Gleick and the Watergate Burglars

We are approaching the 40th anniversary of the original Watergate burglaries. Although everyone has heard of the scandal, most people have either forgotten or are too young to remember that the purpose of the Watergate burglaries was to copy documents listing donors to the Democratic Party and their financial contributions, either hoping or expecting to find evidence of contributions from “bad” sources (the Cuban government).

Like the Watergate burglars, the objective of Gleick’s fraud against Heartland was to obtain a list of donors, expecting to find evidence of “bad” contributions to their climate program (fossil fuel corporations and the Koch brothers.) The identity of objectives is really quite remarkable. The technology of the Watergate burglars (break-in and photography) was different than Gleick’s (fraud and email). And the consequences of being caught have thus far been very different.

In today’s post, I’ll reconsider the backstory of the Watergate burglaries to place present-day analogies to the Watergate era in better context.

I was in mid-20s at the time of the Watergate events. Although it now looms large in contemporary history, it was a very minor story until relatively late in the chronology, when Nixon’s connections to the cover-up were finally established. (The Vietnam War was the dominant story of the day.) My own recollection of events (prior to researching) was mostly established by the movie hagiography of Woodward and Bernstein, though all of the names in the story (from Ellsberg to G. Gordon Liddy) were names familiar to me as a young man. Today’s post is written almost entirely from secondary sources (mostly Wikipedia articles unless otherwise cited), which seem accurate enough on chronological details.

Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
I’ll start my review of Watergate with Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, which have been cited in some quarters as precedents for Gleick.

Although the Pentagon Papers are indelibly associated with the Nixon presidency, the documents themselves pertained entirely to the Kennedy and Johnson presidencies. In 1967, while Johnson was still President, then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (who had also served in the Kennedy administrations) had commissioned a task force to write an “encyclopedic history of the Vietnam War”, a project that he kept secret from other members of the Johnson administration. McNamara left the Defense Department in February 1968. In January 1969, five days before Nixon’s inauguration, McNamara’s successor, Clark Clifford, received the finished study, entitled “United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense”. It consisted of 3,000 pages of historical analysis and 4,000 pages of original government documents in 47 volumes, and was classified as “Top Secret – Sensitive”. It was later known as the “Pentagon Papers”.

The task force published 15 copies. RAND Corp, a prominent think tank with military contracts, received two of the copies. Access was restricted: access required approval of two of the three most senior RAND executives. Ellsberg had worked on the study for several months in 1967. In 1969, Ellsberg, then a military analyst at RAND, was granted access to the work at RAND. In October 1969, Ellsberg and a friend (Anthony Russo), now opponents of the Vietnam War, photocopied the study. Ellsberg attempted to interest senior politicians and administrators in the documents for nearly two years without any success.

In June 1971, Ellsberg distributed the documents to a number of important newspapers, including the New York Times. Reportedly, Nixon’s first instinct was not to oppose publication, since the documents did not pertain to his administration and showed his predecessors in a bad light, but was persuaded by Henry Kissinger that acquiescence would be construed as government weakness. The Nixon administration therefore sought injunctions against publication, claiming that disclosure would violate national security. The case went very quickly to the U.S. Supreme Court, which, in New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), permitted the New York Times and Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers without risk of government censure. (The documents themselves were not declassified until 2011.)

Ellsberg was charged with breaches of national security for disclosing the documents (he did not “steal” or “hack” the Pentagon Papers). Charges against him were eventually dismissed due to government misconduct while seeking to discredit him – a story that in turn links back to the Watergate burglars.

The Empire Strikes Back

In July 1971, one month after and in response to Ellsberg’s leak of the Pentagon Papers, the Nixon administration established a sort of rapid response team ultimately reporting to senior Nixon aide, John Ehrlichmann. On July 7, Ehrlichmann and Charles Colson appointed E. Howard Hunt, a “security specialist” recently retired from the CIA, to the White House staff with the specific task of “plugging the leaks”. (A term used in Climategate correspondence where Mann expressed satisfaction at plugging the “leak” at Geophysical Research Letters, which had had the temerity of publishing our critical article in 2005.) Because their job was to plug leaks, the group was known naturally enough as the “Plumbers”. Liddy became involved with the operation in July as well.

The next month (August 1971), Liddy and Hunt recommended a “covert operation [to] be undertaken to examine all of the medical files still held by Ellsberg’s psychiatrist [Lewis Fielding].” Ehrlichman approved under the condition that it be “done under your assurance that it is not traceable” (a concern discussed between Briffa and Wahl in a different context in the Climategate dossier.)

In September, Hunt, Liddy and three CIA operatives (Eugenio Martinez, Bernard Barker and Felipe de Diego, the first two later involved in Watergate) burglarized the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. The break-in was not known until it came to light during Ellsberg’s trial in April 1973; it was one of the principal reasons why the charges against Ellsberg were dismissed for government misconduct.

“Dirty Tricks”

1972 was an election year. The Plumbers moved from the White House to the the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP) and soon escalated from “plugging the leaks” to “dirty tricks”.

Edmund Muskie, a Maine senator, was the candidate most feared by the Republicans. In February, during the New Hampshire primary, a forged letter (the “Canuck Letter”) was delivered to the Manchester Union-Leader purporting to show that Muskie was prejudiced against people with Canadian background. (A prejudice also observed from time to time in the Climategate emails :)).

On March 4, Muskie delivered an emotional speech on the steps of the Manchester Union-Leader, in which he broke down crying on three occasions. Voters became perturbed about Muskie’s emotional stability and Muskie was defeated in the primary three days later by George McGovern, the opponent much preferred by the Republicans. McGovern eventually received the nomination and lost 49 of 50 states to the not very popular Nixon – a lesson about the pointlessness of nominating unelectable candidates, however appealing they may be to a party’s activist base, a lesson that was remembered for many years by both parties, but now apparently forgotten by some.

While the Watergate events loom large in later history, at the time, they were small ripples in the tide of major events. The Vietnam War dominated headlines; casualties were unimaginably higher than those in Iraq or Afghanistan. In late February, when the seeds of the Watergate burglary were being sown, Nixon unexpectedly visited China, which, at the time, permitted only the most limited contact with foreigners. (No one at the time imagined that only 40 years later, China would be the U.S.’s largest creditor and the largest economy in the world.)

The Watergate Burglaries

In early 1972, Liddy proposed that the Committee to Re-elect the President (which included John Mitchell, then Attorney General) authorize a program to collect intelligence against the Democratic party. The program included funding for a break-in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee to photograph donors’ list and financial records of contributions to the DNC.

Howard Hunt later claimed under oath in congressional testimony that Liddy “had information” from “a government agency” that “the Cuban government was supplying funds to the Democratic Party” and that the purpose of the Watergate break-in was to “investigate this report”. However, the Wikipedia article observes that “no such report from a government agency was produced in evidence, and no other physical evidence is in the record to support or corroborate this motive.” (The similarity of Hunt’s story to Gleick’s account of his receipt of the forged Heartland memo will not be lost on CA readers.)

On May 28, they carried out an undetected break-in at Watergate. Howard Hunt’s autobiography (“Undercover“) says that Hunt and the others rehearsed the successful May 28 break-in, for which “photography had been the priority mission” (elsewhere “the photography mission was paramount.”) Hunt said that they focused on “account books, contributor lists, that sort of thing”. Corroborating contemporary statements were made by Eugenio Martinez, Bernard Barker and James McCord. (See Appendix A below).

Disappointed by the lack of damaging information in the documents from the first break-in, they carried out a second break-in on June 17, intending to plant a wiretap on the telephone of the campaign chairman. During this second break-in, five burglars (James McCord, Frank Sturgis, Eugenio Martinez, Virgilio Gonzalez and Bernard Barker) were arrested on the premises. See the very first Washington Post story here, in which Woodward and Bernstein were merely contributors. (Also see contemporary Washington Post chronology of articles.) The two leaders of the operation, Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy, were arrested soon afterwards.

Although associations between the burglars and the Committee to Re-elect the President were quickly established, the burglars did not give up their superiors and few people at the time could picture high-level people being involved. Nixon asked White House counsel John Dean to carry out an investigation of links between the Watergate burglaries and the Republican National Committee. (Muir Russell was apparently unavailable.) At a news conference on August 29, 1972, Nixon reported that Dean had conducted a “thorough investigation”, and, in September, asserted:

“I can say categorically that… no one in the White House staff, no one in this Administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident.”

On September 15, 1972, Nixon congratulated Dean:

“The way you, you’ve handled it, it seems to me, has been very skillful, because you—putting your fingers in the dikes every time that leaks have sprung here and sprung there.”

Nixon’s way of saying “A blinder well played”. Everyone was content to move on.

U.S. casualties in Vietnam in 1972 had declined dramatically in the Nixon administration (from 16,592 in 1968, Johnson’s last year, to only 641 in 1972, with a further decline to 168 in 1973.) In November 1972, Nixon won the largest landslide in American history.

Sirica’s Draconian Sentences

But the charges against the Watergate burglars were still pending. Five of the burglars pleaded guilty, but Liddy and long-time CIA operative McCord did not plea out. Despite efforts by the prosecution and Judge John Sirica to get them to give up their superiors, they refused. In January 1973, John Sirica convicted them of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping (contemporary Washington Post article here).

Sirica gave (unprecedentedly) draconian sentences to the leaders for a simple burglary: McCord was sentenced to 4 1/2 years and Liddy to an astonishing 20 years(!). Liddy still didn’t flinch. Nor did Sirica resile from the sentence. Liddy was released only when his sentence was commuted by Jimmy Carter in 1977 after he had served 4 1/2 years.

However, two months later (March 1973), McCord caved, beginning the protracted process of giving up higher-ups. McCord’s confession of the burglary of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist and its approval by senior Nixon aides came just as Ellsberg’s trial had begun (April 1973). McCord’s revelations were passed to the prosecutor in the Ellsberg case, who immediately disclosed it to the judge and defence. The judge dismissed charges against Ellsberg because of government misconduct. Senior Nixon aides, Haldeman and Ehrlichmann, both resigned in April. The Watergate story suddenly had new life. Senate hearings (the Ervin Committee) commenced in May.

Nixon tried desperately to turn attention to the “real” issues” – the disengagement of U.S. troops from Vietnam and his (then astonishing) rapprochement with China. But his efforts were unsuccessful. Links to the Watergate burglary and its coverup were gradually established over the next 16 months, culminating in Nixon’s resignation in August 1974 (see timeline here.)

The Rise of Gleick
Gleick’s first appearance in the climate blogs came in spring 2010, as part of The Empire Strikes Back phase. In late February 2010 (see here), Paul Ehrlich, Stephen Schneider (both long-time associates and friends of Gleick’s) and other members of Section 63 of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) had vowed retaliation and escalation, rather than apology. One of the participants proposed “an outlandishly aggressively partisan approach” to gut the credibility of sceptics. Ehrlich, who accepted (without proof) that the Climategate dossier was “hacked” rather than “leaked”, called for a “street fight” (a phrase immediately adopted in a Nature editorial):

Most of our colleagues don’t seem to grasp that we’re not in a gentlepersons’ debate, we’re in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies who play by entirely different rules.

Gleick, apparently included in the Section 63 distribution list, elaborated the martial imagery in his March 11 column for his San Francisco newspaper (a column immediately covered and praised by Joe Romm). Gleick, who in real life has a distinctively Milhous appearance, illustrated his column with a cartoon from the Simpsons that showed bully Nelson Muntz pushing around the insipid Milhous. Gleick talked tough about a “bar fight”, though one might reasonably question whether his personal experience with broken beer bottles extended beyond sweeping up glass shards. Gleick:

Scientists are used to debating facts with each other, with the best evidence and theory winning. Well, this is a bar fight, where the facts are irrelevant, and apparently, the rules and tools of science are too. But who wins bar fights? As the Simpsons cartoon so brilliantly showed, bullies. Not always the guy who is right.

Over the next 18 months, Gleick became an increasingly familiar figure in the climate blogs. In November 2010, he joined with John Abraham and Scott Mandia to form the “Climate Rapid Response Team”. Mandia’s avatar as a costumed vigilante (see left) was almost impossible to sufficiently parody. Gleick’s own appearance on skeptic blogs became increasingly erratic, more like Woody Harrelson’s Defendor than Superman.

The “street fight” rhetoric intensified in January 2012, when, in preparation for his forthcoming book, Mann once again ratcheted up rhetoric (for example, January 16 here)

Gleick’s Search for the Donors’List

Within the increasingly deranged wing of the activist community to which Gleick adhered, the existence of a massive fossil-fuel corporation funded conspiracy is an article of faith. (Michael Mann’s recent book is a recent and prominent example of this conspiracy.) Gleick fervently believed in such a conspiracy and that the small Heartland Institute played a leading role within the conspiracy.

In January, stung once more by blog criticism, this time by James Taylor of Heartland, Gleick ostentatiously and publicly tried to get the Heartland Institute to publish a list of donors, a request that Taylor politely rebuffed, explaining that, like most 501c3s, including the leading environmental NGOs, it promised confidentiality to its donors. (See my review a few days ago here.) On January 13 at Forbes here:

I wonder, however, if Taylor would publish the list of who really DOES fund the Heartland Institute. It seems to be a secret…. So, Mr. Taylor: let’s have the complete list of your funders.

Lakely invited Gleick on January 16 to speak to Heartland’s annual conference (at which donors would be present). Gleick again re-iterated his demand for a donors’ list:

In order for me to consider this invitation, please let me know if the Heartland Institute publishes its financial records and donors for the public and where to find this information.

And on January 27, Gleick sent his final refusal of Lakely’s invitation again taking issue with “lack of transparency” on contributions to Heartland from donors.

As is now well-known, Gleick decided to get the donors’ information illegally. Gleick set up an email account fraudulently impersonating a Heartland director, and using that fake identity, illegally obtained information on Heartland’s list of donors and financial records of their contributions. Contrary to Gleick’s expectation, the information did not show that Heartland’s climate program was tainted by “bad” contributions from fossil fuel corporations or the Koch brothers. Indeed, the actual documents proved otherwise: Heartland’s climate program received no contributions from fossil fuel corporations and Koch made a modest 2011 contribution of only $25,000 to Heartland, and even this small contribution was directed to Heartland’s Health Care program.

Gleick and/or (less probably a mysterious associate) then forged a more damaging 2012 Confidential Climate Strategy memo, which he then distributed to sympathetic environmentalist blogs as an authentic Heartland document. In Gleick’s partial confession – which, in Nixonian terms, is a “modified limited hang-out” – Gleick claimed that the purpose of his fraud was to “confirm” the fake memo – an explanation not dissimilar to Howard Hunt’s invocation of document purporting to show Cuban government contributions to the DNC in 1972.

Gleick as Hero

Much recent commentary has characterized Gleick as a “hero”, some invoking Ellsberg as a precedent. But a closer examination of Watergate events shows that Gleick’s conduct is more evocative of Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy than of Ellsberg.

Most fundamentally, both Gleick and the Watergate burglars were seeking the same sort of documents: donors’ lists and financial records of contributions, anticipating that they could show dirty contributions. There was nothing in Gleick’s search that was more elevated or more worthy than the Watergate burglars.

Both Gleick and the Watergate burglars used illegal methods, though Gleick used fraud and identity theft rather than burglary and photography. But it’s hard for Gleick defenders to construct an ethical theory that sanctifies Gleick, while criminalizing Liddy. If the Cause is just enough to condone fraud, then why wouldn’t it also condone burglary? (Other than burglary being a bit proletarian as a crime for the intellectual elite to which Gleick aspired.)

Nor is it easy to distinguish Gleick from Liddy through mere commitment to their respective causes. Liddy’s commitment to his cause was strong enough that he took a 20-year sentence without flinching or giving up his superiors.

The biggest difference between the two crimes thus far has been police and prosecutiral commitment. The Watergate burglars were arrested, charged and received serious sentences. They had expected protection from their backers, but didn’t get it. In contrast, despite Gleick’s admission to acts that appear to constitute identity theft and fraud, (to my knowledge) no police have seized Gleick’s computers at home or at work or, for that matter, even crossed the threshold to interview him.

I suspect that Gleick grew up in a family that felt nothing but contempt for Nixon. It is an odd irony that Gleick, like E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, will be best remembered for his dirty tricks.


The topic of this post was inspired by a witty remark by a commenter at Anthony’s. He wryly observed that Gleick was increasingly being described by his defenders, not as a “climate scientist”, but as a “water scientist”, and that the logical analogue of “climategate” was therefore “watergate”. From this ironic reminder, I browsed easily accessible information on the original Watergate burglary, which immediately showed that it too was about a search for a donors’ list.

Appendix A

Hunt’s autobiography (“Undercover“) is reported to say that Hunt and the others rehearsed the successful May 28 break-in, for which “photography had been the priority mission” (elsewhere “the photography mission was paramount.”) Hunt said that they focused on “account books, contributor lists, that sort of thing”

According to Hunt, on the evening of Saturday, May 27, he had Bernard Barker and Eugenio Martínez (a.k.a. Rolando) come to the room that Hunt and Liddy were staying in at the Watergate Hotel. Hunt says he had them set up the “lights and camera and photographing equipment,” and simulate photographing documents while he watched them. He then briefed them again on the importance of photographing Democratic “account books, contributor lists, that sort of thing.” They then packed the photography equipment and lights into a suitcase to carry with them in the new burglary attempt, along with a hatbox carrying a Polaroid camera and film [Undercover, p. 225].

Bernard Barker, in his contemporary congressional testimony, also stated that the objective of the burglaries was the search for information on financial contributions, and, in particular, from the Cuban government:

Bernard Barker said in congressional testimony that his “only job” on the first burglary was to “search for documents to be photographed” by Eugenio Martínez, namely “documents that would involve contributions of a national and foreign nature to the Democratic campaign, especially to Senator McGovern, and also, possibly to Senator Kennedy,” and in particular any contributions from “the foreign government that now exists on the island of Cuba.”

Barker himself has admitted that during this first Watergate burglary, he was searching the DNC for documents proving the assumed financial contributions from Cuba or from leftist organizations to the DNC. Because he could find none, Barker says, he looked out for documents where specific names were mentioned or others where numbers were involved.

Photography of documents was also reported in McCord’s memoir:

This version is confirmed by James McCord, who explains in his memoir that while he “had been working on the electronic end of the operation, the Miami men had their photographic equipment out and were snapping photographs of a variety of documents which Barker and the others had been pouring over.” [Piece of Tape, p. 25]

Eugenio Martinez, another Watergate burglar, also described photographing lists of contributors in the first burglary:

Eugenio Martínez wrote in 1974 that, during the first Watergate burglary, Barker had handed these documents (which Martinez believed to be lists of contributors to the Democratic Party) to him and that it was he, Martinez, who had taken some 30 or 40 photos of them while James McCord “worked the phones”. According to Martinez, immediately after the successful entry into the DNC, he handed the two exposed films over to Howard Hunt…[Martinez, Mission Impossible].

Martinez’ 1974 account was in Harper’s and appears to be online here and provides the following additional detail:

It was not a very definite plan that was finally agreed upon, but you are not too critical of things when you think that people over you know what they are doing, when they are really professionals like Howard Hunt… Gonzales, our key man, was to open the door; Sturgis, Pico, and Felipe were to be lookouts; Barker was to get the documents; I was to take the photographs and Jimmy (McCord) was to do his job.

In May 1974, the Rodino Committee summarized the purpose of the burglary as follows:

On or about May 27, 1972, under the supervision of Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt, McCord, Barker, Martinez, Gonzalez, and Sturgis, broke into the DNC headquarters. McCord placed two monitoring devices on the telephones of DNC officials, one on the telephone of Chairman Lawrence O’Brien, and the second on the telephone of the executive director of Democratic state chairmen, R. Spencer Oliver, Jr. Barker selected documents relating to the DNC contributors, and these documents were then photographed.” [Judiciary Committee, Book I, p. 215]

Most of the above is drawn from the Wikipedia (“Watergate Burglaries“), which cites or refers to original testimony from Watergate burglars Howard Hunt, Eugenio Martinez and Bernard Barker and from the Rodino Committee.


  1. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    Donna Laframboise reports that Gleick is back in the saddle and keynote speaker at a recent conference in California.

    Donna links to a sycophantic conference report here

    • MarkB
      Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

      Hard-core, committed warriors against the concept of a scientific consensus on climate change, and the associated anti-green, anti-left ideologues couldn’t ask for more. Honestly, if Gleick didn’t exist, the raving trolls of anti-AWG blogs would have to invent him.

      • 30characters
        Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 3:55 AM | Permalink

        But he does exist, doesn’t he? And he demonstrates exactly what the CAGW mob are like. Liars and frauds.

    • Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

      A water conference 🙂
      Meanwhile Gordon Liddy is interviewing Patrick Michaels on his radio show.

      • theduke
        Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

        Liddy paid his debt to society. Gleick can apparently violate the law with impunity.

        • Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 10:37 PM | Permalink

          prosecutors have discretion. They also have budgets and priorities.
          It’s there job to make these decisions. Maybe after the 2012 election,
          maybe just as Ar5 comes out, you might have some prosecutor somewhere
          make a different decision. or maybe just before the election. They have discretion and interests. and jobs to do.

        • theduke
          Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 11:07 PM | Permalink

          I dunno, Mosh. This is a fairly high-profile crime. It would put a prosecutor in the limelight. Fame, fortune, a book and all that. Just a guess, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that there may be a prosecutor somewhere who would love to explore a case against Gleick but is not being allowed to.

        • steven mosher
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

          I’d put the odds of that at less than 10%

        • Gary
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

          The odds of a civil suit by Heartland are much higher.

        • Punksta
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

          there may be a prosecutor somewhere who would love to explore a case against Gleick but is not being allowed to.

          Indeed. But the broader picture is that

          (1) Public acceptance of the (state-funded) CAGW thesis will greatly enhance the state’s fortunes – the extra taxes and powers over society it can then seize, the extra regulators and bureaucracies it can then form.

          (2) Prosecutors are agents of the state. To get ahead they need to be seen to be advancing their employer’s interests.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:35 AM | Permalink

          Added to that, I believe, really believe, in the concept of innocent until proven guilty. I won’t compromise that

          If Gleick actually did receive the suspect PDF in the postal mail (unlikely, but possible) then the document itself plus the envelope it came in will be shredded by now. No evidence there except Gleick’s assertion and HI’s denial

          If Gleick or an associate did forge the PDF – please note that “if” – then the computer this was done on is well and truly deep-sixed by now and replaced with a brand new one totally unconnected in any forensic sense to the origin of the suspect PDF. The scanned document itself will be shredded. No evidence there, either – later emailing of the scanned PDF is not evidence of forgery. As far as I can ascertain there is currently no legal reason for this not to happen

          The very best one may expect from this, as far as the PDF is concerned, is the old Scottish verdict of Not Proven

          None of this is to say that I don’t consider Gleick a paranoid dipstick who succeeded in damaging HI by exposing its’ donors

        • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 3:07 AM | Permalink

          “I believe, really believe, in the concept of innocent until proven guilty.”

          Do you believe in the concept of innocent until voluntarily self confessed too?

          “If Gleick actually did receive the suspect PDF in the postal mail (unlikely, but possible)”

          Perhaps it was mailed to Gleick by one of the ten million monkeys which happened to type the verbatim quotes from the real Heartland documents Gleick had obtained…

        • ianl8888
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:33 AM | Permalink


          My comments were directed at the issue of the suspect PDF, not the self-admitted false ID trickie. I made that quite clear in the post and I was hoping that people would actually understand that. I’m very disappointed that a person of your intelligence deliberately confused the issues … sad


          I did not say that prosecutors believed the “innocent until proven guilty” concept – I’m acutely aware that they don’t … but I do, irrespective of the muffled thuds of your boots hitting the floor, one at a time

          So, in precision: there is no proof that Gleick forged the suspect PDF, only suspicious circumstance. I expect that by now there is no forensic evidence available to determine the matter beyond doubt

          If people wish to declare Gleick guilty of forgery without such determinant evidence, IMO this places them only one or two steps behind him

        • manicbeancounter
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

          You are correct that there is no “proof” as such. There, however, appears to be quite strong circumstantial evidence that Peter Gleick forged the memo. This evidence corroborated by the chronology. Steven Mosher detected that the “forged” document was Gleick’s handiwork and his thinly-veiled comments lead to Gleick’s confession. Whether that evidence is sufficient to mount a prosecution is a matter we should not speculate on either way, as it may prejudice a fair trail.

        • HaroldW
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

          Ianl888: “If people wish to declare Gleick guilty of forgery without such determinant evidence, IMO this places them only one or two steps behind him.”
          I find this a bizarre statement.

          In a trial, the standard of evidence is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. While all the facts are not in, at this point I would agree that this standard is not yet met. On the other hand, in a civil case, the standard is “preponderance of evidence”. In my opinion, the circumstantial evidence that Gleick forged the faked memo meets this standard.

          But why do you think that places me “only one or two steps behind” Gleick? I’m doing what every person does constantly: we judge based on inconclusive evidence. Gleick committed at least one fraudulent act — here I’m using the term in its generic sense, not in its restricted legal sense. I’m just using my brain to evaluate Gleick’s likely complicity. That’s a far, far distance from any illegal or even deceptive acts.

        • steve mosher
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

          there is only proof in logic and math. in trials there is a presumption of innocence. this isn’t a trial. you are confused

        • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

          OK, I’m sorry.

          But what I don’t get is how the forgery could have contained the exact quotes from the phished documents unless the person who wrote it had access to them.

          Why isn’t that considered strong evidence Gleick was the forger?

        • ChE
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

          That’s the really weird thing about this whole affair. Mosher had Gleick tied to the fake. He didn’t have him tied in any way, shape, or form to the phishing. So it was utterly bizarre for Glieck to confess to what they didn’t have any link to, and not what they did. I’m still puzzled over that one. 100 donuts says he didn’t talk to a lawyer first.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

          Destruction of evidence to impede a federal investigation is itself a felony. The Sarah Palin hacker destroyed evidence right away and was convicted under Sarbanes-Oxley.

        • Bill Woods
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

          “If Gleick actually did receive the suspect PDF in the postal mail (unlikely, but possible) then the document itself plus the envelope it came in will be shredded by now. No evidence there except Gleick’s assertion and HI’s denial”

          Why would Gleick destroy the document and the postmarked envelope? They would be the strongest evidence available to him that his account of events was true. Which makes his failure to have produced them a telling point against him.

        • theduke
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

          Yes, but he might have concluded that the uncertainty in terms of culpability produced by the absence of the document was preferable to the certainty of culpability in preserving it. This presumes he wrote it or knows who did. Furthermore, if he knows who wrote it and is trying to protect them, then destroying it might make some sense, especially when you are under intense pressure and about to be discovered or to give yourself up with a modified limited hangout.

        • theduke
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

          I should have begun the post above by pointing out that Bill Woods has indeed pointed to some strong circumstantial evidence that incriminates Gleick if he has destroyed the document in question. If examination of the document he claims to have received anonymously would have exonerated him of writing it, why would he destroy it?

        • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

          prosecuters dont think like you think they do.

        • ChE
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

          Most are elected, and will granstand for votes. Remember Mike Nifong?

        • theduke
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

          I agree with Mosher. The idea that prosecutors would be considering CAGW as a factor in whether or not to prosecute this case is a stretch.

        • ChE
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

          At the local level, you’re right. At the federal level, you can be sure that the upper echelons of the DoJ don’t want anything to happen to their friend. This particular DoJ is exceptionally political.

        • stan
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

          First and foremost, prosecutors like to get positive coverage from news media. No prosecutor is going to go after Gleick. Look at the nominal slap on the wrist that Sandy Berger got for stealing and destroying secret govt documents from national security archives. Despite dozens of corrupt scandals involving all manner of criminality, some of it even admitted by participants and witnesses, no one in the Clinton administration served a day in jail. If the news media has your back, you’re teflon. No prosecutor wants to have the full weight of a furious news media ripping them a new one.

          If Gleick worked for Heartland, he’d already be in jail with bail set at 10 million (deliberate hyperbole). And the media would be cheering on the prosecutor to give him the death penalty (or would if they weren’t against it). Unless something far beyond what we already know surfaces, Gleick has nothing to fear from a criminal prosecution.

        • theduke
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

          Most of what you say is true, but Webb Hubbell served time.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 4:45 PM | Permalink


          this isn’t a trial. you are confused

          Trial by media. I’m not at all confused

          Mostly I enjoy this website – some of the threads are genuinely informative

          This one is simply Populist Media at Large


          Destruction of evidence to impede a federal investigation is itself a felony

          As I understand it, there is no federal investigation. If that’s wrong, please correct me with the detail

          [SM – also applies if it is anticipation of one/]


          Whether that evidence is sufficient to mount a prosecution is a matter we should not speculate on either way, as it may prejudice a fair trail.

          This entire thread is speculation on circumstantial evidence of Gleick’s complicity (or not) in possible forgery. Why are my comments pointing this out being excepted to (apart from the likelihood that you just don’t want to hear that) ?

        • Jan
          Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

          It isn’t just a question of forgery. It is a fact of impersonation. In Peter Gleick’s own words:

          Given the potential impact, however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name. The materials the Heartland Institute sent to me confirmed many of the facts in the original document, including especially their 2012 fundraising strategy and budget. I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues. I can explicitly confirm, as can the Heartland Institute, that the documents they emailed to me are identical to the documents that have been made public. I made no changes or alterations of any kind to any of the Heartland Institute documents or to the original anonymous communication.

          Absent of any proof, Peter Gleick may be innocent of forgery but he has admitted to impersonation. I suppose it depends on where he was at the time of impersonation, but if done from an address in California, it would seem these laws apply:

          I find it very interesting that he undertook to explicitly confirm that the documents were not altered (as if that makes what he did any more ethical). Perhaps that is key to any defense.

        • Punksta
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:53 AM | Permalink

          Well … don’t keep us in suspense, Mosh

        • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:52 AM | Permalink

          That’s a good point, Steven. But it still seems very odd to me. What prosecutors like MOST is a slam-dunk case: one that is easy to prove and won’t hurt their conviction rate. Given that Gleick has already admitted to something that seems pretty clearly illegal … well, it’s hard to fathom what the hold-up is.

          But perhaps it is being investigated as we speak. At the least, I trust that Heartland is pushing for a proper investigation. Maybe the fact that Heartland has not yet said “the investigation is over” or “they aren’t going to investigate” is a good sign.

      • KuhnKat
        Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

        A water conference? Time for jokes about water carriers??

  2. PaulH
    Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    A very informative write-up. I remember many of the basics of the investigation, but being in my early teens I was more interested the latest Apollo mission news. 🙂

    I think there is a Freudian type-o in the first paragraph of the “The Rise of Gleick” section. I think the sentence that starts “Ehrlich, who accepted (without proof)…” should refer to Gleick instead of Ehrlich.

  3. Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

    Gleick is like a wind power company, the government selectively doesn’t prosecute them for killing endangered raptors.

    If you are on the “right” side you won’t get prosecuted.

  4. Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 7:26 PM | Permalink

    ‘impossible to sufficiently parody’ – a perfect phrase for the entire climatological world.

  5. Gdn
    Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    On the other hand, the Watergate burglars, upon not finding what they were looking for, do not appear to have inserted fake documents in amongst the legitimate ones as Gleick did.

  6. Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

    “Petergate” has been stuck in my mind
    As a sound-alike, much alike kind
    Of a reference here
    But you’ve made the links clear:
    They’re obsessed with what they hoped to find

    Both the Nixon-style “I am not” crooks
    And the Climategate code-hiding shnooks
    Say the Cause outranks facts
    (So they’re not “leaks,” they’re “hacks”)
    But one wonders: Who’s cooking the books?

    The most troubling part of this scheme
    Is that now “self-correction” would seem
    To be (for now) repealed:
    When the crooks are revealed
    They’re protected: They’re part of the Team!

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

  7. ianl8888
    Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    Unlike Nixon, however, Gleick did not tape himself discussing the action

    As I commented some weeks ago, the actual provenance of the suspect PDF that Gleick claimed was snail-mailed to him is not being investigated and likely, we will never know the truth

    • ChE
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

      But he confessed. That;s even better.

      • ianl8888
        Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 2:18 AM | Permalink

        But he confessed. That;s even better

        But not to the generation of the suspect PDF. That’s my point

    • John F. Hultquist
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

      “Gleick did not tape himself discussing the action”

      And you know that — How?

  8. Copner
    Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

    I’m not so sure the search was merely for “bad” donors (although finding some would be welcome).

    One consequence of finding donors’ identities, is that whether good or “bad”, whoever they are, they are all likely to come under pressure not to donate in future.

    Gleick may or may not have had this as a goal – but he certainly should have anticipated it, because in the exchange of emails over the debate invitation, Gleick was specifically told that the reason Heartland did not publish donors lists, is because donors have been harassed in the past.

    This process of discouraging donations has already started, see e.g.

  9. Jan
    Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

    Why has this man not been arrested and charged?

    Since when did publicly admitting one’s crimes provide relief from prosecution?

  10. Mescalero
    Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 8:05 PM | Permalink

    What have been the responses of technical societies such as AMS, AGU, AAAS, and APS been to the Gleick affair?

  11. Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    As usual this is a well argued and immediately convincing case.
    It’s sad that when I talk to my alarmist friends, they have not even heard about this. Those that have heard of ‘Geleickgate’ think of Heartland Institute as ‘that crackpot organisation that took money from Big Tobacco to say there was no tobacco-cancer link’. Therefore they can dismiss the events as irrelevant. I was asked by a warmist, as a test question, “do you think there is a link between tobacco and cancer”

    • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 1:20 PM | Permalink


      These questions and insinuations are often repeated by climate scare believers. I think it is a fair description of how solid their understanding of the issues and relevant topics are … Roughly (in their minds) a kiddie – fairy tale with good guys and evil crooks .. It’s all quite sad

  12. Tom C
    Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 9:40 PM | Permalink

    I’ve got to think that Heartland is preparing a civil action. Seems that it would be easy enough to win.

    • theduke
      Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

      I’m certain of it, Tom C. If you read or listen to everything Bast has said, it’s clear that he is very angry. I went and looked at the documents and the violation of privacy of employees whose job performances are discussed and the general exposure of virtually everything the organization would like to keep private is extreme. My guess is that Gleick is going to need a lot of lawyers and is going to spend several years in the courts. The damage awards could be huge.

      • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 3:15 AM | Permalink

        I doubt the potential size of damages bothers Gleick. The tab will be picked up by a generous (and anonymous) donor.

        I suspect Leiden and Mann gleefully libeled Heartland in the same knowledge of financial immunity.

        • theduke
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

          tallbloke, re damages and legal fees: when it gets into the millions of dollars, I suspect there will be a high level of donor fatique, i.e. they will be spending money on a fool when the money could be, in their eyes, better spent elsewhere.

          It’s also true that there will no doubt be defense fund-raising campaigns to raise money and generate publicity. That will augment the funds provided by deep pockets donors.

          Regardless, I don’t see how Gleick can escape creating a huge financial burden for his benefactors.

          I just hope the trial has a presiding judge who does not allow this to become a contest between Heartland’s message and Gleick’s message.

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

          Such tabs are taxable…


      • ChE
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

        It’s not even about being angry or about money. Sometimes a civil suit is the only way to clear your name, or to establish that the other guys were in fact bad. Remember the OJ civil suit?

        • harold
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

          This is what Joseph Bast wrote last Thursday:

          {…}The damage being done to the reputations of the many scientists with whom Heartland works cannot be undone. Heartland might be a David compared to Gleick’s Goliaths, but we plan to pursue all legal remedies. We owe it to the skeptics we work with, and we owe it to history. I hope you visit for the latest news.

          (h/t Bob Koss)

  13. EdeF
    Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 9:47 PM | Permalink

    Paranoia was present in both cases.

  14. Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

    Nice, funny that Lacis also tried to use a watergate analogy

    • theduke
      Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

      Lacis at Judith Curry’s:

      The art of deception is a very common strategy, as in sports and war. Deception is to be found in the tool-bag of every investigative reporter and police detective. We’ve got your fingerprints (somewhere on file), so you might as well tell us why you did it. In poker, it is called bluffing, which is not considered being dishonest. But then, people also do have a sense of fair play – so there is some gray area beyond which heavy handed deception becomes viewed as unsportsmanlike conduct. This is to be differentiated from all those activities that are explicitly illegal, such as breaking into Watergate, hacking into Sara Palin’s e-mails, or the hacking and posting CRU e-mails.

      Not anymore.

      • steven mosher
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 12:19 AM | Permalink

        yep, he stepped in it. like I said.

  15. theduke
    Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

    Can you imagine the outcry if, say, Richard Lindzen had tried to do to the Pacific Institute what Gleick has done to Heartland?

    The coverage would be 24/7 for months and years.

    What that kind of coverage does is allow people to express righteous indignation over and over again. That’s why the politically correct among us rarely have to endure as much scorn as the politically incorrect when they commit crimes. It’s a “serious crime” when the latter does it. It’s a “stunt” when the former does it.

  16. Steve Reynolds
    Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 10:37 PM | Permalink

    “No one at the time imagined that only 40 years later, China would be the U.S.’s largest creditor and the largest economy in the world.”

    I think China is the world’s largest energy user (at least from fossil fuels), but is still far from the largest economy.

    Steve: I realize that this observation is contested. I say this because China is the largest economy if you measure industry size in absolute units of energy, steel, copper, elevators, road construction… GDP comparisons depend on exchange rates which value a haircut in the US as worth up to 30 times more than the same service in China. I know the point you’re making. The point that I’m making is probably a bit of a distraction, but indulge me for now.

    • ChE
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

      I think people confuse economy size with per capita GDP. China can have the world’s largest economy while having a quarter of the US per capita GDP. It doesn’t seem that far fetched to me (having business dealings in China myself, they’re more advanced in some sectors than most people think).

      • Steve Reynolds
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 8:48 PM | Permalink

        I was not writing about per capita GDP. The total GDP in $ is 14.5 trillion US vs. 5.9 trillion China.

        Steve M is right that exchange rate comparison is not the whole story. If purchasing power parity is used, then the numbers are much closer: $15 trillion US vs $11.3 trillion China for 2011 according to the IMF.

  17. Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 10:45 PM | Permalink

    “It is an odd irony that Gleick has emerged as arguably the G. Gordon Liddy of climate.”

    Except that Liddy is/was a genuinely tough SOB.

    Steve: yup. Gleick is the Milhous version. Doesn’t quite work as written. How about “a sort of petulant and bungling G. Gordon Liddy of climate in Milhous drag”.

    • theduke
      Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

      Liddy scares John Dean:

  18. Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

    “it’s hard for Gleick defenders to construct an ethical theory that sanctifies Gleick, while criminalizing Liddy.”

    Are you kidding?

    Gleick and co. are saving the World. The Watergate burglars were working for the re-election of a scoundrel Republican.

    And lots of people accept this without question. The police too, it seems, if its true that “the suspect PDF that Gleick claimed was snail-mailed to him is not being investigated.”

    That there is, apparently, something seriously wrong with the system is, incidentally, why so many people are prepared to support a no hope presidential candidate: if neither of the electable candidates will reform the system, why not make a protest vote.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

      Re: CanSpeccy (Mar 10 22:48),

      from this side of the border, prosecutorial enthusiasm in the U.S. seems to depend too much on whether the accused and the prosecutor are from rival Hutu and Tutsi tribes Republican and Democratic parties or not.

      • Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 11:21 PM | Permalink

        Yes, that seems to be the case.

        Also, I appear to be wrong in what I inferred from the non-investigation of the authorship of the fake memo. Although creating such a document seems morally indefensible, it is not, I see, a criminal offense in the US, although it could provide the basis for a libel suit.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 11:28 PM | Permalink

          I’ve looked at both state and federal law and believe that Gleick’s conduct in respect of the fake memo is criminal. If Gleick had authored a fake document for his private pleasure, then that wouldn’t be an offence. However, Gleick used email to disseminate the fake document which was falsely represented as authored by Heartland. This seems to me to fall squarely within wire fraud. In addition, there are a variety of state laws pertaining to identity theft, which, in my opinion, Gleick has breached.

        • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

          Oh, O.K., my mistake. Let’s hope, then, that any tribal bias notwithstanding, the police undertake a thoroughgoing investigation.

      • cdquarles
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

        Re: Steve McIntyre (Mar 10 22:54), Steve, that is evidence of reporting bias, in my opinion. Our media has a main bias that would play up R prosecutor trying D defendants in R administrations. They will not generally play up D prosecutor trying R defendants in a D administration unless it fits the D administration’s media templates. Just my opinion from one whose seen Watergate and other such scandals play out in the media for 40 years.

    • Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 11:27 PM | Permalink

      The Watergate burglars were just as convinced of the righteousness of their cause as was Gleick. I don’t see much difference, except that Gleick apparently forged one of the documents he claimed to have stolen from HI.

      Steve: maybe Penn State ethicist of climate, Donald Brown, can explain why Gleick is a hero, while the unflinching Liddy isn’t.

      • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

        Comm’n, you have to view this from both sides. To a good Republican, what does it profit a man if he save the whole World but lose the White House to those expletive deleted tree-hugging Democrats.

        Whereas to a climate scientist …

  19. robin
    Posted Mar 10, 2012 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    Always amazed at how incredibly analytic you are sir. Loved the Muir Russel/John Dean pair up : ).

    I recently had the pleasure of watching “The Fog of War”, a complete look at the life and work of Robert McNamara through interviews. Brilliant guy, very honest, but still made some hard calls with severe consequences in spite of that. A great look at the power and limitations of applying numeric analysis to reality. It reminded me somewhat of the over reliance on brilliant models in climate science – other than McNamara’s grasp on the math was self evident : ).

    He was honest, articulate, and surprisingly, keenly aware of the ethical dilemmas. There was a certain humility there as well, and certainly sadness.

    And then there’s Gleick’s armature frauds and schoolyard bullying. Definitely on the Howard Hunt side of the room.

  20. mpaul
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 12:15 AM | Permalink

    After the Nixon administration had conducted a Muir Russel-like review and found itself completely innocent, Senate Democrats successfully maneuvered to have a special prosecutor (Archibald Cox) appointed to perform a independent review, although still under the administrative control of the Justice Department. Cox began to ask the obvious questions that had not been asked during the Justice Department’s review. Eventually, the questions became too on-point, leading Nixon to order Cox to be fired. The incident became known as the Saturday Night Massacre — a truly noteworthy incident in American history.

    After the Saturday Night Massacre, the general public was shocked. People came to understand that bureaucracies are incapable of investigating themselves. Sadly, this lessons seems forgotten as the climate science scandals and the concomitant “independent reviews” have unfolded. I imagine that any day now we will see an announcement from the Pacific Institute informing us that they have launched an “independent review” of Fakegate.

    • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:15 AM | Permalink

      I imagine that any day now we will see an announcement from the Pacific Institute informing us that they have launched an “independent review” of Fakegate.

      Sorry, you’re behind the times! PI pulled their variant of this move on Feb. 27:

      The Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute is deeply concerned regarding recent events involving its president, Dr. Peter Gleick, and has hired an independent firm to review the allegations. The Board has agreed to Dr. Gleick’s request for a temporary leave of absence. [Source]

      Even though PI has appointed an “Acting Executive Director” Gleick’s name remains on their Staff list, And their Board list as “President”. But then Stephen Schneider (In Memoriam) appears as a member of PI’s “Advisory Board”.

      Gives a whole new meaning to “sustainable” development(s) 😉

      • Punksta
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:22 AM | Permalink

        Stephen Schneider (In Memoriam) appears as a member of PI’s “Advisory Board”.

        Schneider – a/the founding father of the let’s-not-tell-the-public-all-the-facts-in-case-it-dilutes-our-precommitted-conclusions movement.

        One of Gleick’s mentors, one assumes.

  21. johanna
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 12:25 AM | Permalink

    Interesting that one of Nixon’s biggest mistakes was to take Kissinger’s advice to go in hard on Ellsberg. Kissinger was the Michael Mann of the 1970s – almost invariably wrong but somehow able to convince people that he was right in the face of all evidence to the contrary. A complete absence of humility and self doubt seems to be part of the package.

    I agree with robin that McNamara was an outstanding public servant, probably the greatest of his era. He was extraordinarily bright, honest, and sensitive to boot. His oversight of the writing of the Pentagon Papers should have resulted in better policy – perhaps it did, as Nixon eventually extricated the US from the war. Perhaps McNamara was the Richard Lindzen of his time.

    Chicanery around the struggle for political power is practically a given – the saying about high policy and sausages (you really do not want to see or know how they are made) comes to mind. It especially comes to the fore when the opposing forces are pretty evenly matched, as there is always someone who thinks it is worth breaking the rules to get an edge.

    That is why I think that the increasingly desperate behaviour of some in the CAGW camp is a good sign, in the sense that they are getting very scared of losing. The challenge now is not to slide into the ethical morass with them.

    • sHx
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:16 AM | Permalink

      “Kissinger was the Michael Mann of the 1970s – almost invariably wrong but somehow able to convince people that he was right in the face of all evidence to the contrary. A complete absence of humility and self doubt seems to be part of the package.”

      Nicely observed. Michael Mann may well go on living a long life feted as a credible climate scientist with none of the charges of misconduct sticking to him. Why, Paul Ehrlich has done it already.

      The expectations that Mann might one day move from Penn State to State Pen are too far-fetched, IMHO. At this stage, the only crime Mann may be tried and convicted for is the crime that his ethicist colleague at Penn State, Donald Brown, once sought to formulate this way:

      We may not have a word for this type of crime yet, but the international community should find a way of classifying extraordinarily irresponsible scientific claims that could lead to mass suffering as some type of crime against humanity.

      It is pretty obvious that Micheal Mann is a member of the cabal that makes “extraordinarily irresponsible scientific claims that could lead to mass suffering”. Donald Brown ought to be rewarded with a MacArthur genius award and be made the chair of AGU’s scientific ethics committee for that wonderful formulation.

    • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 7:55 AM | Permalink


      Interesting that one of Nixon’s biggest mistakes was to take Kissinger’s advice to go in hard on Ellsberg.

      A forgotten fact that was the most striking in the piece for me too.

      I’m less taken with the Kissinger-Mann analogy because it assumes a future for Mann that we simply don’t know. And Margaret Thatcher is among those who think that Kissinger as a thinker, out of power, has changed for the better, away from unfeeling realpolitik. Maybe she was just giving him the benefit of the doubt in order to engage with his arguments.

      What’s certainly true for me is that Nixon was wrong to take Kissinger’s advice on Ellsberg. Vietnam desperately needed reappraisal – but then so did the whole approach to communism and the ‘Soviet threat’. Kissinger did get almost all this wrong, in my view, either through stupidity or because of his ties to vested interests. In the 70s it was a Democrat, Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson, who made the crucial difference in Congress paving the way for Reagan and the collapse of the Soviet empire. Nixon’s visit to China was certainly an awesome step but the growth of Chinese power since is far from an unalloyed blessing, given their tendency to support regimes with methods close to genocide, from Burma to Sudan.

      All that aside, this piece by Steve would make Climate Audit one of the most important places on the Web even if every other post here was worthless, as those in the deranged camp like Erhlich and Gleick no doubt feel. As johanna writes separately, it’s hard to tell which of the two scandals matters more. Count me agnostic on that – but not on the greatness of the post that raises the question.

      • johanna
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

        Um, I don’t think it was me that wrote that it is hard to say which matters more. In my view, toppling a US President is about as big as a scandal can get.

        However, there is another parallel which your post raises. Nixon got the message of the Pentagon Papers, and extricated the US even though most of his party were against it. It may well be that he and/or Kissinger realised that he needed to prove his hard line credentials by pursuing Ellsberg even while reversing the policy.

        Contemporary political leaders who have seen the writing on the wall about climate change policy will also be looking for pirouettes they can perform which will distract the faithful while they quietly move in the opposite direction. As Steve is always reminding us – watch the pea, not the thimble.

        • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

          It was Lucy Skywalker I was thinking of, sorry about that. Both posts made me think and I must have ascribed them both to you for simplicity as I tried to get my thoughts together!

          The follow up is valuable. I agree that peas are going to move in some strange directions relative to thimbles as leaders try to retain some semblance of wisdom and continuity.

          Better though for them to turn on the scientists and activists whose economy with the truth led them to such a pass. I’ve no doubt this will also happen – one reason that I have no predictions for Michael Mann. He may be slippery enough to escape the consequences but I wouldn’t bet on it.

        • cdquarles
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

          Re: johanna (Mar 11 12:17), One small nitpick. Nixon *won* the Vietnam War militarily and the US signed a peace treaty with the North. Once we withdrew under the terms of the treaty, the North violated it repeatedly and the D Congresses refused to supply the South under its terms. IOW the Washington politicians lost the war by failing to enforce the treaty.

    • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

      And both were awarded the Nobel Peace Price too, but not alone …

    • Jim Bennett
      Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

      snip – relitigating Vietnam is OT

  22. Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 1:28 AM | Permalink

    Like Steve I’m old enough to remember the original watergate. Two of my favourite recollections are:
    1. An announcement by a Nixon press officer: “Our former statements are no longer operative”.
    2. A glorious mixed metaphor from a BBC correspondant “President Nixon’s last ditch has overturned and he has made for the nearest shell hole.”

  23. Johnny Japan
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 1:41 AM | Permalink

    I know people say that Gleick hasn’t been prosecuted yet but it has only been 17 days. Has the Heartland Institute filed a complaint yet? It is up to them to follow this through.

    • Mark T
      Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 10:21 PM | Permalink

      Indeed… often charges must be filed by the victim first.


  24. Punksta
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 1:44 AM | Permalink

    “we’re in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies …”

    Yes, ‘enemies’ like Heartland get $millions in private donations annually.

    While ‘we’ have to struggle along on a pittance of tens (or hundreds?) of $billions of tax money for climate science professors and departments in public universities, models, etc.

    • DaveS
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:56 AM | Permalink

      I think a key word in relation to these people is ‘deranged’.

  25. Bill Bethard
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:02 AM | Permalink

    Robin and Johanna, Re Robert Strange McNamara,intelligent, honest and ethical, another view:

    Secretary of Defense McNamara forcefully argued that Congress should pass the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, the basis for our increased presence in Vietnam. He then oversaw a massive troop increase while virtually all the time assuring us that the light is at the end of the tunnel, the search and destroy strategy is working, our bombs can hit a dime. When our troops, strategy and modern weapons failed–strike troops, substitute political and military leadership–and almost exactly one month after the Tet Offensive, McNamara resigned.

    McNamara then remained silent on the Vietnam War for the next 25 years until he published his memoirs. Sure enough, it wasn’t his fault, nobody knew what to do, the stay comb guy was a regular alibi Ike. The fact that on virtually every college campus, in Congress, in the mainstream press, even some former administration officials, many folks suggested alternatives to the Johnson-McNamara approach.

    And the topper, McNamara tells us in his memoirs 25 years after he resigned that he had doubts about the war at the time he resigned. Thanks Bob, how many Americans and Vietnamese were killed in Vietnam after you left and remained silent.

    I concede intelligent, but honest and ethical, no way.

    • robin
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:44 AM | Permalink

      Maybe I wasn’t clear in my words – I felt he was honest in that he had thought things through and believed them to be right. I don’t get the feeling he was secretly out to maximize the deaths and lying to achieve that. That said, his models were sometimes wrong, with missed inputs and misunderstood ‘forcings’. He acknowledged that, knew it to be true, but still seemed a little baffled by it.

      As for ethics, he had the reputation of a numbers guy that didn’t care much about the consequences of what the numbers told him. I was surprised how aware he was of it and how big a part that played. His work with firebombing in WWII and seatbelts later, using the same logical approach really stuck with me. Then in Vietnam he applied the same skills, but reality didn’t match up to the model. He goes in to how he fundamentally misunderstood the Vietnamese perspective (they didn’t think it was about the cold war) among other things.

      I think there is a parallel where ever you see people relying on brainpower and theory to make predictions in chaotic systems. The success and power of it can be blinding. It is tempting to think you have a perfect model, and eventually you start confusing it with reality. In climate science you even see people verifying new models against other models – reality doesn’t even come into it! Really he is a study in the limits of analyses in complex systems, and the human toll of that (on the model-er as well as the model-ees). I would recommend the movie, it is by no means a puff piece.

      His quote that always comes to mind when hearing talk of climate manipulation, population control, and all the trillions (vs certain death by runaway heat):

      “I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t – so I’d rather be damned if I don’t”.

      The first law of doing good is don’t do bad, and that’s not a bad starting point to not doing bad.

      • johanna
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 3:44 AM | Permalink

        What robin said re McNamara. Also, unlike Kissinger, he didn’t spend the rest of his life defending his ‘legacy’ and claiming that his critics were too dumb to understand him. He may have been wrong, but he was honestly wrong and not just an opportunist or cynic as many of the war’s supporters were.

        The Pentagon Papers, for which he was largely responsible, were the opposite of a whitewash for US policy. That’s one of the reasons their release annoyed so many people in the administration.

        • GogogoStopSTOP
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 7:12 AM | Permalink

          Let’s be brutally honest: McNamara was a very high paid, highly educated, well connected ADVISOR. He advised Presidents, Democratic, Presidents.

          The Kennedy’s & Johnson’s made the prosecution of the Vietnam War, not McNamara! The Vietnam War was KENNEDY’S WAR, a “Liberal Icon’s War.”

      • harrywr2
        Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

        All wars are mistakes in judgement.
        The question is always whose judgement is mistaken.

        History tends to take the side that it was the losers mistaken judgement that was wrong simply because waging a war and losing it rather then not waging it at all can almost always be shown to be a ‘bad idea’.

        Unfortunately…who wins doesn’t prove who was ‘correct’.

    • ChE
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 10:56 AM | Permalink


  26. Nelson Muntz
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

    HA HA!

  27. Latimer Alder
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 3:25 AM | Permalink

    ‘….purporting to show that Muskie was prejudiced against people with Canadian background. (A prejudice also observed from time to time in the Climategate emails 🙂 ).

    Beautifully and elegantly put!

    • John in L du B
      Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

      Hah!! Found it a bit of a stretch but I liked that one too. Logically it makes deSmog the Manchester Union Leader of Fakegate.

    • John in L du B
      Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

      As a follow-on, I distinctly recall that the Union Leader was incensed that they had been used with the forged Canuck letters.

  28. Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

    so,who are Woodward and Bernstein this time? 🙂

    More parallels: Ellsberg…..FOIA. Funding the burglars from high up, and “distancing” by senior organizations (h/t “Bob Bernstein” @ WUWT)

    Another similarity is the apparent slowness of the turning wheels of justice and Fate. Despite some fears that Gleick will get off free, I sense that the wheels are still turning inexorably though slowly. We have to listen for their beat, feel them turn, and watch like hawks and moshpits.

    Churchill’s speaking genius did not come instantly. It was with the measured step of years and years of watching, failing to be heard, and coping with a disastrous speech impediment, that he could speak his famous words at the darkest hours.

    • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

      Another parallel.

      On the face of things, the immediate issue looks trivial and something that the establishment can quickly ignore (vide the glorious technocolor coat of whitewashes).

      But below the surface the issues are deeper.

      In the present case, I would say that the issues are even deeper than Watergate. That was a handful of men around the US President. This is a situation where “Hamlet’s uncle” has usurped scientific power globally, over and over – as described for instance by Richard Lindzen. Not just one Watergate but a whole array of clones. And like the many-headed monster the Lernaean hydra, all its heads have to be cut off and cauterized or they will regrow.

      Climategate moved in that direction. And Gleick’s group determined to commit “street warfare” arose, it appears, in the wake of Climategate.

    • John Norris
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

      re: “so, who are Woodward and Bernstein this time?”

      I thought Mosher was Dick F’n Tracy. Perhaps there is a Deep Throat that helped him out.

      • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

        nope. no deep throat

        • ChE
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

          More like the Riddler leaving a riddle at the scene. A pretty obvious one. That makes you Batman.

  29. Jimmyben
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

    Carrying on from your excellent Watergate comparison it s useful to compare the behaviour of the newspapers.

    Contrast the heroic WaPo chasing down of the miscreants with the modern version where they would now be siding with Liddy and Hunt.

  30. Mark W
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

    I love this comparison. A glass of red wine and Steve’s insights made my Sunday evening!

  31. Alexej Buergin
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:11 AM | Permalink

    This is so good it may be worth the trouble to change
    Gleick’s Search for the Donors’List
    (to the right of superman)
    into bold type.

    • Alexej Buergin
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

      … and add a space

  32. Andrew
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:49 AM | Permalink

    A couple of thoughts. First, regardless of the criminal investigations, there are some legit civil cases. One person being a former US Senator, correct? At least someone will get their day in Civil court, thereby gaining discovery. I would think some sort of criminal referral would happen if warranted.

    Regarding the actual timeline of Watergate. Watergate most likely would be unknown (at least not as Watergate) had the G. Gordon and Gang not been caught red handed committing burglary. Likely CREEP would have continued its illicit activities, but we will never know. Thankfully they were arrested at the Watergate Hotel and not the Motel 6…none of the miriad of subsequent “GATES” would sound as cool…

    It has only been 17 days since Gleick-Gate began. Give it time. Had he confessed to a crime the FBI would still investigate before they arrest him. He is not a flight risk. The only reason Gov Blago was arrested at the time was to prevent him from appointing a US Senator illegally, not because US Attorney Pat Fitzgerald had wrapped up the investigation. Give it time…

    Also, regarding Gleicks phones and computers being seized. I speculate that if Chicago based HI called the local FBI, and there is an active investigation on going, there is no need to seize anything. Assuming Gleick was on his work computer. Everything would/should be backed up for legal purposes and warrants may have been served. Similar, but not analogous to the Award Winning Tallbloke. Had the Constabulary done their job, Tallbloke would not be as well know, lol.

  33. DABbio
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:50 AM | Permalink

    Tres enjoyable. Very well written.

  34. ExWarmist
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

    Given Gleicks puny frame he really needs a program so that he can beat up on those “bullies” that give him such a hard time…

  35. Tony Mach
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

    Reminds me of Beatles classic:

    For the benefit of Mr. Gleick
    There will be a show tonight on the interwebs
    Littlemore and DeMelle will all be there
    Late of DeSmogBlog’s Fair – what a scene
    Over men and horses, facts and ethics
    Lastly through a hogshead of real fire
    In this way Mr. G. will challenge the world

    Btw, for this song the Beatles’ producer used “multiple [original] recordings of fairground organs and calliope music [which] were spliced together to attempt to produce” a “carnival atmosphere.”!#Recording

  36. Mindert Eiting
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 7:09 AM | Permalink

    Just for some information to fit in the scheme: when precisely was the AGU Task Force for scientific ethics founded?

    • HaroldW
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

      According to the AGU’s statement, “AGU’s Task Force on Scientific Ethics … first convened in November 2011.”

  37. Don Keiller
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    Has a formal complaint about Gleick’s alleged crime actually been made to the authorities?
    If not why not?
    and if so, why no investigation?

    Maybe it is in Heartland’s interest to let Glieck flap aimless in the wind and his supporters make themselves look like swivel-eyed zealots?

    Not difficult. Most are swivel-eyed zealots.

  38. Andy
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    Steve, please write a book.

  39. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    Gleicks’s activities are more like those of Gordon Liddy’s than Daniel Ellsberg’s, but that will be entirely lost on the MSM and intelligentsia in the US – it’s the cause that is important to them.

    A bit off topic, but Nixon who was claimed, even by some of his enemies, to be an astute politician surely missed the political boat when it came to the Pentagon Papers. The political drift of those revelations would have been against the Democrat administrations that preceded him and in fact his administration was given the first option to use them. Kissinger convinced Nixon that doing that would set a bad precedent for future administrations. Evidence I think that Nixon was not only paranoid but dumb also.

    • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

      Nixon was many things, it seems
      But “dumb” does not seem to fit
      He was worried that documents by the reams
      Would be opened because of it

      He knew that the Pentagon Papers stack
      Made priors look bad for good reason
      But the US’s interests would take a whack
      If they just gave these guys open season

      It was interesting in the Contra affair
      When Nixon was questioned at length
      As to brains, Nixon seemed like the only one there
      Detailed knowledge-based thought was his strength

      He had plenty of ego and weaknesses too
      And was no little angel or Cupid
      But for all of his faults (based on what we now can view)
      Nixon was quite a far cry from stupid

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

  40. Craig Loehle
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    Ehrlich’s comment: “we’re in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies who play by entirely different rules” is very self-revealing, eh? Do they really believe the “well-funded” meme? Are they innumerate?

    • ChE
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

      No, just delusional. Somebody observed that none of the pieces fit without an overarching conspiracy theory to give it all form.

    • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

      Dr. Loelhe, the “innumerate” comment’s unfair
      They’ve gone about this using science!
      Their models predicted that billions were there
      And “it’s worse than we thought!” said their clients

      So catastrophist funding and government grants
      Must be strengthened, increased beyond measure
      For the models show (once the decline’s de-enhanced)
      That they fight Evil Skeptic-sized treasure!

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

    • PaddikJ
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

      “Are they innumerate?”

      Ehrlich is a biologist. You have to ask?

  41. Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    Hi Steve

    Minor point of order rather than a comment on the substance of your post, but you list Steve Schneider as one of those in favour of “retaliation and escalation” whereas the Washington Times article you link to actually seems to suggest he was against that, and wanted to keep the discussion scientific and level-headed.

    I’m not disputing that there was (unfortunately) an emergence of a “street fight” attitude amongst some, I just want to make sure Schneider is correctly represented here (especially since he’s obviously not here to defend himself) 😦



    Steve: I’ve looked very closely at available documents in late February and early March as the Empire Strikes Back phase was articulated. I’m familiar with that article, but I disagree with your take on Schneider overall. I thought about a more detailed history of the Empire Strikes Back in this post and shortened for space reasons. Maybe I’ll do an expansion on another occasion.

    I agree with your rejection of the “street fight” meme but few scientists in the community spoke out at the time. Mann and Jones had (unreasonably) been in street fight mode for years and much of the public distaste for the Climategate documents is because of their distaste for these two Milhous’s trying to act like tough guys. They confused their own personal interests with the interests of science and wrapped criticisms of their proxy reconstructions in the flag of the Cause.

    In the Empire Strikes Back phase, they managed to get a larger community on board with this deranged warmongering policy.

    • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:37 PM | Permalink


      linguistically I’ve seen a change from the war metaphor to the street fight metaphor, and throw in tribalism. The mails are very very instructive on this language. Maybe steve or I will write it up.

      Basically, what I see is that the more activist politically oriented folks ( on both sides ) start to use the language of war in their discourse. They live in the metaphor of war. It’s just a matter of time, as I’ve argued elsewhere, that people start to literalize the metaphors they live in. In war, of course, all manner of deceiving the enemy is allowed. In the end, ultimate sanctions are imposed on the enemy. The street fight metaphor is an addition to this way of thinking or perhaps a sharpening of it. In short a small set of individuals have seen this as a war or fight as opposed to a discussion. They have to. They have to because they have declared that debate is over. Those who view it as a war and use the language of war, will begin to live it as a war and behave accordingly. Language and metaphor is a powerful force. It structures the way we see things and the way we act.

      • David Jay
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

        I think a Glenn Reynolds parallel might call be: “harsh, eliminationist rhetoric”

      • Tom Gray
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

        This is all about “conversion”. There is a literature on techniques of conversion. The essential is to convice the person to be converted that there is a very bad future for them if they do not change their ways. Nothing they can do can prevent his. Except, that is that they are now being presented with the only way to prevent that disaster. It is about creating learned helplessness and providing the solution. Pavlov of Pavlov’s dogs discovered this over 100 years ago and it has been demonstrated in many other places. Fire and Brimstone preachers use this. John Wesley used this. Does it sound familiar to the message that AGW catastrophes can only be prevented by accepting green solutions. It should. AGW efforts are all about conversion.

        The appeals to inescapable scientific truth is a clear example of this from the “The Empire Strikes Back” phase. It also explains the “denier” label. It is intended to eliminate the influence of other opinions by isolating them. The intent is to convert enough people so that the political process can be used to install green policies irrevocably. It is a standard technique but it does not seem to be working in this case. The new media of blogs etc has prevented the Empire side from obtaining control of the marketplace of ideas. Skeptics can come together and spread their views. The future may not be so bad. There may be other ways out. Conversion is not necessary. The immense ineptitude of the AGW side must also be playing a major role in its failure at this.

        Anyway this is all standard. There is nothing really new in their tactics. They have been used since the dawn of humanity.

    • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

      “In the Empire Strikes Back phase, they managed to get a larger community on board with this deranged warmongering policy.”

      Steve. That’s it. Since Gore introduced the language of war into the conversation, it’s only been taken up by the extremists. I wonder if this switch to the “street fight” metaphor is the means to get the “larger
      community” on board. I don’t mean in a conspiritorial way. The war metaphor
      didnt make it ways into the discourse by fiat. These things work by influence.
      A person with influence starts to use the language and it takes hold.

      • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

        I agree about the deep influence of metaphor but the Gleick disaster naturally introduces others, such as the effeteness of Milhous or the bungling of the Keystone Kops. Steve’s first comment points to Donna on the rapid rehab of Gleick as hero so it’s a battle of the controlling metaphors. But to say this street-fighting phase hasn’t exactly gone to plan is quite an understatement. Thanks again 🙂

      • ChE
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

        Interesting. This parallels the general political discourse. Who was it that said that he’d bring a gun to a knife fight?

        • Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 1:42 AM | Permalink

          I’ve done a study on the use of war language in the climategate mails.

          Very revealing.

        • ChE
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

          But I think the war metaphors and language started in the political sphere, and bled into the climate sphere. In case you haven’t noticed, the political language has been getting steadily more strident and hyperbolic over the past several decades. The climate guys are taking their cues from the other people in the circles they travel in. That’s why none of this even seems hyperbolic to them. It’s the way everybody talks.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

          Mosh has observed that Briffa and Osborn don’t use the self-indulgent martial imagery that Mann used. It’s interesting to look at the emails for usage of martial terminology over time and by activist.

      • theduke
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

        The descent into warlike language is a sure sign of the full politicization of all things climate. Gore has an excuse for using the war imagery. He is, after
        all, a recovering politician. They are addicted to that kind of talk: the war on poverty, the war against the poor, the war on illiteracy, etc.

        The question is whether it’s advisable for scientists to start talking that way. Gleick is reputedly a scientist, but I think his actual identity is more tied up in the PI, which is in many respects very similar to the HI. They are both ideologically-committed institutions. So, dirty tricks in the mold of the Plumbers being committed by someone like Gleick shouldn’t be surprising. And yet it would be surprising for an outfit like The Heartland Institute.

      • Geoff Sherrington
        Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 12:43 AM | Permalink

        Unknown territory? A person in peaceful isolation might never imagine that he could kill another, even bring a gun to a knife fight. Yet, paradoxically, in wartime the most horrendous acts are done over and over by such mild-mannered people. We’re talikng not only about the properties of people, but about the stmosphere created by a war, with elements like propaganda, exaggeration, deceit and so on, being part of the mix from normality to the unreal.

        The warlike atmosphere of the climate change debate is having an effect on society as well as on individuals. The greater good is to remove the threat of war in these climate change times and there are limited ways to do this. One is to show that there is no reason for a war. This is why I read CA carefully, for it is a leader in showing naked emperors.

        The Learned Societies, IMHO, have a geat deal to answer for, since they have failed to lift a finger to stop the climate wars. They could have assumed a role of discoverers of WMD and closed down plants where the armaments are produced. Bankers, as a group, profit from war and lack motivation to slow it. John & Joan Citizen go along with what is comfortable to the mind, then vote.

        Since the begining, I’ve maintained that the main motivator for climate wars is sudden wealth earned easily. Follow the money trails to the Mr Bigs, then defuse them. Of course, some will pull the pin and forget to throw the grenade, similar to the type of act that has drawn our concentration to here.

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

        I think The “street fight” meme is a way to get individuals motivated and picking up bricks to throw (which is what Glieck did), whereas in war you wait for your country to call out the troops.

  42. ferd berple
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    What Are Identity Theft and Identity Fraud?

    “But he that filches from me my good name/Robs me of that which not enriches him/And makes me poor indeed.”
    – Shakespeare, Othello, act iii. Sc. 3.

    The short answer is that identity theft is a crime. Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.

  43. Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings and commented:
    Why isn’t he arrested yet?

  44. theduke
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    Re the thread started by Nick and my response to him last night. Regarding whether Gleick will be prosecuted, I’d like to ask Mosh why he thinks the kid Kernell, who hacked Sarah Palin’s email account, was prosecuted and why, based on the similarity in the severity of the crimes, Gleick will likely not be. Kernell’s father was a Tennessee Democrat state rep and his mother a Lt. Col in the army. I think I know the answer but I’m interested in what Mosh has to say.

    Here’s a link to the report on that verdict that has a lot of interesting and pertinent information:

    Ianl8888 says he thinks the forged doc and the computer have been destroyed. If they are, as Steve Mc suggests, Gleick could be in even deeper trouble as indicated by the link above.

    HaroldW writes:

    In a trial, the standard of evidence is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. While all the facts are not in, at this point I would agree that this standard is not yet met. On the other hand, in a civil case, the standard is “preponderance of evidence”. In my opinion, the circumstantial evidence that Gleick forged the faked memo meets this standard.

    If Gleick has indeed destroyed the doc and the computer, that will add to the “preponderence” in the civil trial. My initial thought was that he probably had destroyed it and the envelope, if such existed. Now I think not, and certainly not if he immediately consulted an attorney. He may have done it rashly before consulting with his attorney.

    • steven mosher
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

      I’m not so sure they are similar. In the end if you want to know why you’d need to talk to the prosecutors.
      Those who took action in the palin case, and those yet to take action in the Gleick case.

      presupposing motives and explanations based on what you have leads to confirmation bias in my opinion.

      note how I figured it was Glieck. I didnt ask ” what political group is out to get heartland?” or
      what eco left group is out to get heartland.

      I thought instead ” who would make Gleick the center of their strategy?”

      Faced with a pestering from a guy in canada named Mcintyre, Mann made the mistake of assuming he could
      understand steve’s motives merely by looking at his own motives:” I want to save the planet, this guy opposes me, therefore he must be part of an evil plot.” I’d suggest that before folks try to understand why a particular individual– the prosecutor– acted like he did, that they spend some time carefully reflecting on
      their own motives.

      • ChE
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

        In all likelihood, if a prosecutor is pursuing this, they’re still in the negotiation stage. It’s way too early to say that he won’t be charged.

        Any prosecutor worth his salt would be trying to get a deal where Gleick confesses to faking the memo in exchange for a wrist-slap on the charges of wire fraud, where the facts aren’t in question. Gleick is still holding one card – they can’t pin the fake on him.

        But maybe I’m giving him too much credit for judgement.

        • steven mosher
          Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

          The function of the limited hang out was to toss a bone to investigators and prosecutors. Any lawyer worth his wage ( haha the null set ) would have told Gleick that his heartlandinsider mail was 100% traceable to him.
          And that he would be wise to NOT put the prosecution team through the trouble of proving it. Perhaps,
          he already dumped his computer, and then his team would want to avoid an obstruction charge. So confess, but
          make it a limited hang out. Make HI take civil action, then fight like hell to argue that the memo wasnt
          yours. In the civil case a missing computer is just that– missing.

          Lots to speculate about here. I think political angles are just too easy too early. So,

          Go figure out what crimes could be charged. Figure out what prosecutors would actually have the stuff fall on their desk and start a background on them. If I had the time or inclination that is what I would do. Get to the names.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

          n the civil case a missing computer is just that– missing

          Agreed – I have always thought that this was the point of the “limited hangout”, hence my comment that no forensic evidence yet points definitively to Gleick as the generator of the suspect PDF (suspicious circumstance, yes), so the presumption of innocence applies despite lawyerly claims that this is just procedural lip service

        • Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

          Even if the memo were found on his computer, he could argue that away.

          He was mailed the memo. he typed it in. Thought better of it and decided to scan it.

          There is no need for investigators or arm chair sherlocks to PRESUME innocence.
          People who confused the procedures of courts with everyday rationality are mistaken

        • ChE
          Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 11:38 PM | Permalink

          But remember that the prosecutor doesn’t have to break any sweat proving that Gleick phished the other docs. That’s a pretty good hand right there. They got him cold on at least wire fraud.

        • Will J. Richardson
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

          “In the civil case a missing computer is just that – missing.”

          That statement is not strictly true. In almost all civil courts, if evidence is either intentionally or negligently destroyed by a defendant, the civil court imposes a presumption, either conclusive or rebuttable, that the destroyed evidence would have been favorable to the plaintiff. Usually the presumption reverses the burden of proof.

          In this instance, under Florida Law, if Gleick could not produce his computers for inspection, or if an inspection of his computers revealed unexplained alterations, Heartland would be entitled to at least a rebuttable presumption that Gleick forged the memo. Gleick would then have to prove that he did not forge the memo to overcome that presumption.

          For more, research spoliation of evidence generally.

        • QBeamus
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

          In my experience, the court will only reverse the burden of production of evidence (or, more rarely, the burden of persuasion) if there is some affirmative evidence of deliberate spoliation. If the computer-owner offers some vaguely credible story about how the evidence was destroyed prior to fear of suit the court will accept that story at face value. (But woe be unto the party who tells such a story but is later contradicted by discovered evidence.)

          Civil courts rely very heavily on the presumption of honesty of the civil advocates–so heavily, in fact, that they are forced to pretend that they are more honest than I believe is warranted by the real-world facts. The court relies on–and assumes that it can rely on–the civil attorneys to coerce their clients to obey the rules, including to hand over to the other side incriminating evidence. Generally your better attorneys have enough to lose from being disbarred that this assumption works, but, of course, there are attorneys who calculate the risks differently.

        • Will J. Richardson
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

          If suit is filed and discovery proceeds, Gleick will have to produce his computers and identify others to which he had access during the relevant period. Remember that his email as “heartlandinsider” specifically expressed the intention to destroy evidence in an attempt to cover his back trail. If he cannot produce a computer which contains his “phishing” emails, he will have a hard time convincing a court that he did not destroy evidence of creating the fraudulent memo.

          Because he has a high powered lawyer, I presume the lawyer has made proper provision for the preservation of what evidence remains.

      • theduke
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:00 PM | Permalink

        Mosh: the cases are similar. You have an internet crime in which the perpetrator uses illegal means to access private information that can be used to harm and or embarrass an individual (or individuals.) Both involved grave invasions of privacy. I think Gleick’s crime is more serious since he compromised the privacy of many individuals and may have caused much more damage to Heartland than Palin incurred.

        If he’s not prosecuted like young Kernell, it’s because the Heartland people are relatively anonymous and Palin is very well-known. The people in the halls of justice who decide these things are themselves well-known and want to make sure what happened to her doesn’t happen to them. So they decide to prosecute Pernell to make him an example. If they don’t prosecute Kernell, Palin has the notoriety to make them look very bad. HI lacks her celebrity, you might say. That’s my mostly conjectural opinion.

        The rest of what you say re Gleick and Mann is spot on. You asked the right question about Gleick. His name in that position in the forged document was incongruous. He probably thought that by putting his name in there people would be less likely to suspect him.

        • theduke
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

          I might also add that the converse of what I say above is also true as many have noted: Gleick may not be prosecuted because he’s much more well-known and well-connected than Kernell.

          That said, I believe there is still a strong possibility of an indictment here. The FBI has said they are investigating and Heartland is cooperating.

        • Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

          duke… watch your language.. I’m gunna pick on you ( nuttin personal)

          “Mosh: the cases are similar. You have an internet crime in which the perpetrator uses illegal means to access private information that can be used to harm and or embarrass an individual (or individuals.) Both involved grave invasions of privacy.”

          My ass is similar to a hole in the ground, but I can tell the difference between them. Note how you slip the word “grave” in without any justification.

          If you want to compare hacking Palin versus stealing from HI..
          Then do a proper comparison.

          gosh, didn’t any of you learn to do a compare and contrast paper.

          part of the decision to prosecute could be governed by the stature of the victim. But again, you need to identify the characters in the play

        • theduke
          Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

          I used “grave” mostly in relation to THI. The exposure of employees and Bast’s frank evaluations of them and their performance, the salaries of each, etc I consider grave violations of privacy. I will grant you Palin’s violation was less so, but I found this little bit on Wiki:

          John McCain’s campaign condemned the incident, saying it was a “shocking invasion of the governor’s privacy and a violation of law”.[18] Barack Obama’s spokesman Bill Burton called the hacking “outrageous”.[14]

          “Grave,” “shocking,” “outrageous,” equals bad no matter how you look at it.

        • steven mosher
          Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

          I dont see the disclosure of HI stuff as that “grave” with the exception of the disclosure about the performance of certain employees.

          On balance we didnt learn very much about HI from the disclosure. On balance they are not very important.
          What is harmed? perhaps their ability to raise funds. Perhaps. Time will tell. Let me put it
          uncharitably as one who sits on the board of 2 501 c3. Non profits aint very important. Their secrets
          aint very important. Their right to speak is less important in my mind than an individuals. Their
          privacy is less important. Note: I did not say unimportant. Palin’s privacy, however, I judge to be
          more important. Disrupting a campaign I judge to be more grave than a street fight with a small non profit.

          on the equities, if I am a prosecutor and I have one case that I can try: Gleick on HI, or hacker on a private party.? hacker on the private party in a heartbeat.

          My initial reaction in reading the documents was sympathy for the employees who had their difficulties put into the public sphere. Now, comes the question who do they have recourse against? Gleick or HI or both.. and desmogblog of course.

        • steven mosher
          Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

          There is more to Gleick’s writing at Forbes than meets the eye. Gleick was being groomed as a new warrior.

          Look. This is really simple to understand. For sometime now we have been commenting on the total failure of
          the activist wing. Its a branding failure and a communication failure. They are really stupid.

          They spent time studying how the message of climategate spread. And they hired some folks to help them get there message out. There are several initiatives working on various fronts. None of them effectively.

          To someone in PR and Marcom this stuff is utterly transparent.

          Repositioning a war meme with a street fight meme.
          Moving to a social media platform
          recruiting “conservatives” to speak for the cause
          Launching a new product ( Gleick) in a premium channel ( WSJ, Forbes )
          More straight science blogs on specific topics to divide and conquer.
          recruiting volunteers to monitor conversations at skeptical blogs and respond.
          The silly attempts to be funny and do “humanizing” pieces around scientists.

          All of this stuff is SOP. Now, this isnt a conspiracy. This is just the natural result of them THINKING INSIDE THE BOX. They are all inside the box thinkers. So they will repeat what folks have done in the past. Like machines. Utterly predictable.

        • Tom C
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

          Steve Mosher –

          You forgot one important item on your list of climate activist PR initiatives:

          * Design “rapid-response” superhero costumes

          Utterly predictable? Um, OK, with these guys – I get your point.

      • neill
        Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

        Glad I’m not in the dock with Mosher as prosecutor.

  45. jimbrock
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    As an old, retired lawyer, let me complain once more. I guess I have complained about this for over 60 years.

    The legal doctrine of “innocent until proved guilty” does NOT mean that a person does not become guilty until the verdict is in. It is a PROCEDURAL doctrine which places the burden on the prosecution to make a prima facie case before the defendant has to do squat. It is a rule of trial procedure, nothing more.

    Over the years it has entered into the popular vocabulary to mean something quite different.


    • Pat Frank
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

      Jim, the law isn’t necessarily about justice. But people are interested in justice first and foremost. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a fine cultural concept to forestall mob justice.

      As a scientist, I see people abuse the meaning of “theory” all the time — sometimes by lawyers. Every professional suffers from popular abuse of semantics.

      People evolve the language and professionals hold the line of meaning inside the discipline. It’s a chore we are all forced to endure.

      • ChE
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

        Actually, it’s a tri-state. There’s guilty, there’s not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and then there’s innocent. It’s extremely rare for a court to find someone “innocent”. An example of this rare situation would be the Duke Lacrosse defendants, who were actually exonerated, and the judge apologized from the bench. That doesn’t happen very often. Most defendants are never found “innocent”.

        • johanna
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

          Yep, or as the Scots (a very subtle people) call it in Scots law, ‘not proven’. It means, you probably did it, but we can’t prove it. Whereas, a verdict of ‘not guilty’ means you walk away with an untarnished reputation.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 3:22 AM | Permalink

          Yes, I used that old term in one of my upthread posts

          It sums up quite well where I believe the Gleick&PDF issue currently lays, although some posts are more vehement about it

          One post from a retired lawyer maintained that the “presumption of innocence” was simply procedural lip service before a trial, but he did concede that the burden of proof is on the prosecution. Such cynicism from a lawyer – I’m shocked 🙂

        • Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

          The presumption of innocence is procedural. There is no rational basis for preferring this procedure in all matters. There are many examples from
          business and life where one does not presume innocence. If your employer requires drug testing, innocence is not presumed. You have to prove the case.
          The TSA does not presume you are innocent of being a threat to others on a plane, you have to prove it.

          The presumption, one could argue, depends on the matter. In this case, since gleick is small potatoes, since the alleged act ( faking a memo) is inconsequential, the danger from presuming wrongly is mousenuts in the grand scheme of things.

          Look, every investigator of a crime goes through a process where they select people of interest. They dont presume innocence. They also go through excercises of ruling people out. They dont presume innocence.

          in both cases they presume GUILT. They presume that X did the deed, and they then try to rule the person in or rule the person out.

          Its utterly pedestrian to assume guilt and then try to make the case or break the case. the “system” then has a proceedure which starts with a different presumption. Presumed innocent. This is a check against the presumption of investigators.

          I know of no argument that says I must adopt the procedure of a court in my everyday life. We don’t hold power over Glieck. It’s our opinion, and not a fact. ?

          when a man punches you in the face,let me know if you presume him

        • Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

          I’ve enjoyed your presumption crescendo
          And your small stuff, “mousenuts” innuendo
          One thing I would suggest:
          Prosecutors at best
          Assume people’s guilt arguendo

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

        • Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 1:48 AM | Permalink

          lovely and apt. you’ve a knack
          for wicked good rhymes.

        • kim
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

          Oh, I’m playing Natalie Merchant non-stop, jalousie is so jaune.

        • ChE
          Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

          Presumption of innocence is related to the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt”. It’s only applicable in criminal matters. It simply says that there’s a high hurdle for the prosecution to get over. That’s all it is. In a civil case, they can take your house and car on pretty flimsy “preponderance of evidence” grounds. If you’re looking at prison time, they have to prove guilt to a much higher standard.

          Remember OJ Simpson. They got his stuff in the civil suit, but they didn’t get his butt in the criminal trial (though that was probably a prosecution screw-up, but that’s a whole other story).

        • ianl8888
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 12:22 AM | Permalink

          Its utterly pedestrian to assume guilt and then try to make the case or break the case. the “system” then has a proceedure which starts with a different presumption. Presumed innocent. This is a check against the presumption of investigators.

          Agreed -I’ve made that point several times. I stand by the presumption of innocence as a principled position, but as my 1st post noted, I regard Gleick as a paranoid dipstick who succeeded through self-admitted fraud (false ID) in damaging the donor base of HI (although long term damage, who knows ?) He may have also committed forgery but the evidence so far is circumstantial. If you want to think him guilty of forgery by circumstance in your daily life this is entirely your prerogative (no contest), but I regard that as unprincipled … end of my end of story

  46. Gary
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    One difference so far between these episodes is the case of Charles Colson, who confessed his part in the Watergate cover-up, served seven months in federal prison, had an epiphany, and when on to develop a ministry of saving lives instead of destroying them.

    • Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

      But would Colson have had this change of heart if the full force of justice wasn’t meted out on Libby and then on from there? A fascinating question and something I was already thinking about as I read Steve’s post. It’s not just a theoretical question: it could be one of the key problems if Gleick faces no consequences for his misdeeds. No real changes of heart at all.

      I first heard Colson in the 70s introduced by Michael Allison the British MP who went on to be Thatcher’s private secretary when she was PM. His books Born Again and Life Sentence give a fascinating and totally different slant what we think of as a familiar story. You don’t have to buy everything the guy came to believe to learn from them, in my view.

      • Gary
        Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

        IIRC, Colson began to regret aspects of his life as Watergate was developing – family problems, a son with substance abuse issues, etc. The punishment he received certainly gave him time to reflect. The exceptional result was his change of heart and the positive ministry (actually reducing recidivism in the justice system by counseling prisoners one-on-one and restoring their families). None of the other principals in the affair redeemed as much of their lives as Colson has.

        • Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

          His son’s problems came later, as I recall. The regret about parts of his life was real, based on his own account. Three other ingredients are noteworthy: the humiliation Colson felt as prosecutors and judges played hardball with an administration he was particularly loyal to; the courage of Tom Phillips, CEO of Raytheon, in reading Colson a whole chapter on pride by CS Lewis, late one night, which had a devastating impact on him; and the love and acceptance of political opponents with a Christian faith.

          I’m in no position to judge anyone else’s reaction to Watergate but there was something very humbling about what Colson had to go through – humbling, uplifting and often very funny. Two excellent reads.

  47. E. Z. Duzzit
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    In a better world both sides of this issue would remain focused on the pertinent science.

    I am a skeptic, but I suspect skepticism’s best spokespersons are letting the excitement of uncovering chicanery distract us all from the all important message. That message, of course, is that the warmist’s science is terminally faulty. But just as we claim that consensus is irrelevant to true science, so too strong evidence of fraud and lies is ultimately irrelevant.

    Show me scientifically convincing evidence that our planet is/is not warming dangerously. Let the rest remain secondary – please.

    (This message also being sent to JunkScience and Watts Up with That.)

    • Jan
      Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

      Yes in a better world. Unfortunately, this has not been about science for quite some time. It has become a political and public relations exercise for some. For others, faith in CAGW is the equivalent of a modern-day religion, complete with attempts to convert the young and the non-believer with nonsensical, simplistic, exhortations like, ‘the science is settled’.

      The zeal with which some of its acolytes pursue the ’cause’ often reminds me of the hymn ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’. No doubt some of these men of science would be horrified at the thought.

      As discussed in this thread, I have never understood why any climate-scientist would resort to declaring war against anybody, especially those, like our host, who legitimately question and in many cases try to improve on their work.

      As in “The Mouse that Roared” (only in this case it’s more like an elephant), the war seems to be declared for reasons that are unsophisticated, myopic, entirely self-serving and thus questionable. Had these warriors been more willing to declare interests, understand adversaries and negotiate some common ground, they would have been much better off. So would the science. So would we all.

      At this stage, exposing their silly war games is certainly fair game and, I think, productive. Perhaps they will yet be schooled in the art of war. Though, I don’t hold out much hope.

      For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.
      Sun Tzu

  48. theduke
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    I’d like to commend Steve on the deft analogy he’s created between Gleick’s crime and that of the Watergate conspirators. The fact that no one has challenged the appropriateness of it suggests it’s on the money.

  49. neill
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    Kim2000 Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 11:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Why isn’t he arrested yet?”


  50. michael hart
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

    I was quite young when the Watergate events events happened, but I read an obituary of Nixon’s which cited his trip to China as his outstanding achievement. I also recall a quote indicating that he was well aware of what China was likely to become, based on it’s large population.

    But there are other more pertinent quotes for this blog. Such as:
    “Well, I screwed it up real good, didn’t I?”- Richard M Nixon

    PS After the recent IPCC jolly in South Africa I read quite a few comments highly commending the stance adopted by Canada 🙂

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

      I used to think Nixon was at the top of the list of prominent people who had a hard time addmitting he was wrong and saying he was sorry, but he has been so dethroned recently…

      • ChE
        Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

        Maybe Gleick needs a dog named Checkers.

  51. Richard T. Fowler
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:18 PM | Permalink


    A minor point, but perhaps an important one (since education systems are not what they used to be, and thus one cannot assume too much about one’s audience today):

    There was only one Kennedy administration.


    • Richard T. Fowler
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

      Oh, if you are using the term “administration” to mean “government”, then perhaps it makes sense from a Canadian viewpoint. But in the U.S. the term “presidential administration” is synonymous with a presidential term, which lasts up to four years and does not change over with a mid-term housecleaning. So it really comes across strange when I read it.

      Other than that, looks like a really good piece. Thank you very much for your hard work.


      • ChE
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

        Sometimes it lasts 8 years (2 terms). In those cases, the whole 8 years is considered one administration. FDR died in his 4th term. There was one FDR administration.

        • Richard T. Fowler
          Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

          Hmm, I guess you’re right.


    • RomanM
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

      Just as well. At the time of John Kennedy’s administration, a joke was going around:

      First John would be in office for 8 years (Ed. Note: He was elected in 1960), then Bobby would be elected president for eight years, and then Teddy would be president for eight years, and then … it would be 1984. 🙂

      • Gary Mount
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 11:36 PM | Permalink

        In the science fiction movie ‘A Boy And His Dog’ (1975), the following dialog took place:

        Blood: Now let’s run through the modern Presidents.
        Vic: What good’s all this history crap gonna do me?
        Blood: Just do the Presidents.
        Vic: Oh, God!-Eisenhower, Truman…
        Blood: Truman, Eisenhower
        Vic: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy…

  52. André van Delft
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

    Watergate had Ehrlichmann.
    Climategate has Ehrlich and Mann.
    German for “honest” and “man”.

    • E. Z. Duzzit
      Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

      and your point?

      • neill
        Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 6:11 PM | Permalink

        Perhaps a perspective on whether the men mentioned are being reliably honest regarding the issue in question — or not. Given Ehrlich’s dubious track record, and substantive criticism of Mann’s hockey stick, I lean toward the latter.

  53. Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    From Direct and Circumstantial Evidence, Criminal and Jury Instructions

    There are, generally speaking, two kinds of evidence, direct and circumstantial. Direct evidence is testimony by a witness about what that witness personally saw or heard or did. Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence, that is, evidence from which you could find that another fact exists, even though it has not been proved directly. There is no legal distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence as far as probative value; the law permits you to give equal weight to both, but it is for you to decide how much weight to give to any particular evidence.

    This is pretty much what they told us for a WA state Jury and I expect most or all states look at it the same way.

  54. Chad Jessup
    Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

    Steve – excellent article about the Ellsberg/Gleick dissimilarity. I would like to add that the Pentagon Papers revealed that out government will knowingly present lies to the public to further the cause of a certain economic sector, the Gore/CAGW debacle being a continuation of that process.

    Having served in naval intelligence during the Vietnam war, I don’t believe anything our govenment says until verified by an independent, reputable source.

  55. Frank
    Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 1:37 AM | Permalink

    Steve: In 2002, Ellsberg published an fascinating book, “Secrets”, of his journey from Marine Corp officer, Cold Warrior, and PhD economist (decision theory) to anti-war protester and leaker of the Pentagon Papers. The story goes includes RAND, DOD, a year in the field in Vietnam studying pacification programs and writing parts of the Pentagon Papers. According to Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers go back to 1946 and the Truman administration’s decision to support French attempts to regain control of IndoChina. Ellsberg’s principle reason for disclosing the study was that the Pentagon Papers and his personal experience showed that five US presidents consistently ignored the advice from their top advisors and adopted, for political reasons, a course of action that deepened American commitment to Vietnam, but which no advisor thought would lead to long-term success. When NcNamara became convinced that the Vietnam War wasn’t likely to end in victory (an opinion that would soon cost him his job), he ordered an exhaustive review of the accuracy of all of the information that had been presented to presidents through early 1968, so future leaders might understand where things went wrong.

  56. Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 2:12 AM | Permalink

    To make a closer comparison to Watergate, you’d need to find a connection from Gleick to the White House. I suggest there is one, but you need to step back farther and remember who Glieck’s friends are, while considering that the general assertion that skeptic climate scientists are corrupt goes much further back in time. Gleick sent his docs on to Desmogblog, who happens to have anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan as its top blogger. Al Gore claims Gelbspan discovered a particular leaked coal industry memo from long ago that proves the guilt of skeptic scientists, yet Gore himself inadvertently admitted in his 1992 book that he had the memo set at his Senate office. This was years before Gelbspan first mentioned them.

    I covered this larger view of the Gleick / Watergate comparison in my 2/27 article “Fakegate Opens a Door: More than meets the eye in the Heartland controversy” , and I pointed out Gore’s problematic ties with the smear of skeptic scientists last June: “There is a Cancer Growing on the IPCC and Al Gore”

    Dig deep into any accusation that skeptic scientists are corrupt, and they all ultimately spiral back to Gelbspan’s so-called evidence ‘coal industry memo evidence’ (which itself was taken apparently out-of-context). Gelbspan had ties to the old Ozone Action group at the same time when he started promoting his accusation, and just a few years later, Ozone Action was dealing with George Woodwell, John Holdren and a person in the White House in order to counteract Art Robinson’s Oregon Petition Project in 1998, as I described in my Nov ’11 article, “White House Involved in Warmist Smear Campaign”

    Looks to me like this current Gleick thing is only the latest effort in an otherwise larger, older effort to marginalize critics of AGW that has too many ties to the Clinton/Gore White House….

  57. Alan Watt
    Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 5:56 AM | Permalink

    My favorite memory of the Watergate saga: when Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox, the newspaper headline (I forget where) read:

    Impeach the Cox-Sacker!

  58. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    The Pentagon papers remained classified by the US government until last year.

    “Article I, Section 6 of the United States Constitution provides that “for any Speech or Debate in either House, [a Senator or Representative] shall not be questioned in any other Place”, thus the Senator could not be prosecuted for anything said on the Senate floor, and, by extension, for anything entered to the Congressional Record, allowing the Papers to be publicly read without threat of a treason trial and conviction. This was confirmed by the Supreme Court in the decision Gravel v. United States…

    …The (Nixon) administration argued Ellsberg and Russo were guilty of a felony under the Espionage Act of 1917, because they had no authority to publish classified documents…

    …Federal District Judge William Matthew Byrne, Jr. declared a mistrial and dismissed all charges against Ellsberg [and Russo] on May 11, 1973, after several irregularities appeared in the government’s case, including its claim that it had lost records of illegal wiretapping against Ellsberg conducted by the White House Plumbers in the contemporaneous Watergate scandal.[3] Byrne ruled: “The totality of the circumstances of this case which I have only briefly sketched offend a sense of justice. The bizarre events have incurably infected the prosecution of this case.”

    The laws that would make it a criminal offense to reveal what was revealed in the Pentagon papers has not been truly tested yet in the courts as the Ellsberg case was declared a mistrial.

  59. CBB
    Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    It occurred to me the other day that “Global Warming” has become the Vietnam for the environmental movement. In the same way that the war in Indochina was an extension of WW II and the containment of Communism, Global Warming is the extension of many great achievements of environmentalism such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act that have transformed the US. “Global Warming” though has the same problem with false underpinnings that plagued the war in Vietnam. I would equate the “hockey stick” with the “domino theory”.

    After WW II everyone was a patriot. To disagree with the Vietnam War (and to a lesser extent the Korean War) was to be “un-American” or worse “a commie fag”. After the 60′ and 70’s everyone was an environmentalist. To be skeptical about CAGW is now called being a “denier” or worse, “anti-science”.

    I would guess that all of the readers of this blog would consider themselves “environmentalists” the same way that all anti-war activists considered themselves “patriots”.

    The questioning of the war in Vietnam did not accelerate until those returning started to question the reason for being there and whether it was a winnable war. This included not only the soldiers, but also the officers and CIA analysts. Nowadays we have scientists slowly coming out against the CAGW. There is no question in my mind that FOIA is an insider who leaked the Climategate documents after the same sort of crisis of conscience that befell Daniel Ellsberg.

    I met Daniel Ellsberg in high school in the late 1970’s and his message at the time is was basically that “someone is always lying to you and you need to be informed to find out what is really going on.” Like most readers here I started out at RealClimate trying to get to the bottom of the global warming science, but smelled a rat. I am now a certified skeptical commie fag.

    • theduke
      Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

      That’s a good analogy, but i find one minor fault with it:

      I would argue that it wasn’t so much the average guy returning from Vietnam who accelerated opposition to the war. I had a friend who served two tours of duty in Vietnam. Our group of friends in high school all had fathers who were WWII vets and we were mostly pro-military, pro-war types. But around 1967, after many of us had gone to college, that began to change. And it wasn’t because of the returning veterans, it was because of anti-war activism on college campuses and in the media (Walter Cronkite’s reports come to mind.)

      My friend came home after being shot down in a helicopter the last week of his second tour. He wasn’t hurt, but he was bewildered by the change in all of us who had become actively anti-war, if not anti-military, while he was away. In Vietnam, they were in a closed environment and knew little about what was going on in the States.

      Eventually he joined with us in opposing the war. I went with him to the first Veterans Against the War march in Washington in 1970 or 71, I believe.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

        I went to university during the height of the anti-war movement; its songs are the anthems of my youth. Toronto is a very liberal city and was a major destination of U.S. draft resisters, who were welcomed at our campus. I also traveled to Cambodia in 1968 during the apex of U.S. casualties (it’s hard to imagine doing this sort of thing today). This was just prior to the expansion of the war to Cambodia and the Killing Fields. Present-day American genuflection to the military is literally foreign to me.

        In the early days of my climate writing (and since), I was treated with considerable caution by Republicans because I compared our work to that of a CIA analyst who said that an aluminum tube was sometimes just an aluminum tube and not evidence of WMD; this was not to say that a war could not be justified on other grounds, but those other grounds had to be argued and war could not be justified on the evidence of the aluminum tubes. The Hockey Stick was the same for me. They liked my opinion on the Hockey Stick but not the implication for the Iraq War.

        I totally reject the warmongering ideology of Mann and others – regardless of whether they call it a “street fight” or a “war”. In my opinion, Mann has used this imagery and ideology for highly personal reasons – to deflect and cover up valid criticisms of defects in his pseudo-scientific work. AMac can vouch for the bizarre history of Mann’s upside-down sediments, over and above the bristlecones, verification r2 of 0 etc.

        In my opinion, if the climate scientific establishment wishes to persuade the broader educated public, it should abjure the imagery and practice of warmongering, street fights and dirty tricks, and try what I’ve long advocated: a detailed ‘engineering-quality” exposition of feedbacks and climate sensitivity and equivalent engineering-quality assessment of impacts by truly independent analysts untainted by NGO affiliatons.

        • PhilH
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

          Interestingly, my impression is that it was Al Gore who first started using the expression, “I will fight for this…,” every time he was campaigning. Now it has become ubiquitous in political discourse. I have even written to the Charlotte Observer, our hometown newspaper, suggesting that the editorial board stop using that expression.

        • steven mosher
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

          treasure hunt.

          find the first place Gore analogized the fight on climate change to WWII.

          I believe it was prior to Goodman calling skeptics holocaust deniers

        • PhilH
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

          My first cousin served for three terms in the US Congress with Gore. He told me that Tipper Gore was a very nice lady but that Al was a first class jerk.

        • Posted Mar 19, 2012 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

          An Ecological Kristallnacht may be worth a try, written by Gore for the New York Times 23 years ago today, the same month Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first proposal at CERN for what become the World Wide Web. The Times seeing fit to file the digital version as HTML under ‘COLLECTIONS>HOLOCAUST’.

        • Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

          A 1968 trip to Cambodia is remarkable in its own right and sparks a memory or two. Staying with my grandmother in Auckland early in 1976, before going up to Pembroke College, Cambridge, I saw a one paragraph story in a leading NZ newspaper about the Kymer Rouge moving most of the population out of Phnom Penh and abolishing religion. There was no commentary and no talk of atrocities but, at eighteen, I saw at once the mania of the killing fields. While at Cambridge the Sunday Times Insight team broke the story of the full horror, the first major expose in the Western media of which I was aware. When I went back to Pembroke for a reunion of mathematicians in 2003, partly to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the death of Stokes of Navier-Stokes fame, I learned that the Insight team was started by another talented Pembroke maths graduate. But I count nothing as important for who I am, or am meant to be, as that moment in Auckland 27 years before.

          In my opinion, if the climate scientific establishment wishes to persuade the broader educated public, it should abjure the imagery and practice of warmongering, street fights and dirty tricks, and try what I’ve long advocated: a detailed ‘engineering-quality” exposition of feedbacks and climate sensitivity and equivalent engineering-quality assessment of impacts by truly independent analysts untainted by NGO affiliatons.

          Magisterial – I couldn’t agree more. But it’s another deception for Mann and others to imply that the street fight and dirty tricks only began, or needed to begin, post-Climategate. They had been going on for years before that.

          Mind you, a battle metaphor could easily have been applied (and probably was this morning by lazy journalists) to the midfield at the Emirates football stadium in north London last night, where Arsenal saw off a spirited challenge from Newcastle. Even the names of the two teams relate to offensive and defensive warfare. It’s the oldest metaphor in the book and doesn’t in itself imply that those using it dwell in darkness.

          The single piece of rhetoric for me proving evil intent in the climate wars is ‘denier’ and its cognates. Henry Kissinger and Charles Colson provided contrasting examples of this term in the last decade, one in response to the critique of Christopher Hitchens (worth googling) and the other in appreciation of Edwin Black (the New York Times journalist probably not being a natural ally in bygone days) on the story of eugenics, including in the United States:

          Six decades of denial is enough.

          I’ll let the reader decide which example I find most apposite. And what kind of use reveals far more about the person employing it than any intended target.

  60. Follow the Money
    Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    “As the Simpsons cartoon so brilliantly showed, bullies. Not always the guy who is right.”

    Just to be clear, Gliek may have a “milhous” appearance or not, but Milhous in the cartoon is not the bully. That is, Lisa is on a campaign to fight mercury pollution in her town. Milhous tells her he carries very much about the planet. Nelson the bully shows up and says, as a dare, “Say global warming is a myth.” Milhous does so and adds “further study is needed.” Then Nelson punches him, declaring, “That’s for selling out your beliefs.”

    It is an excellent example of warmist reasoning. The writers want you to take the position of agreeing with Nelson for once. But Milhous did not sell out, he said what he really believes, and he is not the bully. Glieck is basically conceding, by projection, that he stands on the big boys side.

    The cartoon felt like it was selling the idea that if you are against mercury in water, you must also be a warmist. It is “politically correct thinking,” in the traditional Marxist party-line conformity enforcing fashion.

  61. sergeiMK
    Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

    Now here’s a thought (backed up with as much proof as the rest of the accusations here!)

    Gleick – a thorn in the side of HI.

    Removal of thorn:

    HI generate a memo writing it in the style of Gleick, mentioning Gleick by name.
    Hi send it to Gleick in the hope that it will prompt G to try to verify the info.
    Stir G with a few barbed comments about coming to a conference to act as the entertainment.

    Wait for reaction.

    Success – Gleick does the silly.

    Whatever G now does the memo will point to him as author – it is written that way. Hopefully he will have binned the envelope.

    Start up Fakegate and you have one discredited warmist.

    A question for Mosher.
    Why would Gleick not change his writing style for the memo? After all, he KNOWS it will be scrutinized. Why draw attention to himself by writing like himself?

    • Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

      The chance that Heartland would guess Gleick
      Would react this way, and he would pick
      Out of all actions, fraud!
      Well, that seems rather odd
      If it’s true then their model’s quite slick!

      And if you’re going out on a limb
      To encourage someone who seemed prim
      To place himself in hock
      With such a crude doc …
      Why would you make it written like him?

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

    • Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 1:55 AM | Permalink

      because he is dumber than you are.

      He wrote it in one sitting with minimal revision. Probably nervous as hell.
      Most people don’t think that their style is recognizable. Much of the memo was plagarized anyway. Again, he was not thinking ahead. Think crime of passion.
      valentines day. this is his little love note to Taylor.

      • Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

        Probably nervous as hell.

        I agree, including the first word. We’re in the realm of probably, not provably, but extreme nervousness is an essential part of the picture for me.

        • steven mosher
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

          Funny Joshua over at Judith’s first remarked that the smoking gun sentence in the smoking gun paragraph of the smoking gun memo, appeared to be miswritten.. Indeed, it didnt really parse correctly. That and a couple of the comma mistakes ( not oxford comma issues ) and the mistake about the 88 K and the 90K mistake WRT to Watts, and the straight lifting of a line from Wojick bio, would lead me to believe that he wrote it in one sitting. Had he left it for a week or so and come back to it, it would have been much better.

          Look. If you spend any amount of time grading freshman composition, you come to recognize some of the performance errors that otherwise good writers make. After a rewrite you see attention to details. You see sentence complexity both increase and decrease.

          Look at Steve’s writing. That’s some massive rewriting going on. His prose is very dense. I can tell that he works hard at it. Read it aloud. It wasnt written as one speaks. That is fine for the kinds of topics he discusses. You are forced to attend to the intricacies of thought. It is a cerebral style, not oratorical.
          Gleick is lazy and run on and sloppy. He writes as he speaks and stumbles when it comes time to add a complication, subordination, or qualifier.

        • PaddikJ
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 1:35 AM | Permalink

          After I became aware of L’Affair Gleick I immediately searched out copies of the stolen H.I. docs. I read the fake memo first and that smoking gun sentence was the first thing jumped out at me – really awkward construction, meaning not clear.

          The second thing was the mention of Gleick. Huh?, I thought; Isn’t he that water guy in S.F.? I know he’s made some climate noise, but why would H.I. think he’s “high profile?”

          Then I got wind of Mosh’s sleuthing over at Lucia’s and had a look. “Aha!” But also really pathetic – some wannabe trying to puff himself up as a Player in the climate wars (although on reflection I suppose he could have just been trying to raise his and his NGO’s profile . . . nah. I still agree w/ Mosh – this was a crime of passion, and that kind of PR stunt would have required some cold calculation).

      • theduke
        Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

        Exactly. He’s a scientist, not a linguist. At that point in time, he was an agitated scientist.

        Also: the idea that Heartland set Gleick up is ridiculous. As if he was some kind of imminent threat to them.

      • sergeiMK
        Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 8:08 PM | Permalink

        steven mosher Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 1:55 AM
        He wrote it in one sitting with minimal revision.
        Wow Mosher you have some amazing contacts to KNOW this!

        SM – Probably nervous as hell
        Oh come on. The perpetrator was in control – he hid his ip address, he destroyed his email account etc.

        SM – Most people don’t think that their style is recognizable. Much of the memo was plagarized anyway. Again, he was not thinking ahead. Think crime of passion
        didn’t you write:
        “The crime is not about the science. not about the cause. The motive, the governing emotion, is anger and revenge. Brought on by humiliation, fanned by pride.

        It’s personal. It’s always personal. People tend to look for political motivations or the cause as a motivation.
        Those are the rationalizations, NOT the motive.”

        If G was involved he posts on Blogs. He KNOWS how to hide his identity – changing writing styles according to circumstances. Your assumptions are worse than my suggexting HI created a sting for G!

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

          steven mosher Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 1:55 AM
          He wrote it in one sitting with minimal revision.
          Wow Mosher you have some amazing contacts to KNOW this!


          That’s pretty clear to me. If he was a genius and let the memo sit for a day, he would
          have spotted the problematic sentence as other readers did. Do I know it? Of course not.

          SM – Probably nervous as hell
          Oh come on. The perpetrator was in control – he hid his ip address, he destroyed his email account etc.

          idiot. You can’t destroy a gmail account. You can’t hide the IP when you use a gmail account.
          Google logs the IP that you create the account from. Google logs the IP every time you sign in.
          The IP is encrypted for people who get the mail, but it’s not hidden from google.

          SM – Most people don’t think that their style is recognizable. Much of the memo was plagarized anyway. Again, he was not thinking ahead. Think crime of passion
          didn’t you write:
          “The crime is not about the science. not about the cause. The motive, the governing emotion, is anger and revenge. Brought on by humiliation, fanned by pride.

          It’s personal. It’s always personal. People tend to look for political motivations or the cause as a motivation.
          Those are the rationalizations, NOT the motive.”

          If G was involved he posts on Blogs. He KNOWS how to hide his identity – changing writing styles according to circumstances. Your assumptions are worse than my suggexting HI created a sting for G!


          he doesnt know how to hide his writing style. Not from me. And not from others I would wager.
          And yes, I think it was a crime of passion as I described. He wasnt thinking. If he was thinking
          he would have understood that FOIA showed people exactly how to do this without leaving a simple
          trail. Duh.

        • ChE
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

          Which brings us to the next point – that anybody with any cybersense will do this kind of thing from a notebook with a spoofed IP at Starbucks. A Starbucks quite a ways from where you live and work. Either that, of if he’s an ubernerd, he could create and access the gmail over a Russian proxy.

          Of course, it’s moot since he sang. It’s never going to be discovered.

        • ChE
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

          *Spoofed MAC.

        • Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

          Notice that Gleick who laid it on thick purportedly writing this memo
          Had an ego quite large (and it was in charge): Of that, this whole farce is a demo

          But it’s not “strength of ego,” it elsewhere that we go to judge here the strength of the person
          I think moral skills will fail as he spills his guts in his depo-conversin’

          Would he, under oath, risk jail, fines (or both) protecting his cause? No, he’ll squeal!
          If he’s in that position, at some deposition, his actions he’ll quickly reveal.

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

        • Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

          ho hum. dope.

          like I said, he couldnt hide

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

      If HI were smart enough to sting Gleick they would not have sent him a memo that had mistakes.
      To do that sting correctly you would create a complete set of fake documents.
      fake memo AND fake board documents. The fake memo gets things wrong. Any idiot can see the
      problems on first read. So sending a fake document with mistakes and then sending REAL document
      with the correct figures risks detection. To do a sting right you’d send a complete set of fake documents.

      Sorry. You fail your counter intelligence test.

      • sergeiMK
        Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 12:29 AM | Permalink

        Oh come on . You call me an idiot . but im sure you have seen TOR ? A different ip address every login .

        Simple to create an email account – just use the valid address/zip of a book publisher etc . in the country where you pretend to originate .

        Now we have no traceable ip and no traceable email origin . Cancelling an email address may not remove the data but it is a bit of a dead end if you follow the above !

        I used to expose criminals on ebay and you do not mess with traceable locations if doing that !

        One has to ask why 2 separate people responded to G’s info requests ( one with a signature and one without ) from HI – they seem to be the ones with mental problems !
        One has to ask why they simply responded to the address ADDED by G and not to the original simultaneously ?

        SM ; “If HI were smart enough to sting Gleick they would not have sent him a memo that had mistakes.
        To do that sting correctly you would create a complete set of fake documents.
        fake memo AND fake board documents. The fake memo gets things wrong. Any idiot can see the
        problems on first read. So sending a fake document with mistakes and then sending REAL document
        with the correct figures risks detection”
        Why do they need to fake documents there is nothing ” nasty ” in them ; it is the memo that has the “kill science” statement .

        if the errors you refer to are the handouts to watts ; then I see nothing wrong with the statement “around $90,000” when referring to $88,000 .

        • Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 12:50 AM | Permalink

          Re: sergeiMK (Mar 14 00:29),

          There are much larger errors than that. The amounts, the years given, and the purpose of the Koch foundation funds would be one of the bigger ones.

        • Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 12:53 AM | Permalink

          Re: sergeiMK (Mar 14 00:29),

          Seriously, it’s much easier to believe that Gleick was careless and incompetent than it is to believe Heartland was a super genius and could think so far ahead they could induce Gleick into not only committing an embarrassing crime, but exactly, move by move as they intended him to simply by sending him a document.

        • Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 2:19 AM | Permalink

          Yes, and they had to believe that a mcarthur genius was dumb enough to be fooled.

          1. they had to believe he would not spot the errors
          2. that he would not spot the proceedural defects in the document
          3. that he would not immediately contact the press
          4. that he would use a traceable email account.
          5. that the admins would be fooled when he phished.
          6. that I would spot him within hours and that he would confess.
          7. and they had to understand zipfs law and plant a rarely used word
          in the document that Gleick uses
          8. they had to believe that if he went to the press, that the press would not
          see the fake as a fake
          Super genius.. except a super genius wouldnt do the sting that way.

        • theduke
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

          The thing about conspiracy theorists is that their theories usually tell us much more about the theorist than they do about the actual event upon which they speculate.

        • Punksta
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

          The thing about conspiracy theorists is that their theories usually tell us much more about the theorist than they do about the actual event upon which they speculate.

          And the thing about Conspiracy Theorist theorists, is they usually say things like the above in lieu of a credible critique of a given conspiracy theory.

        • Punksta
          Posted Mar 20, 2012 at 12:49 AM | Permalink

          SIX days in moderation ??

        • Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 2:02 AM | Permalink


          the 90K isnt the error.

          again, I dont suggest you take a job in intel.

        • johanna
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 4:16 AM | Permalink

          Actually, the $88k citation was an error. Anthony Watts has clarified that this was the total cost of the project, but that Heartland was looking at contributing about half of that amount.

        • Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

          One reason you would fake the board documents is to avoid the kind of exposure they would face from the employee whose poor performance was called out in the real documents. If I were her I’d sue them and Gleick. Also, if you were out to trick gleick you would not reveal any more than you had to. Like the Watts collaboration. And if you were trying to trick gleick you’d send him a BETTER FAKE. like one with a date, with a signature,
          with a proper header and footer indicating confidentiality.

          If your smart enough to sting him your smart enough to make a document that doesnt look fake on its FACE. doh.

        • sergeiMK
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

          OK I have now actually looked at the HI papers.

          I now know:
          a) the 2012 fundraising plant is written by the same person as wrote the memo
          b) HI have not claimed the fundraising document is a fake (it would be impossible for an outsider to fake this in the time available.

          I think this puts the memo back in HI’s court.

          This is by virtue of applying your supersleuthness to the HI document.

          I.e. the positioning of commas vis:

          If the donor doesn’t renew, another letter is sent a month later, and a third letter is sent two months later.

          Major donors are usually approached before their renewal date by phone or email to discuss their interests, schedule a face-to-face meeting if possible, and solicit an increase in their support.

          Crowd source” the prospecting process by asking all Heartland staff, directors, and donors more than
          Oh, No! They also wrote the proposed budget:

          520,000 Direct Mail campaign for consultant, printing, mailing, and caging

          Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (FIRE),

          Center staff for creating Web site, recruiting authors, posting reviews, and overseeing writing of manuscript

          Heartland to fundraise for the project,
          edit, proof, publish, and promote the

          And then there is the broken english that you say is evidence for a nervous person producing hurried work:

          A new development committee of the Board of Directors has been created and had its first
          conference call. We expect to get names and contact information for dozens, and possibly many more, potential donors, and help reaching them.

          I know my intelligence is no more than a cocroach compared to yours, but I have checked the figures in the memo and they seem correct
          AD contribution 166415 in 2010 to 979000 in 2011
          Koch 200,000
          Wojick 25k per quarter (3 Qs so 75k – but 100K from AD promised)
          88k HI staff
          Idso 11.6k/month
          singer 500k
          Carter 1667

          so please point out the errors for I am too thick to see them

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

          I’m at a loss as to what this sentence is supposed to show:

          If the donor doesn’t renew, another letter is sent a month later, and a third letter is sent two months later.

          It isn’t a comma error. It isn’t an example of an Oxford comma. It isn’t even unusual comma usage. From the context, it appears sergeiMK thinks there is an Oxford comma (why that would prove anything is beyond me), but certainly is not one.

        • sergeiMK
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

          Click to access AmericasUncommonSense29_070210.pdf

          Hmmm! harrison Schmitt seems to have the same problem with “, and”

          Those principles are, simply: observe, hypothesize, test, analyze, retest, and repeat this cycle until plausible,

          It is factually, professionally, and absolutely wrong

          would not be the desirable outcome for vari-ous biological, economic, and esthetic rea-sons.

          I wonder what Mosher could read into this?

        • amac78
          Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

          sergeiMK (8:27 PM & 8:36 PM) —

          You don’t offer much evidence that you have comprehended any of Mosher’s points.

          Here is my new False Flag theory.

          A cabal of skeptic supervillians isn’t content with the damage that Gleick and his apologists have already caused the CAGW movement. Accordingly, they are using an alibi to seed blogs with particularly inane and disingenuous pro-Gleick commentary. Intelligent readers discern the poverty of the alibi’s arguments, thus further discrediting the supervillians’ arch-rivals.

          Of course, you could prove me wrong…

    • Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

      sergeiMK (Mar 12, 2012 at 9:52 PM)

      Mosher isn’t being particularly kind to you in this sub-thread, but credit where it’s due. You’ve actually put yourself (your pseudonym, anyway) on the line by proposing a specific Heartland-did-it theory.

      This wouldn’t seem like all that much to expect, but in L’Affaire Gleick, it is. Careless blogger Greg Laden was satisfied with a mashup of generic notions. So were most of the conspiracy enthusiasts in James Annan’s thread, annoyed that he wouldn’t play this game. And so forth.

      As Megan McArdle dismissively put it, this is Dr. Evil / secret-villain-lair stuff.

      The great virtue of a vague idea is that it cannot be falsified. When a key piece is found to have a fatal flaw — modify the theory by swapping in a different key. The Rube Goldberg can always be made to work, at least from the point of view of the believer.

      My two cents’ worth of advice: review Mosher’s objections. Then discard the Semloh Kcolrehs approach to this mysterious affair.

      To all appearances, it isn’t all that mysterious.

  62. mpaul
    Posted Mar 12, 2012 at 10:49 PM | Permalink

    Kim2000 Posted Mar 11, 2012 at 11:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Why isn’t he arrested yet?”

    As a practical matter, a US Attorney would need to seek an indictment from a Federal Grand Jury. There are two US Attorney’s who would have reason to do this. The first is the US Attorney for the Norther District of California, Melinda L. Haag. A bit about Ms. Haaq:

    Melinda Haag is serving her first term as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California. She was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate in August 2010.

    Forget it.

    The second person would be the US Attorney from the Northern District of Illinois (where HI is located), Patrick Fitzgerald. He was appointed during a Republican administration. He has a reputation for being above politics.

    • kim
      Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 12:52 AM | Permalink

      The FBI one morning
      Lost its notes suborning.
      Where is that toad?
      He’s wanted at a harrowing.

    • Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 1:58 AM | Permalink

      yeah. names. makes things clearer

    • Just Tex
      Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 3:07 AM | Permalink

      “Patrick Fitzgerald. He was appointed during a Republican administration. He has a reputation for being above politics.”

      Fitzgerald seems hardly “above politics”. The list of his investigative and prosecutorial impropriety is long. Including his abuse of power throughout the very long Valerie Plame Affair. According to respected journalist Robert Novak, whose reporting was the initial primer for that investigation, and which has never been refuted in any way, including once Novak was allowed by Fitzgerald to reveal his knowledge of the entire affair:

      “I learned Valerie Plame’s name from Joe Wilson’s entry in “Who’s Who in America.” And Novak also wrote: “Fitzgerald knew — independent of me” that Richard Armitage was Novak’s initial source.

      With that and numerous other erroneous investigations and prosecutions under his belt, Fitzgerald appears to be no better than others who use their offices and authority for political purposes. Rather than for seeking justice under law.

      • mpaul
        Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

        But I think your example makes my point — Fitzgerald prosecuted high-profile Bush administration officials even though it was the Bush administration that appointed him. So seemingly politics did not play a part in his decision. Whether his prosecution of Scooter Libby was overly zealous is a different matter.

        • theduke
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

          As it relates to Fitzgerald, the operative term here is “high-profile.” I get the impression that that is what he’s looking for.

        • kim
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

          Re: overly zealous. Libby didn’t lie, Tim Russert perjured himself. Neither the FBI nor the Prosecuter could produce Agent Eckenrode or his notes. Patrick Fitzgerald abused his prosecutorial discretion egregiously.

        • Phil R
          Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 8:58 PM | Permalink


        • MikeN
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 1:54 AM | Permalink

          Patrick Fitzgerald was involved in the prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation, which was upended because of a tipoff from Judith Miller. Fitzie not happy about that.

          Fitzie was also not happy about the pardon of Mark Rich. Mark Rich’s lawyer was Scooter Libby.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

          Fitzgerald also prosecuted Conrad Black, who’s written forcefully against Fitzgerald. Black’s case has been mentioned in passing on a few occasions at CA as he was very prominent in Toronto. And an unusual man, being both prominent in business and an accomplished author.

        • Andrew
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

          Can anyone confirm or speculate re Fitzgerald’s involvement? My thoughts are that the ‘crime’ took place where the victims are located, rather than where the alleged “Mastermind” had his secret lair. Therefore, Merry Fitzmas Gleick.

          The Scooter Libby case handed to Fitzgerald because it was felt he would be objective and he had a reputation for being good at what he does.

          Try to look at this from both a legal and historical perspective. One could argue Fitz is the perfect guy for the job. Partisans on either side of the political spectrum (a misnomer and Fascist construct, btw) have had issues with his actions. Conrad Black and Scooter Libby would be considered more right wing. Blagovich (D) and George Ryan (R) were both sitting Governors of Illinois.

          If there were crimes committed…and Fitzgerald is investigating…don’t be surprised if someone on his staff reads these threads, lol.

        • MikeN
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

          Fitzgerald has a good reputation, and I think it remains intact after the Libby Affair. Ultimately the case came down to the jury believed Tim Russert over Libby, who had trouble explaining statements he made that contradicted each other. In light of the context of possible administration lying over WMD, this was a case worth pursuing, that might otherwise have been dropped.

        • Andrew
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

          The TRUTH is not political.

          Gov Christie, a former colleague of both Blago and Fitzgerald, spoke highly of the later, following Blago’s arrest. For what its worth.

        • theduke
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

          The truth is that they should have called off the investigation once they learned that Armitage was the leaker to Novak. Which was early on, if I recall correctly. Or they should have indicted Arimitage.

        • Andrew
          Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

          I never understood that angle either. In some respects, 50 years from now in the history books, it may be recorded that the Plamegate fiasco was a waste of time and money, lol.

    • theduke
      Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

      Re Melinda Haag: I was thinking that if Feinstein recommended her, there was a chance she might be impartial.

      Turns out it was Boxer, which means there’s less chance.

      Of course, the unproved assumption here is that lack of impartiality will be the cause if he’s not indicted.

  63. larepublicacatalana
    Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    You might like to read my post of 23rd February



  64. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 4:58 AM | Permalink

    My younger brother volunteered to enlist on two conditions, that he spend a year in VietNam as a forward scout and that he was given permission to bring his personal sniper’s rifle. Both happened. He killed a lot of people, later he died. Fact, fact, fact.

    I can’t understand this present theme as expressed above. What does it matter if a politician once had a reputation for this or that, or whether a newspaper reporter is ‘trusted’ or whether in a cartoon mercury toxicity is noted, or whether President Nixon lied for this purpose or for that. Why not stick to the facts?

    Fact is, a guy confessed to wrongoing. Customary law might or might not be put into operation. End of story.

    BTW, SteveMc, in the 60s I wanted nothing to do with environmentalism. I joined a newly formed Environment Association in the 70s the hope that I could subvert it and did. In 1971 I was into uranium ore discovery in a big way and in 1973 I had a private Kaman fast neutron generator. Expressions like ‘eco’ or ‘wellness’ or ‘Gaia’ made me puke when adopted and they still do. I can be identified as a redneck, although my DNA is old enough to be different and I still have teeth with dental records.

  65. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    The image of war is used in US politics because war has connotations of emergency action and something that cannot await thoughtful discussion, i.e. the government must act and act immediately. If your arguments are not getting through to the public on your favorite program, you attempt to change the tenor of the discussion to something that if not acted upon immediately will cause major and irreparable damage. We have had a War on Poverty, a War on drugs, and a War in Iraq so it is actually surprising that someone has not been able to label a War on AGW. Even without the label there is no doubt in my mind that the tactics of the advocates or at least the more extreme advocates of AGW mitigation are very much in line with the approach of an emergency and with the war connection.

    When SteveM calls for a scientific exposition on AGW I would hope that he addresses that suggestion to scientists and not advocates for immediate government mitigation. Those advocates are operating very much in the US and in other nations of the world in the War on … mode. The confusion with AGW is the predominance of the scientists in the advocate camp.

  66. MarkB
    Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    It would take a person with far more artistic talent that I have to carry out my idea – an image of Gleick standing at a scanner, with the label “This is not a fraud,” a la Magritte.

  67. E. Z. Duzzit
    Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 5:34 PM | Permalink

    Viet Nam?

    Ellsberg papers?


    Up until now I have been under the impression that the issue of this website was the science (or lack thereof) behind the theory of catastrophic global warming.

    Maybe I have been wrong.

    Steve: it’s pretty amazing that the climate community condones and even embraces conduct that is so similar to the Watergate burglars, isn’t it?

    • kim
      Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

      There is a disturbance in the force and war is being audited during the smoke break. All very scientifically, dontcha know?

    • Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

      “Maybe I have been wrong”
      We all have, some time or another
      Just skip this post, move along
      And “just give a break to a brother”

      For the science posts here play large roles
      But it’s Steve’s site, he does what he pleases
      While catastrophists, lurkers and moles
      Analyze every time that he sneezes

      One demanded, a few days ago
      That Steve go after the Heartland issue
      (Was that you then? And how would we know?)
      Their pretenses are thin as a tissue

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

      • E. Z. Duzzit
        Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

        Message received. You get an A. Thanks, I needed that.

  68. MikeN
    Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 1:56 AM | Permalink

    One Wall Street Journal editorial writer defended Nixon on the grounds that a close hearing of the Watergate tapes led him to conclude that Nixon thought he was covering up a Kennedy plot to overthrow Castro. I’ve never gone to the tapes to see for myself, but the same writer more recently 1996-2002 was saying that the evidence shows Iraq has no WMD.

    • Andrew
      Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Permalink


      Do remember, Iraq did have WMD’s. Saddam used them on his enemies. He was trying to make more.

      I never understood this debate… “are there WMD’s or not?”…..

      “The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program — a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium — reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.

      The removal of 550 metric tons of “yellowcake” — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam’s nuclear legacy.”

      Sorry, a bit off topic.

  69. John T
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    I know I’m coming in late, but I think we need to be clear with the terms we use.

    “and using that fake identity”

    A “fake identity” is not the identity of a real person (a fictional persona). What Gleick did was “identity theft”, taking on the identity of a real person.

    I think its important because many in the media talk about the use of “fake identities” being a gray area in journalism and some see it as a justifiable tool for use by journalists. However, “identity theft” is not. No legitimate journalist would employ that technique.

  70. peetee
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    guys, guys! Gleick was an amateur compared to Heartland’s own scam attempt to secure Greenpeace internal documents =>

    Mr. McIntyre, when can we expect to see you cover this Heartland double-standard?

    • Brandon Shollenberger
      Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

      I find it funny Heartland Institute is being accused of trying to “scam Greenpeace internal documents” when the file being discussed was a UNFCCC mailing list Greenpeace (apparently) shouldn’t have had in the first place. How that qualifies as “Greenpeace internal documents” is beyond me.

      Nevermind there is absolutely no evidence Heartland Institute was involved in the actual activity. Yes, they published the audio file of the conversation on their website, but that doesn’t mean they made it. It’s extremely easy to send people files. And since the file has been taken down from the website, it seems impossible to even verify much of anything about this story.

      Heck, I’m not even convinced any misrepresentation actually happened. The person complaining about a supposed misrepresentation said the caller said “he was with a US environmental NGO.” Heartland Institute is a US NGO, and I think it’s arguable that it’s work on climate change makes it an environmental one (nevermind that environmentalism can even cover built environments).

      For the rest of what that link says, I’d at least try reading an alternative view.

    • dpeaton
      Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

      Desmog, lacking any new material to slime Heartland, resorts to re-cycling an old non-scandal.

  71. Keith Sketchley
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    Interesting Steve, thanks for the summary.

    But the tactics sound typical of anyone who wants to suppress information and is willing to use underhanded methods – they aren’t hard to think of, including:
    – discourage those who might tell tales
    – dig up dirt on them
    – intimidate
    – invent physical and verbal schemes that sound fine in a panic but seem dumb afterward. (Including failure to recognize people aren’t stupid thus may well see through claims.)
    Recall that a forged letter was used against George W. Bush in a recent US election campaign. (It was revealed by a forger by simply checking the typeface, which turned out to be a Windows computer font that did not exist when the letter was supposedly written. That fiasco cost long-time network news anchor Dan Rather his cushy job.)

    The main similarity you address seems to be that both Gleick and the Watergate perpetrators were after donor lists. Their illegal methods were different – fraudulent mis-representation versus break-and-enter. Caught for different reasons – leaving traces of himself in the verbiage versus being dumb enough to return to the scene of a crime.

  72. Keith Sketchley
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    I’m laughing at your point about un-electable candidates, pointed out by Conrad Black at
    (“Send in the clowns” has been used by program managers for sending in people who aren’t competent just to show activity, with hope of somehow getting it together later. Gleick sent himself in, not realizing he was a clown.)

    Years ago I was on a committee that investigated complaints against professional engineers. In one case it was claimed that a company was erecting steel-frame warehouse buildings with metal that was too thin. Investigation showed that the accusers were wrong.
    It was also revealed that the accusers had entered the building and attempted to measure thickness, which should be a simple task but somehow they got it wrong. And they had trespassed!
    I don’t know what they suffered from the latter mistake, by then their reputation had suffered with key people in the profession, any professional action against them would have been a different case.

    What is amazing about Gleick et al is how much they live in denial.

6 Trackbacks

  1. […] Gleick and the Watergate Burglars – by Steve McIntyre […]

  2. […] blog about posts on other blogs, but I’m making an exception for Steve McIntyre’s excellent analysis showing how similar Peter Gleick’s actions were to the Watergate burglary, primarily because […]

  3. […] brings me to this post by Steve McIntyre, which compares the Gleick affair to Watergate and some of its principal […]

  4. […] […]

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  6. […] Gleick and the Watergate Burglars […]

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