On the Climate Audit thread, The Vergano FOI Request the irascible Nick Stokes provokes another commenter “mpaul”, to lay out all the history in a simple summary that even Nick might understand. I thought it was worth repeating here for readers who have not followed the twists and turns in detail, and also in the hope that Dr. Michael Mann might read it and get a clue. Obstruction doesn’t pay.
From this Climate Audit comment:
But I don’t think snooping through people’s private emails is a dignified activity.
Nick, I’ll turn the sarcasm off for a moment. I agree with you on this point. I have been an advocate for Cuccinelli CID process. Say what you will about Cuccinelli’s motives, but the American justice system provides protections for the accused and standards of procedure that do not exist in the court of public opinion.
We have arrived at this point in history along the following path:
(1) Steve wanted to replicate MBH98 and asked for data. Mann initially complied, but then began to obstruct.
(2) Steve successfully obtained the needed data and demonstrated serious flaws in Mann’s approach.
(3) Mann defended his work by saying that other Hockey Stick reconstructions validated his method and his conclusions.
(4) Attention turned to replicating the other reconstructions. By now, the Team had become extremely defensive and a sort of bunker mentality took over. Years of obstruction followed.
(5) Those seeking the data and methods used in the HS reconstructions became more and more aggressive, eventually turning to FOIA as a tool to pry loose the information.
(6) Then “a miracle happened’. A file containing materials and emails requested under FOIA turned up on the internet. Most everyone would agree that the contents of the emails warranted an investigation. The only investigation that specifically looked into Mann’s conduct was undertaken by Penn State. Penn State cleared Mann noting that Mann stated:
(a) he had never falsified any data, nor had he had ever manipulated data to serve a given predetermined outcome;
(b) he never used inappropriate influence in reviewing papers by other scientists who disagreed with the conclusions of his science;
(c) he never deleted emails at the behest of any other scientist, specifically including Dr. Phil Jones, and that he never withheld data with the intention of obstructing science; and
(d) he never engaged in activities or behaviors that were inconsistent with accepted academic practices.
(7) Critics have charged that the Penn State investigation was inadequate. Michael Mann has subsequently stated that he did, in fact, participate in an orchestrated effort to delete emails covered under FOIA, raising questions about the veracity of statements he made to the Penn State investigators. Penn State seems untroubled by this.
A real, independent investigation, subject to rules of evidence and judicial procedures, is needed. Such an investigation is the only way to put and end to Climategate and is the only way to restore the tattered reputation of climate science. I think both Virginia and Pennsylvania should conduct an investigation. However, if UVa continues to obstruct the CID, then FOIA is the only option and Mann will be afforded no protection of his privacy.
Mann and UVa are playing a losing game. Its sheer folly to attempt to frustrate a State AG in a law enforcement investigation. Cuccinelli has nuclear weapons at his disposal and UVa has water pistols. If Cuccinelli loses the CID battle, he will simply file a lawsuit and obtain the materials through discovery. Or, if UVa really pisses him off, he will convene a Grand Jury. For Mann personally, this would be catastrophic. Mann and UVa should cooperate with the CID process.
It’s sad that we have arrived at this place. But at every juncture in this journey, Mann has chosen the wrong path.