Eudora and the Briffa Attachments

In March 2010, Eugene Wahl admitted to the NOAA Inspector-General that he had destroyed his email correspondence with Keith Briffa about changes to IPCC and falsely stated that “all” the emails were in the public domain. This was untrue. The attachments were not in the public domain. Not only were the attachments not in the public domain, but Wahl had actively opposed disclosure of these emails. Following Wahl’s disinformation about the topic, I submitted an FOI request in April 2010 for the attachments to Wahl’s emails. I provided a review of this and subsequent events earlier this year here – worth re-reading if you wish further context on today’s post.

Briefly, East Anglia refused my request for the attachment to the Wahl-Briffa emails on the grounds: “Information not held”.

Later in the year, after Muir Russell admitted to the Parliamentary Committee that he had not investigated Jones’ email deletion enterprise, Acton told the committee that he had “investigated” the incident – the first public mention of the “Acton investigation” – and, in answer to a direct question from Graham Stringer whether all the emails were available and could be read, told the Committee “Yes”.

Acton’s answer was inconsistent with the excuse used by East Anglia to refuse my request for the attachments to the Wahl-Briffa emails. I accordingly appealed the decision last year. I followed up on several occasions. In July 2011, I was informed that the decision was in the process of being drafted. In early November 2011, I was told that the decision had been drafted and was awaiting sign-off. But still nothing.

Climategate 2.0 brings interesting new information on the attachments – information which may also shed some light on the provenance of the Climategate dossier itself.

On October 12, 2009, about a month before the release of the Climategate dossier, Tom Melvin emailed Mike [Salmon] describing a procedure in which Melvin had copied Briffa’s complete Eudora file together with 3.5 GB of attachments (apparently going back a number of years) to his portable. These arrangements were presumably made to facilitate Briffa’s access to his email history while Briffa was recovering from a serious illness.

3939. 2009-10-12 12:07:03
______________________________________________________
cc: Keith
date: Mon Oct 12 12:07:03 2009
from: Tom Melvin
subject: Keith Email
to: Mike
Mike,
For Keith’s Email :
1. Copied the full C:\Eudora directory to my portable.
2. Deleted the 12000 temporay .gif files from C:\Eudora\Embedded.
3. Copied 3.5 gig of attachments (1 year or older) from C:\Eudora\Attach to C:\OldAttach – this will need to be copied back to his PC
4. He is left with a 1.5 gig C:\Eudora directory on my portable which can be copied back to his PC and readily be moved from PC to portable etc.
5. When using my portable (via yellow cable (in office) or various WiFi networks) Keith logs in to VPN.
Tom
PS. I need to take my portable to a conference w/c 26th Oct.

Bishop Hill, in an article today, refers to another CG2 email that sheds new light on CRU’s handling of emails. In email 0021, Jones informed Manola Brunet:

Hola Manola,
I’ve saved emails at CRU and then deleted them from the server. Now I’m at home I just have some hard copies.

Email 21 was on Sep 12, 2009, only a month prior to Melvin’s email. CA readers will recall that, in August 2009, as a result of the “mole” incident, Jones had ordered the removal of many documents from CRU’s FTP server (many of which were presumably placed on another server not intended for public access.)

62 Comments

  1. Fred Bloggs
    Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    If Keith’s emails on this laptop are the source of Climategate then surely all of the emails found will have Keith either in to/cc or bcc list, i.e. they will only be emails he will have received. I am not sure this the case. Perhaps someone knows this without me having to look it up.

    Steve – I didn’t suggest that the laptop was the source of CLimategate since there are non-Briffa emails in the dossier. First I observed that this is evidence that the attachments existed. Second that this gave evidence on the structure of the files and that they were moving them around.

    • Jean S
      Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

      Re: Fred Bloggs (Dec 20 09:38),
      notice also that the name can be in “from” field (as emails may come from the “sent-mail” folder). Surely someone must have conducted this already, but are
      there any emails, where Briffa, Hulme, Jones, or Osborn is not a party?

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

        There were some emails from the Dendro listserv that would have been received by Briffa and/or Osborn but neither of their names were shown in the from or cc in the dossier, though they must have been cc’ed somehow.

        The inclusion of Hulme in the group is somewhat of a loose end. In the original Guardian article, Hulme, with the others, was said to have been of particular interest to CLimate Audit, which wasn’t true. He’d scarcely, if ever, been mentioned here.

        The new emails show more involvement of Mike mcgarvie (for example) in the FOI refusals. However, the dossier doesn’t include any emails from Mcgarvie to other East Anglia officials in which the CRU four (or three) are not involved.

        • Jean S
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

          Re: Steve McIntyre (Dec 20 11:29),
          I came up with those four names by looking for e-mails that did not have any obvious East Anglia addresses neither in “to” nor in “cc” field, i.e., I tried to check who had “sent mail” in the dossier. Now I repeated the exercise and found only two other additions: Melvin and Harris (latter with only one example, so it may also be a bcc-case). I’m also unable to find an e-mail that does not either include at least a person from this list of six or contain an obvious list-address.

          My point is that it is entirely possible that the whole dossier consists emails (collected similarly to #3939) of only 5-6 individuals.

        • Matt Skaggs
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

          Jean S,
          I tested this by searching for Paul Dennis. I got two hits, one of which also involves Jones and Hulme. The other one, however, seems to involve none of the CRU Six (or whatever) mentioned here. That leads me to believe (or more accurately endorse the belief of others) that the larger encrypted archive is CRU-wide, but the releases are based upon keywords that cull out most of Dr. Dennis’ correspondence.

        • Matt Skaggs
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

          Sorry, meant to add the number of the Dennis-only message: 1106934832.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

          Re: Matt Skaggs (Dec 20 17:30),

          Briffa might have been bcc’ed on this email. A few hours later, Briffa replied to Juggins:

          2795. 2005-01-28 16:15:49
          ______________________________________________________
          cc: Stephen.Juggins@newcastle.ac.uk,Valerie Masson-Delmotte ,eystein.jansen@geo.uib.no, Sandy Tudhope ,dan.charman@plymouth.ac.uk
          date: Fri Jan 28 16:15:49 2005
          from: Keith Briffa
          subject: Re: Dirk….

        • Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

          Ah, Juggins turn, as my father used to say (or something very like it).

        • Matt Skaggs
          Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

          That makes more sense, since the topic of 1106934832 does not seem to have key words in it anyway. O/T, but on one of my forays through the grepper, I came upon 2333. I don’t quite have enough context to understand why Jones seems to think keeping it secret is so important. Is it behind-the-scenes communication with journal editors?

    • Reg. Blank
      Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

      It is possible that this laptop is the source for some of the FOIA emails, but certainly not for all. I personally think it isn’t the source, however appealing that may be.

      One more-or-less confirmable source is Tim Osborne’s Eudora installation, plus at least one other Eudora installation.

      Eudora seems to detach attachments from emails and writes into the email file where it has placed the detached file. Searching for “Attachment Converted” will find these.

      In most emails the attachments are stored in “c:\eudora\attach” but there are also quite a few that get stored in “c:\documents and settings\tim osborn\my documents\eudora\attach” which quite strongly suggests they arrived on Tim Osborne’s computer (not 100% guaranteed if there’s some sharing/reuse of computers going on and the users are not particularly using windows security).

      There is at least one email that is in the 2011 FOIA release, and also as two files in the 2009 release (1197590292 and 1197590293) where the difference between the two is the attachment location–one is within Tim Osborne’s “documents and settings” folder, the other is the generic c:\eudora\attach folder. The matching 2011 release email is 2917.txt (same as 1197590292). This strongly suggests (to me at least) that there are at least two difference sources for the emails.

      There are possible clues that hint at the actual leak vector in other emails. I was considering a “The clues add up to XXXX” hint, but I don’t want to even do that (certainly not in public) just in case. I’m sure the emails I have in mind would have been discussed elsewhere anyway.

  2. SeanNY
    Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    Re: Hola Manola — wouldn’t it be a delicious irony if the Jones and crew moved their emails onto PCs to avoid FOI requests, and somehow the “hacker” found the files on one of the old PC’s. Talk about hoist on your own petard!

    Does anyone knows what UEA does with surplus computers?

  3. Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    Great stuff.

    Later in the year, after Muir Russell admitted to the Parliamentary Committee that he had not investigated Jones’ email deletion enterprise, Acton told the committee that he had “investigated” the incident – the first public mention of the “Acton investigation” …

    Thanks for writing that. Whenever in future I hear someone say that three UK inquiries into Climategate found the scientists had done nothing wrong I’ll be sure to say “You mean four inquiries. You’re forgetting the very important inquiry into whether Phil Jones’s plain advice to colleagues to delete emails led to illegal deletions of FOI-able material.” They’re forgetting the Acton Inquiry. No matter it was only announced after the event and carried out by a Vice Chancellor of the university itself, this one was every bit as independent as the others.

    In other words … the smart readers of Climate Audit I’m sure get my drift.

  4. Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    A promising line of inquiry for the Norfolk police might be: was a clumsy DIY email ‘archive’ cobbled together by Jones, Melvin, and Briffa inadvertently left exposed on the internet?

    This might explain what was going on with the server that was taken offline at the time of climategate-1.

    If someone knew about or created such a system but did not tell the police at the outset of the inquiry, would that be obstruction of justice?

  5. matthu
    Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    I wonder whether any of the emails included BCC (blind copy) recipients? Perhaps these names would be suppressed in the leaked emails and therefore we are not seeing a common link.

    • Tony Mach
      Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

      Re: matthu

      One would find this information in the full headers. Are the full headers included in the 2009 or 2011 release?

      What I still fail to understand: How was all this information gathered? In my view, this clearly did not came from one email-account, not even one (email-)server. Did FOIA gain access to all the individual servers and gather all this data? In that case there surely should be tracks to be found somewhere. Or did he just gain access to one file (or directory) with Climategate ready to go?

      In my view (and I am speculating here), the police know little to nothing and The Team™© doesn’t seem to tell them much. Why would that be? Maybe because The Team™© have little grasp of technology and how to handle data? They send each other account access and leave data lying around (pun intended) publicly that they’d rather not have others to see. Get access to one part of this net, get access to all the other parts, piece by piece? And now huff and puff about “Evil Hackers are stealing from us!!!11!” to hide their incompetence?

      • steven mosher
        Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

        The mails came off the cru back up server.

        • dougieh
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 8:15 PM | Permalink

          Mosh

          back up your comment :)

          bender will not be happy with missing pool duty data, where is he,is he ok? i miss the bender.

        • Mark T
          Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

          He comes and goes. bender starts out after a hiatus with a rather agreeable tone then seems to get frustrated regarding things climate, gets less agreeable, then disappears. Just my observation. If true, I don’t blame him. The hypocrisy and “it’s climate science” meme are enough to overwhelm the best of anti-depressants.

          Of course, it could simply be that duty calls for other reasons and bender has to make a choice.

          Mark

          PS: I have no real indication that bender is a “he,” I just know that bender is a male character (a robot, in fact) on Futurama so I assume as much here, though in the past, the male gender was always used in cases where it was otherwise unknown.

        • Jean S
          Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 5:40 AM | Permalink

          Re: steven mosher (Dec 20 19:02),
          the main problem with that theory is that then you need to explain the personal folders (files) in the first batch. Surely they were not copied from a back-up mailserver? If you argue that the “hacker” had access to both back-up mailserver and some PCs, then not only this is getting against Occam but also I’d expect to see more files (now there are mainly Osborn’s and Briffa’s). Of course, this depends on what you call “a backup server”. :) If a “backup server” is simply an online/portable PC where people can store (by themselves) their data, I’m happy to sign to Mosher’s theory.

          There are other oddities besides the files speaking against the “backup mailserver” theory. For instance, all emails (three weeks of worth) after 23/10/2009 (#0865 Wilson -> Melvin) seem to involve Jones (including some mails from his sent mail folder). I would imagine, e.g., Briffa, Osborn, Melvin dicussing Yamal without Phil’s involvement even in that period. If I were researching the case, the first thing I would establish is how Phil Jones handled his emails around 13/11/2009. Another thing speaking for the public folder theory are Hulme’s emails. His emails suddenly stop in autumn 2004 (except a few where he is along with other members of “CRU six”).

        • clivere
          Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 6:46 AM | Permalink

          JeanS

          http://www.cce-review.org/evidence/29%20March%20Salmon%20response.pdf

        • Jean S
          Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

          Re: clivere (Dec 21 06:46),
          thanks! That pretty much nails it for me.

          So it was not a real backup mailserver, but a backup system for users’ desktop “home” directories. Depending on users email reading practices, some users’ email’s ended up to the backup, some users’ did not. So for instance, the oddity with Hulme’s emails could be explained by him changing his email practices (old emails archieved in the home directory, newer ones not). Also the fact that emails appear to originate from so few users is due to that not all users’ emails were “backed up” this way and “FOIA” selecting which users’ emails to publish.

        • clivere
          Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

          It looks like 4 users – Jones,Briffa,Osborne,Hulme.

          The other thing to be aware of is that the way they configured the backup meant that emails deleted from their PC were not deleted from the backup. That is why we are seeing the FOI related deletions.

          At least 2 users had themed inboxes and I would expect that RC/FOIA grabbed much of the CG1 release from the interesting themes.

          One of the big questions for me is did they only take 220,000 emails or is the 220,000 a sub selection. That would influence how much interesting content remains.

        • Jean S
          Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

          Re: clivere (Dec 21 08:33),
          I would add Melvin to the list; emails like #4014, #4268, and #4801 are hard to be explained by the bcc-argument.

          I think insider vs. outsider is still a relevant question. How could an outsider even know that such a backup server existed …

        • clivere
          Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

          Dont know about Melvin. The forensic guys essentially identified the 4 above with a possibility of Trevor Davies.

          re insider vs outsider I still have most options open though I would probably exclude an outright hack if pushed.

          The backup server was apparently compressed so would probably require access to the program which would enable decompression.

          Options for me still include

          Someone external with password eg former researcher
          Student or UEA worker who had somehow managed to gain access
          Member of UEA/CRU staff with some level of authorised access (eg IT staff)
          Whistleblower who likes to takeover someone elses website.

        • Dave
          Posted Dec 22, 2011 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

          There’s very little doubt in my mind that if the emails were obtained from the outside that it was done using social-engineering techniques – that is, a phishing-style attack. A very large majority of all ‘hacks’ are done this way these days because humans are often easier to fool than computers.

          If there was an internal leak, then I have a strong suspicion about who it was – there’s one public face at CRU who certainly should have the required access to all the data, and who has seemed at times to be rather frustrated with the climate scientists. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader because I don’t think it’s fair to name names in this context without anything even resembling proof.

        • crosspatch
          Posted Dec 24, 2011 at 6:11 AM | Permalink

          I personally think it was an insider and I believe the reason was interpersonal dynamics. In the course of looking at the behaviors of Jones and Mann in the face of any of what they took as criticism, including any papers that reached conclusions counter to theirs, any interaction with one they deemed to be a “skeptic”, their devaluing and dismissal of anyone who criticized them in any way, it seemed obvious that they exhibited a fairly typical pattern of narcissistic outrage when experiencing criticism of any sort. This is exhibited by their over-the-top behavior against fellow scientists, journals, institutions, etc. The gatekeeping in the peer reviews, the manipulation of documentation (e.g. hiding the decline by trimming series that might be “confusing”). The most telling, though, was the facade of “consensus” or the appearance that the “science is settled” when it was obviously not the case in internal conversation.

          So in looking around on documentation of narcissistic behaviors in the workplace, I happened across a video by a psychologist. The environment being described was the family unit. A rather typical sort of situation is where a controlling narcissist attempts to present an outside view of the family (or workplace) unit of perfect harmony and it presents the view that the controlling party wishes to present. Dirty laundry is not aired in public and often the public face of the unit is quite different than the internal functionality. What generally happens at some point is that a mutiny occurs and someone lets all the skeletons out of the closet. When I saw that, it struck me that this might be what has happened in this case. Someone finally got sick and tired of a dysfunctional internal organization, had enough of it, and decided to expose some of the skeletons in the closet. In the meantime, there is a veiled threat to them that there are a lot more potential skeletons where that came from in the password protected email.

          Now the problem is that there is a lot more than just Jones’ and Mann’s reputations at stake here. There are a lot of powerful politicians that have come down squarely on one side of this issue and spent a lot of the people’s money on it. This could ruin their career, too. So to see the police suddenly getting excited about this now really might not be much of a surprise as politicians tend to be a little higher on the narcissism scale than the average person, too, and might experience this as a potential threat to their career. If that is the case, they will be just as over the top in attempting to find the source of the information and utterly destroy that source as The Team was in attempting to get a certain someone in New Zealand fired for publishing a certain paper.

          People have to remember that we are not dealing with machines here. These are human beings. People have different personality traits and certain occupations and positions within occupations tend to attract people with a higher degree of narcissism. Top scientists in a field, politicians, senior bureaucrat, business CEOs and Chairmen tend to be, on average, more narcissistic than the general population. The behaviors exhibited in many of those emails would tend to confirm that sort of behavior. They don’t take lightly to even the slightest criticism or threat to the image they have created.

          I think someone internally simply got sick of dealing with it. Someone who is clearly not a narcissist and from reading the README file, has a great deal of empathy for people who might have been better helped by these billions of dollars that we have blown on attempts to regulate the climate through CO2 policy.

        • crosspatch
          Posted Dec 24, 2011 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

          Ah, here is the piece I found that led me to think this might be an “inside job”

          Criticising, disagreeing, or exposing these fiction and lies, penetrating the family’s facade, are considered to be mortal sins. The sinner is immediately subjected to severe and constant emotional harassment, guilt and blame, and to abuse, including physical abuse. This state of things is especially typical of families with sexual abuse.

          [Anyone openly criticizing the narcissist is ostracized or harassed until they come back into line. Great pressure is place on them to maintain the lies than create the facade.]

          Behaviour modification techniques are liberally used by the narcissist to ensure that the skeletons do stay in the family cupboards. An unexpected by-product of this atmosphere of concealment and falsity is mutiny. The narcissist’s spouse or his adolescent children are likely to exploit the narcissist’s vulnerabilities – his proneness to secrecy, self-delusion, and aversion to the truth – to rebel against him. The first thing to crumble in the narcissist’s family is this shared psychosis – the mass denial and the secretiveness so diligently cultivated by him.

          [ergo, the release of the climategate emails]

          Stuff inside the square brackets is mine. That was from Dr. Sam Vaknin, The author of Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited. Dr. Vaknin is, by the way, a diagnosed extreme narcissist (all 9 traits, only 5 of which are required for diagnosis with a personality disorder).

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

          Another question. The “editor” of the Climategate dossier hasn’t published any attachments to the emails, some of which would be pretty interesting e.g. the attachment to Wahl’s surreptitious correspondence with Briffa that I’ve FOI’ed (unsuccessfully so far.) What does this mean, if anything? Also the documents in Climategate 1 seemed to come from directories rather than attachments.

        • DocMartyn
          Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

          The attachments may not be stored in the same part of the system as the email text. It is not unusual to have the two split up in completely different folders so that very large attachments can be easily deleted.

        • crosspatch
          Posted Dec 24, 2011 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

          I would agree with this. I have some experience in enterprise IT and it is quite possible that the attachments were stored in a directory/folder that was not being backed up. This is particularly the case, as DocMartyn mentions, when storage space on the backup server might be at a premium and only the emails were saved and any documents that could be re-sent if lost were not backed up.

          Also keep in mind the nature of backups. It could be that several of these emails WERE, in fact, deleted but whoever obtained these files might have had an original full backup and then a series of incremental backups. These incrementals would include any additions/deletions since the full backup was taken. So an email that shows as deleted in a subsequent incremental backup would still exist in a preceding snapshot. One could “restore” someone’s mailbox to look as it did on any particular day that a backup was performed. The only emails that would be missing would be ones that were received AND deleted between backups. And even then, deleting email on the laptop doesn’t mean it gets immediately deleted from the mail server. In some cases it might not get actually deleted from the mail server until some number of days (5 is a common number) after it is deleted on the local user’s system.

        • Amused
          Posted Dec 23, 2011 at 6:36 AM | Permalink

          Steve,

          At least one file in “documents” is from an attachment. From memory, the ~12Mb email contains the WG1 Sensitivity PDF when you convert the base64 data. I’ve not checked any others yet, however.

        • Posted Dec 22, 2011 at 4:43 AM | Permalink

          I’ve always suspected FOIA was someone like “HARRY_READ_ME,” a programmer for them, perhaps CRU’s IT people. Programmers would likely (though not necessarily) have wide access to servers, plus the solo time to wander around (perhaps while waiting for algorithms to run). Yes, a savvy manager or IT man would and should limit access, but we’ve seen how tech-illiterate some of them are, and how sloppy a ship Phil Jones ran – those both argue that getting at folders or network nodes wouldn’t have been terribly difficult.

          One could even argue that if they HAD an IT manager, that person would have sat down with Jones and decided on a course of action to organize data and program files on the network. It is not altogether clear that any such thing happened. On the face of it, one would think not.

          But my main thrust here is it seems like someone had to have both access and TIME. Such a person was not going to do that in the middle of the day. Back in the day, a lot of IT work, and a lot of programming work was done after hours. HARRY_READ_ME.txt is an example of that, in that Harry had questions and no one to ask about them, so he had to spin his wheels trying to get the output to align with the “scientist’s” output, playing around with data sets unti he could get a close match, which was not forthcoming, according to his inserted remarks (basically talking to himself through the keyboard).

          With this kind of time flying solo with the CRU network, this is exactly the kind of person who had opportunity.

          For the investigators the question of opportunity is an important aspect of their search for a suspect. For almost everyone in the world, their/our alibi is that we had no opportunity to get at the files and emails. That leaves only two possible groups of suspects – the hackers of the world and the people within CRU. As an investigator, the obvious first group to suspect is the insiders at CRU. A secondary search for a hacker could be undertaken in parallel, but with a group known to have access, the focus should have been – and still should be – on the insiders at CRU.

          (As it stands, the Norfolk constabulary (or is FOI jurisdiction under Scotland Yard?), appear to be inept clones of LaStrade or Clouseau. Can UK bobbies be that inadequate?)

          Anyway, if I were running the criminal investigation, I’d absolutely be focusing on the CRU IT and programming people. If this was money, it would be much more a case of possible embezzlement than a case of possible burglary. Their investigation should include a hacker-turned-police-contractor; if they had one, this would all have been worked out long ago, and we wouldn’t all be sitting here trying to work out what sort of moving around and deleting of files was done; the hacker-for-hire would have worked it all out in a matter of minutes or hours.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if Phil Jones had resisted such a search, however. Motive? To cover up his utter inadequacies in managing his department. Certainly those shortcomings were not limited to “I lost the data” and “How the hell does one do a trend line?” The man seems not to have been up to the task, yet he was the #1 in the world of climate data processing, and such a revelation would not only lose him his position within CRU, but atop the world and IPCC scientists. And, in addition, it would cast doubt on the work they did. If all this supposition is true, then Jones has had every reason to resist bringing in people to get into their servers and find out what happened. And all that is BESIDES his possible/probable covering up the CONTENTS of the emails.

          Two years down the road, and a lack of results by the Norfolk police suggests either no effort on their part, no capacity on their part, or that someone is blocking the investigation. It should have been determined in the first week or month if it was an outside job or not.

          I think that our speculation is neither here nor there. The backups DO exist on the server, and it is clear that their efforts to move or delete emails is sufficiently documented in the CG2 batch. But those same emails and their content should have been available to the Norfolk police, too. For them there should be no CG1 and CG2. They should have subpoenaed the backups off the servers. The question is then, why has there not been a slew of indictments?

  6. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    Evidently, they do not view lying about things related to legal requirements of FOIA to be of any concern. Nor IPCC rules. I guess the only thing that matters is what you can get away with. Too many people sadly hold that view of things.

  7. Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    While Briffa may delete the emails off his computer, that does not delete the emails off the server. There is a separate setting for that with sendmail and POP.

    Even if he had that setting, the CG Emails indicate there were regular backups made – so they probably still exist.

  8. Stacey
    Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    this is a test am i in moderation cos i copied and pasted from unreal climate

  9. Stacey
    Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    Steve You know what to do?

    So I, thought I hadn’t seen our Gav and his mates for ages, well see, every time I turn up, either the lights are on and they are not in, although see sometimes I thinks the lights are out and they are in. Now how precious for me to turn up today, not allowed to speak of course , but there we are, that’s the way it is, after all they are saving the planet, anyways I undress, oops sorry meant to say digress.

    So the young man who was there said this to me

    “The one common thread I found among them was the fervent belief that “Climategate” was a conspiracy and that the IPCC is rigged. This faith-based belief seems to be unshakable, and is the antithesis of true skepticism. Those I met were uniformly cynical about the honesty and motivations of mainstream scientists. If I were forced to use a single label, I would be inclined to call them “science cynics”.

    He was so sweet and got me all in a tiz so I thought best for him was to lie down in a dark room.

    I’m still waiting for our Gav to turn up but he’s abandoned me.

  10. mpaul
    Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

    We had seen a few emails in CG1 where the scientists were expressing irritation about computer security. Their general attitude seemed to be that security was interfering with the important work of the scientists – particularly when that work was being performed offsite (frequently, at exotic locales). We also saw examples where the scientists would prioritize convenience over security — i.e., leaving stuff on non-indexed URLs or embedding passwords into clear-text emails.

    The emails discussed in this thread establish that CRU was working to make the email volume more accessible to people outside of the CRU firewall.

    So, lets hypothesize that the email volume was left in an insecure location — essentially on the “public internet”. Someone who came across the volume and downloaded it would not have committed theft or hacking. If you put something on the public internet, people are free to consume the content — even if its on an non-indexed URL. Its unreasonable to ask visitors to your website to make judgements as to whether content was inadvertently placed on the public internet.

    Now, if the police knew that the volume was sitting on the public internet during the period just prior to the disclosure, then sending 6 police officers to raid Tallbloke’s house in the middle of the night and to seize his private property seems unjustifiable.

    This is all speculation, but clearly Tallbloke’s lawyer needs to establish (1) did someone at CRU place the volume in an insecure location prior to the CG1 release, (2) if so, did CRU disclose this fact to the police, and (3) did the police accurately represent the facts when requesting the warrant (in other words, if the volume was left on the public internet for some period of time, did the police disclose this fact to the magistrate when requesting the warrant)?

  11. Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    With the amount of effort expended to hide their communications from the public they were trying to save, they could have done quite a bit of useful work.

    • Glacierman
      Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

      “….they could have done quite a bit of useful work.”

      The way they see things, hiding communications from FOIA is useful work….useful for the cause.

    • mpaul
      Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

      These email give Tallbloke an absolute right to pursue discovery within CRU. Establishing whether these emails were ever left on an unsecured area of the internet is material to his defense. I suspect that it will be harder for the CRU to subvert a discovery order than it was to allegedly subvert FOIA.

      • ChE
        Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

        What does he need to defend? He hasn’t been accused of anything AFAIK.

        • Jan
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

          Plaintiff’s discovery.

        • ChE
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

          I don’t think a plaintiff in a libel suit has the right to go discovering things that are irrelevant to the libel allegation. The libel case is going to be about what Laden/Mann said. Period.

          And the defendants can’t use it, either. The question before the court will be was the accusation true at the time they said it? Any subsequent charges will be immaterial. They said something that they had no way to know was true.

        • Jan
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

          I have the impression that the Laden/Mann libel issue isn’t the only one being pursued. I understood there was also an issue with the search and seizure.

          http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/fighting-fund-is-all-systems-go/#comment-11125

        • ChE
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

          Ok.

        • mpaul
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

          Tallbloke is defending himself against the actions of the police. His lawyer wants to establish that the search and seizure were illegal. Among the ways to do that would be to show that either (1) CRU provided false information to the Police that they used in the warrant application or (2) that the police withheld information in the warrant application that might have caused the magistrate to deny the application. He will likely argue that the actions of the police damaged his reputation and cause him emotional and financial distress. If it turns out that CRU provided false information (just speculation on my part) then Tallbloke might have a cause of action against CRU.

          If the judge determines that Tallbloke has a cause of action against either the police or CRU (and this is a low bar), then he/she will permit plaintiff’s discovery.

        • steven mosher
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

          Yup.

          The police asked DOJ to secure the information first
          That implies they know that bloggers dont hold data, but rather the data is on the WP servers
          If they thought TB held data, why not raid him right after FOIA dropped the comment there?
          huh? well they wouldnt raid him because their experts would have explained that a blogger
          has no data. WP has it.

          What information did they have that lead them to believe that TB would have anything MORE than
          that provided by WP? Nothing?

          How are you going to write that request? How are you going to argue that TB had more information than WP?

          There is no evidence that FOIA communicated directly with WB. There is evidence
          That FOIA communicated with Word press. he left a comment on a wordpress blog.

          Lets put it this way. If FOIA dropped a comment on real climate, how would gavin react
          if the police came in and took the servers because that comment constituted “evidence”
          that FOIA had communicated directly with gavin?

          Should be fun.

        • ChE
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 7:22 PM | Permalink

          Better analogy: the FBI shows up at GISS offices in Manhattan (where Realclimate is run from) and seizes them on the theory that there might be relevant information after having sent a preserve letter to Fenton. That’s essentially what happened.

          Of course, Gavin and Fenton would be more than happy to cooperate, since they want to nab FOIA, so there’s no need for confrontational tactics, and for all we know the Feds have already been all over their equipment. Too bad for them that FOIA isn’t the fool they take him for.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

          From WUWT:

          http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/20/greg-laden-caves-makes-nice-with-tallbloke/#more-53413

          From this link, Tallbloke has accepted an offer from Laden for a guest post on Laden’s website in return for backing off libel action

          Posts here are full of speculation on the FOIA data source etc. Fine, but only a few days ago I was moderated out of existence for doing just that

          Whimsy, indeed

  12. MikeN
    Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 8:37 PM | Permalink

    Dougie, I think Steve Mosher is on solid ground saying the mail came off the backup server.

  13. MikeN
    Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 8:38 PM | Permalink

    Who all is known to be using Eudora? A Professor who looked at the e-mails for the University saw them all in Thunderbird format, describing 3 researchers.

  14. Martin A
    Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 4:48 AM | Permalink

    ” (…) Acton told the committee that he had “investigated” the incident – the first public mention of the “Acton investigation” – and, in answer to a direct question from Graham Stringer whether all the emails were available and could be read, told the Committee “Yes”. (…)”

    I was astonished when Acton, totally out of the blue, told the committee he had investigated the incident. So far as I know, there had never been any follow up, with Acton being pressed for more details.

  15. Don Keiller
    Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    Steve, within the next two weeks or so, I have very good reason to believe that refusal on the grounds of “Information not held”, will no longer be sustainable.

    All the best,
    Don

  16. MarkR
    Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    I have had dealings with the Data Commissioners re Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) in the UK. They said that the statutory time limit of 6 months makes it impossible to prosecute, because their initial enquiries are quite likely to take longer than 6 months, especially if the accuses delay as they usually do and have done in the CRU case.

    However, I believe that when new information becomes available as in Climategate 2 (CG2), the limitation clock can be restarted at zero.

    Further, any person can bring a private prosecution in the Magistrates Court by means of laying an Information, which then causes the Magistrates to Summons the accused. To succeed in a private prosecution the Plaintiff would need to be able to show the Court that the Plaintiff had the means to pay the accused’s costs, in the event a private prosecution failed.

    I would suggest that a fund be set up with a view to financing a private prosecution of all those involved in the CR2 demonstrated criminality re the Freedom of Information Act.

    In the event that a private prosecution for breach of the FoIA is not possible, there are probably grounds (not yet time barred) under the Fraud Act 2006, and lastly the most severe private prosecution possible if no other suitable means are available, is under the heading of misconduct in public office, an offence which attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

    It may be that the various Professors (pro tem officers of public universities subject to the FoIA) and others are public officers, certainly the Hadley Research Centre and the Met Office people would fall under that heading.

    I have long maintained that this issue will and should be be settled in a court of law. The enquiries conducted by university and scientific trade associations and others have been shown to be hopelessly corrupt.

  17. Posted Dec 22, 2011 at 4:00 AM | Permalink

    We are still in the process of discovering what all is in the CG2 emails, though new discoveries are becoming fewer and far between.

    Soon the main question will be what is to be done about them and what they reveal. Certainly a prima facie case can be made that FOI was not only violated, but that a conspiracy has taken place. The question then becomes whether the UK prosecutor with jurisdiction can be made to see the case he has available to him.

    It seems that the only argument not to prosecute would be if the statute of limitations has expired. Every day that goes by draws this limitation closer, and a prosecution less likely.

    But I cannot imagine a prosecutor or grand jury reading these and not ruling that there is enough of a case to indict.

  18. Posted Dec 22, 2011 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

    Re Norfolk Police – TallBloke and me on http://youtu.be/10lUiNvpOYM

  19. Posted Dec 22, 2011 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    TallBloke and me interviewed by BBC

    • dougieh
      Posted Dec 22, 2011 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

      SP thanks for the link.

      at the end presenter states they asked Norfolk police for an interview but they declined with this main reason “complex international investigation” & then add “they are reviewing all of the enquires so far & only then will they make a decision on the future of the case”

      assume they mean police enquires, but who knows?

  20. Darryl B
    Posted Dec 22, 2011 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

    Steve,
    I may have missed this, but I have two questions for you,unrelated to this thread, which I would appreciate a response if time allows.
    1. Did you ever figure out a code used my Michael Mann or others (or a reasonable approximation) for dendro work by using the results and any limited data available? That is working back words. I imagine with so many weighted sets of various data that it would be impossible.
    2. Looking at the extremely smoothed handle of the hockey sticks and again considering only the dendro contributions to it,has anyone ever done work on bristlecones by taking annual core samples on single trees to see if width changes over time. I have wondered if compressive forces and a possible flow of substances due to chemical changes and drying may cause an evening of ring width. Of course that study would take many years to be of any significance.
    Thank you if you read this and have time a chance to respond.

  21. Darryl B
    Posted Dec 24, 2011 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    Just read ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion”– should have before. Still might like an answer to question 2, although it is mostly answered by assumption.

  22. Tony Mach
    Posted Dec 24, 2011 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    Maybe off-topic in this specific thread, but interesting to the general theme in this blog:

    Wicherts et al.
    Willingness to Share Research Data Is Related to the Strength of the Evidence and the Quality of Reporting of Statistical Results.
    PLoS ONE (2011) vol. 6 (11) pp. e26828

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0026828

    from here:

    http://www.quora.com/What-papers-have-been-most-interesting-in-neuroscience-for-the-past-year-2011

    This one seems really important to me. The authors contacts a bunch of researchers who had recently published in one of three psychology manuscripts and asked them for their raw data. They then created two groups: those researchers who did, and those who did not, share their data (note that all researchers they contacted signed a statement upon publication agreeing to share their data upon request). The authors then examined the statistical methods used by the two groups in their manuscripts, and found that those who did not share their data had poorer statistical support for their published findings.

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