Briffa asks for email deletion becuase FOIA is a “time sink” and an “inconvenient subsequent distraction”

0058.txt

date: Thu Oct  9 17:56:17 2008
from: Keith Briffa <k.briffa@uea.xxxx>
subject: Re: Tom Giverin – IN STRICT CONFIDENCE
to: “Toumi, Ralf” <r.toumi@imperial.xxxx>

Ralf

[[[redacted: reference]]]

Finally, might I ask that you note and then erase this email. I have found that recent enquiries under the Freedom of Information Act, or Data Protection Act, can become considerable time sinks , or the basis of some inconvenient subsequent distractions.
   with best wishes
   Keith

At 12:38 09/10/2008, you wrote:

Dear Keith,

Tom has applied to do a PhD with me (probably mesoscale modelling). Could you please
give me a reference for him. In particular I would be interested to know  if you would
take him in your group (and why you think he is  still available; which is good for
me…, but I  always worry at this time of year).

Best wishes,

Ralf

Professor Ralf Toumi
Department of Physics
Imperial College
London SW7 2AZ
UK

Rm. H713 (Huxley Building)
Telephone: + 44 (0) 207 594 7668
Fax: + 44 (0) 207 594 7900
email: [1]r.toumi@imperial.xxxx
Web: [2]http://www.sp.ph.ic.ac.uk/~rtoumi/


Professor Keith Briffa,
Climatic Research Unit
University of East Anglia
Norwich, NR4 7TJ, U.K.

Phone: +44-1603-xxxxx
Fax: +44-1603-xxxxx
[3]http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/

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30 thoughts on “Briffa asks for email deletion becuase FOIA is a “time sink” and an “inconvenient subsequent distraction”

  1. For the longest time, I thought these guys losing their standing in the scientific community would be justice. The more we find out, the more I think maybe some of them should go to jail.

  2. These climate scientist supercomputer guys; they really don’t know about this thing called mail servers, right?

  3. What they need to understand is that this sort of thing just adds to their legal exposure.

    If you are going to deliberately delete stuff in contravention of your terms of employment an the law, then you have to ensure that you get all copies, otherwise, if one of those turns up, you have some explaining to do as to why you deleted your copy.

    To get all copies, you have to enroll all the people you send it to, AND the mail system administrators of all the institutions to which the copies were sent to ensure that they cleanse the backup systems of ALL copies. This, of course, requires them to violate their conditions of employment, and the law.

    Chances of this happening are somewhat close to zero.

  4. Probably already noted but becuase = because.

    I know this is a distraction so feel free to insist that it is and always has been ‘becuase,’ and that we little people are just too brainwashed or dumb to understand that ;-)

  5. Thomas Giverin’s LinkedIn profile. Current employment: Front Office IT Support at Deutsche Bank.

    Education:

    University of East Anglia
    BSc (Hons), Meteorology and Oceanography 2:1
    2005 – 2008
    Taught between the School of Mathematics and the School of Environmental Sciences, it covered the physics of the atmosphere and ocean. Units covered included fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, vector calculus and differential equations. Other skills gained include basic Unix and modelling in the Python programming language.

    Applying to do a PhD, and according to this he just got his Bachelor’s degree, both back in 2008. Now the “Meteorology and Oceanography” student is doing “Trade Floor Application Support.”

    Offhand, to me, it looks like Briffa did not supply a good reference. And just in case young Mr. Giverin would ever like to see the paperwork that led to him not getting into a PhD program and royally messing up his life and future career prospects… Eh, guess it’s better to delete it rather than let it get FOIA’d some day. He has no legal right to know anyway, right?

  6. I agree with DJ. The wording here is just too good to be true. Can’t make this stuff up!

    Only thing sweeter might be Catastrophic Unprecedented Distraction, and I don’t think that even tops this.

  7. “Inconvenient”, he says. The favourite adjective of scoundrels.

    Used by Global Warming Fanatics its definition is: “unwelcome evidence that our scare stories are without substance”.

  8. One interesting conclusion which might be made, now that we see the heavily emphasized email deletion practices, is how this affects the Michael Mann email case in the United States. Even though many have surmised that secret gems showing collusion, bad science or worse is the reason for the fight against the release, I wonder if it is the lack of emails rather than the content which is behind the fight. Now that a ‘control’ database of emails involving Michael Mann is in the public view, what conclusions would be reached if their counterparts were missing from the American files of Dr Mann?

  9. If this email had been released with the climategate 1.0 emails, Briffia could have been prosecuted for FOIA violations, which I think has a two-year statute of limitations in the U.K. Whoever released the emails may have realized this and delayed their release specifically to protect the scientists from prosecution.

  10. …inconvenient subsequent distractions.>>>

    I’m trying to come up with a sarcastic, stinging remark. I got… nothing.

    Its the sort of line I would use in a saracstic rebuttal to a troll. Hey Keith! You’re stealing my material!

  11. For a bunch of PhDs that spend a fair amount of time doing software simulations they are woefully ignorant of modern computer technology. Well, that and the concept of ethics and, well, the law.

    Mark

  12. Here is an example of Phil Jones trying to avoid a FOIA request, but he apparently struggles with the implementation…:

    2577.txt

    “date: Thu Sep 25 15:24:48 2008
    from: Phil Jones
    subject: Re: CONFIDENTIAL: Response
    to: “Mitchell, John FB (Chief Scientist)”

    John,

    I’ve called Jo to say I’m happy with their response.
    I’ll also delete this email after I’ve sent it.
    We’ve had a request for all our internal UEA emails that have any bearing on the subject, so apologies for brevity.
    See you in November!
    Cheers
    Phil

    Prof. Phil Jones
    Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 ???
    School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 ???
    University of East Anglia
    Norwich Email ???@uea.ac.uk
    NR4 7TJ
    UK”

    http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=2577.txt&search=CONFIDENTIAL%3A+Response

    I wonder why Phil planned to delete this email. Here is the response from Jo that Phil was happy with:

    5122.txt

    cc: “Sear, Chris (CEOSA)” , “Warrilow, David (CEOSA)” , “Munro, Paul (CEOSA)”
    date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 13:35:43 +010 ???
    from: “Thorpe, Jo (CEOSA)”
    subject: CONFIDENTIAL: Response to David Holland
    to: “Phil Jones” , “Mitchell, John FB (Chief Scientist)”

    Dear John and Phil,

    Defra has received a letter from David Holland regarding the `hockey stick’ graph and its
    handling by the IPCC. We have drafted a short response, and would be grateful if you could
    read it and send us any comments you have. In particular, we would like to know whether you
    are happy with the penultimate paragraph (thereby justifying the final comment about advice
    from Met Office/CRU). Please also let me know if you feel that we should include any more
    information in defence of the hockey stick, including a more comprehensive discussion of
    the latest paper by Mann et al. (my instinct is that it would be best to avoid this in
    order to discourage further communication, but let me know if you feel otherwise).

    I have attached the letter from David Holland for your information – please treat this as
    strictly confidential. It would be very helpful if you could provide comments by Wednesday
    next week so that we can respond before the deadline.

    Many thanks for your help,

    Jo Thorpe

    <> <>

    ______________________

    Joanna Thorpe

    Climate Science and Stratospheric Ozone Team

    Climate, Energy and Ozone: Science and Analysis (CEOSA) Division

    Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

    Zone 3E, Ergon House, Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 2AL

    Tel: ???

    Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

    This email and any attachments is intended for the named recipient only.
    If you have received it in error you have no authority to use, disclose,
    store or copy any of its contents and you should destroy it and inform
    the sender.
    Whilst this email and associated attachments will have been checked
    for known viruses whilst within Defra systems we can accept no
    responsibility once it has left our systems.
    Communications on Defra’s computer systems may be monitored and/or
    recorded to secure the effective operation of the system and for other
    lawful purposes.

    Attachment Converted: “c:\eudora\attach\20080925_Letter to Holland.doc” Attachment
    Converted: “c:\eudora\attach\Letter from David Holland.TIF”
    http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=5122.txt&search=CONFIDENTIAL%3A+Response

    The Daily Mail covered this issue in 2010, i.e.

    “Professor John Mitchell, the Met Office’s Director of Climate Science, shared responsibility for the most worrying headline in the 2007 Nobel Prize-winning IPCC report – that the Earth is now hotter than at any time in the past 1,300 years.

    And he approved the inclusion in the report of the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph, showing centuries of level or declining temperatures until a steep 20th Century rise.”

    “Some of the FOI requests made to them came from the same person who has made requests to the Met Office.

    He is David Holland, an electrical engineer familiar with advanced statistics who has written several papers questioning orthodox thinking on global warming.

    The Met Office’s first response to Mr Holland was a claim that Prof Mitchell’s records had been ‘deleted’ from its computers.

    Later, officials admitted they did exist after all, but could not be disclosed because they were ‘personal’, and had nothing to do with the professor’s Met Office job.

    Finally, they conceded that this too was misleading because Prof Mitchell had been paid by the Met Office for his IPCC work and had received Government expenses to travel to IPCC meetings.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1249035/How-Met-Office-blocked-questions-mans-role-hockey-stick-climate-row.html

    Why all the cloak and dagger stuff if this is all settled science…?

  13. Even though all this looks like History-in-the-making, it’s actually History made, already (so to say). In other words, all those so-called “climate scientists” are HISTORY. The Daily Mail appears to leave no doubt about it. They take Climategate 2.0 for a real bombshell, and I reckon they’re right (INDEED):

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2066240/Second-leak-climate-emails-Political-giants-weigh-bias-scientists-bowing-financial-pressure-sponsors.html

    Many thanks, Anthony (and crew) for enlightenment.

  14. Poor dope. Apparently Briffa didn’t understand the difference between private emails and emails in the public domain, even in October of 2008. He strikes me as more naive than evil. At least he is honest about not wanting the bother of dealing with FOI requests.

    Briffa doesn’t bother me as much as the others. At first he seemingly feels very flattered and thrilled by all the acclaim he is receiving. Then he starts to slowly see through the flattery, and, even though his own work is not truly subjected to skepticism, he becomes his own skeptic, to some degree, which is actually a sign of a good scientist. Then he becomes aware how furious Mann gets at even the slightest hint of criticism or skepticism. It must have slowly dawned on him that he was in the middle of something quite different from what his first impressions dreamed. Flattery fooled him, and the heady thrills of fame and increased income gave him the sense he was among the great. What a let down, to realize you have been a fool, and you are actually among the evil. As I understand it Briffa actually became seriously ill, and haven’t heard to what degree he has recovered.

    I hate to admit it, but I have been in the shoes I imagine Briffa is in. When I was young I was such a fathead that I thought anyone who flattered me must be wise, because they agreed with my own absurdly high opinion of myself. Later I would figure out I had been played for a sucker and a chump, and was a fool. Some of us have to learn things the hard way. Fortunately my mistakes didn’t involve billions of dollars and billions of lives, the way Briffa’s have.

    It’s a hard lesson to learn: It is better to stand corrected than to fall for flattery.

  15. “Finally, might I ask that you note and then erase this email. I have found that recent enquiries under the Freedom of Information Act, or Data Protection Act, can become considerable time sinks , or the basis of some inconvenient subsequent distractions.
    with best wishes
    Keith”
    Keith, I’m saddened that your zeal as a seeker of truth has been so distorted towards your own selfish interests ( saving reputation first, your time second) that you’ve totally forgotten those motives that, and I presume mightily here, made you take your own adolescent stumblings in that, once noble, direction.
    Your laziness and willingness to get brow-beaten is now resulting in enormous TAX-SINKS and inconvenient subsequent distractions that THREATEN the economic futures and WELFARE of the citizens of the COUNTRY that gave you succour.
    I share in your shame, I’m a brit too, but, try as I might, I cannot forgive your treachery.
    Did Dr Mann make you feel so threatened that you took the yellow bricked road or was it just that you knew that toeing the line was the path of least resistance?
    As much as I feel let down by your abrogation of duty to science believe me this, I hope you have a darned good explanation or a downright apology for your behaviour!

  16. As a physics professor, I again find the action here both unprofessional and pathetic.

    As background, readers should note that there is an important issue behind these letters of recommendation. These letters are extremely important for academic job applications, and are typically the most telling part of one’s resume. The problem is that with foia laws these letters can be made public, even if the applicant signs agreements not to look at them, and there have been cases where a professor has been sued for writing a bad application. (I hear this is a problem for business also).

    The proper solution is to recalibrate the letters by dumbing them down. You can never write anything negative. A short letter that merely states the person is ok is understood as someone not worth hiring, whereas the letter for a really good scientist must have a detailed and effusive description of accomplishments, which is actually not too hard to write. Nobody likes this, but lawyers rule.

    In the end, it just takes more time to write a proper letter. Any excuse for having to get around foia laws means they are just being lazy and unprofessional. It also seems to indicate a mindset where they feel they are important enough to break all the rules.

  17. John;
    The proper solution is to recalibrate the letters by dumbing them down. >>>

    The proper solution if you don’t want to write a favourable recommendation because it isn’t warranted is to decline to write one at all.

  18. Wild speculation here, but could “the Team” members, like Briffa, have deliberately scuttled PhD program applicants who weren’t “true believers” and expressed skeptical views?

    For example, Thomas Giverin is knowledgeable about computers, with programming, data set handling, and modeling skills, along with knowing the physics of “atmosphere and ocean.” As repeatedly shown here on WUWT, people who can crank the temperature data themselves don’t see the extreme warming, find the mysterious manipulations of the historical temperature records confusing and/or unnecessary, and can see how the models are manipulated and massaged to yield the desired results and are otherwise useless.

    The (C)AGW-pushing Climate Scientists™ are quick to dismiss anyone without their credentials, most important one nearly always being a doctorate. Why would they let someone with skeptical views get the same credentials as them? They took control of the major journals and scuttled skeptical papers. Why not take control of the granting of graduate degrees to keep skeptics out?

  19. Thomas Giverin’s LinkedIn profile. Current employment: Front Office IT Support at Deutsche Bank.

    Education:

    University of East Anglia
    BSc (Hons), Meteorology and Oceanography 2:1
    2005 – 2008
    Taught between the School of Mathematics and the School of Environmental Sciences, it covered the physics of the atmosphere and ocean. Units covered included fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, vector calculus and differential equations. Other skills gained include basic Unix and modelling in the Python programming language.

    Applying to do a PhD, and according to this he just got his Bachelor’s degree, both back in 2008. Now the “Meteorology and Oceanography” student is doing “Trade Floor Application Support.”

    Offhand, to me, it looks like Briffa did not supply a good reference. And just in case young Mr. Giverin would ever like to see the paperwork that led to him not getting into a PhD program and royally messing up his life and future career prospects… Eh, guess it’s better to delete it rather than let it get FOIA’d some day. He has no legal right to know anyway, right?

    So the University of East Anglia teaches vectors and differential equations in a degree course? That might explain a lot of things.

  20. I think its time to get the police involved, enough is enough this is criminal activity bearing in mind the suffering these people are causing to billions of people on earth

  21. ‘Old One Tree’ at it again! The man is a disgrace he should have been released from his over paid job two years ago but he is still at CRU causing problems.

  22. Doubting Thomas says:
    November 25, 2011 at 3:52 pm
    If this email had been released with the climategate 1.0 emails, Briffia could have been prosecuted for FOIA violations, which I think has a two-year statute of limitations in the U.K. Whoever released the emails may have realized this and delayed their release specifically to protect the scientists from prosecution.

    While there is a statute of limitations for evasion of the FOI Act, the same does not apply to conspiracy to defraud and malfeasance in public office. It would appear that the collusion indicated in these emails has risen to that level.

  23. “So the University of East Anglia teaches vectors and differential equations in a degree course?”

    Read more carefully: it said “vector calculus”. You might also like to explain why you think (as presumably you do) that all material on differential equations should be taught at High School.

  24. The FOIA statue of limitations act have a 2 year limit – I am not sure, however this email is encouraging people to break the law – this is not covered under FOIA but probably comes under the civil evidence act 1995 or similar laws.

  25. This is not just a simple criminal offence that deserves a small fine and taliking to by a magistrate. This is a large-scale fraud that has (and continues to) extract huge sums of money from the taxpayers public purse
    A long-term custodial sentence is required

  26. Edit the headline:
    just “becuase”.
    _______
    If it’s true that the UK FOI law blocks access to server and archive records if it is deemed that the email originator and recipient chose to delete their copies, then perhaps one can excuse the persistent apparent ignorance of Keith et pals.

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