Nothing to See Here! Shredding Parties and Hiding the Decline in Taxpayer-Funded Science

The 2007 Aggie Student Bonfire

The Cyber-Bonfire is Big and Bright, Deep in the Heart of Texas

By: Chris Horner

In the early 2000’s, the public was introduced to Enron “Shredding Parties,” where documents were destroyed to avoid possible embarrassment or legal consequences. These bashes represented the height of corporate decadence, an open flouting of the law. It came from a rotten corporate culture that saw itself as being above everyone else.

That sounds familiar, aptly describing the global warming industry, to which Enron introduced me during my brief fling in 1997 as Director of Federal Government Relations.

After sitting in on one meeting with BP, Union of Concerned Scientists and the like I raised questions about Enron’s leading role in organizing a classic Bootlegger-and-Baptist coalition to get a global warming treaty (this was pre-Kyoto). This was received quite poorly, and I was gone in a matter of weeks.

But, back to Texans, the global warming industry and destroying documents. WUWT readers may have caught this recent item, in which I suggested there was more nuance involved when public employees delete their work-related emails than a ClimateWire article reported was being advocated among that crowd.

This was my gift to academics should they think about following the counsel set forth by Texas A&M professor/climate activist Andrew Dessler and start deleting their emails.

Dessler peaked my curiosity by boasting of his own, rolling shredding party, after acknowledging that reservations about such an enterprise had initially given him pause. But, hey, then he got legal advice and — he indicated — most or all of his emails were being ‘disappeared’.

So I asked this taxpayer-supported university for some information: given the Texas A&M University System Records Retention Schedule, would they please provide me copies of all “destruction sign-offs (1.2.001)…[and] records disposition logs (1.2.010)”, as well as any related approvals, or submitted record disposition or destruction forms, and/or record storage forms submitted by or approved on behalf of Professor Dessler from July 15, 2012 through January 21, 2014?

The answer came back, “no records”.

So, no requests for permission to delete work-related email by the guy who boasted of deleting what sure sound like the kind of records he needs to ask permission to delete:

“Now, [Dessler] said, he deletes most of his emails after reading them.

When ATI’s Horner realized ‘Frontline’ had picked up Dessler’s story, he submitted another records request. This one sought emails from ‘Frontline’ and other journalists Dessler had communicated with, including reporters at The New York Times, the Associated Press and The Guardian.

But this time, Dessler was ready. ‘When they asked for my emails from “Frontline,” there were none. Those were all gone,’ he said.”

Huh.

Apparently, this is because “he learned…that he can legally delete as many emails as he wants, and after that, they are no longer subject to public records requests.”

Not quite. So I asked for a little more information: would TAMU provide copies of all electronic mail correspondence sent to or from any account used for Texas A&M-related correspondence by Professor Andrew Dessler over a four-week period which would include the “Frontline” effort (June 17, 2012 through July 15, 2012). That is, did any email survive this particular frenzy?

The answer just came back, “No records” (specifically, “The College of Geosciences conducted a search and found no information that is responsive to your request”).

So, read deleting “most of his emails”, at least for this period, as “deleting all of them.”

Yet, emails are not subject to indiscriminate destruction to avoid transparency. Details matter.

Many emails are indeed “transitory information”, defined as “records of temporary usefulness that are not part of a records series, are not filed within a record-keeping system, and are required for a limited period of time for the completion of an action”. Under Texas A&M policies, those can be deleted.

However, any email which “uniquely documents University business,” it is a state record and “cannot be destroyed or otherwise disposed of unless documented and approved in accordance with University records retention requirements. Approval should be obtained from the University Records Officer prior to deletion or other destruction or disposition.”

That is why our first two requests for certain emails produced so many. Why suddenly none of his correspondence represented a record is an intriguing question. It also rather begs the utility of Texas’s taxpayers footing the bill for email for faculty anymore.

But of course, it would be silly to think that, in fact, no or even very few email really are “records”.

Mr. Dessler’s boast leaves us only two possibilities. The more likely of the two is that he inappropriately destroyed state records. Then boasted about it.

I say more likely because the other option is that he received no emails over that period that meaningfully related to his position at Texas A&M. A tough sell, what with Dessler having already indicated he indeed received (and destroyed) such emails during this period.

“Frontline”, worried about academics just trying to do their work being harassed on the job, leaves no doubt that its package, and therefore correspondence, related to Dessler’s job. We know his correspondence with journalists relates to his job; we know particularly that the Guardian views this as entirely job-related. We are endlessly told the issue is “academic freedom” (if with strained credibility).

At its core, the issue at hand isn’t global warming, or “academic freedom.” It isn’t even science. At core the issue is one of accountability by an arrogant, elite culture that thinks it answers to no one, least of all those who might ask annoying questions. Like, how are taxpayer dollars being spent, in the obvious pursuit of more taxpayer dollars, more taxpayer sacrifice, more taxpayer restrictions?

It is a culture not all that different from the one I saw at Enron. We have seen it at the Universities of Virginia and Arizona, and among their many taxpayer-dependent cheerleaders.

I have no doubt we will see it when we look in the few other places we intend to look. The question is how far will our universities, lawmakers, and courts allow this Enron-ization of their realms go, as they commit to influencing lawmakers, the courts, and society?

About these ads
This entry was posted in FOI. Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Nothing to See Here! Shredding Parties and Hiding the Decline in Taxpayer-Funded Science

  1. john says:

    Now we have ‘Slumber Parties’ too.

    Senators to Host Climate Change Slumber Party

    http://www.cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/matt-vespa/senators-host-climate-change-slumber-party

    ———-

  2. fletch92131 says:

    This is definitely on the scope of ClimateGate

  3. Bobby Davis says:

    I’ll just let the Planet & Mother Nature prove these people to be the intellectual Bigot’s that they are. It seems to me, that is what’s happening everyday. It’s fun to watch the mighty fall.

  4. ‘Piqued’ your curiosity. From Piquant. Sorry to nit pick.

  5. Brad says:

    Fourth paragraph, first sentence should read”But, back to Aggies…” Don’t lump us all in with that university and especially Dessler or Enron.

  6. Paul Pierett says:

    “Would the next cult fiction, Please stand up.”. Like Dr. Easterbrook say, lots of people Are going to suffer during this global cooling period.

  7. hunter says:

    Let’s see the team’s profile:
    Arrogant? check.
    Unaccountable? check.
    Rent seeking? check.
    Evasive? check.
    Moral hazard? check.
    Seems to be a pattern emerging here.

  8. Christmas by Heineken Arthur Anderson

  9. Bill Illis says:

    How does one operate in a professional manner in a scientific field if you delete all your emails. If you are in any field, science, business or anything, you are going to need to go back to old emails at least several times a day.

    The answer is you can’t. The person is just unprofessional and a pretender.

  10. TheLastDemocrat says:

    Deleting emails? SRSLY?
    These email accounts get a set size. They get filled up. You have to delete regularly to avoid getting the acct locked up for being too big.

    The recipient receives and deletes emails. The school supposedly can track down all of these.

  11. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Dang, Horner, keep it up! You are da man!

    w.

  12. Stephen Richards says:

    JOhn K. Sutherland says:

    February 17, 2014 at 11:15 am
    ‘Piqued’ your curiosity. From Piquant. Sorry to nit pick.
    From piqué (french) for pricked, poked, or a stick rammed into the ground for attaching a fence grill or other farming need.

    Piquant (french) is a piqué-ing flavour (parfum). If you must be picky then please be sure of your pickiness.

  13. mtc says:

    How is it that Dressler has this sort of control over his emails? Is there not an email server? With daily backups? With an administrator(s)? With policies that adhere to state and federal laws?

  14. Janice Moore says:

    Bon jour and well done, Stephen Richards — way to bring your French expertise into play.
    #(:)) (hope that lemon tree is pest-free, now — take care, over there…)

    ****************************************************************
    3 Thoughts re: Mr. Horner’s EXCELLENT EXPOSÉ:

    1. Generally, in any investigation, where there is no “paper trail” where in the normal course of business there would be one, any investigator knows that: there is something wrong.

    Thus, DUMB move by Dessler and his ilk.

    2. ALL records that are reasonably likely to be subject to a legitimate records request by the public and or used in a potential investigation or in litigation, MUST be retained and in a secure manner which reasonably prevents spoliation. Dessler, et. al. would likely be held to have constructive notice (if not actual notice) that many of the records they are destroying fall under this rule/general discovery principle.

    Thus, DUMB move by Dessler and his ilk.

    3. Oh, one might ask, so what if they are punished for destruction of evidence; the evidence was so damning to them that they avoid far worse consequences by destroying that evidence, making it a wise choice, albeit (from their perspective) the lesser of two evils. Ah, but the contents of those e mails and other documents still exist somewhere. In the end, they will be found.

    Thus, DUMB move by Dessler and his ilk.

    ********************************************************
    Good observation, Bill Illis: Dessler is, to use another fine French word, a poseur.

    And that’s all that someone THAT dumb COULD be, heh, heh.

    Hercule Poirot (yes, yes, I know he was not French, he was Belgian (smile)), would sniff out this stinking rat in an instant.

  15. Janice Moore says:

    @ Michael Wise Guy — fun video! You have a great memory to have summoned that one up, here. Thanks for sharing.

  16. JDN says:

    I run all my university related emails through the Goog. I don’t give out my university email and nobody asks for it. However, you could argue that none of this guy’s emails “uniquely documents university business” because the “university” isn’t acting through him. I’m not a lawyer, but I think you can drive a truck through that hole. I think the rule is more for controlling more traditional fraud such as fraudulent purchases, etc.

    Example: If I order the destruction of inconvenient data, bordering on scientific fraud, through my personal email, is that university business? If so, then possibly nobody can be held criminally liable for this sort of scientific fraud, because it’s all university business and they are shielded because they acted on behalf of the corporation. Assuming it’s still in force, see http://www.strozfriedberg.com/files/Publication/4d59a739-52b6-40e3-81d0-0eebd676d53b/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/558d88cd-bfe5-484e-b78e-1f0fa8ca97ea/HowellWeissmannObstructionDataDestruction.pdf

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-14/opinion/ct-edit-andersen-20120314_1_andersen-s-professional-standards-group-andersen-case-founder-arthur-andersen

    There could still be a suit against the corporation, but not a criminal charge against an employee related to this particular data retention rule.

  17. Interesting comparison Enron to the Global Warming Industry. Happened upon this story yesterday, also similar to the GWI:

    “Big Pharma reportedly held a $4 billion stake in developing the swine flu vaccines that WHO would later push on the public through propaganda and fear. And the reason that WHO so readily accepted these drugs as viable responses to the pandemic is because its key advisors, many of whom are still unknown because they were intentionally kept secret, worked on behalf of the vaccine industry to see these drugs thrust into the limelight of the pandemic-planning process.

    “Key scientists advising the World Health Organization on planning for an influenza pandemic had done paid work for pharmaceutical firms that stood to gain from the guidance they were preparing,” reads a report on the joint investigation. “These conflicts of interest have never been publicly disclosed by WHO, and WHO has dismissed inquiries into its handling of the A/H1N1 pandemic as ‘conspiracy theories.'”

    http://www.naturalnews.com/043932_Big_Pharma_World_Health_Organization_flu_scam.html

  18. timc says:

    Chris just check with the NSA for all of his electronic correspondence.

  19. davidmhoffer says:

    The answer just came back, “No records” (specifically, “The College of Geosciences conducted a search and found no information that is responsive to your request”).

    I know little of the legal process, but I know a thing or two about email systems. I smell a rat.

    For starters, it is highly unusual for a college within a university to run their own email system. I would no more expect the College of Geosciences to “have” any of Dessler’s emails than I would, for example, the College of Physicians and Surgeons at the same institution. If, as is the case in the vast majority of institutions, email is run by a central IT department, a search by the College of Geosciences would produce “no records” for ANY search term because they have none in the first place. I’d be much more interested in what information the university itself posseses, because that is who would “have” the information being requested, not the College of Geosciences.

    Secondly, one has to be careful with terminology here. Dessler deleting from his “account” would not delete the email from the email server itself unless the server were specifically set up to take that action when an end user deletes an email. While possible to set it up that way, it is highly unusual to do so. End users are forever deleting things they didn’t mean to, and by retaining the email on the server for some period of time, it can be restored by a request to IT to do so.

    Now…if you’ve followed me through those two items, consider that EVEN THEN the email, despite being deleted from the end user account, AND the email server, may well STILL exist. Most organizations employ an “archive” or “vault” to which email is sent and kept for years separate and apart from the email system itself. This is usually a lower cost, lower performance, tier of storage. Getting the email back from the archive is a more painful process than restoring it from the email server, but it is most certainly possible. Archives exists for many reasons, the most common being compliance law which says you have to have a retention policy and abide by it. In other words, keep things as long as you said you would, and then destroy them when that time period expires. Archives are a means of accomplishing that task.

    So, I would be asking the university for all records:

    1. In their email system(s)
    2. In their archives
    3. What their retention policy regarding email is

    If their retention policy is to keep all email for a certain number of years, then it will be there in the system somewhere, no matter how diligent Dessler was at deleting. Further, if it can be shown that the emails in fact existed and were deleted in violation of the retention policy, that could have consequences that would be serious unto themselves.

  20. Chad Wozniak says:

    In any organization I am familiar with, deleting emails that are a part of the public record (as A&M University records surely are) would be grounds for immediate termination from employment and then prosecution.

  21. Lil Fella from OZ says:

    We call this being above the law.

  22. True Conservative says:

    davidmhoffer at 1:08 has it exactly right!

  23. Nick Stokes says:

    davidmhoffer says: February 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm
    “If their retention policy is to keep all email for a certain number of years, then it will be there in the system somewhere, no matter how diligent Dessler was at deleting.”

    So what does “delete” even mean? And why does it matter if Dessler prunes his copy?

  24. David Ball says:

    It is in the curriculum;

    History Revision:….103.54d
    Instructor: Dr. Nefarious Purpose
    Rm. 213, North East Hall, 2nd floor.

    /sarc

  25. nigelf says:

    3. Oh, one might ask, so what if they are punished for destruction of evidence; the evidence was so damning to them that they avoid far worse consequences by destroying that evidence, making it a wise choice, albeit (from their perspective) the lesser of two evils. Ah, but the contents of those e mails and other documents still exist somewhere. In the end, they will be found.

    This is why he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, to make it more painful than just not deleting emails. And after he’s sitting in a jail cell he goes in front of the judge again for what he conspired to do in those retrieved emails he thought were permanently gone.

  26. davidmhoffer says:

    Nick Stokes;

    So what does “delete” even mean?

    It means delete. For an end user, it means from their account. For the email administrator it means from the server. For the data retention admin, it means from everything.

    And why does it matter if Dessler prunes his copy?

    It doesn’t (other than to raise the question of his motivation to do so). What matters, in this case, is that the emails may very well exist and the institution may have used clever wording to disguise their existence while not actually telling a lie.

  27. M. Hastings says:

    davidmhoffer says “Secondly, one has to be careful with terminology here. Dessler deleting from his “account” would not delete the email from the email server itself unless the server were specifically set up to take that action when an end user deletes an email. While possible to set it up that way, it is highly unusual to do so. End users are forever deleting things they didn’t mean to, and by retaining the email on the server for some period of time, it can be restored by a request to IT to do so.”

    Having retired from the IT business I can agree with that statement and would like to add they usually archive backups for many years if not forever to protect the organization not the individual.

  28. Cold in Wisconsin says:

    The university is most likely complicit in this. Most organizations have a retention schedule, but to avoid their own liability, I am sure that they are just fine making a cursory search and stating “No responsive documents.” Now if this were a subpoena, then that might be a different matter. Then the legal department would find so many “responsive” emails that you could fill several semi-trailers with the stuff. That is the other tactic–information overload. Make the requester pay. Yes, there is probably a pony in that pile of manure, but you will have to pay human beings for thousands of hours of labor to (possibly) find what you are looking for.

    Scientific Ethics? Has this become an oxymoron?

  29. Don Keiller says:

    All these emails would have gone through a central server which will have made back-ups in case of failure elsewhere.
    Th se backups can be deleted as part of a defined disposal procedure, but they typically wait a minimum of 2 years. During that period they can be FOI’d.
    I was the person who made CRU release the “Climategate” dat, plus covering emails.
    (UK) Legal judgement is at;

    http://www.panopticonblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Keiller-v-IC-and-University-of-East-Anglia1.pdf

    My advise is to go for the central servers!

  30. Peter says:

    A&M University will keep a record of all emails in an archive. This is then used in legal defense should the University be sued. Deleting from your personal in box is no precaution. Big organisations can and do trace all porn, political activism and related stuff for there own protection and self preservation. Every time someone logs onto there bank account, the system watches and records that information. Ask IT (I have). Read the fine detail of your employment contract. Your search will need to be directed to the A&M archives.

  31. Janice Moore says:

    Re: “I was the person who made CRU release the “Climategate” dat, plus covering emails.”

    WAY TO GO, DON KEILLER!

  32. john says:

    Janice Moore says:
    February 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm
    —————

    What Janice said!

  33. Janice Moore says:

    @ John — Do you realize how lovely it was for me to read your post at 4:16pm today? I am SO GLAD that you no longer think that “everything Janice Moore posts” is horrible. Cool!
    #(:))

    (or is there both a “john” and a “John” who post here… ?? — I just remember that it was “John” or “john” with no last name)

    P.S. Sorry about all those auto-play video posts — all I can say is, I have no idea why that happened. And I hope it doesn’t happen again!

  34. troe says:

    Poor Dessler. I’m waiting for the Frontline investigation of a small number of scientists caught rigging the peer review process of an entire discipline. I’m sure they are working on it now.

    Enron makes a great launching pad for these posts. It must have been a bizarre expeirence for you.

  35. Eric Worrall says:

    Just sent the following email to the Randi Foundation. Be interesting to see their reply:-

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

    Dear Randi Foundation,

    I’m shocked and saddened that a group of skeptics, whom I respect, seem to have swallowed the Michael Mann “the science is settled” line on global warming.

    There are some very serious discrepancies between claims and reality when it comes to the climate debate.

    1. Hans Von Storch, a prominent mainstream German Climate researcher, claims 98% of model simulations cannot be reconciled with observations – they are running too hot. If global warming does not recover from its 17 year stall in the next few years, that will rise to 100%.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-hans-von-storch-on-problems-with-climate-change-models-a-906721.html

    Yet the IPCC claims 95% confidence they are right. Why?

    2. Michael Mann’s hide the decline – is that how real science should be done?

    3. An even worse email, in which Mann is advised that his tree ring proxy might be wrong. Instead of helping him discover the truth, his colleague Keith Briffa advises Mann he should use his authority as a prominent researcher to win the argument with spin.

    http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=0682.txt

    4. They call anyone who disagrees with them, even slightly, nasty names, like “climate denier”, and use dirty tricks to try to exclude them from peer reviewed journals. e.g. Phil Jones discussing using pressure on peer review to keep papers out of the IPCC process.

    http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=1089318616.txt

    And climate researchers discussing pressuring the publishers into having Von Storch fired for allowing a bit of airtime for skeptics.

    http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=3052.txt

    5. Mann’s own “mistatements” – for example, his claim he won the Nobel Prize, when he did nothing of the sort. http://www.examiner.com/article/professor-mann-claims-to-win-nobel-prize-nobel-committee-says-he-has-not

    6. Mann’s frequent and in my opinion rather paranoid assertions that scientists who oppose his views are “anti-science”, or part of the big oil funded climate denial machine.

    http://www.polluterwatch.com/blog/greenpeace-report-climate-change-denial-machine-vs-scientists

    I’m not arguing any of this proves that Mann’s view of climate science is wrong, but surely this demonstrates there is room for some skepticism.

    Isn’t calling your opponents names something the creationists do?

    The fact is there are well credentialed scientists who think he is wrong, people like Richard Lindzen of MIT, and Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology who disagree with his views – surely they can’t all be paid off scientific whores.

    Kind Regards,
    Eric Worrall

  36. kramer says:

    The science is so sound and unequivocal that they have to delete their emails? Yeah right…

  37. ZT says:

    Remember when scientists were generally truthful and lawyers untrustworthy?

    Anyway, Dessler holds the record for the correlation coefficient most indistinguishable from zero published in ‘Science’ or ‘Nature’. (There is a contest in this area in climatology).

    Dessler even maintains a reference to that publication on his web page to this day. Frontline should have investigated this scientific fraud (but of course nobody in their team or audience would understand).

    See Figure 2 in this paper: http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/dessler10b.pdf (note that copyright is meaningless to tamu)

  38. davidmhoffer says:

    Chris,
    If you really want to have fun with this, you might want to contact Frontline and the other journalists. Of course they may not want to cooperate, but suppose they do….

    Dessler can delete to his heart’s content, not a single thing happens to Frontline’s copies of the correspondence. It is intact unless they also deleted it. Now, provided they cooperate and provide you with that correspondence…. you’d be able to go back to the university with copies of emails they insist they don’t have and which they insist were not destroyed with their permission.

    That would drive popcorn futures through the roof….

  39. Bob Campbell says:

    Stephen Richards says:
    February 17, 2014 at 11:43 am

    JOhn K. Sutherland says:

    February 17, 2014 at 11:15 am
    ‘Piqued’ your curiosity. From Piquant. Sorry to nit pick.
    From piqué (french) for pricked, poked, or a stick rammed into the ground for attaching a fence grill or other farming need.

    Piquant (french) is a piqué-ing flavour (parfum). If you must be picky then please be sure of your pickiness.

    Pique – Two excite or affect with interest, curiosity etc.

  40. Gail Combs says:

    Cold in Wisconsin says: @ February 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Scientific Ethics? Has this become an oxymoron?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes and it is the reason why we as tax payers should start shouting about de-funding science and Universities.

    Why the heck should I fund liars and thieves who don’t even provide my nation’s children with a decent education?

    … Surveys of corporations consistently find that businesses are focused outside • the U.S. to recruit necessary talent. … One respondent to the survey even noted, “If I wanted to recruit people who are both technically skilled and culturally aware, I wouldn’t even waste time looking for them on U.S. college campuses.”
    Source

  41. Bill H says:

    I thought that there was federal law demanding retention of all work related emails for several years when you receive federal funding? The mail server retains all of them even if the local computer is purged or deleted. Only your IT people can access these files to delete them from the storage unit. hmmmmmmm Worked for the sheriffs office for many years and every single email I received or sent is still archived.

    I am going out on a limb here but official email through the colleges email server had best be retained. This could be a very litigious point if he is infact deleting them in total.

  42. Chuck Nolan says:

    You had to do that didn’t you Bob?

  43. Rud Istvan says:

    Emails are two way by definition. Forget the University, go request those from the counter parties as you know and have listed them. Somebody will crack and spill. If none do, given your already recorded comments, file a Rico. You know, criminal conspiracy. Heck, if it can ensnare banksters as well as gangsters, why not climate fraudsters?

  44. RoHa says:

    @ Robert Bissett

    “Interesting comparison Enron to the Global Warming Industry.”

    “Enron, joined by BP, invented the global warming industry. I know because I was in the room.”

    http://dailycaller.com/2010/12/15/lessons-from-the-global-warming-industry/#ixzz2tdkY93jz

    Enron was up to its ears in the Global Warming Industry.

    http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/why-enron-wants-global-warming

    http://www.investigatemagazine.com/archives/2006/03/investigate_oct_5.html

    http://www.masterresource.org/category/enron-climate-change/

    http://cei.org/op-eds-and-articles/enron-sought-global-warming-regulation-not-free-markets

    http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/science-becoming-religion/2013/feb/4/enrons-global-warming-scam-survived-its-

    Etc. Google it.

    Politically, the scare was kicked off by Margaret Thatcher (who probably didn’t believe it, but found it a good weapon) and pushed by big corporations.

    Very difficult to decide which is sillier. The claim that we sceptics are funded by Big Energy or the claim that the AGW scare is all a socialist plot.

  45. Janice Moore says:

    Re: Eric Worrall says: February 17, 2014 at 5:21 pm — GREAT letter with excellent cites to evidence. Thank you for sharing your well-researched and nicely argued document with us.

  46. Lightrain says:

    Has anyone considered that there may have been a non-university email account, like the EPA had for ‘unofficial’ business?

  47. Rhys Jaggar says:

    I have to say that, in the absence of automated systems which just archive your emails monthly onto an accessible server, you never get any work done if you have to keep all emails and save them safe somewhere. When I worked as a management consultant on Government projects, I’d probably receive/send 50 – 100 emails a week. Many were trivial, some important. But I don’t think someone wants to spend £40 – 50 an hour for me to do manual email filing, transferring every email to an appropriate client folder.

    My opinion is that if people want all these emails stored, there need to be automated archiving and retrieval systems.

  48. DJ says:

    I don’t know how Texas A&M’s servers are set up, but I can tell you that at my university there’s nothing you can send that doesn’t get stored on the main server. You can NOT delete completely anything. That is one of the reasons I and many, many others simply don’t use their university assigned emails for general communications.
    Not only did the IT department store everything, and not just for innocent archiving, they viewed emails and attachments covertly, and even bragged in one high level staff meeting about deleting files they thought inappropriate. If the university needed to pull up an email to its advantage in some legal battle, rest assured that it would.
    But the other reason for many going to private sector email servers was privacy. We even had a former university president (who coincidentally got booted, went to Baylor and got booted from there!) declare that he wanted access to all university emails!

    So as Lightrain points out…. there’s a lot of people working for gov’t entities that use private email servers simply because it insulates. ….. The other side of that double edge sword being that you just need to find out who that server is for a subpoena…

  49. agimarc says:

    A few other avenues in Texas should be available.

    Current Governor RIck Perry is a Class of ’72 Aggie. He has presidential aspirations and is not supportive of the glo-warmers. I would contact the Governor’s Office on the issue.

    Current Texas Attorney General is Greg Abbott, also not a glo-warmer. He is running for governor. I would contact his office on the issue.

    Finally, I would contact the TAMU System Chancellor, John Sharp and let his office know that you have an activist in the Meteorology Department on record deleting e-mails. Point out this is a problem of academic integrity that will harm the University. Sharp is a pretty canny politician that should not knee-jerk into CYA mode and come down on Geosciences Dept. and Dressler like a ton of bricks.

    Hope this helps as bit. Cheers -

  50. Gail Combs says:

    RoHa says: @ February 17, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    …Very difficult to decide which is sillier. The claim that we sceptics are funded by Big Energy or the claim that the AGW scare is all a socialist plot.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
    The plot is by the power hungry. “Socialism” is just their sales gimmick.

    Do you think people would go along with CAGW and the rest of the political crap that gets shoved down our throats if the power hungry/banksters/mega-corporations came right out and said we want to steal your wealth, you land, and your freedom? We want to restrict you ability to advance and challenge our position. We want to restrict you use of resources that we want to save for OUR use and our descendants’ use? We want to make sure that you can only labor for OUR benefit and not your own?

    The politicians who supported them would be laughed out of office so the laws and regulations are always about “safety” or “social Justice” or what ever other sales gimmick the propagandists dream up. However the laws never quite do what they are supposed to do and some politicians buddy always ends up richer.

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. ~ H. L. Mencken

  51. Craig Loehle says:

    One law for thee and a different one for me…

Comments are closed.