A Climategate milestone – will ‘FOIA’ make the leap?

Over the weekend we marked the third anniversary of Climategate, which occurred on November 17th, 2009. A timeline of events can be read here.

Today marks the anniversary of my most famous story, the one written hastily on my laptop at Dulles airport, published just moments before the door to my flight home to California closed, leaving me with over 5 hours of sheer offline terror wondering “what have I started?”. For all I knew there would be police waiting at the airport for me in Sacramento.

That one story created a much needed firestorm, and I’m proud to have played a part in letting the world know just what sort of people we are dealing with.

Now, as we reported this summer: Climategate investigation closed – statute limit looms, cops impotent.

The Norfolk constabulary has called off the investigation saying:

Norfolk Constabulary has made the decision to formally close its investigation into the hacking of online data from the Climate Research Centre (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich.

The decision follows a comprehensive investigation by the force’s Major Investigation Team, supported by a number of national specialist services, and is informed by a statutory deadline on criminal proceedings.

While no criminal proceedings will be instigated, the investigation has concluded that the data breach was the result of a ‘sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack on the CRU’s data files, carried out remotely via the internet’.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Superintendant Julian Gregory, said: “Despite detailed and comprehensive enquiries, supported by experts in this field, the complex nature of this investigation means that we do not have a realistic prospect of identifying the offender or offenders and launching criminal proceedings within the time constraints imposed by law.

“The international dimension of investigating the World Wide Web especially has proved extremely challenging.

“However, as a result of our enquiries, we can say that the data breach was the result of a sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack on the CRU’s data files, carried out remotely via the internet. The offenders used methods common in unlawful internet activity to obstruct enquiries.

“There is no evidence to suggest that anyone working at or associated with the University of East Anglia was involved in the crime.”

The security breach was reported to Norfolk Constabulary on 20 November 2009, following publication of CRU data on the internet from 17 November onwards.

An investigation was launched by the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, led by Det Chief Supt Gregory, with some support from the The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, the National Domestic Extremism Team and the Police Central e-crime Unit, along with consultants in online security and investigation.

The investigation, code-named Operation Cabin, focused on unauthorised access to computer material, an offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990, which has a three year limit on proceedings from the commission of the original offence. It has been concluded by Norfolk Constabulary, in consultation with The Met, that due to outstanding enquiries this is now an unrealistic prospect.

Norfolk Assistant Chief Constable Charlie Hall, Protective Services lead, said: “Online crime is a global issue. While law enforcement agencies continue to develop our response to emerging threats, it falls upon individuals and organisations to be alert to this and and take steps to mitigate risk as far as is practicable.”

The “statutory deadline” referred to is three years, and that is now expired. With the statute of limitations now passed, and with no threat of criminal prosecution, will the person known as  “FOIA” reveal him/herself? Or, will this be one of those long ongoing mysteries like the famous “deep throat” that went on for decades before finally being revealed?

Whether you choose to reveal yourself or not, we all owe you a debt of gratitude.

75 thoughts on “A Climategate milestone – will ‘FOIA’ make the leap?

  1. I’m sure there are more gems to be released. It is a well that must be drying up, though, as the climatastrophists switch to dummy servers and other sneaky techniques – Gee, why don’t they just clean up their acts?

  2. If it’s an inside job they surely aren’t going to reveal themselves.
    Not while they have a salary or pension still at risk…

  3. …we can say that the data breach was the result of a sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack on the CRU’s data files, carried out remotely via the internet.
    ———————–
    Or not.
    It seems more likely that the FOIA file was compiled by the UEA information officials, working with their IT support. There was an on-going FOI request covering this very material, that was due for release, after months of stonewalling. At the final appeal, the FOI case was decided in favor of UEA, so UEA were not compelled to release the already collected file.

    With the FOI file already assembled, it would have been simple for someone to copy the file out to an unprotected server (not requiring a sophisticated and orchestrated attack). It could have been anyone with access to the file, including the UEA information official him/herself.

  4. Just browsing through the original posting from 3 years ago i found this.

    Scott A. Mandia says:
    November 20, 2009 at 7:46 am

    “I wonder if Fred Singer and Christopher Monckton, after polishing off their fake Nobel Prizes, sent out these doctored emails?”

  5. We are still waiting for the “Easter Egg” to emerge. Depending on its contents, these “smoldering embers” could become a “firestorm” again.

    One can only wait and hope!

  6. FOIA has much more work to do so we should all confess.

    I am FOIA and you are FOIA and the guy down the street is FOIA. Hell it seems that everyone is FOIA. Shout it out!

    Maybe Lisa Jackson w/ EPA is FOIA as she seems to know all about alias internet accounts.

  7. When dealing with vindictive stupid people anonymity is recommended, thanks FOIA and password please, whenever you are ready.

  8. Bob Tisdale says:
    November 19, 2012 at 8:39 am
    tallbloke says: “Mum’s the word”
    FOIA is somebody’s Mum? Whose?
    ==================================
    Perhaps the password is “mum???

  9. I just made this comment on the BH post entitled ‘Without Limitations’.

    The CG1 info releaser(s), the self-named ‘we’,
    might have reasonable doubts about receiving an un-biased legal process in the UK if identified publicly . . . SOL or no SOL.

    I would have doubts.

    John

    Nov 19, 2012 at 4:24 PM | John Whitman

    John

  10. The statute of limitations may have expired on the CRU (break-in, hack, leak), but what other legal clocks remain ticking? Did the publication of the Climategate II emails break any laws? Is the possession of the Climategate III package, even encrypted, a crime? Even if it is difficult to win a conviction, it is easy to prosecute if there is the political will to do so.

    Like Deep Throat, the identity of FOIA should go to the grave of all involved. Somewhere in cyberspace there needs to be a “Tomb of the Unknown Freeman“

  11. I always felt that the police concluded it must be a hack because they couldn’t figure it out. Have you ever called tech support? All they are trained to do is read down a list and if that list doesn’t solve the problem then the problem must be you. I’ll bet police procedures are the same way, especially when something is clearly complex. Go do a list, if that list doesn’t discover who did it, then it must be a “sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack”. Because of the way the file is, I think it is an inside job and the person or persons who released it are keeping quite lest they face the well-funded wrath of Big Climate.

    Big Climate is powerful and unforgiving unless you switch to their side. It might be best for FOIA to stay a secret.

  12. Whoever FOIA is, they are a true humanitarian, once who turned the course of history. I doubt the significance of what FOIA did will truly be understood for several decades…. if ever. If today’s journalists don’t “get it” (and they don’t) we’ve no reason to believe that history will be recorded with FOIA as anything but a footnote. Unless….

    FOIA wants to be fabulously rich, and I do mean FABULOUSLY. All s/he need to is get to a country with a well run legal system, a government willing to listen, and hire a very very very expensive attorney. Big press conference. Donations for the legal defense fund would roll in by the millions, only to be dwarfed by the cash to be raked in from speaking engagements, book deals, and movie rights.

    And if FOIA turns out to be an establishment climate scientist blowing the whistle (like an actual member of “the team”) it ought to be worth plenty.

    I’d donate just for the simple pleasure of watching Michael Mann pee himself.

  13. FOIA wants to be fabulously rich, and I do mean FABULOUSLY. All s/he need to is get to a country with a well run legal system, a government willing to listen
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Meant to put (ie Canada) in there….

  14. “It seems more likely that the FOIA file was compiled by the UEA information officials, working with their IT support. There was an on-going FOI request covering this very material, that was due for release, after months of stonewalling. At the final appeal, the FOI case was decided in favor of UEA, so UEA were not compelled to release the already collected file.

    With the FOI file already assembled, it would have been simple for someone to copy the file out to an unprotected server (not requiring a sophisticated and orchestrated attack). It could have been anyone with access to the file, including the UEA information official him/herself.”

    This was our first theory which we quickly dismantled.

    1. The only active FOIA at the time was an FOIA appeal for CRU data.
    2. The mails cover more than that FOIA, in fact one would not search mails
    for that data.
    3. There is no evidence that Palmer used tools to collect mails. They already had
    a defense to deny mails.
    4. The mails contain “cruft”. out of office replies etc.

  15. Of interest.

    FOIA’s last public response on climate audit was
    “No deal was done”

    Subsequent to that a Jones Co Author, who had not published with Jones or anyone else in quite some time–over a decade, had his name appear once more on a Jones paper. Perhaps, its unrelated.

    If FOIA is an outsider you’ll see a release of mails
    If FOIA is an insider– 2 cases:
    A) the deal was done, and you’ll see no more mails
    B) the deal was not done and the releases will continue.

  16. I would think there are all manner of consequences other than criminal should FOIA be exposed. Loss of compensation, lawsuits, character assassination and harrassment, Greenpeace in your garbage, green terrorism. I doubt if FOIA is so pure as to be unassailable from even conjecture and it would focus attention away from the content of E-Mails. Maybe later after they’ve all been released and when people are ready to forget. Then it would serve as a reminder.

    Could it be a small group (2 – 4) of insiders and internet security specialists working together under advice from an attorney?

  17. My guess is that FOIA has already published the password, you just need the pointer to where it is. Why? If someone stumbles across it, then it’s time to publish. If no one stumbles across it then I’d think it would be easier to remain anonymous by dropping dribs and drabs that make no sense by themselves but steer a few people towards discovery of the key. Otherwise, FOIA has to throw the key out and say “Here it is!” which will of course produce a mad scramble to backtrack to FOIA.

    My guess is as good as anyone’s, eh?

    BTW, Thanks, FOIA.

  18. The encrypted bundle of documents released with ClimateGate II has a limited shelf life. In two more years, after the publication of AR5, I don’t see how their decrypted contents could make much of a ripple much less a splash.

    Now that the US Election is over, the CAGW crowd is in full voice. Lot’s of stuff was prepared, like the World Bank stuff and EPA regulations. They are riding the wave of Sandy to full effect.

    ClimateGate may turn out to be only a speed-bump on the Road to Serfdom.

  19. Gary Pearse says:
    November 19, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Gee, why don’t they just clean up their acts?

    That would require integrity. I’m pretty sure that most of them are unfamiliar with that term.

  20. H.R. on November 19, 2012 at 10:01 am

    My guess is that FOIA has already published the password, you just need the pointer to where it is. Why? If someone stumbles across it, then [ . . . ]

    – – – – – –

    H.R.,

    It would be clever, in my view, if the encryption key for the unread CG2 release file was placed somewhere online in the past year. Then just a vague hint or rumor about where it is would be enough to find it.

    This idea would make a great plot for a novel. The late novelist Michael Crichton would have had fun with it.

    John

  21. I just wish there was something someone could say to make FOIA realise that IF there is more important stuff in the encryted file(s) it is vital to get it out now. If it is left much longer, the whole climategate affair will have long since passed from the average memory – and – as every day passes, the ‘team’ are rebuilding their defences and indeed preparing further advance attacks.

    Perhaps, s/he was hoping that the science would prevail – which to a degree it has, but only really due to the lack of warming – the peddlars are still peddling! Without direct removal of those responsible for the ‘peer’ reviewing and (false) AGW advocacy – all we have at the moment is stagnation whilst they regroup.

    IF the contents are insignificant, then we should just ignore them as false hope – and concentrate on just getting the real science picture out there.

    And FOIA – if you are reading/watching – (which would be nice to believe) – I would just make one last appeal to your (presumed) reasoning. If the original release was a ‘bow shot’ and the second release a ‘confirmation of intent’ – in order to receive some benefit or other – I find that rather sad, but so be it. If, on the other hand, you were indeed working from a stance of decency and belief that you NEEDED to do something – then I ask simply, why do you feel the need is now less? – the AGW falsehoods are still out there and being promoted as hard as ever, and with AR5 on the cards, the world in economic recession, etc – the last thing we need right now is wasted effort.

    regards
    Kev

  22. While it would satisfy my curiosity as to my guesses at the source of the leak and as much as I’d like to know what’s in the rest of them I think we’re better served having FOIA keep his job at UEA where he has the opportunity to collect more juicy bits for release at a later time when it may provide more leverage against the cabal.

  23. Dear RC/FOIA,

    Should you be reading this thread (one can hope)…. Thank you for all that you have contributed to date, in the face of the grave personal risks involved. Please do recognize, though, that the agents of deception and obfuscation have remained remarkably brazen and resilient. Despite some modest course corrections we have seen primarily whitewash faked “inquiries” and a lot of dissembling from “The Team” and their apologists.

    If you do possess more revealing items among the many remaining emails it would be great to expose the miscreants in a Climategate III before the issues are regarded as too stale and dated….

  24. Isn’t it high time that someone created a FOI request of release of the evidence that the Norfolk Police claim to have that it was an outside job. If the statute of limitations has expired, then such evidence should no longer be considered sub judice. And the reaction to such a request would be very telling.

    However, I suspect that any evidence that has actually been collated has been done by a specialist agency rather than the police, and that agency might well have a “national security” exemption to FOI requests.

    Rich.

  25. I’ve just been over to Pointman’s place (http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2012/07/27/so-was-climategate-a-hack-after-all/) and read the .pdf of the Norfolk Police briefing at the end of Operation Cabin (investigation of UEA ‘hack’)
    In the briefing was this statement:-
    “We identified that the attackers breached several password layers to get through and they got to a position where they employed different methodologies to return the data. We identified a significant quantity of data that was taken in this way, certainly in excess of that which was subsequently published in the two files in 2009 and 2011. Emphasis mine
    To me this would indicate that there’s a lot more still ‘out there’ than just the encrypted Easter Egg in the 2011 release!

  26. Did anyone actually think “plod” was going to be a match for the hacker, whoever he/she may be?
    Plod don’t can’t even say if it was a leak from inside (no evidence it was – no evidence it wasn’t).

  27. The unknown person who left a rose at Edgar Allen Poe’s grave each year, stopped doing so this past year.

    Let’s hope FOIA leaves us some more roses.

  28. @Dave in Delaware says: November 19, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Yup. Sounds a possibility. Given that : what do you think the remaining encrypted files might contain – and why are they encrypted, if this is FOI?

    Just wondering aloud. One lives in hope of Climategate III.

  29. FOIA – my thanks, with, for sure, those of many, many others’.

    Climategate – insider or outsider – I don’t know.
    Off thread [maybe?]
    Friends of mine – working in a [non-UK] Government linked strategic [Commercial] company -recently suffered [at a – local – week-end] a devastating targeted, malicious cyber-attack.
    Plainly from heavy-duty attackers.
    For a week, they ran on ‘off-site’ email addresses – hot mail or gmail etc. Over a month
    before they had desk access to their emails.
    Remote access – possibly before Xmas.
    Thie IT Security folk are renewing e v e r y t h i n g electrical – from the actual wires up, I am advised. Screens, printers, servers, DVDs, keyboards, you name it.
    Skips and skips of the stuff.
    My – limited – IT contacts all – without exception – suggest that this was an ‘insider’ attack. [Possibly recently ex-insder; more likely (then) current].

    UEA – draw ones own conclusions, I suppose.

    And Mr Plod, generally, is little more IT-savvy than I am.
    There may be specialist units [and if they were brought in, might that suggest that ‘someone, somewhere’ is a mite concerned about the UEA emails??].
    But generally, Plod [UK] struggles with IT. We get a story a fortnight that some teenager has cracked a crime by IT [when the Thin Blue Line haven’t] – often in hours.
    Plod on the ground is committe.
    Higher Plod is a political animal. Nuff Said?

  30. IANAL in any jurisdiction, and I realize all the legal details are quite different, but if the late Peter Wright was able to cash in on publishing “Spycatcher” about MI5 in the face of the Official Secrets Act then surely RC/FOIA can find a nice way to both publish (make ooodles of money) and expose more climatology and official wrongdoing…… of course, Peter Wright went all the way to Tasmania/Australia to be beyond the reach of UK laws, but there must be close venues such as Canada or USA which could offer RC/FOIA both wealth and a new lease on life…..

    Peter Wright vs the UK’s Official Secrets Act

    “…The British government did all it could to suppress publication, under the pretext that such a publication would be in violation of the Official Secrets Act. They brought an injunction against Wright in Sydney. The Australian court, however, ruled against the British government, thus turning a book that might have had moderate success into an international best seller. Furthermore, the verdict not only vindicated Wright but also represented a victory for press freedom….”

  31. Jenn Oates says 19Nov2012 “What still continues to amaze is that hardly anyone has even heard of Climategate outside of WUWT-like circles. My colleagues certainly haven’t.”

    Which just goes to show everybody the unique and valuable role that WUWT has played in all that has transpired ….

  32. I would like to thank FOIA for what they did. I was able to follow a few tracks that were lost after electricity deregulation because of their efforts.

  33. Here’s a couple more thoughts:
    Maybe the remaining emails contain the political and monetary influences, and he is hoping the main perpetrators might confess. I suspect that won’t happen, although it is interesting to see some folk changing sides.
    Maybe, the password is sitting in some pieces computer code, sprinkled around the web, ready to be automatically released if FOIA is not around to reset the countdown timers.

  34. I hope that at 4am Greenwich Mean Time, a small comment appears on some blog somewhere.
    I am hoping it reads something like: 1sxiR8Vh67#$deX0e@diZxW6yui&*dfVys094
    and it is signed FOIA

  35. H.R. says:
    November 19, 2012 at 10:01 am
    My guess is that FOIA has already published the password, you just need the pointer to where it is. Why? If someone stumbles across it, then it’s time to publish. If no one stumbles across it then I’d think it would be easier to remain anonymous by dropping dribs and drabs that make no sense by themselves but steer a few people towards discovery of the key. Otherwise, FOIA has to throw the key out and say “Here it is!” which will of course produce a mad scramble to backtrack to FOIA.

    My guess is as good as anyone’s, eh?

    BTW, Thanks, FOIA.

    _____________________________________

    You spoke my mind there. He/She has already released the password – it’s under the tips of our noses and we just aren’t seeing it.

    =8-)

  36. For the record, the “RC” at my WUWT comment here ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/17/beefing-up-security-on-skeptical-blogs/#comment-1059812 ) is fake. In all the complexity of ClimateGate, I never caught that FOIA was also known as RC, so when I made the Steve Milloy “I’m FOIA™” joke back in February at Michael Tobis’ Planet3 site under my RC initials, some commenter there named Frank Swifthack went so overboard with it that he created a special blog about it at his own site: http://ijish.livejournal.com/45968.html

    I had no idea what he was talking about, so I looked up the RC reference among various blogs to figure it all out. At least I’m now better informed from the exercise.

  37. Adrian Kerton says:
    November 19, 2012 at 9:04 am

    We’re on pace for 4°C of global warming….
    __________________________________
    And the Russian Academy of Sciences say temperatures will drop half a degree by 2015. Voice of Russia link

    I think the Russians might have a bit more skin in the game than the World Bank who is salivating over all those Carbon Trade financal transactions.

  38. alexwade says:
    November 19, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Have you ever called tech support? All they are trained to do is read down a list and if that list doesn’t solve the problem then the problem must be you.

    You’re thinking of Customer (Dis)Service, not tech support. I’ve been there done that. There was no list for us, just genuine troubleshooting.

  39. “alexwade says:
    November 19, 2012 at 9:33 am”

    Many moons ago, when I was a SysOp looking after VM and MVS systems I had a call from a user. I asked them to decribe the problem they were having. This was in the day when an IBM 3270 terminal was the norm.

    User “Hello, Ops”
    Me “Yes. How can I help”
    User “I went to lunch and have just returned. My screen is blank, with just a green line running across the bottom of the screen”
    Me “Is there anying else you can tell me that you can see. Do you see what looks like a “key” shaped symbol below the line and to the right of the screen”
    User “Yes, it does look like a key”
    Me “Ok, your terminal is locked”
    User “No! No, it’s not locked. I didn’t lock it”
    Me “You will find a physical key on the right hand side panel, turn it anti-clockwise to unlock your terminal”
    User “No, there is no key there”
    Me “Are you sure you are looking on the right hand side panel? It’s a big metal key on the right hand side of the terminal, turn it anti-clockwise”
    User “Yes, I am. There’s no key there. Oh, wait…*click*…I’ve fixed it, thankyou…*click brrrrrrrrrrrrrr…*”

  40. Kev-in-Uk says:
    November 19, 2012 at 10:40 am

    “Perhaps, s/he was hoping that the science would prevail – which to a degree it has, but only really due to the lack of warming – the peddlars are still peddling! ”

    They are, indeed. Just one storm, one flooding, one drought, and they are back in full force.

    Just like any medicine man doing a rain-dance ‘back then’.

  41. There’s also that small matter of the encryption key.
    When you have a message or even a complete article in plain text which you know the position of in the encrypted data file that is no problem. That is assuming that you even need it given the careless use by certain well known university managers of email reply sender and reply all.
    Could it also be that like a disk drive that was bought bought on ebay which I was given because it appeared half the size it said on the label, it had the windows partition dutifully multiple write wiped but the Unix partition left utterly in place with the far more contentious information left untouched on it and the climategate files were never hacked at all?

  42. Gary Pearse says: November 19, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I’m sure there are more gems to be released. It is a well that must be drying up, though…

    My growing silence here (though I still read WUWT daily) corresponds exactly to discovering other wells that are NOT drying up, that are yielding a phenomenal amount of precious information, important for an energy future and for the future of Science with integrity, for which my time amongst climate skeptics has equipped me very very well with both scientific and human and spiritual and Internet-based wisdom and understanding – thanks to all of you.

    Article(s) coming soon I hope. I think it is really important to see what has happened in Climate Science against a widening background where there are forces of both good and bad/evil at work, particularly through the sciences, as Eisenhower warned (because he knew things he could not say at that time). Googling “Breakthrough Energy Movement” still shows little, but enough to get you started if you like surfing.

    And yes, miracles do happen, even in the thick of science. Si monumentam requiris, circumspice. I still think it possible that FOIA was a true miracle ie bending the known laws of physics in order to help a situation of distress.

  43. Whether you choose to reveal yourself or not, we all owe you a debt of gratitude.

    “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”

  44. It’s well known that the first batch of emails were posted on a server belonging to Tomcity, an internet security company in Tomsk in Siberia. Although everyone suspected the involvement of the FSB, the Russians denied it and blamed the Chinese.

    The FSB apparently provided evidence showing how the emails were posted on the Tomsk server in Russia from  an Open Access server in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia run by Malaysian telecoms giant Telekom Malaysia Berhad.

    As reported by the Mail Online in 2009:
    “The internet address used to post the messages is linked to several others used by the Chinese — one is  a Chinese environmental institute, the Research Institute of Forest Ecology and Environment Protection, based near Beijing.

    “Several professors from this institute are regulars at climate change conferences where they have shared a platform with the University of East Anglia experts.
    After our enquiries in Malaysia began, the suspect computer links to China were suddenly cut.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1238638/Chinese-hackers-linked-Warmergate-climate-change-leaked-emails-controversy.html

    It’s possible that steganography has been used to conceal the pass key to the emails. Russians were accused of using steganography in a spying case in the US in 2010. Except that someone has to know where the pass key data is concealed for it to work, unless it’s a puzzle.

    However the pass key may simply give access to multiple partitions with multiple pass keys, allowing the remaining emails to be released in batches prior to climate conferences or the next IPCC report.

    Who knows, perhaps Mike Hulme wrote an email about the 28Gate meeting. Whatever happens, like the wine at Cana, the best may well have been left till last.

  45. With the statute of limitations now passed, and with no threat of criminal prosecution, will the person known as “FOIA” reveal him/herself?

    “Oh, turns out that Identity Concealment in the Comission of an Electronic Intrusion has a SoL of 9 years. Haha.” –hypothetical call from a police officer

  46. I always thought it was an inside job. If you have that many people working with such unscrupulous people there is bound to be at least one with a conscience.

  47. See – owe to Rich says: November 19, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Isn’t it high time that someone created a FOI request of release of the evidence that the Norfolk Police claim to have that it was an outside job.

    Bottom line is they don’t have any evidence that it was an “outside” job. All they have is their own say-so that because their lines of enquiry did not yield any details which would lead them to pursue the “inside” job option. IOW (and in their own words) it was a “screening exercise”. Excerpt from their summary of Q & A of Press Conference:

    [Q]Can you describe what investigations you undertook at the UEA and who you interviewed there?

    [A]“The focus internally was on the IT infrastructure and working out from there. We also looked at people working at or with connections to the Climate Research Unit and, in simple terms, we were looking for anything obvious. All members of staff were interviewed. If someone had some obvious links or had an axe to grind, then that might have been a line of enquiry.

    “Generally speaking, it was a screening exercise which did not provide any positive lines of enquiry. “Whilst – because we have not found the perpetrators – we cannot say categorically that no-one at the UEA is involved, there is no evidence to suggest that there was. The nature and sophistication of the attack does not suggest that it was anyone at the UEA.” [emphasis added -hro]

    Oh, and btw … the “nature and sophistication of the attack” was not the plod’s “assessment” but that of a company called QinetIQ – who, according to the Norfolk Police, are no longer in this particular business. (Although the QinetiQ website would indicate otherwise)

  48. Foia-2011 has a brain and knows how to use it. That leads to the necessary conclusion that they will not come forward. Too many jurisdictions and too many potential CIVIL cases as well.

    They went to great (and well crafted) effort to stay unknown, they won’t be breaking that carefully crafted masterpiece for 15 minutes of fame and a lifetime in various courts around the world.

    They WILL release the pass phrase should it become necessary but will likely hold it in reserve until needed. That they pre-positioned copies of the (encrypted) data globally says the knew it would be too ‘hot’ to do another file push (and may even have deleted all evidence of the original data from their computers). So a gmail account or such created from some Middle-Asian source IP address (via Onion Routing – TOR ) emailing the password to a bunch of folks on a mail list would take care of it all. Use a disposable wireless ‘dongle’ at a Starbucks hot spot somewhere and boot from a CD (so nothing left on the laptop) and it’s essentially untraceable even if the “Constable” walks in the front door and starts collecting laptops. ( Pull dongle and CD, toss in trash or pocket).

    In 20 or 30 years, they will likely publish a book… after all potential statues and suits have expired.

    Inside vs outside? I have my opinion, but don’t see any reason to help the folks hunting them. I know a couple of ways to do it, though. (Add in that most Universities are notoriously wide open and hackable and it is unlikely any source could be proved anyway…)

    And, to quote some others, I, too, am Sparticus…

  49. Some comments from Michael MacCracken on Linkedin yesterday

    Mike MacCracken • Determining the role of human activities in climate change has been the subject of very careful research over the past few decades–part of an effort referred to as detection and attribution. The first aspect–detection–is to confirm that the climate has actually changed and its time history, spatial pattern, parameters affected, etc. This aspect is pretty well accepted, so I won’t focus on here. And it is true that there has also been a long history of changes in the Earth’s climate over its history. This is all equivalent to saying that a crime has occurred–the question is then what has caused these changes, in the past and up to the present

    So, the second part of the investigation is attribution–assigning responsibility to a cause and doing so in a rigorous way that is quantitatively consistent with our theoretical understanding and with the paleoclimatic history of the Earth. That the changes are not wholly random is suggested by several types of evidence, for example: (a) most obvious, the day night cycle, indicating a response to incoming solar radiation; (b) seasonal climate varies with the amount of solar radiation through the year, with a lag created by ocean heat capacity, etc.; (c) volcanic eruptions, which lead to a whitish sulfate layer in the stratosphere, tend to cool the climate for up to a few years, roughly consistent with the amount of aerosol injected and ocean delay time; (d) the cycling of glacial-interglacial climatic conditions that follow the timing of changes in solar radiation that reaches the high latitudes of each hemisphere in winter and summer, amplified by apparent uptake and release of greenhouse gases as part of a natural feedback process; etc. And this is just a start–there are changes in climate correlated with changes in continental position, mountain heights, and more. While the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicates that internal variations can cause some modest short-term changes in the climate, most of the changes in the past climate look to be due to some factor or factors that have changed–some sort of cyclic like the orbital variations and some like volcanic eruptions (individual events, sometimes a period with many volcanic eruptions). Different factors cause different types and durations of changes, depending generally on the amount and pattern of change in the Earth’s energy balance.

    So, what about climate change over the last century or two. Given that changes in climate have been identified, attribution involves identifying the possible natural and human-related factors that could have caused such changes (not only in temperature, but in the full range of variables) and the pattern of change that would be expected. The plausible possibilities for the warming that has been seen are considered to be:

    1. an increase of solar radiance, which, most obviously, would be expected to warm the surface/troposphere and the stratosphere;

    2. volcanic eruptions (or their occurrence decreasing)–adding a sulfate layer to the stratosphere tends to cool the surface/troposphere and warm (slightly) the stratosphere;

    3. increases in greenhouse gas concentrations, which warm the surface/troposphere by absorbing and reradiating downward an increasing amount of infrared radiation, and which tend to cool the stratosphere by increasing its capacity to radiate energy (gained mainly by ozone absorbing solar radiation) away more rapidly; and

    4. changes in the concentrations of tropospheric sulfate from SO2 emissions from power plants, which tends to cool the surface/troposphere.

    There are other possible factors, such as changes in land cover, etc., but let me stick with the four listed factors. I’ll cover the rest in the next post.

    So, now what do observations for 20th century show? The surface/troposphere system tended to warm some in the early 20th century, and then a lot since the 1970s. We also have observations that the stratosphere has been cooling pretty strongly since perhaps the 1960s. Around the times of major volcanic eruptions, there are few year dips, so the volcanic contributions can be identified, and quantitatively understood.

    While an indirectly inferred increase in solar radiation and a reduction in volcanic eruptions seem roughly consistent with what happened in the early 20th century, the only way to, in a quantitatively consistent way in time, is for, as the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report said, the increase in greenhouse gases, which warm the surface/troposphere and cool the stratosphere, to be responsible for most of the warming over the last several decades. And there is a paper just published by Tom Wigley and Ben Santer in Climate Dynamics that explains this in a quantitatively rigorous way. With the stratosphere cooling, there is no way that an increase in solar radiation could be causing the warming (especially in that estimates of solar radiation have been slowly decreasing).

    This detection-attribution approach has now been carried out, quantitatively, for something like 15-20 variables (atmospheric water vapor, etc.) and all give a similar picture. This is roughly equivalent to have 15 DNA matches in a criminal case.

    Now, it is true that factors causing climate change in the Earth’s history, so, for example changes in the Earth’s orbital elements, but the time constants for that are a many thousands of years so not a major contributor to recent changes. Sure, there are occasionally new suggestions like cosmic rays, etc., and they get looked at, but it would be quite a coincidence for nature to be doing something at exactly the same time and controlling what is happening in a quantitative when we already have a really well-supported quantitative explanation–somehow a little cosmic change would have to cause a big response and the larger energy change due to greenhouse gases would have to have a small effect. Claiming that is likely is wishful thinking rather than science.

    So, the reason the climate community is so solid on the human explanation for recent change is that the detection-attribution evidence is very strong. Representatives of the 190 countries of the IPCC have accepted the explanation as have the major academies of science. It is a very strong and rigorous analysis–it merits everyone’s full consideration.

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