Gleick’s AGU Resignation

On Tuesday (after much amusement at Anthony’s), the AGU announced that, on Feb 16, Peter Gleick had resigned as Chairman of the AGU Committee on Scientific Ethics for “personal, private reasons”.

David Appell has an excellent interview with Michael McFadren, President of AGU, at his blog here. Appell asked why they didn’t announce it at the time; McFadren said that they were waiting to arrange a replacement. Reasonable people can disagree on whether AGU was hoping to make the change without drawing attention to the change.

Appell, a long-time green reporter, asked some interesting questions about the appropriateness of McFadren’s appointment of Chris Mooney as an AGU director, given Mooney’s partisanship, with Appell colorfully characterizing Mooney as someone who seemed to want to be the “Ann Coulter of the left”. (No discussion of Ann Coulter please or whether this comparison is apt.) McFadren appeared totally blind to the insensitivity of appointing Mooney and reiterated that Mooney was appointed merely for his communications skills.

Check it out here As an extra inducement, Mosher’s first (extant) identification of Peter Gleick as the author of the fake memo is at Appell’s blog, but you’ll have to look. (Mosher’s first online identification of Gleick was elsewhere, but the comment was deleted by the blog proprietor.)

If the 16th is the actual day of Gleick’s resignation (and I don’t see why AGU would err on this point), it raises an interesting question of why Gleick resigned on that day? And why did he only resign his chairmanship of the AGU Scientific Ethics committee and not other appointments (e.g. his directorship of NCSE).

Gleick’s identification as the probable author of the fake memo was firmly in play at Lucia’s here, with Mosher’s 1:52 pm (blog time; 2:52 pm EST) laying out the basis of Gleick’s identification (though Mosher let Lucia fill in the blanks.) During the rest of the afternoon, other commentators filled in other blanks, consolidating the identification of Gleick as the author of the fake memo.

Even with the accumulating evidence, it was still almost impossible to believe that someone of Gleick’s age and position would author the fake memo or commit identity fraud. The instinct of many, if not most, commentators was a low-level CAGW activist connected somehow to Gleick, perhaps one connected with the NCSE, given the anomaly of “dissuading teachers from teaching science”. Gleick was a “person of interest”.

On Feb 17, Pielke Jr asked Gleick, but, unknown to everyone, Gleick had already resigned as
Chair of the AGU Scientific Ethics committee.

Thus, it wasn’t Pielke’s question that caused the resignation. Lucia and I chatted today. She thinks that someone from AGU must have confronted Gleick in the late afternoon or evening of the 16th, pointed to him being mentioned as connected with the Heartland memo and asked him in indirect terms whether there was anything that would interfere with him performing his duties as chair of the ethics committee. Perhaps they promised to make a change quietly without drawing attention and, on that basis, Gleick resigned.

Lots of things that don’t make sense right now.

67 Comments

  1. Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps Gleick should resign from the AGU. Perhaps the AGU should resign from Gleick. Either way it would make the organization more wholesome.

    • JJ
      Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

      The additional wholesomeness would be infinitessimal.

      Remember, Gleick didn’t name himself head of the AGU task force on ethics and integrity. AGU chose to put him in that position. AGU did this, despite the fact that he was well known as a strident political activist on matters of his profession, and had obvious conflicts of interest with the mission of the task force. That isn’t the person you put in charge of monitoring and encouraging the members’ resistance to the temptation to exceed ethical boundaries, not if you are serious about it.

      AGU also maintains Mann and Jones as fellows, despite documented ethical and legal transgressions. Not so much as a censure, so far as I am aware.

      Instead, the most we have seen from AGU is a half-hearted expression of “disappointment” in the actions of a confessed criminal, laced with empty platitudes and, appallingly, reaffirmation of the crook’s motives.

      Simply put, the organization as a whole demonstrates no commitment to ethical principles, and seems to place no value on them beyond their utility as propaganda tools. That role is easily met with lip service and “show committees” chaired by the chief weasel. They picked Gleick as their best representative of ethics and integrity, and we don’t yet have any reason to believe that they were wrong about that.

      • Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

        At their fall 2010 annual meeting the AGU scheduled a panel discussion including the “Felt Hat Science Teacher” from Central High. This event went array and the Felt Hat Teacher resigned his new AGU membership. I reported on this event in my article, “Warmist Monk Immolates at the AGU Temple”. It was necessary to research the society management that could create this condition. The leadership of AGU is a shocking example of non-science advocates hijacking a legitimate organization and directing it to a political agenda. The 61,000 members of the AGU are being poorly served by every member of this board of directors and should demand a mass resignation.

        • Mark F
          Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

          Humph. I’d apply the same sentiment to the boards of several charitable trusts. Their creators would turn over in their urns.

        • Bob Koss
          Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

          Faux,

          The name of your article tweaked my curiosity. Googled it and found it here. http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/31394
          It was a good one.

          The way leadership of most of these scientific organizations has been corrupted is really disgusting.

      • Punksta
        Posted Feb 25, 2012 at 2:59 AM | Permalink

        Remember, Gleick didn’t name himself head of the AGU task force on ethics and integrity.

        Yes, the danger is that Gleick is made the fall-guy, thereby allowing the systemic rot at AGU to persist.

  2. Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    The unsnipped version of my first identification will go up.

    please dont judge all english majors by Mooney. Some of us studied logic.
    and math. and physics and linguistics.

    Oh: at first they said how dare you accuse Gleick.
    Now, he is a hero?

    Huh. Well, no need to worry about libelling Gleick or any other person.

    A tip: Please do not visit Joe Romm’s blog and use the name Peter Gleick to confess to forging a document. because, fooling people by assuming a false identity will get you hero status.

    err..

    • Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 12:24 AM | Permalink

      Keith hasput up my post

      http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/02/15/climate-skeptic-organization-feels-the-heat/#comment-99282

      My recollection was that I made this comment before my comment at Appel.

      I read keiths 802 comment and that prompted me to go to Appels.

      hmm.

      I also recall posting a comment that read : smells like gleick.

      Until I find that then midnight the 16th is the first appearence.

      • Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 2:05 AM | Permalink

        I also recall posting a comment that read : smells like gleick.

        Just for the record, how many senses are available to you when identity theft has occurred?

        • David Jay
          Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

          I don’t believe Mosh used “spidey-sense” about himself, a number of others (including myself) used and repeated that line.

  3. Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

    Gleick in the Ethics committee, Mooney appointed “for his communications skills”. Pray tell, who does the AGU have heading its blood donors club…count Dracula?

  4. Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 6:57 PM | Permalink

    BTW…I claim to be the first one to use “Gleickgate” 8-)

  5. Steven Mosher
    Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

    “Mosher let Lucia fill in the blanks.”

    Of course I wasnt going to accuse him of anything like being a hero.

    err wait. Before I thought it was bad, now I think its good. err wait. Somebody call Mooney or Mandia I don’t know what to think.

    AGW is a threat. That’s why we put our communication strategy in the capable hands of Mooney, Mandia, and Mann

    or Mann Mooney and Mandia.

    Josh, we need a cartoon. Moshpit versus Mann, Mooney and mandia.

    mazzaltoff

  6. Lewis Deane
    Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

    I called it ‘desperation gate’ early on, on Keith Kloors first post, just before Steve Mosher began to point Keith to the dodgy dock. I like that better than ‘fake gate, though both are equally true.

  7. Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

    Mosher is really cleaning up here. Is this the second scandal he’s almost single handely fleshed out? Or the third?

  8. Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    In 2004 Gleick was colluding with Jones et al to thwart provision of code to reproduce results as requested by peer reviewers – see 0838.txt and 2486.txt.

    • Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 12:14 AM | Permalink

      Interesting. Is that the full extent of Gleick in CG mails? CG I or CG II.

      • Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 1:00 AM | Permalink

        Gleick’s name and or email address are in: 1074277559.txt (‘Mike, This is for YOURS EYES ONLY, …’ etc.), 1076083097.txt, 1179765915.txt (CG I) and 0838.txt, 2486.txt, 3091.txt, 3184.txt, 3277.txt (CG II). (He was not a major climategate player).

        Gleick’s main interest seems to have been evading a foolish peer review request for reproducible results. (Gleick’s contribution was selecting a course of action which would mollify the misguided reviewer but keep the details of the ‘method’ suitably obscure, thereby satisfying Jones and Mann).

        Presumably this is why he was appointed Chairman of the AGU Committee on Scientific Ethics.

        • Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 2:00 AM | Permalink

          I can’t think of a better reason than that. Safe pair of hands.

        • Manniac
          Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 3:36 AM | Permalink

          Blinder well played….

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

        Gleick was a member of the editorial board of Climatic Change. In early 2004, as a reviewer of a submission by Mann et al, I asked to see supporting data and code. Schneider said that no one had ever made such a request in 28 years. I said that I was. He said that that would require referral to their editorial board. I said – refer it. Jones was also a member of the Climatic Change editorial board and lobbied hard against providing either. They decided that Mann had to provide supporting data but not code. I insisted on getting supporting data. Mann et al withdrew the paper. However, as reported previously, they had done academic cheque kiting, citing this submission in Jones and Mann, 2004, which was accepted and then used the latter paper as reference.

        • Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

          Thanks for explaining this….’supporting data and code’ the temerity of your request clearly shook the fragile world of climatology to its foundation – no wonder the paper had to be withdrawn.

  9. mt
    Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 9:14 PM | Permalink

    Looks like the Pacific Institute is standing by their man, at least for now.

    • Jan
      Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

      Um, I think they are waffling. Must have received a few concerned emails.

      • David Anderson
        Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 9:51 PM | Permalink

        As this Guardian quote explain$:

        [quote]
        The statement from the Pacific Institute comes just 24 hours after the board reaffirmed its support for Gleick. “Dr Gleick has been and continues to be an integral part of our team,” the earlier statement said.

        But since then a number of its funders have expressed displeasure at Gleick’s deception, the Guardian has learned.
        [/quote]

        • Mark T
          Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 1:38 AM | Permalink

          Gleick founded the freaking thing… what else would he say?

          Mark

    • Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

      It now seems that there’s a new quote
      That is rather less strong of a vote:
      Glieck is under “review”
      It’s a strong stain or two
      That will need a good whitewashing coat

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  10. Rick Bradford
    Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

    Surely it has to be Herogate….

  11. Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

    To me, this points out the power of the skeptical climate blogs. Climate Audit and the others get a huge readership. Congratulations to Steve Mosher for sniffing out the scam.

  12. John Vetterling
    Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

    I think a better explanation is that Gleick’s family outed him. If I recall his brother tweeted something about Peter being a a family birthday. Remember Ted Kosinski was outed by his brother. I suspect with all the traffic that Mosher ‘s theory was getting his family read the “Strategy Memo” and realized the gig was up. At that point he began his exit strategy.


    Steve: Gleick’s tweet about the family occasion was on Feb 18. But you’re right – family may well have entered into it.

    • DGH
      Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 10:21 PM | Permalink

      Peter Gleick tweeted about the family event.

      • John Vetterling
        Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

        Looking back I see you are correct. I had conflated a tweet by James about the guardian story with the birthday tweet.

    • Mark T
      Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 1:41 AM | Permalink

      I guess ideologues cannot always depend on their support group for support in obviously unethical/immoral actions.

      Mark

      • Mark F
        Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 1:45 AM | Permalink

        Funny how the most devout groups seem most eager to eat their young.

      • Sean inglis
        Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 2:50 AM | Permalink

        I think I’d count advice to come clean from family members as genuinely good advice.

        The support is the bit that happens now.

  13. Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

    The Petergate scandal continues unfolding
    We haven’t heard yet of the “Strategy” source
    And yet it’s still used for more Heartland-folk scolding
    It’s fake — but that doesn’t matter, of course

    Perhaps at that family “50 year” gathering
    Our boy said too much and was then brought to heel
    Could Gleick brag of his bit of climate Dan Rathering?
    From what we have seen, that chance is quite real

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  14. sky
    Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

    Bring on the popcorn, sitcom definitely is NOT a dying genre.

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 11:05 PM | Permalink

    Pielke Jr tweeted about Gleick at 6:43 PM Eastern 3:43 Pacific: linking to Mosh’s comment at Lucia’s:

    Roger Pielke Jr. @RogerPielkeJr
    Whodunnit? Is Gleick the Heartland faker? This guy thinks so rankexploits.com/musings/2012/t… uses my blog as evidence rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/04/peter-…
    6:43 PM – 16 Feb 12 via web • Details

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2012/tell-me-whats-horrible-about-this/#comment-89957 (Mosher 2:25 pm blog)

  16. George Lawson
    Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

    Whatever face saving comments come from the board of AGU, one thing is certain, this incident has given the sceptics a wonderful tool with which to progress their cause, since everything AGU now puts out either on the science or ethics can be challenged as being unworthy of serious consideration due to their track record. How certain are we anyway that others in AGU were not complicit in Gleick’s dispicable actions? The shadow over them will remain for ever and they will never be taken seriously again.

  17. Bernie
    Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    Gras Albert:
    Interesting point. However, if he wrote the fake strategy memo then I do not see how “coming clean” would help.

  18. Copner
    Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 6:30 AM | Permalink

    Just one more thing as Columbo might say…

    Some other things have been bothering me:

    1. According to Heartland, Gleick did the pretexting in early February. This would mean he sat on the genuine documents for a couple of weeks before releasing them. But the faked document was knocked up at the last minute on February 13th.

    2, If you read the faked document, except for some word-choice tells, it does not read like Gleick’s professional documents, nor like his Forbes column, or his documents at the Pacific Institute. It actually reads like Gleick’s blog comments, especially the rushed and highly emotionally charged ones (like where he’s angry about the book review).

    3. Why would he copy and paste an information-free line about Dr Wojik’s from a real Heartland document. It stands out line a sore-thumb. He didn’t even bother to re-phrase it? He didn’t add any information. Again, it suggests rush.

    4. Why would he not add any real information (except for some errors) about Heartland to the fake document, when there is plenty of information out there that he could have used? Again it suggests rush.

    5. Why did he make schoolboy errors in copying information from the budgets into the fake documents? It’s not like he has no experience reading 503(c)’s budgets – he has ran one for 20 years. Again, it suggests rush.

    6. It is nice to believe that Gleick thought the game was up because of the speculation at Lucia’s, Mosher fingering him as a suspect, or Roger’s tweet, but he seems to have resigned from AGU before he knew about this.

    7. If you read the first Kaminsky article at American Spectator where he fingers Gleick as a suspect, he seems to be doing so using an entirely separate basis from the blog speculation. Go down to the comments section, Kaminsky is asked why he didn’t credit Mosher, but Kaminsky replies he doesn’t know who Mosher is – so it seems unlikely that he got his suspicions from the blogosphere.
    .
    8. Gleick runs a 503(c) himself. When pretexting he would surely not have expected to find anything much in budgets and fund raising plans that get discussed at board meetings. Furthermore he had been examining Heartland’s form 990 since at least early January 2012, so he knew approximately their total funds, etc., just not the names of specific donors. He also surely knew the sort of activities Heartland does – because it’s nearly all listed on their website – it’s no secret for example that they organize skeptical conferences on climate change or write the NIPCC report. The worst that he could expect to find in these types of documents is that Heartland is funded by Koch and big oil – but he has (or greens generally have) been claiming that for years anyway, and nobody except them really cares – at best the documents would serve as proof of this allegation.

    9. If he’s prepared to invent an anonymous whistleblower for the fake document, why didn’t he invent an anonymous whistleblower for sending him the real documents?

    10. Why would he mention himself and his Forbes column in the fake?

    So here is a hypothesis: The fake document was created to cover-up the pretexting

    Note: I am not saying this is what happened. I do not know what happened. I am saying this is merely one possibility for what could have happened.

    The hypothesis goes:-

    1. In August 2011, Gleick becomes a Forbes contributor.

    2. In January (specifically January 12) he gets into a fight in the Forbes comments column with a fellow Forbes blogger – James Taylor (of Heartland). Gleick demands to see who is funding Heartland – see http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/01/12/please-global-warming-alarmists-stop-denying-climate-change-and-science/?commentId=comment_blogAndPostId/blog/comment/1363-294-2369

    3. By early February, Gleick decides to do the pretexting. Maybe it is because he now considers himself a journalist, and considers this to be investigative journalism.

    4. It works, he’s got the documents, and he plans to write about it, perhaps even as a scoop in his Forbes column. He can explain the documents as having come from an anonymous source.

    5. At some point he discovers pretexting is illegal and/or Forbes would not publish a column based on stolen material. Gleick begins to fear Heartland is on to him.

    6. Somehow, perhaps via the grapevine at Forbes, some kind of hint of what has happened, and that it involves Gleick, gets to Kaminsky.

    7. Gleick however doesn’t know for sure whether Heartland are on to him. He still wants to use the material he pretexted – but he has a dilemma – if he simply forwards the stolen documents to Desmogblog, etc., he has removed himself from the story, despite doing all the work and taking all the risks!

    8. Some Gleick comes up with a cunning plan, he just needs to create one new document, but he needs to do it quickly…

    • Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

      Couple of things I see wrong with this:

      6. It is nice to believe that Gleick thought the game was up because of the speculation at Lucia’s, Mosher fingering him as a suspect, or Roger’s tweet, but he seems to have resigned from AGU before he knew about this.

      He resigned on the 16th. Mosh had begun to finger him publicly by 3:26am collide-a-scape time that day, possibly before. Word travels fast on the internet. Steve’s suggestion that someone at the AGU asked him a direct or perhaps indirect question later on 16th seems to me eminently plausible, given what we know. At that point he knew the game was up with the AGU and they agreed his rather silent resignation.

      7. If you read the first Kaminsky article at American Spectator where he fingers Gleick as a suspect, he seems to be doing so using an entirely separate basis from the blog speculation. Go down to the comments section, Kaminsky is asked why he didn’t credit Mosher, but Kaminsky replies he doesn’t know who Mosher is – so it seems unlikely that he got his suspicions from the blogosphere.

      Kaminsky’s article was on 17th at 5:10PM American Spectator time and he explicitly references an earlier commenter on Forbes who mentions the point Mosh had already made about use of the term ‘anti-climate’ in the faked document. So Kaminsky never need have heard of Mosher for this evidence to have come from the blogosphere and ultimately from Mosh.

      • Copner
        Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 7:47 AM | Permalink

        Okay let’s eliminate Kaminsky being separate from Mosher. We’re left with:

        1. According to Heartland, Gleick did the pretexting in early February. This would mean he sat on the genuine documents for a couple of weeks before releasing them. But the faked document was knocked up at the last minute on February 13th.

        2, If you read the faked document, except for some word-choice tells, it does not read like Gleick’s professional documents, nor like his Forbes column, or his documents at the Pacific Institute. It actually reads like Gleick’s blog comments, especially the rushed and highly emotionally charged ones (like where he’s angry about the book review).

        3. Why would he copy and paste an information-free line about Dr Wojik’s from a real Heartland document. It stands out line a sore-thumb. He didn’t even bother to re-phrase it? He didn’t add any information. Again, it suggests rush.

        4. Why would he not add any real information (except for some errors) about Heartland to the fake document, when there is plenty of information out there that he could have used? Again it suggests rush.

        5. Why did he make schoolboy errors in copying information from the budgets into the fake documents? It’s not like he has no experience reading 503(c)’s budgets – he has ran one for 20 years. Again, it suggests rush.

        8. Gleick runs a 503(c) himself. When pretexting he would surely not have expected to find anything much in budgets and fund raising plans that get discussed at board meetings. Furthermore he had been examining Heartland’s form 990 since at least early January 2012, so he knew approximately their total funds, etc., just not the names of specific donors. He also surely knew the sort of activities Heartland does – because it’s nearly all listed on their website – it’s no secret for example that they organize skeptical conferences on climate change or write the NIPCC report. The worst that he could expect to find in these types of documents is that Heartland is funded by Koch and big oil – but he has (or greens generally have) been claiming that for years anyway, and nobody except them really cares – at best the documents would serve as proof of this allegation.

        9. If he’s prepared to invent an anonymous whistleblower for the fake document, why didn’t he invent an anonymous whistleblower for sending him the real documents?

        10. Why would he mention himself and his Forbes column in the fake?

        So here is a hypothesis: The fake document was created to cover-up the pretexting

        Note: I am not saying this is what happened. I do not know what happened. I am saying this is merely one possibility for what could have happened.

        The hypothesis goes:-

        1. In August 2011, Gleick becomes a Forbes contributor.

        2. In January (specifically January 12) he gets into a fight in the Forbes comments column with a fellow Forbes blogger – James Taylor (of Heartland). Gleick demands to see who is funding Heartland – see http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/01/12/please-global-warming-alarmists-stop-denying-climate-change-and-science/?commentId=comment_blogAndPostId/blog/comment/1363-294-2369

        3. By early February, Gleick decides to do the pretexting. Maybe it is because he now considers himself a journalist, and considers this to be investigative journalism.

        4. It works, he’s got the documents, and he plans to write about it, perhaps even as a scoop in his Forbes column. He can explain the documents as having come from an anonymous source.

        5. At some point he discovers pretexting is illegal and/or Forbes would not publish a column based on stolen material. Gleick begins to fear Heartland is on to him.

        7. Gleick however doesn’t know for sure whether Heartland are on to him. He still wants to use the material he pretexted – but he has a dilemma – if he simply forwards the stolen documents to Desmogblog, etc., he has removed himself from the story, despite doing all the work and taking all the risks!

        8. So Gleick comes up with a cunning plan, he just needs to create one new document, but he needs to do it quickly…

        • Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

          It may have been written in a hurry but I don’t think you’ve explained why.

        • Copner
          Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

          Assuming Gleick made the fake, I’m looking for a explanation of why the Gleick made such a poor job of it.

          Gleick is familiar with corporate documents, and 503(c)s, and writing formally.

          So if making a fake was part of careful and cunning plan, he might have left some language tells, but you’d expect him to

          (a) not to copy and paste a whole sentence

          (b) put in some of the corporate fluff you’d expect in a document of this type

          and (c) write a formal document, actually, you know, formally.

          The memo looks like Gleick writing in an emotionally charged and panicky rush. Why the rush, if he had 2 weeks to write it?

          And if he’s prepared to invent an anonymous leaker for the fake document, why not instead invent an anonymous leaker for the real documents, and claim the credit for the scoop himself?

        • Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

          And if he’s prepared to invent an anonymous leaker for the fake document, why not instead invent an anonymous leaker for the real documents, and claim the credit for the scoop himself?

          Once Gleick was talking about receiving some document early in the year from an anonymous leaker (not necessarily the faked one, as many have said) I think it’s fair to assume he was in panic mode. Perhaps even his advisers were not in the most positive frame of mind. This part was likely rushed and under duress.

          As for the rest I agree with Dave that we have too little to be sure. But it’s worth trying out some scenarios – thank you for doing so.

        • Copner
          Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

          I have a comment stuck in moderation in reply to your message which answers. It was Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 8:59 AM

          I don’t think I said anything wrong in that comment, so I’d appreciate if it was published.

        • Posted Feb 24, 2012 at 6:02 AM | Permalink

          Richard,

          I’m going to step out on a speculative limb, in response to your reasonable request for an explanation of “why the rush”. Consider the following possible scenario:

          1. Gleick had to have realized at some point that declining the HI invitation was probably not a very smart move.

          2. Additionally, someone (more objective than he could ever be about his own words) could well have pointed out to him that he was not doing well in his battle with HI via Forbes.

          3. His impersonation act was Jan. 27; this was the same day that Lindzen et al had their Op Ed in the WSJ. It would be interesting to know whether his impersonation preceded or followed publication of Lindzen et al, but this timing is not crucial to my “speculative hypothesis” :-)

          4. Investigative mashups are really more up Mashey’s alley than his. My guess would be that when he got the purloined docs from HI, he sent them to Mashey – who then began working furiously on his “complaint” to the IRS (or to work them into whatever existing material he might have already conjured up)

          5. The counter-attack in the WSJ by Trenberth and the gang of 37 (including Gleick) occurred on Feb. 1. Even though Gleick was in possession of the stolen goods, this was not stuff that could be used in that missive – which, as far as I can tell, didn’t do them much good, anyway!

          6. The ‘evil deniers funded by Big Oil’ meme had been wearing more than a little thin, for quite some time – even as MM was busy flogging his “Portrait of the Artist as an Aggrieved Mann”. Those on the warm-sde needed something “fresh” to … uh … “reframe” the message. And, the “overwhelming scientific consensus” was being “undermined” by many rumblings of “uncertainty”. Gaia forbid that these should be permitted to enter the wider public consciousness; a distraction would be very welcome in warm circles, don’t you think?

          7. Maybe the Climate Rapid Response Team (Gleick, Abraham, Mandia [and Trenberth?!]) somewhat scorched by the lack of desired positive feedback from the efforts of the Gang of 38 – and by now fully aware that they would be unable to pin Big Oil to HI – did a little brainstorming and came up with Plan B.

          8. How about a new, improved message: The science is clear, but the debate about how to respond to it is broken … it’s all being undermined by powerful anti-science lobbyists funded by a cartel from Big Business … and the perfect example, we can now disclose, is HI cuz we’ve got the goods on ‘em. If we can somehow get this into the hands of our media stooges partners, during the run-up to AAAS Annual Meeting, those in attendance can “spread the word”. Hey, Mashey’s working on something, planning a Valentine’s Day Massacre; let’s use it – payback for Climategate! Who knows, this might have already set the wheels in motion for the “Open Letter to HI” from the gang of 7.

          9. Feb 12: Mashey sends “draft” to Gleick. Gleick (and perhaps a few select others?) decides that no, this isn’t going to work. Even he recognizes that Mashey is far from being a polished “presenter”. Sooooooooooo …

          10. Feb. 13 Gleick very quickly creates “strategy memo” pulling some stuff from Mashey’s “original” and padding with flourishes of his own. Someone has a chat with Mashey asking him to defer his “launch” (but only for a day or so). Gleick bundles “strategy memo” with stolen goods in his possession and sends it off to his 15 “fences” … and the rest, as they say, is history!

          IMHO, his claimed receipt of “an anonymous document in the mail …” is a fignment of his imagination constructed simply because (as Mosh had said) Gleick thinks he’s “too smart to get caught”. And I would add to this, that he probably figured that in the “unlikely” event that he did get caught, he could easily smother it with silence … while one or more of his “fences” came to the aid of his party (as it turns out they appear to have been doing)!

          As for this “resignation” on the 16th, I don’t buy it. Given past performances, I’d be more inclined to think that, at that point, he still figured that by hook or by crook, he could bluff his way out of culpability until it all blew over. He may have said something about his escapades on the 16th, but it wasn’t until several hours after his “confession” that AGU even silently commented out his name on the Ethics Committee webpage – and as I recall, it wasn’t until several hours later that they announced his replacement.

        • Posted Feb 24, 2012 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

          Hilary:

          I’m going to step out on a speculative limb …

          Be my guest. I have my choppers ready :)

          6. The ‘evil deniers funded by Big Oil’ meme had been wearing more than a little thin, for quite some time – even as MM was busy flogging his “Portrait of the Artist as an Aggrieved Mann”. Those on the warm-sde needed something “fresh” to … uh … “reframe” the message. And, the “overwhelming scientific consensus” was being “undermined” by many rumblings of “uncertainty”. Gaia forbid that these should be permitted to enter the wider public consciousness; a distraction would be very welcome in warm circles, don’t you think?

          This is a good summary but they needed something more specific than a distraction. In the mid 90s they all knew that they wanted to ‘get rid of the Medieval Warm Period’, as Deming reported long ago, and in the event the great Michael Mann stepped forward, to world acclaim, hockey stick in hand and slew the fabled monster. From November 2009 they’ve needed an anti-Climategate, they’ve had Climategate Envy and they’ve all been trying to work out how to create ir. Gleick suddenly thought (in his madness) that he could deliver that and rocket much closer to the summit of consensus kudos. Was it the madness that created the thought or the other way round? But this was the ultimate prize.

          What made him hurry or be so desperate, that this looks like a panicky last throw of the dice? I’ve shared my thoughts with Steve and Barry Woods on that. I believe that the very public dismissal of Gleick’s authority by two very junior bits of change in the climate science universe, Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards, triggered by Barry, meant that Gleick’s annual evaluation and remuneration advice was being strongly downgraded. This is what I think triggered his madness – as well as utter hatred for Heartland. The anger factor, as Mosher right says elsewhere. But a couple of days ago it came to me that someone as tiny and insignificant as Barry Woods (as he gladly admits) could have triggered something this immense. And that came from a radical commitment to being as nice as possible to the enemy, for which Barry proudly told me he’s been criticised in the last week by sceptic luminaries like Viscount Monckton and James Delingpole.

          I said earlier I had a thesis but not full evidence and that’s it. I’m not denying (because I’m not a denier, really I’m not) all the other factors you mention. But sometimes the little guy matters far more than the guys in bright lights in the WSJ or anywhere else.

        • Tamsin Edwards
          Posted Feb 25, 2012 at 12:34 AM | Permalink

          Just Googled my first name and Gleick to see how much is being said.

          A quick insomniac post to say that Prof Richard Betts is fairly eminent at least on this side of the pond – definitely seen as a world expert in climate – land surface feedbacks – and senior in the Met Office.

          Me and Barry are small time though :)

          Steve: You do occur in the chronology leading up to Gleick’s identity theft on Jan 27 8:33 AM Chicago ( 2:33 PM your time), though not as his rage target.

        • Posted Feb 25, 2012 at 2:18 AM | Permalink

          I deeply apologise to Richard in his absence :)

          I knew he was considered senior to you Tamsin even as I wrote this. I was trying to convey two things: how Gleick had been way-overpromoted (MacArthur Genius Fellow, NAS fellow, chair of the AGU Ethics Committee, lecturing Judy Curry on ethics, and so on) and the way those that had put him there, for a purpose, would have talked about all three of you, in their fury.

          The current confusion comes out well in the NPR radio broadcast with Judy and Scott Mandia, when Judy points out that Gleick was in ‘the elite of the elite’ and Mandia isn’t sure whether to agree and fawn all over the guy or reject him as a lousy ‘lone wolf’ who’s let the side down.

          My own opinion of all three of you is a quite different thing. But we don’t want further puffing up of climate scientists, do we now.

        • Dave
          Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 8:26 AM | Permalink

          You can’t read rush into sloppiness here. Sloppiness is one of Gleick’s hallmarks. Generally, he’s just pretty incompetent in many ways when he lets himself be blinded by anger.

          In terms of general plausibility, your theory is not impossible, but ranks below the idea that Mosh and Heartland collaborated to set Gleick up – which I note neatly explains more of the facts than your idea.

          I think, though, that we’re all reading too much into too little. This whole thing is either a conspiracy or a series of bizarre mistakes, but Gleick and his ilk have a long history of making bizarre mistakes along these lines.

        • Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

          … the idea that Mosh and Heartland collaborated to set Gleick up …

          Come again? Who’s talking about a set up or indeed Heartland and Mosh working together? Don’t get this part – am I being obtuse?

  19. Paul Matthews
    Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s likely that Gleick’s resignation on the 16th had anything to do with Mosher’s detective work the same day – that would have been very quick.
    One possibility is that one of “the 15″ immediately recognised who it was and wrote back and told him he was an idiot and he was bound to be found out.
    Or, he just realised this himself.

    Another possibility is that we only have the AGU’s word for it that Gleick did resign on the 16th. As noted here and at Judy’s, his name was taken down from the web page on 21st, and for a few hours the commitee was chairless before the new chair was put in. This doesn’t fit very well with McFadren’s statement about waiting to arrange a replacement.

    • Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

      Paul:

      I don’t think it’s likely that Gleick’s resignation on the 16th had anything to do with Mosher’s detective work the same day – that would have been very quick.

      Far from definite I agree but as Copner said “It is nice to believe that Gleick thought the game was up because [of] Mosher fingering him as a suspect!” And blogs like Lucia’s would have been watched very closely in these kind of circumstances – we have bags of past evidence for that.

      As noted here and at Judy’s, his name was taken down from the web page on 21st, and for a few hours the commitee was chairless before the new chair was put in. This doesn’t fit very well with McFadren’s statement about waiting to arrange a replacement.

      Good point. But web programmers are notoriously had to pin down on deadlines :)

    • MikeN
      Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

      Someone in Gleick’s circle may have forwarded him the link to the speculation. Gavin, perhaps?

    • Eric Anderson
      Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

      “Another possibility is that we only have the AGU’s word for it that Gleick did resign on the 16th. As noted here and at Judy’s, his name was taken down from the web page on 21st, and for a few hours the commitee was chairless before the new chair was put in. This doesn’t fit very well with McFadren’s statement about waiting to arrange a replacement.”

      This should not be overlooked. It would be very easy for AGU to state after-the-fact that the resignation had happened a couple of days earlier if they thought it bought them something. On the one hand, I’m struggling to ascertain what the 5 days would have bought them . . . On the other hand, the NCSE put out a press release the very same day Gleick outed himself and stated that he had offered to resign that day, so strange that the AGU would wait . . . On the other hand, Gleick may have offered to resign on the 16th if things got out of hand, which they did on the 20th, so AGU then announced his resignation on the 16th . . . On the other hand . . .

      Sounds like Fiddler on the Roof here . . .

    • jim
      Posted Feb 25, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

      Paul Matthews,
      I think that your speculation is very good. Very likely that at least one of the intelligent recipients of the anonymous Heartlandinsider e-mail, the ones who didn’t take the bait and publish it, was smart enough to recognize the Gleickian flavor of the damning memo and contact him directly about it. If any of the 15 were professional reporters, that is the first thing that they would have thought and done, I think.

  20. Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    “Lots of things that don’t make sense right now.”

    Irrationality is often difficult to explain rationally.

  21. dp
    Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    My gut tells me Gleick had a direct witness, not necessarily a co-conspirator, but someone he spoke to about his fraud. That someone may even have assisted in some way, not realizing the scale of the legal risk. If that is the case then that person may have been moved by a stronger moral compass to distance himself from this activity, and to even discuss his intention to go public to pre-empt legal action. This satisfies my other gut feeling that Gleick hasn’t adequate moral inertia to do this on his own. Evidence for that is found in his activity against Dr. Spencer which Roger Pielke Sr. has documented. But it is all speculation until the truth is revealed.

  22. Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    Is everyone forgetting that the star blogger at Desmogblog for all but its first three months is Ross Gelbspan, arguably the person most famous since the ’90s for promoting the idea that skeptic scientists and associated think tanks are ‘corrupted’ by questionable funding?

    I laid out that connection in my 2/19 guest article at Steve Milloy’s JunkScience site: “In Case of Heart[land] Attack, Break Glass” http://junkscience.com/2012/02/19/in-case-of-heartland-attack-break-glass/

    Excerpt: “There is not one thing new about DeSmogBlog’s attack on the Heartland Institute; in fact, elements of it go all the way back to at least 1992, and one person has been involved in this throughout that entire stretch of time: anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan.”

    Although he has 548 other friends, and it doesn’t really prove anything, if anyone looks at Gelbspan’s Facebook Friends page and types in the name “Gleick”, guess who pops up? Might want to get your own screencap, just in case.

  23. MikeN
    Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

    >Mosher’s first online identification of Gleick was elsewhere, but the comment was deleted by the blog proprietor.

    For some reason this reminds of the comments on this site about an AR4 reviewer who wanted to avoid hiding the decline.

  24. Eric Anderson
    Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    As of right now, (5:00 p.m. ET on February 23), Gleick is still showing in the comments to the code on AGU’s website, so they haven’t cleaned that up yet. Maybe they forgot and it will just stay there?

  25. Mervyn
    Posted Feb 24, 2012 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

    If a scientist is prepared to do what Gleick has supposedly done for selfish reasons, and in the name of the ’cause’, how should one then treat the work of that scientist?

    Would it be fair to assume the scientist could have done the same in his research… framed it to fit a desired outcome?

    hold the scientist ever be trusted again?

    Should the work of that scientist be set aside, treated with a pinch of salt, or even be discredited?

  26. Geoff
    Posted Feb 24, 2012 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    I wonder how Forbes will handle the announcement of the “stepping down” of Gleick as a commentator? Who could they find as a replacement? Gavin? The Mann himself? (Please let it be Gavin!).

    Could it be that hiring Gleick as a commentator was a cleaver plot by Forbes to give these jokers all the rope they need to hang themselves?

  27. West Houston
    Posted Feb 26, 2012 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    Quoting:
    “No discussion of Ann Coulter please or whether this comparison is apt.”
    Commenting:
    Aw, Gee Whiz Steve! There you go, taking all the fun out of this!

5 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Gleick’s AGU Resignation [...]

  2. [...] UPDATE 35: 11:45 PM 2/22 Steve McIntyre has some interesting posts on the Gleick affair. Gleick and the NCSE and also Gleick’s AGU Resignation. [...]

  3. [...] wetenschap. Maar Gleick is de gebeten hond en loopt kans zijn baan kwijt te raken.Gleick is afgetreden als voorzitter wetenschappelijke ethiek van de American Geophysical Union (AGU) en is inmiddels ook op non-actief om zijn instituut waar hij 20 jaar directeur van is niet te [...]

  4. By The Gleick Tragedy | Watts Up With That? on Feb 28, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    [...] UPDATE 35: 11:45 PM 2/22 Steve McIntyre has some interesting posts on the Gleick affair. Gleick and the NCSE and also Gleick’s AGU Resignation. [...]

  5. [...] UPDATE 35: 11:45 PM 2/22 Steve McIntyre has some interesting posts on the Gleick affair. Gleick and the NCSE and also Gleick’s AGU Resignation. [...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,317 other followers

%d bloggers like this: