually type a line or two to explain his true intent. Yeah, I believe it.

      So no action of Dr Mann’s resulted in the deletion of a single mail.

      Mann forwarded Wahl an email from a mutual friend directing him to delete the emails. At no time did Mann indicate to Wahl his own (supposed) personal view that this was the wrong action to take. Subsequently Wahl deleted the emails. Duh! A normal person might interpret this deletion as being a result of Mann’s action.

      Enough time wasted on creating small words. This topic has been discussed here before.

      • Brandon Shollenberger
        Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

        Hey RomanM, would you go tell Bob I want him to set my wife’s car on fire? Don’t worry, if the police ask, you didn’t do anything wrong. You just notified him.

        • Phil Clarke
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

          You’re under arrest.

          Huh? what’s the charge?

          You instructed Bob to burn out Brandon’s wife’s car ….

          I did no such thing, I passed on a dumb request, I thought Bob should know it was out there ….

          Ah – but you never said he shouldn’t torch the car did you? Assume the position.

          Great analogy – if not exactly in the tradition of innocent until proven guilty.

          If I forward you a mail inviting people to purchase internet Viagra and you then purchase the Viagra, then I told you to buy the Viagra and should hang my head in shame when it turns out to be sugar.

          Exact same thing. Your turn.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

          If you genuinely believe that action would be considered perfectly legal, I don’t think there is anything more for me to say. You’ve made it quite clear where the disagreement lies for anyone reading, and I have no intention of (metaphorically) beating my head against a rock.

        • Phil Clarke
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

          And what would the charge be exactly? The analogy fails because Mann did NOT request Wahl to delete mails. Informing person B that person A wants him to commit a criminal act, without endorsing the request, is not illegal in any country that I am aware of.

          And there was no offence. Wahl deleted the mail at Jones’ request, unaware at the time that they were the subject of a UK FOI request, which in any case would not be binding on him. Talk of burning cars is just bizarre.

        • RomanM
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

          Wahl deleted the mail at Jones’ request, unaware at the time that they were the subject of a UK FOI request,

          You really don’t know what you are talking about. The subject line of the email from Jones was “Subject: IPCC & FOI”.

          I guess you consider it to be good ethical behavior for climate scientists to help each other break the law by avoiding these unreasonable FOI requests. You really are dense!

        • Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

          Romanm,
          “climate scientists to help each other break the law”
          You do not know what you are talking about. Deleting these emails, by Mann or Wahl or anyone outside UEA, would not have broken any law.

        • RomanM
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

          On the contrary, Jones was subject to the FOIA in his own country. His request to have the others delete the emails was part of a cover up to prevent the discovery of Jones’ own deletion. Apparently, you don’t think that these actions by Jones could possibly be illegal.

          If they are illegal, Wahl would then indeed be helping Jones commit an illegal act through his own deletion. You will also notice that I referred to the help in this case as unethical in my comment.

        • Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

          Well, that’s twisting it. The topic was Mann and Wahl.

          There’s no evidence either that Jones was covering up his own deletion – it’s more likely they just didn’t want the emails on the internet. In fact, there’s no evidence that Jones deleted anything illegally (ie after the request), and of course, in the end the hack showed the emails were still there.

          But whatever was done at UEA, clearly Mann and Wahl didn’t help that after the fact. And it’s stretching in the extreme to argue that this comes within the quite specific provisions of FOIA, which spell out that the only punitive clause applies only to people from the institution concerned.

          So, if you insist that a law was broken, what was it? And in what jurisdiction?

        • RomanM
          Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 5:21 AM | Permalink

          Nick, the subject line of the email was “IPCC & FOI”, not “IPCC & the Internet”. I would suggest that Jones was well aware of the implications of deleting emails in this context. This would indeed constitute “breaking the law” in the UK. The existence of copies of the emails elsewhere would be evidence that the law had been broken. Furthermore,in a criminal proceeding, using the the failure of actually erasing all other vestiges of the emails as a defense would be laughed out of court.

          However, it appears to me that you seem to have the strange notion that any act is perfectly acceptable if there is no specific law forbidding it.

          Many forms of professional ethical behavior are not enshrined in law. For example, in academia, is lying to a board of inquiry about one’s own actions or the actions of another person, even when not under oath, acceptable to you? How about, manufacturing, altering or suppressing adverse data for an academic publication? I don’t believe there is a specific “punitive” law which addresses this action. Is it OK for a professor to reward a student with a better grade in a course if that student has performed some “favors” for the professor. I would posit that helping someone who may be committing an illegal act elsewhere could certainly be seen as unethical behavior despite the fact that no punitive action could be taken against the person providing that help.

          Some of these unethical actions can get people fired even though no law has been broken so I guess there are people who think that upholding ethical standards is important . It is a shame that you do not seem to be one of them.

        • Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

          Roman,
          “any act is perfectly acceptable if there is no specific law forbidding it.”
          No, your statement was:
          “climate scientists to help each other break the law”
          and that means a specific law. You haven’t been able to cite one.

          “The existence of copies of the emails elsewhere would be evidence that the law had been broken.”
          No. For the FOIA law to be broken an email would have to have been erased at UEA after the FOI request was submitted. The existence of copies wouldn’t prove that.

          The FOI requirement is on UEA to produce one copy. They were clearly able to do that. The hacked version was not “recovered”, it clearly existed in a regular archive.

          But I think all this preciousness about even erasing a copy to be ridiculous. I noted here some recent US history – massive use of RNC email addresses by Bush admin – and deep-sixing of WH emails, all to foil FOI (and Comgress) and in breach of PRA. All under the AG’s nose. 22 million lost WH emails discovered recently. And no-one was ever prosecuted.

        • John M
          Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

          Nick Stokes Jun 7, 2011 at 6:12 AM

          It’s been a while since I’ve been zabonied, and I kind of miss it, so here goes.

          If you’re going to continually make accusations that the e-mails were “hacked”, you might want to have some evidence.

          Otherwise, you may end up looking as silly as a current US politician who is in the news and not part of the RNC.

        • Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

          the accusation of hacking were made by Gavin Schmid, as reported here:

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/feb/05/cru-climate-change-hacker

          I assume we agree that a server was breached and an unknown individual or group copied thousands of emails and computer files from CRU’s server to various locations on the Internet without permission. This might not be a hacker, but we shouldn’t assume it wasn’t a hacker, unless, of course, there is more evidence that anyone would like to share.

        • Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

          Please read the computer misuse act for the UK.

          1 Unauthorised access to computer material.
          (1) A person is guilty of an offence if—
          (a) he causes a computer to perform any function with intent to secure access to any program or data held in any computer [F1, or to enable any such access to be secured];
          (b) the access he intends to secure [F2, or to enable to be secured,] is unauthorised; and
          (c) he knows at the time when he causes the computer to perform the function that that is the case.
          (2) The intent a person has to have to commit an offence under this section need not be directed at—
          (a) any particular program or data;
          (b) a program or data of any particular kind; or
          (c) a program or data held in any particular computer.
          [F3(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable-
          (a) on summary conviction in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;
          ===========
          A judge recently stated on radio that for computer misuse there is no get out clause for “whisle blowing”

        • John M
          Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

          Paul Haynes

          This might not be a hacker, but we shouldn’t assume it wasn’t a hacker, unless, of course, there is more evidence that anyone would like to share.

          I guess we shouldn’t assume it wasn’t an alien either, unless someone has evidence they would like to share.

        • John M
          Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

          TFP,

          “misuse of computer act”?

          Kind of ironic in a discussion about climate science.

        • Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 5:22 AM | Permalink

          So, John M. we are in agreement, it was probably a human hacker.

        • Punksta
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 5:31 AM | Permalink

          If it was a hacker, why was only selection of emails leaked? Why not the whole lot?
          Knowledge of the existence of foia.zip suggests an inside job, by someone (appropriately) disgusted with what was going on.

        • Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 7:07 AM | Permalink

          Punksta Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 5:31 AM
          Read Schnare’s post – he wishes to cherry pick the stuff he receives. How do you know this was the total package obtained illegally (there is no get out clause for whistle blowing in Computer Misuse Act)

          An inside job, and outside job, an act of a god, makes no difference – unless the person was told to move the data to the “Internet” by the owner of that data (who does own it?) then it falls into the computer misuse act. It was therefore illegal in British Law.

        • Punksta
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

          Sure – I have nowhere contested that British Law is structured in favour of covering up unscrupulous behaviour, especially as here when such acts occur in a state institution and serve to boost the interests of the state and/or its employees.

          As to who owns the data, I would say the public does, since they paid for it. So if a member of the public asks for it, and in a just society, anyone who refused would be heavily punished.

          And No, I have no idea what other evidence of deviancy at were leaked.

        • oneuniverse
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

          re: Climategate emails

          Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (UK)

          Part IVA
          Protected disclosures

          43B Disclosures qualifying for protection.

          (1)In this Part a “qualifying disclosure” means any disclosure of information which, in the reasonable belief of the worker making the disclosure, tends to show one or more of the following—

          (a)that a criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be committed,

          (b)that a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation to which he is subject,

          (c)that a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,

          (d)that the health or safety of any individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered,

          (e)that the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged, or

          (f)that information tending to show any matter falling within any one of the preceding paragraphs has been, is being or is likely to be deliberately concealed.

        • Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

          Punksta”As to who owns the data, I would say the public does, since they paid for it”
          this is a confused argument – Bradley Manning gave to the public information about military spending that the public has paid for. Do you think Bradley Manning is a hero?

          other evidence suggests an outside job:

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/feb/05/cru-climate-change-hacker

          perhaps Steve knows?

        • Punksta
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

          Bradley Manning gave to the public information about military spending that the public has paid for. Do you think Bradley Manning is a hero?

          No. But this is a confused objection – climate data is hardly a matter that needs to be kept under wraps for national security.

        • Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

          Punksta its not a confused objection at all – it proves my case – YOU think that not all things paid for by the public can be made public. You happen to choose things you like and reject things you don’t want made public. We can all find excuses for not making public the things we want to be kept secret and reasons to make public the things we want to exploit politically. That is the crux of the debate between Steve and CRU. The crucial thing is that we now agree that there might sometimes be a basis for not making public something just because it is paid for by a UK funding body, whcih gets its cash from the government.

        • Punksta
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

          You’re simply repeating your confusion and ducking the question – what possible public interest be made for keeping climate data secret, and in the hands of people seen to be striving to ‘prove’ CAGW completely regardless of the facts ?

        • Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

          Punksta, YOU are ducking the question WHEN should what the public pays for be made public?
          Your question has been done to death – but to repeat for the 100th time: my response is that IF data that is made public is likely to be manipulated to smear people, THEN those likely to be smeared are not going to cooperate are they! IF it stops people being smeared THEN it is in the public interest to not make it public (note my use of the conditional). The solution is that all interests are made transparent – make data available in the public domain and speak to each other like adults. CRU would benefit from the skills of people like Steve and it is a shame that its unlikely to happen. The problem is not CRU nor Steve, but Dogmatisim from the extremes that aren’t interested in climate science, but have a political agenda. I see some people here in this forum (from both sides) wanting to contribute to good science.

        • oneuniverse
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

          IVA.43B.(3) A disclosure of information is not a qualifying disclosure if the person making the disclosure commits an offence by making it.

          Whistleblowers take heed.

        • Punksta
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

          So revealing an offence is itself an offence …?

        • Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

          It is if it is done illegally! Lets consider Watergate? If Nixon’s people had found that the Democratic National Committee had done something potentially illegal, would Nixon still have been forced to resign anyway? I would say yes.

          In this case, in UK law, the worse offence is likely to have been any hacking, and in any case, as you know, no member of CRU has been found guilty any offence worth prosecuting (but being naive and evasive – yes).

        • Punksta
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

          Naivity had absolutely nothing to do with it – it was an is an dogged detemination to throw all vestiges of truthfullness overboard.
          They really ought to get 5-10 years at Her Majesty’s pleasure for such crookery.

        • oneuniverse
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

          paul haynes: “[..] in any case, as you know, no member of CRU has been found guilty any offence worth prosecuting (but being naive and evasive – yes).”

          According to a statement from the UK’s Deputy Commissioner of the ICO, the Climategate emails provided (prima facie) evidence that UEA did not comply with the FOIA, but as the the evidence came to light more than six months after the offence, there was no possibility of prosecution:

          The emails which are now public reveal that Mr Holland’s requests under the Freedom of Information Act were not dealt with as they should have been under the legislation. Section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act makes it an offence for public authorities to act so as to prevent intentionally the disclosure of requests for information. Mr Holland’s FOI requests were submitted in 2007/8, but it has only recently come to light that they were not dealt with in accordance with the Act. The legislation requires action within six months of the offence taking place, so by the time the action taken came to light the opportunity to consider a prosecution was long gone.

          ( In a letter to UEA, the ICO noted : “The prima facie evidence from the published emails indicate an attempt to defeat disclosure by deleting information. It is hard to imagine more cogent prima facie evidence.”

          A Times report quoted Dave Holland : “There is an apparent Catch-22 here. The prosecution has to be initiated within six months but you have to exhaust the university’s complaints procedure before the commission will look at your complaint. That process can take longer than six months.”. This issue was raised in Parliament.)

          The ICO also said that they would be examining the Muir Russell Inquiry’s findings concerning the potential FOIA avoidance :

          We will be advising the University about the importance of effective records management and their legal obligations in respect of future requests for information. We will also be studying the investigation reports (by Sir Muir Russell and Norfolk Police), and we will then consider what regulatory action, if any, should then be taken under the Data Protection Act.

          UEA responded :

          The existence or otherwise of prima facie evidence is insufficient to reach any conclusions about this matter. We will cooperate fully with any investigation by the ICO and will provide every assistance to the Independent Review under Sir Muir Russell as they consider these issues further.

          Unfortunately for the ICO and the public, and against the stated expectations of UEA, and to the astonishment of the SciTech Committee, the Muir Russell inquiry decided not to investigate whether Phil Jones deleted any emails. According to Muir Russell in his oral evidence to the Parliamentary SciTech committee said :

          [..] that really wasn’t the thing that my inquiry was set up to do, especially when there is a parallel entity called ICO that has the investigative skills, the training and the background with its personnel [..] So if we ducked or avoided, I plead guilty to that, but I think we had quite good reasons in terms of our inquiry for not asking that particular question.

          So that, in short order, was why we didn’t go down the road of saying, “And did you delete things that had been requested?”, because we felt that that would take us into an area where we would have had to do all kinds of cautionary things and so on, and it wasn’t actually relevant to where we had got to on the issue that all this is about, which is what was the end product of the influence that this process had on what was said in the IPCC report.”

          As Steve noted at CA, Graham Stringer, MP and member of the SciTech Committee, expressed the feelings of many who have been following CRU and UEA ongoing attempts to block information on and investigation of their work and activities:

          In a situation that is almost beyond parody Muir Russell stated that he didn’t ask Jones whether he had deleted the e-mails because they would have had to interview Jones under caution. What was the solution then? The Vice Chancellor asked Jones whether he had deleted the e-mails. This rather negated the purpose of having an independent Inquiry when the only person to ask the crucial question was the Vice Chancellor who saw his prime responsibility to the good name of the University. The accused investigating themselves again.

        • oneuniverse
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

          Sorry, there was an editing mistake in the quotation from Muir Russell oral evidence to the SciTech Committee:

          The phrase “[..] So if we ducked or avoided, I plead guilty to that, but I think we had quite good reasons in terms of our inquiry for not asking that particular question.” should be deleted (it was spoken by Muir Russell a few moments later in his testimony).

        • Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

          oneuniverse – I agree with most of your analysis – thanks a lot for your detailed response. BUT, as argued, no member of CRU has been found guilty any offence worth prosecuting (or deemed worth prosecuting by the various investigations)

          As a point of strategy, I get the impression that US based sceptic bloggers going on and on about climategate makes Jones, Mann and the rest seem like martyrs to their colleagues and, in the UK, to the general public (people like George Monbiot is making this case stick, I feel – the argument that “Americans are STILL smearing CRU because of vested interests” resonates with Europeans, even if it is not wholly true and plays on the xenophobia). Maybe US based bloggers don’t care about the effects outside the USA anyway, but any thoughts on this?

      • Phil Clarke
        Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

        “Does it not strike you as strange that if Mann wanted to genuinely alert Wahl that deleting the emails was not a good thing to do, he would do so by forwarding the very explicit request without a single word to the contrary. Mann expected Wahl to read his mind? His excuse was that he was very busy and didn’t have time then (or later) to actually type a line or two to explain his true intent. Yeah, I believe it.”

        Heh. Does it not strike you as strange that if Mann intended deletion of the Briffa correspondence he did not comply with the request himself? Mind-reading is of course absurd, so claiming to be able to read Dr Mann’s mind several years after the fact and to know his motivation better than he does himself equally so. Mann never claimed that he was advising against deletion, just that Wahl should be aware of the request. Cuts both ways. If Mann never advised Wahl that he should not comply with Jones’ request then, equally, he never advised Wahl that he should. Therefore, while one can can wave your hands around and speculate to your heart’s content about Mann’s intent, absent a time machine and psychic powers there’s no indication of what was in Mann’s mind when he pressed ‘forward’. What strikes me or you as strange is immaterial. Good auditors stick to the facts, not speculation, the panel asked if there was any evidence that Mann intended deletion, you’ve provided none.

        Remember these were personal mails, never intended for publication, illegitimately released without context, so trying to fill in the blanks after the fact is risky at best.

        Also remember that Penn State had to synthesise their own allegations, because, despite the thousands of words expended on Mann’s misconduct, nobody was prepared to step up and make a formal complaint.

        Steve: Penn State broke NSF policies (and their own policies) on conducting misconduct inquiries.

        • RomanM
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

          Does it not strike you as strange that if Mann intended deletion of the Briffa correspondence he did not comply with the request himself?

          You know for a fact that he deleted NONE of the relevant emails? You ARE omniscient!

          The rest of what you wrote was just baffle-gabble spin. It seems to be the only thing you are good at.

          Nuff said.

        • Phil Clarke
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

          Its impossible to prove a negative.

          I know Mann claims not to have deleted any mail at Jones’ request. I know he provided mails from the period to the panel. I cannot prove that he is lying, nor can you. I do know that this would be an extraordinarily risky strategy, given the electronic audit trail we all leave behind.

          Do you really assert that the panel should have found the allegation proven based on what Mann might have done, with no evidence whatsoever? Seems just a tad draconian.

        • AMac
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

          Re: Phil Clarke (Jun 6 08:58),

          Ref. your comment of Jun 6 8:20 supra —

          Remember these were personal mails, never intended for publication, illegitimately released without context, so trying to fill in the blanks after the fact is risky at best.

          “Personal email” seems to have a shifting definition, surprisingly hard to nail down.

          1. Colloquially, it is usually taken to mean email concerning a private matter that is unrelated to work. “Remember, I’ll drive you to your dental appointment tomorrow” or “I forgot to pay my credit card bill this month” or “Betty Lou sure was acting like a drunk at that party” would be examples (I made these up).

          The line is blurred somewhat by U.S. court decisions that an organization’s employees have no presumption of privacy (with respect to what the employer may vet) when emailing from the workplace, using the employer’s computer, connections, servers, etc.

          2. “Personal email” can be conflated with “email sent from a personal account, irrespective of the subject matter.” Some regulatory bodies reject this definition — e.g. in the financial industry in the U.S., work-related correspondence sent to or from a non-workplace account is not private.

          3. “Personal email” can be taken to mean “email intended by the writer to be read only by the designated recipients.”

          I’m not sure how FOIA (etc.) regulations in the U.S. and U.K. handle the concept. My impression is that their views are closest to #1, and do not map to #2 or #3.

          It seems to me that under definition #1, Prof. Mann’s forward of Dr. Jones’ request to Dr. Wahl would be work-related, not “personal email.”

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

          Emails from Goldman Sachs and other Wall St firms were not intended for “public” viewing either.

          If Mann were a Goldman Sachs executive passing along a request from another senior executive to delete emails, I doubt that anyone would give a moment’s credence to the defence that he was just passing along information. This sort of defence rings pretty hollow to most non-academics.

        • Phil Clarke
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

          “If Mann were a Goldman Sachs executive passing along a request from another senior executive to delete emails, I doubt that anyone would give a moment’s credence to the defence that he was just passing along information. This sort of defence rings pretty hollow to most non-academics.”

          Maybe. But it was the academic enquiry that kicked off this threadlet, whose standards rightly required hard evidence of intent before finding Mann guilty of malpractice. The multiple problems faced by the the ‘Mann is guilty until proven guilty’ crowd are that (a) Mann himself deleted no mail, (b) Wahl is clear that Mann never asked him to delete mail (c) Mann made no comment on the request, leaving the meaning of the forward ambiguous to those of us not ‘in the loop’.

          Mann was exonerated on this charge and all others. I am not sure comparison with Goldman Sachs executives are helpful.

        • Phil Clarke
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

          By personal I meant simply that these were informal communications between individuals rather than official position statements or announcements.

          The salient point is that that in such communication between colleagues, people express themselves informally, use jargon, irony, make jokes, and assumptions that an uninvited eavesdropper just won’t get or might misinterpret, for example Steve Mosher once accused Phil Jones of malfeasance based on a misreading of a private joke in the mails – such are the risks.

          Add to this that we know the mails released were a small subset of the whole, probably selected to paint CRU in the worst possible light, and you have a very shaky basis for condemning anyone.

          If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged – Cardinal Richelieu

          In this case Mann forwarded a mail without comment, we can speculate that Wahl would ‘know’ what was implied by this, but speculation is not evidence.

        • Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

          Re: Phil Clarke (Jun 6 11:41), mann apparently doesnt share YOUR skepticism about what Wahl would know.

          Mann, replies to Jones that he will contact Gene ASAP. If, Mann shared your skepticism about the meaning of the request, or whether Wahl would follow the instructions, he doesnt seem to express it to Jones.

          Simply, I’ll believe apparently what Mann believed. the request was clear and important. So clear and so important that it needed to be acted on quickly and no clarification was required. the fact that Mann added nothing to the request would seem to indicate that it was clear on its face.

        • Phil Clarke
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

          And so clear and so important that he himself disregarded it.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

          You don’t know that. One of the very unfortunate aspects of the “inquiries” is that there are no transcripts and as a result, little is known about what was asked or the precise answers. As a result, questions linger on.

          One case where there is information is an old issue where Mann alleged that I had asked him for an Excel file. Out of all the possible issues to ask him about, I’m not sure why this one came up. In 2003, Mann untruthfully said that I had asked him for an Excel file. Untrue – I wanted an FTP location for data as used. Even CRU didn’t believe Mann on this, a Climategate email saying that if CRU repeats this canard, that the actual emails showed otherwise.

          Strangely, in his evidence to Penn State, Mann repeated his original lie on this point, again alleging that I had asked for an Excel spreadsheet. Had Penn State made any attempt to verify Mann’s answer on this point, they would quickly have determined that it was untrue. Nor did they check with Wahl on the deletion of emails – that only came up because Wahl was directly asked by an Inspector General.

        • Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

          Re: Phil Clarke (Jun 6 17:01), You miss the obvious explanation. Mann had nothing written to Briffa to delete. I would fully expect, and in fact there is evidence, that Mann made his inputs to Briffa VIA overpeck. That is, instead of writing to briffa directly Mann made his wishes as did Solomon THRU Briffa’s boss Overpeck. Which is why Briffa complained to Overpeck that he Overpeck should not succumb to pressure from Mann and Solomon.

          Next.

        • Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

          Phil Clarke Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 8:58 AM |.

          “Do you really assert that the panel should have found the allegation proven based on what Mann might have done, with no evidence whatsoever? Seems just a tad draconian.”

          Remember the commented out code in the illegally released emails that absolutely proved that “adjustments” had been made to hide the decline according to “skeptics” guilty until proved guilty – perfect!

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

          Which published paper was that code used for?

    • Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

      Re: Phil Clarke (Jun 6 02:27),

      It would be interesting if the inquiry of mann asked him good questions. Jones made a request that Mann contact Wahl about deleting mails. Mann wrote

      ” Hi Phil,

      laughable that CA would claim to have discovered the problem. They would have run off to the Wall Street Journal for an exclusive were that to have been true. I’ll contact Gene about this ASAP. His new email is: generwahl@xxxxxxxxx.xxx
      talk to you later,
      mike”

      Now, if mann believed that he should play no part in this request, he could have just denied the request altogether. But he passes the request on. ASAP. A good inquiry would ask Mann several probing questions about this

      1. why did you see it as urgent?
      2. Did you believe that wahl would comply?
      3. Did you know anything about the subject of these mails?
      4. did you suspect McIntyre was involved?
      5. did you search for mails to delete?
      etc etc etc

      And so forth. I suppose at some level of angel dancing on the heads of pins mann never asked Wahl to delete mails. I’m standing in line at the bank and you pass me a note to pass to the teller. I dont read the note and I pass it on. The teller then hands you bags of money and you run off. Did I rob the bank? Well I didnt write the note I just passed it on and I didnt read it. Now suppose I read it and realize that its a robbery note.And what if you just happen to be a friend of mine. Then I pass the note on, turn around and say “Done”. What am I guilty of? facilitation? This is not to argue that what Wahl did was a crime.
      But whatever Wahl did Mann facilitated Jones in getting Wahl to do it. But for Mann, Wahl doesnt get the request. The actual offense is less interesting than the inquiries FAILURE to call wahl or to investigate things down to the bottom.

      • Phil Clarke
        Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

        Angels and pins notwithstanding, Wahl is pretty clear on whether or not Mann asked him to delete mail:-

        Eugene Wahl: “For the record, while I received the email from CRU as forwarded by Dr. Mann, the forwarded message came without any additional comment from Dr. Mann; there was no request from him to delete emails”

        It takes an admirable degree of self-confidence to believe you know better than the participants the details of what occurred. Wierd then that I counted 2 ‘seems’ and 2 ‘apparently’s in the short post above.

        I’m really enjoying these creaky analogies btw (Wahl is a friend and colleague, not an unknown bank offical). So far we’ve had arsonist, dodgy bank exec and bank robber. Do I detect a trend? Keep them coming.

        • John M
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

          I’m really enjoying these creaky analogies btw (Wahl is a friend and colleague, not an unknown bank offical). So far we’ve had arsonist, dodgy bank exec and bank robber. Do I detect a trend? Keep them coming.

          How about “less than truthful”.

          Of course “smell test” works too.

        • RomanM
          Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

          Eugene Wahl: “For the record, while I received the email from CRU as forwarded by Dr. Mann, the forwarded message came without any additional comment from Dr. Mann; there was no request from him to delete emails”

          Get real. Was Wahl telling the truth? What would you expect him to say? Anything else would have implied that Mann had lied to the investigation. Do you honestly believe that he would do that to his academic colleague and good friend?

          It takes an admirable degree of self-confidence to believe you know better than the participants the details of what occurred.

          And a great deal of gullibility to accept whatever they say as the gospel truth. After all, this was the guy who had already deleted his emails to help out another friend.

        • Phil Clarke
          Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

          The question the inquiry asked was did mann participate

          No. You’ve reframed it. The question the panel asked was ‘is there evidence that Mann participated with intent to delete mail’

          And their answer was no. He neither deleted mail nor did he request such deletion. Wahl is clear he acted on Jones’ instructions. And round we go again.

          One could speculate endlessly and fruitlessly, read too much or too little into this material. Mann also gave Jones Wahl’s email address. Was this an indication that he would rather Jones deal direct with Wahl. Why would that be? Was he uncomfortable with the request? After all he told the Pittsburgh tribune Review

          “Mann said he did not delete e-mails and regrets that he did not reply to Jones with an e-mail telling him that was an inappropriate request.

          “It put us in an awkward position,” Mann said. Instead, Mann forwarded that e-mail to a colleague to alert him to what Jones wanted the scientists to do.”

          http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/regional/s_655948.html#ixzz1OaF0rgsY

        • Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

          “And their answer was no. He neither deleted mail nor did he request such deletion. Wahl is clear he acted on Jones’ instructions. And round we go again.”

          You don’t know that didn’t delete anything, because Penn State merely asked Mann if he had deleted email. They took him at his word instead of doing the research themselves.

        • Phil Clarke
          Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

          An accountant and an auditor are on a train. They pass a field of cows. The accountant leans over and a moment later states:

          “There are 17 black and white cows in that field”

          The auditor looks up and checks the accountant’s work.

          “Well, they are black and white on this side.” he observes.

        • John M
          Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

          I’ve got one too!

          Cattle farmer says to a non-auditor with similar vested interests (NAWSVI) as the farmer:

          “Take a look at all that beef on the hoof! They’re 2500 lbs per head if they’re an ounce, and of such high quality that we can get $3000/head for them!

          NAWSVI: “2500 lbs per head and $3000/head? That sounds kinda high. How do you know?”

          Cattle Farmer: ” ‘Cause I say so.”

          NAWSVI: “That’s good enough for me!”

          I’ll admit your’s is funnier, but mine’s more appropriate for the current discussion. Especially when market reality hits the farmer and his NAWSVI.

        • Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

          http://climateaudit.org/2011/05/28/the-vergano-foi-request/#comment-284488

          Here is a more appropriate one.

          An auditor is going through a company’s books and asks how many of widget A they had in stock at the end of the fiscal period. The company says “none”. The auditor says “good enough for me”. In fact, the company had thousands of them in stock at the specified time.

        • AMac
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

          The question the panel asked was ‘is there evidence that Mann participated with intent to delete mail’

          And their answer was no. He neither deleted mail nor did he request such deletion.

          One way of looking at the gap between the comments of those who support (believe) Prof. Mann in this matter and those who oppose (doubt) him, is to consider “the burden of proof.” This question arises with regularity in politics (many current examples) and in science (e.g. arsenic substituting for phosphorous in the DNA backbone, here.)

          Supporters/believers appear to see Prof. Mann as a person of integrity, engaged in groundbreaking science, and in communicating its important implications to the public and to policymakers. The controversies that swirl around him are propelled by people who attack him for this very reason. While his attackers would be glad to see their dirt stick, they are content to waste Prof. Mann’s time and tar his reputation. Thus, the burden of proof on “Deletion of email or requesting such action by others” rests entirely upon the accusers.

          Opposers/doubters appear to see Prof. Mann as facing credible evidence that he may have committed misdeeds. By definition, a person in this position is not impartial, whatever the facts may be. If it is important to establish the truth, this is best accomplished by qualified and disinterested investigators. The inquiry should be structured and funded so that it can address the important issues, and report procedures and findings in a transparent manner. Thus, the burden of proof on “Deletion of email or requesting such action by others” rest upon those authorizing and undertaking the inquiry.

          From the latter perspective, whether Dr. Mann engaged in activity that reasonable third parties would consider “deletion of relevant email” cannot be resolved by asking him and getting the response, “No, I didn’t.” There are a number of forensic approaches that don’t rely on the potentially-conflicted party’s memory or interpretation.

          I am not aware of any such activity that investigators undertook, in this regard. (Reviewing a CD of archived (thus, undeleted) messages would not qualify.) (Did I miss something, in that sufficient steps were taken to resolve this question?)

          From the point of view of Prof. Mann’s allies, none of this signifies much. However, if due diligence by the Penn State inquiry was required to meet a burden of proof, then the issue still festers. Being cleared by a flaccid or conflicted inquiry can’t be expected to satisfy anybody except supporters.

        • Punksta
          Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

          “Supporters/believers appear to see Prof. Mann as a person of integrity”

          Exactly the opposite – they support him for his very willingness to sacrifice integrity in pursuit of politically correctness.

        • Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 12:02 AM | Permalink

          Re: Phil Clarke (Jun 6 17:49), It beggars the imagination to think that Mann would comment on a clear directive. Jones asked Mann to ask wahl to delete mails. Mann delivers the message. What do you expect him to write

          “gene,” unless Phils note isnt clear, please delete the mails”

          The question the inquiry asked was did mann participate. He did. But FOR his actions Wahl does not receive the instruction.

          Whether or not this is some horrible thing ( I dont think it is) is beside the point. I’m more than willing to say even if mann asked wahl to delete mails it’s still not actionable.

        • J Bowers
          Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

          What do you expect him to write

          “gene,” unless Phils note isnt clear, please delete the mails”

          Not speaking for Phil Clarke, but yes, that’s precisely what is expected to have been written. It’s not as if these guys were particularly candid in their correspondence. Sorry if that doesn’t fit with your epic narrative.

        • sleeper
          Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

          Re: J Bowers (Jun 7 09:46),
          Here’s what an honest man put in an “awkward position” would be expected to write. “Sorry, Phil, I cannot forward that request. Here’s Gene’s new email address.”

  34. Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

    comment in moderation

  35. Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    David Schnare:

    In case you missed my reply to your inadequate respone please look here:
    thefordprefect Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 7:22 AM

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/05/28/the-vergano-foi-request/#comment-282743

    A response would be good, thanks

  36. barry
    Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

    “Dr. Schnare, why did ATI file this FOI request ?”

    “We had several reasons, but the main one was to examine the history of this important period of time. Mann is an iconic figure and his work from this period had a large influence on what are becoming massive changes in social and economic policy. The debate over his conclusions continues. The process through which he reached his conclusions are as important as the conclusions themselves. If he demonstrated less than full intellectual honesty, the foundation of the new social policy will not support that policy. The size of the economic implications of climate change alarmism justify an investigation into the process.”

    There is nothing specific here. It’s a general cull (34000 emails and more!) in the hope of finding some dirt on Michael Mann in order to change the political debate. It’s a fishing expedition, nothing to do with the science, which, even if we one day discover the globe was warmer for a decade or two in medieval times, will make no difference to projected scenarios for the Earth with increasing GHGs. This is one of the viler instances of political agendas interfering with science.

  37. barry
    Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 12:55 AM | Permalink

    ” Hi Phil,

    laughable that CA would claim to have discovered the problem. They would have run off to the Wall Street Journal for an exclusive were that to have been true. I’ll contact Gene about this ASAP.”

    Can someone explain, or point me the way, as to what the first two sentences refer in Jones email recommending deletion. Are we absolutely sure the above Mann email is even a reply to Jones’ email about deletion?

    I know Mann has said he passed the email on, but I’m not sure that this email above refers to that.

    (The East Anglia email website has been down for a few days)

  38. Posted Jun 7, 2011 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

    thefordprefect Posted Jun 6, 2011 at 4:40 PM
    David Schnare:

    In case you missed my reply to your inadequate response please look here:
    thefordprefect Posted Jun 4, 2011 at 7:22 AM

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/05/28/the-vergano-foi-request/#comment-282743

    A response would be good, thanks

    Failing a response I suppose I have to assume the reason for your request is nothing to do with balanced historical report concocted between you and McIntyre (“He is also helping build the history”). But is as others have said, simply to look for any possible mail/note/sketch that can be misinterpreted and circulated in the sceptic blogosphere to keep the public confused about global warming and climatologists (after-all – climategate is getting a bit stale now)
    Please prove me wrong!

  39. kim
    Posted Jun 8, 2011 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

    The more I know of Mann, the better I like dogs.
    ================

  40. Rob
    Posted Jun 11, 2011 at 3:03 AM | Permalink

    Steve writes
    The above information was obtained by ATI through their own recent FOI request to George Mason

    and David Schnare (ATI) writes :
    Wegman is one for which we have requested his work. GMU gave it to us in an extremely timely manner

    If ATI indeed filed a FOI request with George Mason, including request for Wegman’s work, why does Dr.Schnare not post this FOIA request, or the response from George Mason University, similar to how ATI promoted and posted its UVA FOI request over several blog sites ?

    So question for Dr.Schare, and for Steve : Was there a FOI request from ATI to GMU, and a (timely) response from GMU, or not ? And if there was one, where is it ?

    • Punksta
      Posted Jun 11, 2011 at 3:53 AM | Permalink

      If ATI indeed filed a FOI request with George Mason, including request for Wegman’s work, why does Dr.Schnare not post this FOIA request, or the response from George Mason University, similar to how ATI promoted and posted its UVA FOI request over several blog sites ?

      Coould it be because UVA did the dishonourbale thing and dragged its heels in an attempt to keep the public ignorant, whereas GMU did the honest thing and promptly complied ?

      • Posted Jun 11, 2011 at 8:00 PM | Permalink

        If you read the exchange of communications on the UVA site you will see that Schnare asks for the impossible. Any piece of paper Mann has ever used

        2. As used herein, the words “record”, “records”, “document” or “documents” mean the original and any copies of any written, printed, typed, electronic, or graphic matter of any kind or nature, however produced or reproduced, any book, pamphlet, brochure, periodical, newspaper, letter, correspondence, memoranda, notice, facsimile, e-mail, manual, press release, telegram, report, study, handwritten note, working paper, chart, paper, graph, index, tape, data sheet, data processing card, or any other written, recorded, transcribed, punched, taped, filmed or graphic matter now in your possession, custody or control

        Plus comms to anyone on the UVA campus.
        25th Jan
        After careful review, we have determined that your request does not comply with FOIA’s requirement to “identify the requested records with reasonable specificity.” …The Attachment to your letter, however, appears to request that the University conduct a broad search for documents encompassing more than a twelve-year period (Attach. Instr. ¶ 1); stored at any location (Attach. Instr. ¶ 14); and within a scope you describe as follows …
        As you likely know, the University of Virginia is made up of 11 schools in Charlottesville, and the College at Wise in southwest Virginia. It offers 51 bachelor’s degrees in 47 fields…The University currently has more than 14,000 employees and has had tens of thousands more “employees, agents . . . contractors and other representatives” during the past 12-year time period.

        UVA asks for this to be limited to just the backup server found. Schnare, in the last comms on the site still refuses this limitation.

        UVA never says it will not give the information, but it does request payment for the 350 hours it will take. Schnare provides a 1/4 of the request ($2k)

        on 17th Feb UVA sends
        There has been a pervasive tendency in your correspondence to mischaracterize as a refusal or denial every instance in which the University does not reject one of your requests and informs you that it is considering it and taking time to determine its feasibility. The alleged refusals in the second paragraph of your letter are illustrative of this. The University has stated that we will not commence the actual review and production of responsive documents until we receive a payment. The other inferences in this paragraph are incorrect. We have not refused to produce a “production schedule”; we have stated that a realistic one cannot be considered until the process of review and production commences. Moreover, we have not refused to produce responsive documents on a rolling basis; rather we have simply not yet addressed whether that would be feasible.

        UVA on 6th Apr
        To date we have reviewed approximately 1,000 of the roughly 8,000 documents potentially responsive to your request. I anticipate that a first group of responsive, non-exempt documents which may be lawfully disclosed will be released to you shortly.
        If you wish continued review pursuant to your request, I would note that we currently have three law students working on the project who are now familiar with this request and efficient in processing it. They will be able to work only the next two weeks, however, because of academic commitments. It would therefore be to your advantage, if you wish to pursue this request further, to send me the further reimbursement of cost by overnight mail.

        Schnare on 7th April
        Our Institute has issued a check which I expect to receive today or tomorrow and which I will have delivered to you by an overnight delivery. As such, and, as you indicate, because your law students might otherwise lose valuable time on this effort, we ask that you keep them engaged in reviewing the documents as we transmit the check to you.
        With regard to the narrowing of our request, we have not dismissed your proposal,

      • Posted Jun 12, 2011 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

        Since my post has gone into moderation from where most do not emerge. I have posted most of the relevent correspondence between schnare and uva under my name link.
        But basically it shows UVA warning that the request is not correctly formatted and includes too much to sensibly give under FOI. It shows that UVA requested $8k to provide JUST the info from the backup server.
        It shows Schnare only willing to pay in blocks of $2K.

        The hold ups are through Schnare not being willing to fund the investigation, Schnare “misunderstanding” UVA responses.
        The last message 6th April from UVA suggests that 1k out of 8k emails are just about ready for delivery.
        The last message from Schnare 7th April says he is going to overnight the next installment.

        UVA never say they will not provide the information requested.

  41. Rob
    Posted Jun 17, 2011 at 3:04 AM | Permalink

    Steve said :
    “The above information was obtained by ATI through their own recent FOI request to George Mason”

    Normally, Steve is very open and sharing FOIA requests and the information obtained therein, but in this case, neither ATI nor Steve, nor anyone else here seems to be able to produce that FOIA request from ATI.

    So once again, question for Dr.Schare (ATI), and for Steve : Was there a FOI request from ATI to GMU, and a timely response from GMU, or not ? And if there was one, where is it, and when was the requested information delivered ?

    By not presenting this request, and GMU’s response, neither here nor on ATI’s web site, you create the appearance that this entire story is made up just to create the appearance that there is a difference between academic institutions in Virginia in dealing with FOIA requests under Virginia law.

    • Punksta
      Posted Jun 17, 2011 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

      So once again, question for Dr.Schare (ATI), and for Steve : Was there a FOI request from ATI to GMU, and a timely response from GMU, or not ?

      Why not put in a FOI request to GMU on this?

  42. Rob
    Posted Jun 17, 2011 at 3:05 AM | Permalink

    Steve said :
    “The above information was obtained by ATI through their own recent FOI request to George Mason”

    Normally, Steve is very open and sharing FOIA requests and the information obtained therein, but in this case, neither ATI nor Steve, nor anyone else here seems to be able to produce that FOIA request from ATI.

    So once again, question for Dr.Schare (ATI), and for Steve : Was there a FOI request from ATI to GMU, and a timely response from GMU, or not ? And if there was one, where is it, and when was the requested information delivered ?

    By not presenting this request, and GMU’s response, neither here nor on ATI’s web site, you create the appearance that this entire story is made up just to create the appearance that there is a difference between academic institutions in Virginia in dealing with FOIA requests under Virginia law.

  43. Rob
    Posted Jun 17, 2011 at 3:08 AM | Permalink

    Steve, is there a particular reason why you are positioning my June 17 post before a June 4 post ?

    • Posted Jun 18, 2011 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

      It’s the system, no Steve. Happens to me all the time.

  44. Rob
    Posted Jun 18, 2011 at 3:32 AM | Permalink

    So once again, question for Dr.Schare (ATI), and for Steve : Was there a FOI request from ATI to GMU, and a timely response from GMU, or not ?

    Why not put in a FOI request to GMU on this?

    That’s funny Punkstra :o)
    Of course, you have to be a Virginia resident for FOIA requests to be granted.
    It would be so much easier if Dr.Schnare or Steve would simply provide some evidence that the GMU FOIA request actually happened. Because if it did not, then this post by Steve, and Dr.Schnare’s own statements like “Wegman is one for which we have requested his work. GMU gave it to us in an extremely timely manner” would be fabricated and thus misleading CA audience, and that is nicely worded.

    • Punksta
      Posted Jun 18, 2011 at 4:55 AM | Permalink

      Yes I do follow your argument, but do you have no friends at all in Virginia?

    • Punksta
      Posted Jun 18, 2011 at 5:19 AM | Permalink

      The above information was obtained by ATI through their own recent FOI request to George Mason

      And as regards the existence or not of an FOI request and prompt response, where else might the correspondence cited have come from ?

      Yes an answer from ATI would help, but why do you resist asking GMU? They are the ones on tax dollar after all, CA and ATI are privately funded I assume. Do you disapprove of this whole FOI idea of ordinary citizens auditing the political classes ?

  45. Rob
    Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 2:14 AM | Permalink

    Punkstra said Yes I do follow your argument, but do you have no friends at all in Virginia?

    No. Do you ?

    why do you resist asking GMU

    It’s not that I resist asking GMU. Since ATI was so explicit and open about their FOIA request to UVA, I would have thought that they would be equally explicit and open about their FOIA request to GMU. Apparently I was mistaken.

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  1. By The Vergano FOI Request on May 29, 2011 at 8:45 PM

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