BBC Radio 4 on Climategate


  1. Jeff Alberts
    Posted Oct 31, 2012 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

    Another “CRU as Victim” piece.

  2. Michael Larkin
    Posted Oct 31, 2012 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    Frankly, I was amazed. It was a lot better than I’d expected–quite a lot of time given to Steve, Andrew Montford, and Nigel Lawson.

    I wondered if the relative even-handedness had anything to do with the Jimmy Savile affair in which the BBC has been accused of covering up for an alledged pedophile for years, and, apparently, of cancelling a scheduled investigative program on the issue, which a rival commercial TV station, ITV, did instead.

    Could it be that the BBC is trying to come across as more evenly-balanced than formerly because of this? Who knows.

  3. Anthony Watts
    Posted Oct 31, 2012 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

    Either the feed is overloaded or they have blocked access to locations outside of BBC sphere of influence.

    Can’t listen to it.

  4. charles the moderator
    Posted Oct 31, 2012 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

    Working for me in San Francisco.

  5. TimG
    Posted Oct 31, 2012 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

    SecurityKISS VPN – has a free service with a UK server.

  6. EdeF
    Posted Oct 31, 2012 at 10:35 PM | Permalink


    I had the same problem, also from California. I did a Google search and
    found it on tunein.

    Can’t believe this is a BBC production. Much more balanced than the PBS Frontline
    hit-job last week. Nice to hear the various accents, including our host and
    the Bishop. Fiona Fox: “war footing”. huh? What war? We were just looking at
    tree ring data. The Coppers: “orchestrated between the FOI and the hackers”.
    Wha? Nice response Steve. Still, much better than the usual.

  7. Timothy Sorenson
    Posted Oct 31, 2012 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

    Works fine for me, but not as a link, have to copy and paste.
    Program remarkably better than I expected.

  8. ianl8888
    Posted Oct 31, 2012 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

    Hulme “hiding the incline” – 50% increase in use of the uncertainty phrase in peer-reviewed papers, he says

    Surprisingly, the BBC interviewer skewered him. That is, the increase was from 6% of papers to 9% … and even that took 3 years

    • Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 1:06 AM | Permalink

      Yes, it was the skewering by the interviewer there that hit me too. Now all we need is John Humphrys and co to get a hold of that idea (famously tough UK radio interviewer) as applicable in the climate science/policy area and what a difference that would make.

      • Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

        I’ve been thinking about the special treatment Hulme seemed to get here. The producer Martin Rosenbaum is I presume Jewish. Perhaps he did not take kindly to that comment in the CG1 emails comparing the work of two geographers Hulme disagreed with on Sahel rainfall as ‘almost on a par with holocaust denial.’ Why might he worry about such a thing? Christopher Hitchens said it best for me after Henry Kissinger has accused him of being a real holocaust denier, without foundation, because Hitchens had seen fit to criticise Kissinger in other areas.

        These people think that an allegation of such gravity can be picked up at random and, when it proves false, discarded without shame. A small but suggestive insult to the memory of the victims.

        I now read this part of the proceedings as a small but suggestive insult to Hulme.

  9. michael hart
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 12:52 AM | Permalink

    I don’t think it is off-topic to mention that the BBC Trust (the governing body of the BBC) is, until 6 Dec2012, “consulting publicly on some planned changes to what are called Purpose Remits – documents that explain what the BBC needs to do to fulfil each of its public purposes.”

    These public purposes are six-fold:
    1 Sustaining citizenship and civil society
    2 Promoting education and learning
    3 Stimulating creativity and cultural excellence
    4 Representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities
    5 Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK
    6 In promoting its other purposes, helping to deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services.

    Details available at:

  10. Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 1:17 AM | Permalink

    Just listening… Gavin Schmidt is presented as the main discoverer of the scandal, of a sort. A strange but amusing beginning.

  11. Bob
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

    Michael Mann’s comments were interesting. He’s rather good at hiding the pea…

    He mentioned that sceptical voices had contributed to the inquiries. Technically they were able to make submissions (as was anyone). However, since the most well informed sceptics were not invited to interview they were effectively excluded.

    Steve: In my opinion, it should have been possible to achieve far more resolution than the inquiries accomplished. One obstacle to resolution was the lack of representation of critics on any of the panels – not necessarily a critic but someone trusted by critics. Penn State didn’t take submissions, nor did Oxburgh. Muir Russell didn’t interview critics; indeed, it barely interviewed CRU scientists. Although I was the critic who was most knowledgeable of CRU issues, I wasn’t interviewed by Muir Russell, Oxburgh, the UK SciTech or Penn State. My submission to Muir Russell was almost totally ignored. Inquiries seeking to settle matters (and most legal proceedings) call for rebuttal evidence. None was called by any of the inquiries.

  12. guenier
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 2:50 AM | Permalink

    The BBC did not push a specific agenda and was surprisingly fair to the sceptics. Pretty amazing for the Beeb. Even the warmists (e.g. Ward and Fox – not Mann) sounded reasonable and Paul Dennis (from within the UEA) was most interesting. In particular, and knowing (from bitter personal experience) how easy it is to distort a recorded interview, I thought Steve and Andrew Montford were allowed to come over well. A well balanced broadcast – proper journalism.

  13. FerdiEgb
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

    Really balanced interviews. Surprisingly, giving equal time to each point of view without interruption or distortion of what is said in each direction. One of the better investigating journalisms I have heard in recent times..

    Mann of course was his own himself and the police investigator was clearly biased too…

  14. Jean S
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 3:22 AM | Permalink

    Toward the end of the program the police officer interviewed told that there was an attempt to mislead the investigation by framing an innocent party. Somehow my mind immediately connected that to this (cryptic as usual) comment by Mosher. Mosh, could you answer if these two things are indeed connected?

    • Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

      Is it possible he will answer with another (cryptic) question?

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 4:59 AM | Permalink

      I’ve chatted to Mosher a lot about the matter. The information about “an attempt to mislead the investigation by framing an innocent party” is news. As was the information about passwords.

      One has to parse statements by Julian Gregory of the Norfolk Constabulary very carefully to see what is fact and what is speculation. For example, let’s suppose that FOIA obtained access to a CRU employee’s password and accessed the material using that password. Would Gregory classify that as “an attempt to mislead the investigation by framing an innocent party”?

      If that’s all that Gregory is talking about and FOIA was an outsider, then it seems more accurate to say that FOIA was simply exploiting an opening as opposed to trying to “frame an innocent party” (though FOIA would undoubtedly try to minimize traces.)

      As readers are aware, Mosher has strongly advocated that FOIA was an insider with a grudge against Phil Jones. (This view is held by others, including at least one prominent climate scientist who knows people at CRU and described the organization to me as one filled with people holding grudges.) An insider holding a grudge might well wish to “frame” an adversary or rival. SO if there was an attempt to actually “frame” someone (about which I’m dubious), that would seem to me to add weight (tho very slightly) to an insider.

      To my knowledge, Mosher wasn’t thinking about this sort of thing in his insider theory, but I don’t see anything inconsistent about it.

      • Jean S
        Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

        Re: Steve McIntyre (Nov 1 04:59),
        regarding possible framing and Mosh’s (cryptic) theory, there is interesting spekulation here and here by KevinUK about VPN access and other stuff that AFAI understand would possibly give a method to “frame” someone.

        BTW, are you travelling (time of your comment)?

        Steve: Eastern time is one hour later than blog time. I didn’t sleep well last night and woke up early today.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 5:56 AM | Permalink

          one new piece of information that came out in my FOI is that the earliest Briffa backup on the backup server is August 2, 2009. UEA has thus far refused to answer questions about the earliest dates for other computers.

          I’m not entirely sold on Mosher’s theory of an angry insider, though it’s hard to exclude. My initial instinct was that it was a student. But it could also have been a motivated third party. The fresh information on timing is far too late in the Copenhagen sequence to be realistic for a commercial/ governmental organization; nor do I think that the risk-reward of penetrating CRU would be of any interest to such an organization. The idea of someone presenting a business plan to hack CRU to a commercial organization seems like a Dr Evil caricature.

          August 2 is just after the Mole Incident when CRU re-arranged their FTP affairs. It seems entirely possible to me that CRU inadvertently opened some sort of trapdoor at the time.

          The Mole Incident also prompted many CA readers to trawl through CRU archives and webpages to figure out the mystery. Mosher mentioned to me that he noticed at the time a password from one CRU employee sitting open on the internet. Roman Mureika also recalled seeing something that looked like a trapdoor, but didn’t go there.

          The affair seems to me to be more connected to the Mole Incident than the FOI requests, though in time, one followed the other. The police fixation on FOI requesters was Inspector Clouseau at work. Worse than Inspector CLouseau – more like Ace Ventura, pet detective.

        • Peter S
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

          I suggested at the time that the server was hacked by someone using Tamino’s email. He was the only member of the Team using a Hotmail account in their communications. If – after quietly cracking this account’s password and then collecting and uploading the FOIA files – the hacker sent a (typically antagonistic) email to the rest of the Team using Tamino’s Hotmail address (ie, his identity)… it would fit with the police inspector’s description of ‘an attempt to mislead the investigation by framing an innocent party’.

      • Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

        Steve, I sent in an FOI request to the Plod asking where they had got the information about organised groups and Sceptics not believing global warming. The reply I got was “we do not hold this information”. Which I took to mean that they basically made up this idea of an international conspiracy of well funded groups and they certainly made up what they thought our views on climate were.

        And let’s be clear here. They basically libelled sceptics as a group and as they said they had no “information” to back up their libel. I suppose in a way that’s a good thing, because if they didn’t understand sceptics, they hadn’t a hope in hell of tracking down the hacker, if they were a sceptic.

        • See
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

          Mike, I think it is rather that a different security organization holds this information. And that organization would almost certainly be exempt from FOI requests on grounds of national security.


      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

        The attempt to frame is interesting.

        It could actually be a legit trail, but they view it as “framing” because they ‘cleared’ the person it pointed to.

        As i told the BC guy.

        NO forensics will tell you who signed the hackers check.

        “insider’ versus “outsider” is not a description of the method of access. Its a description of who signed their check.

        Other tidbit… remember the bleached files?

        remember my theory.. the files were bleached to cover the time of the crime..

        Interesting to learn that CRU had CCTV and apparently controlled access.

        • Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

          It could actually be a legit trail, but they view it as “framing” because they ‘cleared’ the person it pointed to.

          Quite. I agree with Steve Mc that this is at the competence level of Clouseau. Pretended incompetence or real (of the whole police operation, anti-terrorism and all, I mean) that’s harder to tell. Again, it depends who pays the checks, who arranged for Julian Gregory to be the ‘brains’ of the operation or at least its final spokesman. And why.

        • Skiphil
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

          Re: Steven Mosher (Nov 1 11:49),

          I keep recalling the Phil Jones remark about a “loose cannon” within CRU not to be contacted at a crucial point in the Yamal discussions…. also, approaching the 3rd anniversary of “Climategate” I was prompted to do a search on Google, and found an intriguing list of results led by an article from the first days which focused upon some key aspects as a “case study” right out of the block:

          loose cannon

          Phil Jones on loose cannon at CRU

        • Skiphil
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

          Re: Steven Mosher (Nov 1 11:49),

          Oh, just in case it does not continue to come up first in that specific Google search, the article I referred to is this one:

          The Alarmists Do ‘Science’

          It is fascinating to think about what was going on in 2009 with Yamal and tree rings, FOIA requests stalled and denied, tensions and panic within The Team, CRU’s scientific credibility in doubt…. Why did The Team have such trouble giving an honest accounting of long-term proxy studies (especially tree rings)? Why was there a “loose cannon” on the CRU scientific team not to be contacted about these matters?

        • Paul Dennis
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

          At the time of the email leak CRU didn’t have CCTV or controlled access. Tighter controls were instigated as a result of climategate.

        • Skiphil
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

          Re: Steven Mosher (Nov 1 11:49),

          oooh, just realized that is Tim Osborn, not Phil Jones, who used the “loose cannon” phrase and cautioned his recipients not to contact Tom Melvin directly about Yamal issues… in any case my interest remains the same but it is Osborn not Jones who wrote that email.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 1:47 PM | Permalink


          That’s interesting. In the guardian piece the police claim to have looked at CCTV

        • Paul Dennis
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Permalink


          I’ve no doubt the police looked at CCTV footage from the various cameras around campus but to the best of my knowledge these didn’t cover the several points of access to CRU, or the other School of Environmental Science Buildings.

      • KnR
        Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

        The issue is someone had to know it was worth looking for this collection of e-mails in the first place , or someone spent and great deal of time gathering them together and taking out most of the boring personal stuff and its hard to think way anyone would do that not that just dump them has is, if they were an outside hacker . Its not just the getting of the e-mails that makes this interesting but how they were handle afterwards .

      • Patrick Reeves
        Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

        An insider holding a grudge fails the smell test in one regard-
        The good side of Human Nature. Anyone who has worked in an office environment is probably familiar with co-workers who have held a grudge against a peer or manager(or director). But how likely is it that it would rise to the point where said person would access sensitive data/emails and release it to the world? I can’t imagine committing a similar act of revenge against my employer, and then being able to live with my conscience, let alone show up for work each day as if everything is normal. This would require the conscience of a sociopath. So, if the insider theory is true, there is a sociopath working at CRU, Or, this person is on leave/sabbatical or no longer employed there.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

          Would you count a student as an “insider”? Insider to UEA, but not a colleague of Jones. My initial impression was that it was a student. The attempt to release the dossier at RC seems prankish. Also the initial notice at the Miracle thread was very subtle, rather a sense of humor.

          CRU inadvertently exposing themselves as a result of ad hoc changes in the Mole Incident also seem possible to me.

        • Skiphil
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

          Re: Patrick Reeves (Nov 1 14:23),

          I’ve studied a lot of “whistleblower” cases from the standpoint of professional ethics and research ethics. Someone can have both conscientious outrage at the behavior of persons or organizations and also varying degrees of personal animus. Human motivations and psychology can be complex. Someone might start on the path toward thinking about a “whistleblower” action more from personal animus or more from principled outrage, but in real cases the motivations are often a mix. Yes, the person objects (perhaps silently, privately) to what is being done but also finds one or more people in positions of power to be particularly objectionable.

          Whether or not FOIA/RC was an insider before, or still may be now, I don’t think one can begin to attribute any lack of conscience. If anything I’d say FOIA/RC appears to be highly principled and scrupulous, although of course one can always argue about means and methods.

        • Tim Irwin
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

          Patrick –

          Are you familiar at all with moles that worked within soviet intelligence? Disgust at the disparity between reality and the official story at all levels of society motivated more than one to provide intelligence to the United States. So I disagree this person was a sociopath. Given the level of frustration in the Harry Readme files, it would not surprise me that a similar situation arose within CRU. The disparity between the official line (our models and data are robust and beyond reproach, skeptics are not just wrong but evil) and the reality might just have motivated someone with a clear conscience to let the world in on just how the sausage was made.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 11:42 PM | Permalink


          I’ll suggest that you have no experience with sociopaths and probably too little experience with academia.

      • Jeff Condon
        Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

        I’m still stuck on the idea of a student, potentially with direct access to the equipment. These things were not exactly locked in a bank vault when I was in school. A computer student inside the university could really have made a good deal of trouble and still covered his tracks. Access to the IT office by itself would probably be enough to find passwords for mail servers.

        If the police were checking the CCTV monitors, that potentially points to suspicion of an insider. If you had access to the mail server and released the document through a number of proxy servers in unfriendly countries that may take months to track down and all it does is lead back to the original computer with no cameras around it, your suspect list might be narrowed, but on a campus not by much.

        The data being truncated at 1960 was something we often discussed here and at the Air Vent well prior to climategate. The surprise about it was that in private, the scientists openly understood that it was bad practice and admitted to actively doing it to cover up the problem with data that didn’t fit the theory. I bring this up because FOIA released this: (0939154709.txt * Osborn: we usually stop the series in 1960 ) — This was not news to the main players in paleoclimatology or in blogs. Blogs like CA and tAV were pounding on it for a long time. To me it suggested an unfamiliarity with the issue. Like a computer science expert who casually reads science based climate blogs.

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

      The false trail idea makes no sense.

      I would love to see who that false trail pointed at.

      Suppose I am “outsider” not paid by CRU, and I gain access by hacking.

      Am I going to.

      1. leave a false trail on the computers AND
      2. Claim in my kidnapping note that I did for FOIA.

      False trail may be a real trail.

      Just gimme 5 minutes alone with my suspect. I have finished watching all 193 episodes of 24 and I know what questions to ask and how to ask them

      • Jean S
        Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

        Re: Steven Mosher (Nov 1 13:04),

        The false trail idea makes no sense.

        … unless we follow your idea: “personal animus”.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 3:51 PM | Permalink


        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

          Ya, the other thing I told the BBC guy was that CG II was interesting in that the hacker
          redacted personal information. That tells me he is concerned about potential civil liabilities
          which can last longer than the criminal liability. If Im not in the UK, I dont really give a rats
          ass about the civil issues.

          If CG III fails to happen that will be a clue. a clue that a deal was done.

        • Paul Matthews
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

          But he redacted personal info in a sloppy way, giving up after the first hundred or so emails.

        • Skiphil
          Posted Nov 3, 2012 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

          Has anyone in recent times looked again at the specific texts, emails/topics and scientists who were the focus of this list provided in a cover txt doc with the initial release?

          I.e., I am wondering if any of you with a lot more knowledge than me would now notice any new insights based upon what was first highlighted by the person releasing the materials. The list does not seem to be random, and while it could include misleading trails it **might** provide new clues in the enlarged context of all that has been learned since.

          I am far less concerned to wonder about who FOIA/RC might be than to ask whether more can still be gleaned from the content, timing, etc. of the Climategate releases. Of course I need to study Andrew Montford’s new book but I have been more than a bit absorbed by living in the midst of Sandy plus other matters.

  15. RB
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 4:28 AM | Permalink

    What an excellent programme.

    Notable to me that the only person making accusations of “lies” was Mann. Same old same old.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 5:00 AM | Permalink

      Lies seem to be something that weigh on “Nobel” Mann’s mind.

  16. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 5:16 AM | Permalink

    My advice in any matter involving the plod is to say nothing unless the law requires it. Volunteer nothing.

    • Posted Nov 6, 2012 at 5:06 AM | Permalink

      jones has definately received ugly emails over the years (ie controversial topic)in fact it would be odd if he had received no ugly emails over the years. Some were published following an FOI, if not death threats, definitley threatening. (things is Morano gets similar, just sad fact of life, nutter out there) Watts and Montford, have both published a very strong disguested response to those emails.

      Paul Dennis made this point well, in the BBC program

  17. Bloke down the pub
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 6:03 AM | Permalink

    My one gripe with the programme was the claim that Phil Jones had received death threats. As I understand it,Martin Rosenbaum the programme’s producer, is a fan of FOI (the law, not the e-mail releaser). If memory serves me correctly, an FOI request to Phil Jones failed to produce any such death threat.

    • Martin A
      Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

      The death threats was UEA “poor phil” propaganda. FOI requests (I made one myself) revealed only one email that could even vaguely be interpreted as a death threat – though there was plenty of nastiness there.

  18. eqibno
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 8:26 AM | Permalink

    A pleasant surprise, based on the even-handedness and the presence of only a few inaccuracies.

    All that was lacking was the police investigator to respond with a “What’s all this then?” or some such.

  19. Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    What I took from the program is that the BBC will now admit that sceptics were genuinely concerned about process, but they will not admit that we had legitimate concerns about the science. Indeed, you could summarise the BBC case as “scientists are always right” and our case as: “science doesn’t always work first time and it was wrong to suggest it could”.

    And the question the BBC have still failed to answer is why do they think that the debate about science should be limited only to those people who produce science and thereby exclude those like us who use science? Why can’t I as a someone who has read widely on the climate science and energy have my views heard by the public. Would we accept a situation where only doctors could be heard on health issues, politicians on politics and academics on academic standards?

    The other thing I noticed was the subtle way history is being rewritten and the climategate petition has now been written out of both the BBC narrative as well as Andrew Montford’s latest book and people like Nigel Lawson are now taking centre stage. Yes Lawson has been important, but I doubt if it wasn’t for the ordinary people who produced and signed that petition and commented on all the blogs that we would ever have had the inquiries. Indeed, wasn’t the whole essence of climategate — the idea that only the (climate) elite were important and had a right to be consulted or participate and everyone else could and would be excluded?

  20. Jonathan Bagley
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

    On the BBC website 6 hours ago

  21. David S
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    One would hope that Martin Rosenbaum, described as a FOI specialist, would be aware of the timeline concerning the FOI requests from Steve and others here relative to the concealment of data by Jones and others. He should be aware that the UEA line that Jones and co were responding to a campaign of harassment by sceptics is demonstrably fiction, and this should give him a clue as to how seriously to take Jones’s allegations of death threats.
    It would also be good if the Norfolk police could share some of the material that led them to conclude it was a hack, rather than just the questions they posed at the outset. Since they have closed their investigation, there is little further risk of prejudice.

    • Henry
      Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

      Martin Rosenbaum knew about Climategate and of Steve McIntyre’s previous FOI failure very early on. He told me on 22 November 2009 (three days after the miracle happening): “I’m aware that some of the leaked emails refer to FOI and have been making some enquiries …”

  22. DR_UK
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    Hi Paul Dennis! Can you say more about what the police interviewed you about in Feb 2010?

    • Paul Dennis
      Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

      The interview was in December 2009 and not February 2010. An interesting follow up to the interview occurred in February 2010 when the David Leigh article about me was on the front page of the Guardian. The policeman from the Counter Terrorism unit called me to see if there was anything the police could do to help. I’m not sure what he had in mind.

  23. Paul Dennis
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 2:20 PM | Permalink


    I think my interview with the police followed the same course as that experienced by others with the questions laid out in the following questionnaire:

    Click to access 01-11-12-nomarkup_d148.pdf

    Like Steve McIntyre I was surprised that the Counter Terrorist Police were involved. The questions seemed to be aimed at building profiles of people who might be considered potential suspects. Why else ask questions about ones political views, membership of political or other organisations, ones salary, where it was paid from, what level I had risen to in the organisation, who was my line manager, which students I had supervised etc. I was also surprised that they wanted to know my wife’s occupation, her mobile phone numbers and email addresses.

    The interview itself was very civil and polite. Two officers, one from the counter terrorist division and one from the Norfolk constabulary visited me at my office and spent several hours with me. They came back a few days later with my statement typed to go through it a second time and to get me to sign it.

    I was convinced that at the time the police had no idea if the release of the emails was the result of a hack, leak, or the result of a folder being left on an unsecure server. I haven’t heard anything in the interim period to change my view of the police’s knowledge of what happened.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

      Re: Paul Dennis (Nov 1 14:20),

      I’m not a UK citizen but I think anyone there should be concerned about the potential over-reach of involving “counter-terrorism” units in a kerfuffle about climate science. As a US citizen I would be hugely aggrieved to learn of comparable activities here on behalf of Michael Mann’s email records, etc.

      What none of the investigations or inquiries seems to do is to examine comprehensively the actual content of the emails and documents for what they say about the state of CRU and climate science through the period in question. I realize this is not at all the remit of the Norfolk constabulary but I simply note that it is never done in any of the so-called inquiries.

      p.s. Paul Dennis, I commend you for your reputed independence of mind, and I hope that something good will come from all these messes, at UEA and beyond.

      • Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 8:49 AM | Permalink


        I’m not a UK citizen but I think anyone there should be concerned about the potential over-reach of involving “counter-terrorism” units in a kerfuffle about climate science. As a US citizen I would be hugely aggrieved to learn of comparable activities here on behalf of Michael Mann’s email records, etc.

        I can’t speak for Paul or any other subject of Her Majesty (okay, I admit I do use ‘UK citizen’ at times too but, you know, don’t want to end up in the Tower of London or anything.) But I have been and am hugely aggrieved by this over-reach. As I was intimating earlier, to divert the nation’s finest anti-terrorist forces and to achieve the level of competence of Inspector Clouseau in their final statement to our state broadcaster … it would be hilarious if it wasn’t so serious. In fact I think it remains hilarious, because it is such an extreme and obvious over-reaction that at some point it will come back and bite the relevant authorities on the bum. But it’s also disgusting that Steve McIntyre gets this kind of interview but not a really informed one from Muir Russell and Lord Oxburgh. In due course our civil liberties people will pick this issue up. At the moment they believe we’re deniers and they are not interested in defending – snip At least that’s my impression. The smearing over many years has had its effect. But we live to fight another day. This programme itself shows that the tables are turning.

        Thank you for this comment, it is much appreciated.

        • Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

          Julian Gregory makes it clear that he believed the hack was linked to the FOI requests which he described as “the apparently orchestrated campaign of FOI requests”, but admits that he could not establish a link evidentiary-wise, “But there is a potential link” he is quoted. Of course, any “orchestrated campaign” requires an orchestrator and so it’s not difficult to imagine who would be a prime suspect. Imagine the dossiers on some of the more prominent FOI instigators! One never knows what takes place in the shadows. Some interesting quotes taken from various news sources:
          “An investigation by the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team…with some support from the Met’s Counter–Terrorism Command, the National Domestic Extremism Team and the Police Control e-crime unit” One wonders what the National Domestic Extremism Team is all about and if “deniers” qualify as proponents of “domestic extremism”.
          “Senior Investigating Officer Det Ch Supt Julian Gregory said they had varying degrees of co-operation from other countries, none of which he would name”. Perhaps he declined to give this information because it would too obviously point a finger if he were to allow, for example, that the RCMP had been contacted.
          Julian Gregory: “This appears to have been done with the intention of influencing the global debate on climate change and ultimately that is something that affects us all. To not have done the best we could on this investigation would have been neglect”. And “When we started the investigation, it was escalated to the highest level. We deemed it a “Category A” investigation which is the highest in terms of public interest resources”. Det Ch Supt Julian Gregory cannot be accused of failing to grasp the true import of his mission. One cannot make it to his grade if one lacks the ability to anticipate the real concerns of one’s masters. Heaven preserve us from any who would have “the intention of influencing the global debate on climate change”. Norfolk Constabulary to the rescue.
          “The data breach was the result of a sophisticated and orchestrated attack.” There’s that word “orchestrated” again. Julian Gregory is to be congratulated, however. Not once is he quoted using the word “perpetrators”.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

          The campaign for CRU confidentiality agreements was completely documented in real time at Climate Audit here. If Julian Gregory believes that there was some hidden hand “orchestrating” the FOI requests for CRU confidentiality agreement over and above the Climate Audit thread, he is completely misguided.

          As CA readers may recall, the University of East Anglia had untruthfully said in their FOI refusal that they had confidentiality agreements prohibiting them from providing data to “non-academics” (I had asked for the data that they had sent to Peter Webster.) The climate community conveniently overlooks the role of dishonest responses from UEA in the resulting controversy.

          One reader observed:

          The replies you are getting back are like scripts from the “Yes Minister” TV series.

          I answered inline:

          Steve: Of course, they are. But two can play that game. Please send your own FOI request for 5 countries of your choice.

          In a comment to that thread here, I posted up a follow-on request to UEA for the confidentiality agreements for 5 countries. A few minutes later, I added a comment suggesting that CA readers pick 5 countries and submit their own request. Reader Bob Koss posted up a list of WMO countries and CA readers systematically went through the list, with various requests documented online/.

          The idea that there was some secret “orchestrating” going on in the FOI requests is and was totally absurd. If Julian Gregory, the Norfolk Constabulary and the total resources of the UK Anti-Terrorism forces were unable to locate the CA thread leading to the FOI requests, their investigation was even worse than we thought.

          The FOI campaign was conducted in the full light of day, while Climategate was done in secrecy. A big difference. One that even Inspector CLouseau would have noticed.

        • Skiphil
          Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

          Ha ha, Richard, I admit that the phrase “subject of her majesty” seems unutterable to my tongue and fingers, but I would not want anyone to end up in the Tower of London over it nowadays.

        • Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

          It was always police investigation as extension of PR campaign for me, as I said in 2010. The shambolic ending shows again the desperation that nothing should be discovered.

          The small FOI campaign could have been handled in an afternoon by putting up one web page, if there were any confidentiality agreements, or in five minutes if there were none, as is now clear. There was nothing to investigate beyond reading one page on CA.

          The PR push, aided by the likes of Neil Wallis, has always been about the FOI requests being the source of all evils – frightened CRU researchers burdened by this impossible task from a shadowy, oil-funded group and going on to say a few bad things in some emails, many of them years before. That the police didn’t see through this pathetically thin fig leaf in the first week, and say so, and that they are still bringing it up almost three years later is bizarre. Much of the rest of the programme was not bad but in an sane world the BBC’s finest would have given this the corporate raspberry it deserved long ago.

          Steve: the FOI campaign was handled in an afternoon precisely as you described: a short webpage. Phil Jones admitted in a Climategate email that it was no big deal. The legend of the FOI requests constituting a huge imposition on CRU was a legend created after Climategate.

        • Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

          Skip: since we saw her Majesty parachuting out of that helicopter with James Bond to open the Olympic Games, we’ve realised we all have to be more careful than we thought.

    • DR_UK
      Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

      Thanks, that’s really interesting. I too am impressed with your willingness to engage with people from all sides of the debate.

  24. Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    The counter-terrorism cops have trouble finding employment as there has been little or no need for them for the last decade. That “counter-terrorists” should be used in this business might be that they were unoccupied. Or, it could be that the intention was to raise this to the level of a terrorist plot, as a political need. UEA had plenty to lose and had they squawked their real concerns to their “friends” in the last Government, it would have been a political decision. UK police are under a cloud due to the phone-hacking corruption and incidents such as this underscore that. Their behavior under the last government is being revealed and it is not pretty.

    • David S
      Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

      As well as 7/7 there have been several other serious efforts at terrorism in the last decade. More likely they have been fed a line about enemies of the state and have fallen for it hook line and sinker. It is very disturbing that they raided Roger Tallbloke and were keeping files on the entirely legitimate Taxpayers’ Alliance, although easy to see how the ACPO would view anyone who argued against limitless funds for them to spend as a menace to national security.

      • JamesG
        Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

        The only possible “crime” they can pin the hack on is espionage and then only marginally since it is not economic, industrial or security-based espionage. It is not a crime in any normal sense to obtain unimportant climate data and emails from small-fry like CRU. Similar leaks/hacks are standard fodder for journalists and nobody ever calls in the cops. Norfolk constabulary are clearly ill-equipped for such work but I suspect every other police unit said it would be just a complete waste of police time.

  25. Peter S
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

    I think many people are reading far too much into this. The hack could quite easily have been carried out by some 15 year old lad in Outer Mongolia – with a broadband connection, a sharp interest in internet protocols and a rebellious sympathy for the sceptical argument combined with a love of cheap thrills. There must be tens of thousands of people sitting in the bedrooms of their parent’s houses who more-or-less fit the bill.

    Perhaps the felt need to envisage the hacker as some heavily significant ‘player’ in the story merely reflects the significance ascribed to the work done by those calling the story into question?

    • Patrick Reeves
      Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 11:45 PM | Permalink

      Peter S-
      With respect,I tend to disagree.

      Here’s why-

      The typical download speeds I have achieved when connected to the CRU FTP server is around 1.5 to 2mb/sec (If anyone has substantially better speeds, feel free to chime in). Expanding that out with simple arithmetic, you’re looking at around 100 hours of download time for 54 Gigabytes. And, when you throw in an anonymous proxy or two you’ll have even slower rates. So it was no frivolous task. It required quite a bit of determination with an ultimate goal in mind. Not something that would be undertaken casually by a kiddie-scriptor, or an armchair dilettante.

      • Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

        You give yourself and your theories a tremendous amount of undo credit. If done from outside, you run the queries on the host machine and then download the results, less then 70 MB zipped.

        So the score is a limited (non-existent) knowledge of IT, sociapaths, and angry academics or workplace drama.

        I think it’s time you weigh in on statistics and go for a clean sweep.

        • charles the moderator
          Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 11:55 PM | Permalink

          Re: charles the moderator (Nov 1 23:51),

          I need to stop posting replies lying on my back and touch typing, ack the ytpos!

        • Patrick Reeves
          Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

          “If done from outside, you run the queries on the host machine and then download the results, less then 70 MB zipped.”


          Are you assuming that the intruder came in through Backuppc with a username/password and used option 2 in the pic:

          BTW- I don’t claim to be an IT expert, and not looking for a flame war. Just want to fill in the holes and figure out the rest of the story, like everyone else.

      • Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 1:59 AM | Permalink

        Ok, no flames Patrick,

        I don’t believe a word from UEA or the Norfolk Constabulary about the setup. The leaker may have taken control of what was on the mail server, ran scripts, compiled archives, then transferred files. The archive may have been compiled by the FOI officer whose name escapes me at the moment, and may have been left in an insecure directory by someone. I wrote of this possibility up 3 years ago.

        Perhaps they even did as you point out above and restored to a location then zipped themselves after filtering and deleting the unused restored files. None of these methods require moving large amounts of data over the Internet even if done from a remote location.

        • Patrick Reeves
          Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 2:49 AM | Permalink

          OK- Your post makes more sense now. 54 gigs down to 70 megs is >99% compression rate. Nice trick if you can pull it off. Would be worth multi- millions.

        • Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

          I don’t believe a word from UEA or the Norfolk Constabulary about the setup.

          You could add a lot of things after the word ‘about’ and I would agree with you.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

        Well, the files on backup were already compressed according the testimony of the IT folks at CRU.

        when they questioned the IT people, as I recall, 2 of the 3 people actually showed up for the interview. One, oddly, called in sick. Anyways, the CRU IT people noted that the data was backed up and compressed.. they thought this pointed to somebody really smart or an insider.

        Personally I’d like to interview the one guy who apparently avoided a face to face interview. Odd thing that.

        • Manniac
          Posted Nov 3, 2012 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

          High entropy?

  26. grzejnik
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    Might I remind you that Ace Ventura found the dolphin, freed Dan Marino, and busted Finkle…

  27. Patrick Reeves
    Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 12:15 AM | Permalink

    Steven Mosher
    Posted Nov 1, 2012 at 11:42 PM | Permalink


    I’ll suggest that you have no experience with sociopaths and probably too little experience with academia.”

    Steve, on your first point you are absolutely correct. The use of the word “sociopath” ( the clinical definition) may have been somewhat misplaced in that context.

    On your second point, I happen to work in post secondary education as a teacher. However, my field is somewhat removed from research and high-brow academia. So you are correct again (partially). 🙂

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

      ask yourself how I knew that.

  28. EBThomas
    Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 12:49 AM | Permalink

    Fascinating stuff. I hope some of the evenhandedness displayed by the BBC radio presenter can migrate to to our Oz ABC. Perhaps the BBC will punish him and have him transported. Cheers from warming up Sydney.

  29. Alexander Harvey
    Posted Nov 2, 2012 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    There are many notions as to the nature of the BBC. From some of which surprise can arise when they do contary to what their notional semblance should.

    Martin Rosenbaum is a BBC News Freedom of Information specialist and this story is both about that subject and ameliorable to that approach which indeed was used to obtain some of the content.

    Similarly surprise due to the involvement of Counter Terrorism Command may arise from a notion of what they are about. Not only do they have relevant expertise but may also have individually acted with regard to Domestic Extremism, a natural early candidate for the motivation. At the time of the initial investigation such Domestic Extremism was likely in the remit of the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, a now defunct unit deploying police resources but under private governance and hence inscrutable. I believe that this unit has since been subsumed into the Counter Terrorism Command structure.

    The “timing may not have been coincidental” theme is I suspect reinforced by retrospection . Aspects have been covered as a topic in journalism. Perhaps the two most numerically equiped media dealing with enviromental issues in the UK were seemingly incapable of sparing the time, something that came to be declared regretable. Seemingly The Guardian failed to dedicate an Environmental Journalist, Fred Pearce, to the subject until after COP15 had completed. Similarly the BBC, perhaps in the belief that the COP15 was big news for reasons other than came to unfold, did not do much to cover the environmental aspect of the story at that time. It is suggested that neither UEA Public Relations nor the constabulary were cooperative in the way typical in such circumstances. Had coverage been better and earlier the story might have matured differently and had the media not failed to foretell of COP15 having been marked out for disaster it might not have played for so long. It being the conjunction of failure both of the media, environmental and political, and the COP process itself that provides the coincidence.

    The BBC is a peculiar instituion, it tends to be constitutionally incapable of joined up thinking, something I feel will become apparent during the forecoming round of inquiries into conduct. That different compartments handle stories in different ways is not I think surprising.

    The use of Terrorism legislation in the UK has proved quite common and can be surprisingly trivial. In the relevant reporting period 2009/2010 the stop and search powers were enacted more than 90,000 times seemingly without any terrorist invovlement. That section of the Act (44) was later repealed as being in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. It is however still in need of serious attention at least insofar as it permanently suspends Habeas Corpus and implies a reversal of burden in the proving intent.

    • Posted Nov 3, 2012 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

      “insofar as it permenantly suspends habeas corpus and implies a reversal of the burden of intent.” This does not go down. Such a law in GB? Please clarify this.

      • Alexander Harvey
        Posted Nov 3, 2012 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

        I have replied below.

  30. Mindert Eiting
    Posted Nov 3, 2012 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    Just some elementary facts. From the meta data of the FOIA zip file in 2009 it follows that all Climategate documents and mails were modified (validly or default) on a computer with time zone settings -0400 or -0500. If the modification time is default, so is the zip access time. Make the distribution of almost six thousand documents with valid modification times. If a valid modification month is in the summer we have -0400, in the winter we have -0500. Valid modification hours point at a clock running in local American time. Perhaps it was a main frame computer, built in 1988 in the USA. Valid modification years start in 1988. Top use was in 2000 and after 2004 only a few documents were modified. All mails have default modification year 2009 implying that they arrived a copies. If the computer were a back-up server, where are thousands of recent documents? They are not there, showing that the computer was not a back-up server, and contradicting the official police report. Moreover, Briffa mailed from this computer on 18 February 2009. From the Harry-read-me document it can be inferred that the name of the computer was DPE1A, being a component of a distributed file system at CRU with server CRUA6. All valid access times of the zip are in GMT, implying that the zip was made on a computer with zero time zone setting. From the creation dates of the mails and zip access times it can be inferred that the minimum time FOIA needed for harvesting was 16 September 2009 – 13 November 2009, or about two months. All that time the dog did not bark, making it extremely implausible that Climategate was a hack. Does anyone have an idea why early September 2009 VPN traffic to Briffa’s work PC was disabled?

    Steve: Briffa was very sick during part of this time and working part-time from home. would that explain?

    I’ve looked very closely at the access times of unbleached documents and most dates are from the weekend UK time or Thursday. Almost no dates from UK workdays.

    • Duke C.
      Posted Nov 3, 2012 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

      “All valid access times of the zip are in GMT, implying that the zip was made on a computer with zero time zone setting.”

      Access times are always stored in the Zip central directory (as an extended attribute) in GMT, regardless of the local time on the computer. And, they reflect the time (in GMT) that the files (w/unbleached date/times) were unpacked on the destination drive used by the leaker, again, regardless of the time on the local machine. So we can ascertain that the files were UNPACKED on those date/times. This can easily be checked by running a ZIP file through Winzip (Actions>Test), or with “zipinfo -v” at a linux command prompt. You’ll see that the access times contained in your zip file are GMT.The access times in your corresponding extracted directory well reflect your local machine time.

      What is interesting, I think, only 4 of the files are dated 9/16/2009 (as you mentioned above), and then, rcfoia really went to work on 9/27, 11 days later. It’s almost as if that initial acquisition was a “trail balloon”, to make sure that no red flags were being raised by the IT people at CRU.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Nov 3, 2012 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

        at the start, RC/FOIA took a particular interest in Yamal documents. after the first week, there’s an odd change in access patterns – most of the subsequent downloading was on UK weekends.

        • Duke C.
          Posted Nov 4, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

          And which strangely coincided (as many CA readers know) with the Yamal divergence problem being discussed here during late Sept-early Oct 2009. I have given some thought to Mosher’s arsonist theory with regards to Peter Gleick during the Fakegate affair- how an arsonist is compelled to revisit the scene of the crime. Did the perpetrator, in this case, post any prescient comments, or laconic one-liners that fit the access time chronology? This is just speculation, of course.

      • Mindert Eiting
        Posted Nov 3, 2012 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

        Thanks, Duke, for your explanation. I’m not an ICT expert. Steve: Briffa had to work from home but he had no VPN access to his work computer anymore since 11 September 2009. He began to use Melvin’s laptop, giving him only access to Melvin’s mail. This is bizarre for a Deputy Director. My explanation is that VPN access to his work computer was disabled for safety reasons. After the Mole incident the CRU staff was in panic about outside intrusions. Why was Briffa’s work PC (not DPE1A) that important?

  31. Alexander Harvey
    Posted Nov 3, 2012 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

    Hi Michael,

    The various Acts passed since 2000 are wide in scope. The Acts have been challenged under Human Rights legislation and various sections have been struck out, others amended.

    Regarding Habeas Corpus, those arrested may be detained without charge for upto 14 days (was 28 days). This is a permanent condition in that it is not a special, emergency or time limited power. I believe that for the first 48 hours one can be kept incommunicado.

    Foreign nationals could originally be detained indefinitely without trial.

    Regarding intent, the prosecution may only have to show a reasonable suspicion of intent against which the defence must prove that they had no such intent. A requirement to prove a negative.

    Similarly if items are discovered in any property one happens to be in at the time or any private property one at other times frequents one may have to prove that you did not know of their presence.

    • Posted Nov 4, 2012 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

      Thanks for your comments and that response, Alexander.
      I am glad to see those sweeping powers have been trimmed. I suspect that all will eventually be put right by the Mother of Parliaments.

      In the meantime, with the domestic shortage of berserker Wahhabis and the others being out of reach amidst the sand and gravel of the Nejd, these powers and forces must not be neglected so long as there is good use for them, such as against any miscreant deniers deemed to “have the intention of influencing the global debate on climate change”.

      I wonder if Julian Gregory had a twinkle in his eye as he spoke that phrase. He is said to be retired. Perhaps he’ll write of his experiences. There is no doubt that he could get it published. He seems to have a sense of humor, so he should make some good money while enlightening and entertaining the rest of us. He could relate how the RCMP responded “Ha ha, ho ho …no, we have no computers over here that need seizing, thank you.” In short, his public service could be profitably extended.

  32. little polyp
    Posted Nov 4, 2012 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    And lets hope that FOIA can (please) give us a trickle more info.

    Especially anything that gets back to CAGW HQ – RC/GISS

  33. Gerald Kelleher
    Posted Nov 9, 2012 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

    I am dismayed at the level of personal animosity that was inevitably going to overtake any discussion on climate and especially as ‘climate change’ itself is a misnomer by virtue that the planet’s climate has yet to be defined and determined properly.

    We inherit certain prejudices from previous generations and until they are removed decisively it is not possible to discuss climate properly.The Earth has a largely equatorial climate that does not change as planetary climate is defined by the degree of inclination.

    The old view of ‘no tilt/no seasons’ must be replaced with the more productive perspective that a planet with zero inclination has an equatorial/temperate climate while a planet, comparable to Uranus,with a 90 degree inclination has a polar climate.This spectrum between polar climate and equatorial climate sets the foundations for our planet’s climate and after that the relevance of inputs can be discussed or disputed.

    It was modeling based on frivolous assertions that got this world into so much trouble and alternative modeling is not going to get us out of this mess,a stable astronomical narrative is required in order to even begin modeling and certainly not like the speculative monsters that are driving these doom laden predictions but modeling that affirms proper human interpretation.

  34. J Jackson
    Posted Nov 12, 2012 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    Interesting criticisms regarding tree ring issues:
    Pretty strong comments coming from a RealClimate guy.

  35. Posted Nov 24, 2012 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

    Very interesting and thanks for posting this. This seems lethal for dendroclimatology as it has been practiced until now. It will be interesting if any dendroclimatologist addresses the points made in this paper or if they ignore Bouldin, who is a certified Real Climate scientist.

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