First FOIA request launched after Climategate 2.0 – this one to the US Department of Energy

It appears that the focus of this has to do with the refusal to give up station data in and the DOE’s apparent complicity in that issue as revealed in the CG2 emails in 2009 from Dr. Phil Jones at CRU.

From the Competitive Enterprise Institute (via email):

=============================================================

November 30, 2011

Freedom of Information Officer
Mr. Alexander Morris
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20585

RE:     FOIA Request – 2007 communications between Office of Science and Dr. Phil Jones

ByRegularandElectronicMailAlexander.Morris@xxx.doe.gov

Dear Mr. Morris,

On behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a not-for-profit policy organization in Washington, DC, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552 et seq. and the relevant U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) implementing regulations, please consider the following Request.

Please provide us within twenty (20) working days copies of any and all record(s) — defined here as correspondence and any memoranda, analysis, other communications cited therein or attached — which were

  1. created, received and/or held by DoE’s Office of Science, and
  2. sent by or to (including as a “cc:”) a Dr. Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (typical, but likely not exclusive address: p.jones@uea.xxx), and
  3. dated during the year 2007.

Background

Dr. Phil Jones, whose work has on occasion been funded in part by the U.S. taxpayer through DoE, is on record stating to parties requesting certain information things such as “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.” (Jones in a 2004 email to researcher Warwick Hughes).

Also, in the 2009 and 2011 “ClimateGate” releases of emails many or most of which had been subject to but improperly withheld under the UK’s FOI law, we have seen Jones’s admissions of destroying correspondence in response to or anticipation of FOI requests.

Most important to the present request, in several emails recently made public Phil Jones explicitly states that the DOE informed him it is “happy about [Jones] not releasing the original [temperature] station data” to researchers requesting that particular information, which information was funded by the U.S. taxpayer through DoE.

The data at issue was also requested under a the UK’s FOI law. Jones was funded by the U.S. taxpayer. As taxpayers we have a right to learn relevant facts of apparently public employee-enabling of a scientist they fund to avoid FOI requests.

Examples of recently released correspondence supporting the public’s need for this information is found in, e.g., “ClimateGate 2011” emails that DoE offered this counsel in 2007.

In email 1577, Phil Jones says the following:

“Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (US Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.” (July 28, 2009)

Also, he repeats this in email 1217:

“Work on the land station data has been funded by the US Dept of Energy, and I have their agreement that the data needn’t be passed on. I got this in 2007.” (May 13, 2009)

Transparency

We note the inauguralpost on the White House “blog” made immediately upon President Obama’s swearing-in to office which restated, in pertinent part, a prominent promise made when courting votes during the election campaign:

Transparency — President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history, and WhiteHouse.gov will play a major role in delivering on that promise. The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. You can also learn about some of the senior leadership in the new administration and about the President’s policy priorities. WhiteHouse.gov, “Change has come to WhiteHouse.gov”, January 20, 2009 (12:01 p.m.), http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/change_has_come_to_whitehouse-gov/

Scope of Request

This Request for the described records covers DoE’sOfficeofScience(particularlyincluding,butnotlimitedto,itsOfficeofBiologicalandEnvironmentalResearch,andtheClimateandEnvironmentalSciencesDivisionanditsEarthSystemModelingProgram), and the period January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007, inclusive.

Please identify and inform us of all responsive or potentially responsive documents within the statutorily prescribed time, and the basis of any claimed exemptions or privilege and to which specific responsive or potentially responsive document(s) such objection applies. Further, please inform us of the basis of any partial denials or redactions.

Specifically, if your office takes the position that any portion of the requested records is exempt from disclosure, we request that you provide us with an index of those documents as required under Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977 (1972), with sufficient specificity “to permit a reasoned judgment as to whether the material is actually exempt under FOIA” pursuant to Founding Church of Scientology v. Bell, 603 F.2d 945, 959 (D.C. Cir. 1979), and “describ[ing] each document or portion thereof withheld, and for each withholding it must discuss the consequences of supplying the sought-after information.” King v. U.S. Department of Justice, 830 F.2d 210, 223-24 (D.C. Cir. 1987).

In the event that some portions of the requested records are properly exempt from disclosure, please disclose any reasonably segregable, non-exempt portions of the requested records. See 5 U.S.C. §552(b). If it is your position that a document contains non-exempt segments and that those non-exempt segments are so dispersed throughout the documents as to make segregation impossible, please state what portion of the document is non-exempt and how the material is dispersed through the document. Mead Data Central v. U.S. Department of the Air Force, 455 F.2d 242, 261 (D.C. Cir. 1977). Claims of non-segregability must be made with the same detail as required for claims of exemption in a Vaughn index. If a request is denied in whole, please state specifically that it is not reasonable to segregate portions of the record for release.

Please provide copies of documents, in electronic format if you possess them as such, otherwise photocopies are acceptable. By this we mean that no delay need be incurred on the basis that the records are held in a particular format and must be transferred as we seek them as held in whatever medium or bearing whatever physical characteristics may be the case.

Request for Fee Waiver

We request your office(s) waive any fees associated with this request on the basis that CEI is a nonprofit, tax-exempt public interest organization, with formal research, educational and publication functions as part of its mission, and because release of these records will serve the public interest by contributing significantly to the public’s understanding of the controversial topics of environmental and science-related policy and specifically the ongoing debate over the transparency and credibility of taxpayer-funded science and the activities of taxpayer-funded scientists, and because such a release is not primarily in our organization’s commercial interest.

If our fee waiver request is denied we are willing to pay up to $50.00, and in the event of any appeal as appropriate and regardless of that outcome or your response to this fee waiver request we request the search and document production proceed in the interim.

As explained below and in our initial Request, this FOIA Request satisfies the factors customarily considered for waiver or reduction of fees, as well as the requirements of fee waiver under the FOIA statute – that disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii), see also inter alia DOE’s implementing regulations, Title10,CodeofFederalRegulations(Section1004.9).

CEI promotes the public interest advocating sensible policies to protect human health and the environment including through education on activities of government and taxpayer-supported entities, and has routinely received fee waivers under FOIA.

CEI is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated in great part to relevant energy and environment issues with no commercial interest in obtaining the requested information. Instead, CEI intends to use the requested information to inform the public, so the public can meaningfully participate in the policymaking process related to hydrocarbon energy production and use with complete, relevant information.

1. The subject matter of the requested records must specifically concern identifiable operations or activities of the government.

The requested records relate to DoE’s process and advice given regarding obligations to disclose certain details regarding taxpayer-funded work. Pursuant to FOIA this process, related correspondence, these determinations and the policies and procedures on which they are based are unquestionably “identifiable operations or activities of the government.” The Department of Justice Freedom of Information Act Guide expressly concedes that “in most cases records possessed by federal agency will meet this threshold” of identifiable operations or activities of the government. There can be no question that this is such a case.

2. For the disclosure to be “likely to contribute” to an understanding of specific government operations or activities, the releasable material must be meaningfully informative in relation to the subject matter of the request.

The disclosure of the requested documents must have an informative value and be “likely to contribute to an understanding of Federal government operations or activities.” The Freedom of Information Act Guide makes it clear that, in the Department of Justice’s view, the “likely to contribute” determination hinges in substantial part on whether the requested documents provide information that is not already in the public domain. The requested records are “likely to contribute” to an understanding of your agency’s activities because with limited exceptions they are not otherwise in the public domain and are not accessible other than through a FOIA request.

Given current concerns about the credibility of certain taxpayer-funded research and related processes (as revealed in, inter alia, the “ClimateGate” release of emails in 2009 and 2011), this information will facilitate meaningful public understanding of the described campaign, therefore fulfilling the requirement that the documents requested be “meaningfully informative” and “likely to contribute” to an understanding of your agency’s decision-making process and the controversial issue described above.

3. The disclosure must contribute to the understanding of the public at large, as opposed to the understanding of the requester or a narrow segment of interested persons.

Under this factor, the identity and qualifications of the requester—i.e., expertise in the subject area of the request and ability and intention to disseminate the information to the public—is examined. As described in our Request, above and below, CEI has a well-established interest and expertise in the subject of taxpayer-funded science and the related regulatory policies, demonstrated through, inter alia, freedom of information requests and litigation.

More importantly, CEI unquestionably has the “specialized knowledge” and “ability and intention” to disseminate the information requested in the broad manner, and to do so in a manner that contributes to the understanding of the “public-at-large.” CEI intends to disseminate the information it receives through FOIA regarding these government operations and activities in a variety of ways, including but not limited to, analysis and distribution to the media, distribution through publication and mailing, posting on the organizations’ websites, and emailing.

As shown by the extensive public discussion following revelation of certain tactics in the “ClimateGate” releases, these records are the subject of great public interest. To deny this would be prima facie capricious.

4. The disclosure must contribute “significantly” to public understanding of government operations or activities.

With the exception of the limited ClimateGate releases which do include Phil Jones flatly stating he has corresponded with DoE and received a staffer’s blessing to withhold data, there are currently no records publicly available regarding the requested information — correspondence to and from DoE addressing this matter. Absent disclosure of the records requested, the public’s understanding will be shaped only by what we are told was a “selective” and “out of context” release of emails. Further, Jones’ admissions of having destroyed records makes release of DoE’s versions more important to the public debate.

The records requested will contribute to the public understanding of the government’s role, or their “operations and activities” associated with this critically important information. The disclosure of the requested records is also essential to public understanding of DoE decision making process, its advice to parties it funds regarding transparency, and U.S. influence in critical “climate science” efforts including but not limited to the “IPCC” process. After disclosure of these records, the public’s understanding of this process will be significantly enhanced. The requirement that disclosure must contribute “significantly” to the public understanding is therefore met.

5. The extent to which disclosure will serve the requester’s commercial interest, if any.

As already stated CEI has no commercial interest in the information sought or otherwise in the requested records. Nor does ATI have any intention to use these records in any manner that “furthers a commercial, trade, or profit interest” as those terms are commonly understood. CEI is a tax-exempt organization under sections 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and as such has no commercial interest. The requested records will be used for the furtherance of CEI’s mission to inform the public on matters of vital importance to the regulatory process and policies relating to energy and the environment.

6. The extent to which the identified public interest in the disclosure outweighs the requester’s commercial interest.

See answers to factors 1-5 above. Whether the magnitude of the identified commercial interest of the requester is sufficiently large, in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is “primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.” When a commercial interest is found to exist and that interest would be furthered by the requested disclosure, an agency must assess the magnitude of such interest in order to compare it to the “public interest” in disclosure. If no commercial interest exists, an assessment of that non-existent interest is not required. As noted above, ATI has no commercial interest in the requested records.

Disclosure of this information is not “primarily” in CEI’s commercial interest. On the other hand, it is clear that the disclosure of the information requested is in the public interest. It will contribute significantly to public understanding of the regulatory process as already described.

We respectfully request, because the public will be the primary beneficiary of this requested information, that DoE waive processing and copying fees pursuant to 5 U.S.C. §552(a)(4)(A). In the event that your agency denies a fee waiver, please send a written explanation for the denial. Also, please continue to produce the records as expeditiously as possible, but in any event no later than the applicable FOIA deadlines.

Sincerely,

Christopher C. Horner

CHorner@cei.org

1899 L Street NW, Suite 1200

Washington, DC 20036

202.331.2260 (O)

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63 Responses to First FOIA request launched after Climategate 2.0 – this one to the US Department of Energy

  1. Interstellar Bill says:

    Orwellian ‘Transparency”
    data needn’t be passed on
    and has to be well hidden.

  2. Wil says:

    NOW I’m having a heck of a great day – this is one heck of a post, Anthony. I hope this is but the first of many FOI requests with reference to the Global Warming cartel.

  3. john says:

    Government Could Hide Existence of Records under FOIA Rule Proposal

    http://www.propublica.org/article/government-could-hide-existence-of-records-under-foia-rule-proposal/single

    We all need to keep exposing this for what it is. I hope that foia2011 will give up the password.

  4. AGW_Skeptic says:

    Great!

    Follow the money.

  5. LazyTeenager says:

    If our fee waiver request is denied we are willing to pay up to $50.00,
    —————-
    Seriously? Let’s see, tying up 1-2 people for several days at 500 dollars per day should add up to around $2000.

    Seems Chris is a bit of a socialist who expects to get government services without paying for them, since his organization is not paying taxes either.

  6. pat says:

    Chu Chu. Here comes the train.

  7. henrychance says:

    I suspect this will be ignored and CEI will need a judge to remind them this is a legal request and obligation.

  8. henrychance says:

    [quote]
    LazyTeenager says:
    November 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm
    If our fee waiver request is denied we are willing to pay up to $50.00,
    —————-
    Seriously? Let’s see, tying up 1-2 people for several days at 500 dollars per day should add up to around $2000.

    Seems Chris is a bit of a socialist who expects to get government services without paying for them, since his organization is not paying taxes either.
    [/quote]

    Lazy Teenager
    , This is a gubment issues. Our taxes paid for service. Why should we pay twice?

  9. Terry Warren says:

    That is well written, and requested, that it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

  10. Chris BC says:

    Very thorough and complete. This should serve as a template for others. When the request addresses all issues up front in the first try, attempts at stonewalling based on technicalities will either be minimized or look very bad when it gets to court.

    john, that proposal only applies to law enforcement or national security issues, neither of which apply here, or at least would not stand up as a waiver excuse in court.

  11. Leon Brozyna says:

    This may be the first but I bet it won’t be the last FOIA request.

  12. Scott Covert says:

    Please keep us informed at every stage of this process. It will be quite interesting how the DOE handles this request and any wrangling that might slow or stop the request.

  13. Latitude says:

    …..I hope that leaves a mark

  14. David L says:

    This is great. I really love the part about Obama courting votes and promising transparency!!!!! Lets see how much this guy loves transparency.

  15. KnR says:

    You have to say if AGW was anywhere near as important and anywhere near as urgent as the prophets of doom claims , they you expect them not to but so much effort into hiding information and avoided their legal obligations. But instead to put their effort into making this information as widely and as readily available as possible, in fact to be kicking peoples doors down and shoving it under their noses rather then indulging in childish ‘hind and seek ‘ games .

  16. Rhoda Ramirez says:

    Lazy Teenager: Agencies can only charge for the cost of reproduction, ie. copying. The employees are already being paid on the taxpayer nickle.

    Chris BC: That revision to the FOIA is targeted at the results of climate research. The hook is that some DOD jerk stated that AGW is a threat to our military or defense or something along that line which does make AGW a national security issue. The old FOIA had national security exemptions, this new one just puts AGW info under that umbrella.

  17. crosspatch says:

    I expect this FOIA request will die a slow death. It will require a change of administration in order to get any information out of the executive branch.

  18. Will Delson says:

    CEI just turned the burner up a notch or two. I thought I was having fun following CG2, but I’m positively giddy awaiting the outcome of this. It couldn’t be more entertainning if it were being played out live on the set of Jerry Springer. “Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!”

    Good times, y’all.

  19. kMc2 says:

    ATI under #5 and #6? Same as CEI?

  20. Kevin Schurig says:

    “henrychance says:

    November 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I suspect this will be ignored and CEI will need a judge to remind them this is a legal request and obligation.”

    All this from the most transparent administration, evah.
    To borrow shamlessly from the Norton Salt motto: “When it rains, it pours.”
    Gonna have to buy some more popcorn.

  21. john says:

    @ ChrisBC,

    Energy is considered a National Security issue and global warming is CLASSIFIED by the CIA. I will be surprised if they produce all the requested materials. This also may play a little into executive privilege as was the case in Solyndra when congress persons requested documents….

    White House delivers Solyndra documents, rebuffs full GOP subpoena

    http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/193169-white-house-provides-solyndra-documents-rebuffs-subpoena-request

    excerpt:

    The White House on Friday rejected House Republicans’ subpoena for all internal communications related to the $535 million Solyndra loan guarantee, instead providing 135 pages of documents that administration officials say meet the “legitimate oversight interests” of congressional investigators.

    I hope that all the information requested is granted but the track record is poor (see solyndra above) and getting worse.

  22. crosspatch says:

    Look at how this administration just today handled an inquiry into the gun running scandal that resulted in the death of a Border Patrol agent … sealing the records, preventing any inquiry.

    http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2011/nov/u-s-seals-court-records-border-patrol-s-murder

    We’ll get the same response to this inquiry is my expectation. The answer will likely be: “move along, nothing to see here”.

  23. Coke says:

    LMAO @ asking the Obama administration for honest answers

  24. mikerossander says:

    LazyTeenager is concerned above about the miserly $50 offered for the cost of the search. As background, that is a factor of 5 higher than the amount most courts allow a company to request when answering a third-party subpoena. (That amount, by the way, is regardless of whether the subpoena is for a single page or for many thousands of pages plus in-person witnesses.)

    The amount is consistent with the FOIA Fee Schedule published by the Department of Energy. Like all government agencies, they are allowed to charge for incremental costs of the search and production only. Excluded are 1) any hours spent by lawyers analyzing or responding to the request, 2) sunk costs such as salaries already paid (though you could have to pay for incremental hours if the department has to bring in overtime help) or the costs of search software which they already have in-house and 3) all review costs (whether legal or not) IF the request is non-commercial.

    Since we know from other lawsuits that the Department (in fact, almost all government agencies) already has a competent email search tool and this is a fairly simple search (email system only, defined user, defined time, no keywords – in other words, the search tool can filter based on email header information only), the incremental effort to set up and execute the search is trivial. The computer may grind for a few hours, days or even weeks – there’s no incremental cost for that time, though. Assuming the requestor is willing to accept electronic media (a CD for example), the Department can charge for the cost of burning the result to disk, the disk itself and mailing. (If the documents were paper, the DOE would charge $0.05 per page.) All told, that seems well within the $50 offered.

    Now, I think there is a reasonable moral position that not all salaries are necessarily sunk costs and that the legal time should be recoverable. But that’s not how the current law is written. It may seem cheap but by the standards of such legal requests, it’s average to slightly generous.

  25. They will find a way to bury or indefinitely delay this FOI request, as they did with most others.

    I hate to say it but a belief that there are still laws and justice in the US or in Europe (when it comes to crimes committed by the government, for the government, and/or through the government) is naive and antiquated.

    They own us. Individual freedom is gone. Only if we learn to out-stare this inconvenient truth, we could do something better than mosquito bites.

  26. cui bono says:

    Since this involves a Brit, and US funding abroad, they may sadly be some wriggle room on the diplomatic front.

    Is there a British legal expert who can clarify the position here in the UK? Can an FOI request or civil action still be raised? It seems the supposedly deleted e-mails may still exist on the complex mail server in UEA, and the recent e-mails from CG2 have only just come to light. Isn’t it the time elapsed from the discovery of an alleged misdemeanour that counts, not the time since it was actually perpetrated?

  27. John Vetterling says:

    Unless I’m mistaken, if it can be shown that UEA/CRU deliberately tried to circumvent US law, then they could be placed on the excluded parties list (suspended or disbarred). That would mean no more US government money.

  28. eyesonu says:

    Well done Mr Horner. I’m glad to see this.

  29. Jean Parisot says:

    Those with access to the UVA messages need to correlate with the released snails to ensure nothing is missing.

  30. john says:

    Here are a couple of foia suits the AGW crew have filed against DOE for stonewalling.

    http://www.civilsocietyinstitute.org/media/062311release.cfm

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sace-department-of-energy-continues-to-stonewall-foia-request-seeking-disclosure-of-details-in-833-billion-federal-loan-guarantee-for-proposed-risky-vogtle-nuclear-reactors-2011-10-13

    This CEI FOIA request is much needed to counteract what the AGW crew is up to. Fraud as a business (science) model needs to be changed.

  31. davidmhoffer says:

    I’ve been wondering how long it would take for FOIA requests in the US to start showing up based on information in the ClimateGate emails that let’s the request be focused so sharply like this one is. Turns out… not long.

    But it brings up some interesting questions in my mind. This request is not in regard to anything that was said and done at the DOE. It is simply asking for all DOE correspondence with Phil Jones. What if that strategy were extended to say…. Penn State?

    An FOIA request to Penn State for all their correspondence with Phil Jones ought to be much more interesting that Michael Mann’s emails. For starters, such a request would probably wind up including many of the very emails that we are interested in seeing from Michael Mann… except that it would no longer be “his” emails that were being sought. Try and get intervenor status on that one Mikey!

    As for the excuse that the emails contain personal information… right… Phil Jones sends emails to people at Penn State asking them to pick up a quart of milk and a load of bread on the way home…right.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, perhaps an FOIA request to the State Penn regarding any correspondence with Michael Mann might also be in order? After all, his reaction to Dr Tim Ball’s comment on which institution he belongs in is clearly over the top. Why is he so sensitive to the matter? What’s going on between him and the State Pen anyway? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Ooooh…. to heck with Penn State and Michael Mann! How about an FOIA request for any correspondence with Phil Jones to…. NASA!

  32. Mac the Knife says:

    I think I’ll send CEI $50, just to make sure their costs are covered!! And to ‘tweek’ the lazy teenager #occupywhatever kinda folks out their whining about this….. Yes, working hard for decades, saving and living conservatively, has its personal rewards! };>) If you like the things CEI is doing, suggest you throw a few bones their way as well.

    http://cei.org/support-cei

    Don’t forget to throw some shekels, euros, yuan, pesos, rubles, and dollar$ at the WUWT tip jar also! http://www.surfacestations.org/donate.htm
    Anthony needs beer and popcorn, to replenish the electrolytes and fuel these nicely blooming ClimateGate 2.0 revelations also!

    MtK

  33. Bring on the truth. Here come the judge, here come the judge …

  34. Mac the Knife says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    November 30, 2011 at 5:57 pm
    “What if that strategy were extended to say…. Penn State?
    An FOIA request to Penn State for all their correspondence with Phil Jones ought to be much more interesting that Michael Mann’s emails. For starters, such a request would probably wind up including many of the very emails that we are interested in seeing from Michael Mann… except that it would no longer be “his” emails that were being sought. Try and get intervenor status on that one Mikey!”

    I like the way you think, David!!!

  35. crosspatch says:

    I believe this is the right angle, though. Compel the government agencies to go to the institutions involved and get the emails. For example if PSU were doing research with a taxpayer grant, the funding agency should be able to compel PSU to release the emails, failing that, Congress should be able to.

  36. marchesarosa says:

    The mental soundtrack accompanying my reading this FOIA request from the CEI is the sound of the teleprinter clacking out the headlines of the unravelling of the Watergate conspiracy in the final scene of “All the President’s Men”. Let us hope this is the beginning of the end of another conspiracy.

  37. Bennett says:

    @davidmhoffer

    I like the way you think! The question is will the MSM pick up on this if the transgressions become more than obvious?

    @Alexander Feht

    I agree, but the men in the walls have got to do whatever we can do. Belling the cat is a tough assignment, as is regaining a democracy.

  38. davidmhoffer says:

    Bennett says:
    November 30, 2011 at 6:33 pm
    @davidmhoffer
    I like the way you think! The question is will the MSM pick up on this if the transgressions become more than obvious?>>>

    At some point they have no choice. Evidence of conspiracies to get contrary opinions supressed they can look the other way on… for a while. But dig something up that is criminal, and you can bet that some prosecutor will decide to make a career move out of it and someone will go to jail. That they’ll report on the front page, no matter what.

    Aside from that, while the MSM is slower on the uptake of this than I though they would be after CG1, the fact is articles are slowly emerging from the woodwork.

  39. jorgekafkazar says:

    [SNIP: Jorge, think a second. Is that a statement, really, about the topic of the thread? What you said may be TRUE, but it needs lots more than you are giving here. Sorry. -REP]

  40. Jim S says:

    What LazyTeenager doesn’t understand (because he’s young and inexperienced ?) is that CEI would love nothing more than to have the DoE state that the amount is too low and start haggling over costs. That would concede both the existence and the relevance of the information requested.

  41. Taphonomic says:

    WRT Penn State, a problem arises because Penn State claims that is exempt from the Right To Know law that allows news organizations and the public to request documents from publicly funded institutions.

    http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/sports/penn_state/penn-state's-secrets-shielded-by-law-112811

    I wonder if this had any relation to Mann’s decision to work there?

  42. richard verney says:

    I do not consider the request should have been limited to the year 2007.

    At the very least, given that Phil Jones seems a little disorganised and not one for facts such that, he may easily have been mistaken as to dates, the request should have covered the period 2006 through to 2008 inclussive.

  43. Dave Worley says:

    20 working days in DC might take us past the projected tipping point!

  44. G. Karst says:

    If this FOIA request fails, it certainly will not be because of any flaw in the request!

    These guys are zeroed on their target. One shot kill is the right approach. They are operating in a target rich environment. There are only so many expendable rounds. GK

  45. Ian W says:

    Alexander Feht says:
    November 30, 2011 at 4:45 pm
    They will find a way to bury or indefinitely delay this FOI request, as they did with most others.

    I hate to say it but a belief that there are still laws and justice in the US or in Europe (when it comes to crimes committed by the government, for the government, and/or through the government) is naive and antiquated.

    They own us. Individual freedom is gone. Only if we learn to out-stare this inconvenient truth, we could do something better than mosquito bites.

    and

    Jean Parisot says:
    November 30, 2011 at 5:12 pm
    Those with access to the UVA messages need to correlate with the released snails to ensure nothing is missing.

    Alexander, to pick up what Jean alludes to – the DOE will need to be careful with what they say.

    Remember FOIA2011 release still has the major portion of files to come. There could easily be more emails from the DOE in the next tranche either direct or forwarded. Stating now that there are no relevant emails could put them in a difficult position if the emails turn up in a different release. Especially if the UVA and another tranche of FOIA2011 emails both have copies of email from DOE that DOE has said do not exist. And the DOE don’t know the content of these other potential releases, nor does UVA.. It looks like FOIA2011 is holding the cards – does DOE raise or call?

    .

  46. F. Ross says:


    LazyTeenager says:
    November 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    If our fee waiver request is denied we are willing to pay up to $50.00,
    —————-
    Seriously? Let’s see, tying up 1-2 people for several days at 500 dollars per day should add up to around $2000.

    Seems Chris is a bit of a socialist who expects to get government services without paying for them, since his organization is not paying taxes either.

    Oh really now — a snide ad hominem — is this the best you can do?

  47. @Ian W:

    What I say ay seem too downbeat but I learned to expect the worst.
    A paranoid attitude actually makes life seem rosier: it feels like you are a sage of the ages if you hit the bull’s eye, and it feels even better when you miss!

  48. MikeA says:

    If this is possible why not FOI all DOE emails on a weekly bais? It would make interesting reading.

  49. Derek Walton says:

    Probably too late, but UK University email addresses are not suffixed .edu as implied in the letter. I think it should be @uea.ac.uk. Hope that doe not give wriggle room.

  50. John-X says:

    “While uncommon, it’s not unheard of for an institution to try to dissuade FOIA requests with outrageous fees…

    ” In theory an institution could present you with a bill for several hundred blank pages of redacted records. If you genuinely believe an institution is using FOIA charges to prevent disclosure of something particularly messy, it’s probably time to seek help from state or federal regulatory agencies, the media, or your elected representatives…”

    http://www.circare.org/FOIA/foia1.htm

    (also Google: FOIA outrageous fees)

  51. An Inquirer says:

    Lazy Teenager, if the the mentality of DOE was one of ethics and diligence, then DOE would already be on this issue — gathering and analyzing the information — not waiting for an FOIA.

  52. Bob Rogers says:

    DavidMHoffer says

    “An FOIA request to Penn State for all their correspondence with Phil Jones ought to be much more interesting that Michael Mann’s emails.”

    The Freedom of Information Act applies only to the Federal Government, so one can’t use it to request information from a University. Pennsylvania might have an open records act (PORA?). If so, it would be similar to FOIA, but apply to state agencies. Penn State is not a state agency, so it would not apply.

  53. Richard M says:

    I’m not sure the current administration would have any problem with this. Remember, it’s from 2007. I also think it should be expanded to cover a larger time span. That may take the form of another FIOA if the first one provides any meat.

  54. ajacksonian says:

    They may have left out the contract/grant portion to examine: the Agency to recipient office often does not get a cc: to the recipient as that is an arrangement between the government and an organization. That has its own set of trails separate from actual project documentation which includes: how was the contract/grant generated (was it an open solicitation or thrown over the transom), who set up the government side of the documentation for the contract/grant, what were the review criteria for the contract/grant proposal and award, who was in on the criteria review, either a grant or contract will need to show the rationale for going to a non-US source for the work being performed…

    Having come from an R&D section of another government agency, I can tell you that there are a lot of things that don’t go between the recipient and the agency, but between the agency and the institution and then get filtered down to the recipient. As there is walling off on the government side between those who generate up projects going out on grants/contracts and those who handle the money end, you can get separate data streams for funding and actual work product.

    Who makes up the review criteria not just on the project side but on the funding (Contract Officer) side gets to be very important as the CO is the one on the hook to show that Congress’ apportioned funds are being well spent. And since a grant is also a contract (just a different form of government expenditure in the government’s view, not your view) it also goes through a CO. The project transmissions (what is to be done, how fast it is to go, etc.) often does not contain those pushing for the work to be done… the CO side does. The project is only half the story. A second FOIA may be needed to capture the DOE to CRU financials and contract work, plus the internals on how the contract/grant got put together in the first place. Especially if it is ‘earmarked’ by a congresscritter… that often doesn’t get seen in work product and reports, but does on the financial side.

  55. Kay says:

    @Mac the Knife: An FOIA request to Penn State for all their correspondence with Phil Jones ought to be much more interesting that Michael Mann’s emails.

    Not gonna happen. Penn State is exempt from Pennsylvania’s Right to Know laws, which is extremely rare in higher education and even worse considering that Penn State gets $228 million in state funding per year. If they’re not going to give up what they know in the Sandusky case, they’re certainly not going to give it up for this.

  56. Blade says:

    LazyTeenager [November 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm] says:

    “Seems Chris is a bit of a socialist who expects to get government services without paying for them, since his organization is not paying taxes either.”

    I can assure you that USA taxpayers have paid for these government services, and then some.

    Your attack on this man exposes you as the socialist tax dodger because if you were paying, you would have know that already.

  57. More Soylent Green! says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    November 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm
    If our fee waiver request is denied we are willing to pay up to $50.00,
    —————-
    Seriously? Let’s see, tying up 1-2 people for several days at 500 dollars per day should add up to around $2000.

    Seems Chris is a bit of a socialist who expects to get government services without paying for them, since his organization is not paying taxes either.

    Please send your remittance to Pay.gov:

    https://www.pay.gov/paygov/forms/formInstance.html?nc=1271991815942&agencyFormId=23779454

    All Major Credit Cards Accepted!

  58. john says:

    Update to my November 30, 2011 at 3:47 pm post re: solyndra…

    Judicial Watch sues administration for Solyndra documents

    http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/196605-judicial-watch-sues-obama-administration-for-solyndra-documents

  59. PhilJourdan says:

    Great boiler plate for anyone else seeking a FOIA.

  60. john says:

    More breaking news on solyndra …

    http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/196675-republicans-demand-more-solyndra-documents-from-the-white-house

    excerpt:

    In a separate letter Thursday to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Upton and Stearns said they “are concerned that the Committee has not yet received all of your communications and documents relating to Solyndra.”

  61. spawn44 says:

    Sue and obtain a ducas takem if request denied. Also, I would not limit just this one agency. EPA and members of congress involved in the grant funding should also be investigated. $70,000,000,000 is an awful lot of money to throw down the drain. It appears the socialist democrats involved were willingly led by the nose by the environnmentalists into continually funding a fraud program for monetary gain. I say investigate to the max and prosecute those that participated in the scam.

  62. john says:

    I am posting this as an example of how FOIA can be circumvented. Interestingly, the wind firms mentioned are run by former enron europe employees who had contacted East Anglia via e-mail.

    To date no real information has been released to them.

    State wants $36,000 for public records on wind energy

    http://www.sunjournal.com/state/story/891736

  63. More Soylent Green! says:

    john says:
    December 2, 2011 at 8:27 am

    We had a local community college try that same approach, but attempting to charge $24K for fulfilling an open records request:

    http://www.splc.org/news/newsflash.asp?id=2303

    The college also had a policy of demanding up-front payment of the estimate costs of fulfilling requests. The college relented to settle a lawsuit and agreed to charge $450, as well as change their policies.

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