CEI Files Notice of Intent to Sue NASA GISS

UPDATED: related FOIA documents are now posted at the end of this story.

Posted on the American Spectator:

“Climate Gate” Development: CEI Files Notice of Intent to Sue NASA

By on 11.24.09 @ 9:46AM

Today, on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, I filed three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for those bodies’ refusal – for nearly three years – to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

The information sought is directly relevant to the exploding “ClimateGate” scandal revealing document destruction, coordinated efforts in the U.S. and UK to avoid complying with both countries’ freedom of information laws, and apparent and widespread intent to defraud at the highest levels of international climate science bodies. Numerous informed commenters had alleged such behavior for years, all of which appears to be affirmed by leaked emails, computer codes and other data from the Climatic Research Unit of the UK’s East Anglia University.

All of that material and that sought for years by CEI go to the heart of the scientific claims and campaign underpinning the Kyoto Protocol, its planned successor treaty, “cap-and-trade” legislation and the EPA’s threatened regulatory campaign to impose similar measures through the back door.

CEI sought the following documents, among others, NASA’s failure to provide which within thirty days will prompt CEI to file suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia:

– internal discussions about NASA’s quiet correction of its false historical U.S. temperature records after two Canadian researchers discovered a key statistical error, specifically discussion about whether and why to correct certain records, how to do so, the impact or wisdom or potential (or real) fallout therefrom or reaction to doing so (requested August 2007);

– internal discussions relating to the emails sent to James Hansen and/or Reto A. Ruedy from Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre calling their attention to the errors in NASA/GISS online temperature data (August 2007);

– those relating to the content, importance or propriety of workday-hour posts or entries by GISS/NASA employee Gavin A. Schmidt on the weblog or “blog” RealClimate, which is owned by the advocacy Environmental Media Services and was started as an effort to defend the debunked “Hockey Stick” that is so central to the CRU files. RealClimate.org is implicated in the leaked files, expressly offered as a tool to be used “in any way you think would be helpful” to a certain advocacy campaign, including an assertion of Schmidt’s active involvement in, e.g., delaying and/or screening out unhelpful input by “skeptics” attempting to comment on claims made on the website.

This and the related political activism engaged in are inappropriate behavior for a taxpayer-funded employee, particularly on taxpayer time. These documents were requested in January 2007 and NASA/GISS have refused to date to comply with their legal obligation to produce responsive documents.


Hansen GISS Correction FOI Request

GISS Blogging FOI Request

Hansen McIntyre FOI Request

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They will probably “check into it” for a few more years.

Strike while the iron is hot is always a great strategy.

Henry chance

sue them
Gavin Schmidt works there and he is busy blogging these days. (Real climate) No time to get the reports out.
We need to start an avalanche. Tipping point. They both mess with the data and the computor models. No wonder they hide the information. I am sure they are deleting rapidly as they were told to by the CRU e-mails.
Didn’t Anthony Watts tell us Real Climate is down the hall and in the same building as James hansen and Nasa? Real climate is Michael Mann’s moon light job also?


Go for it. Its about time they obeyed the law and provided the requested information instead of conspiring to avoid their obligations.


It appears they have several foxes all chasing the rabbit now 🙂
I am so tired of reading comments by Phil Jones trying to claim innocence in all of this…focusing on the “trick” email.
Unbelievable on so many fronts.
Let it burn…
Snip away…sorry mods.

Richard Henry Lee

There is a long discussion of the new transparency in Washington after Obama took office on the Dept of Justice web site:
This threat to sue will put this new policy to the test. Here is the first paragraph from the the above link:
On his first full day in office, January 21, 2009, President Obama issued a memorandum to the heads of all departments and agencies on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The President directed that FOIA “should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails.” Moreover, the President instructed agencies that information should not be withheld merely because “public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.”


As I stated on Twitter, I smell blood in the water.

I actually agree with something our president has said…
“The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. ”
“The presumption of disclosure also means that agencies should take affirmative steps to make information public. They should not wait for specific requests from the public. All agencies should use modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government. Disclosure should be timely.”


This is good news.
The scientists had better lawyer up.
Now, we just need a state AG to start a criminal investigation.

This is only the tip of the litigation iceberg. Scientists (and others) who have lost their jobs or their right to publish as a result of advocacy and interference have a right to compensation for loss of income and damage to reputation, plus huge emotional injury. There may be numerous John Does named as co-defendants in these cases prior to discovery. Note also that there is no statute of limitations for fraud. This will make Watergate look like a childish prank in comparison.


Last year I filed a FOIA for information relating to software assurance classification, and specifically asked that Reudy be polled for that information.
The FOIA came back “No responsive documents”
I’ll send a copy of my notes and the response to CEI.


Frequently asked question at GISS: How do you do this delete thing?

Mike from Canmore

Way to go Chris and CEI. Hope you’re successful.


Discovery phase should be really fun on this one.


Sorry, the documents you have requested were accidently on that rocket we crashed into the moon earlier…we dont know how they got there. Oh well…move along now.


The left’s whole APGW is kind of like the statue with the golden head and feet of clay. The data was molded like clay and the gold would have been their reward.
What is scary is they almost pulled it off before someone swiped the feet from under it.

Nigel S

Probaly just end with the extradition of the hacker/whistleblower to face many years in a US jail.



Richard Heg

If the information was acquired in an illegal manner such as hacking can it be used in court?

Great stuff – keep them on the ropes.

I can hear the shredders.

P Walker

I certainly hope this goes somewhere . At least CEI has the resources to see this through . On the other hand , I’m watching a joint news conference with the PM of India and Obama . The Indian PM stated earlier that he would commit to green technology , in an effort to mitigate climate change . Just yesterday , I heard O say something about the current climate “crisis” . CEI needs to get on it in a hurry , and loudly – as do we all . Despite climate change coming up in the PM ‘ s opening statement , no one asked any questions regarding the CRU brouha .

Douglas DC

Hit’em while they are on the ropes,keep punching!!


I told you someone has been erasing/modifying the historical end of the USA temperature series. If the original data pre-1900 is restored, it will turn Mann’s Hockey Stick into a soup bowl instantly.
Well, I am inclined to want to join in on the suit.
I want my weather back, and I want it back in the worst way.
Do YOU want your weather back?


Do not slack on this at all.
There is no way that there is not much more interesting data and much more revealing communications on this side.
We have heard nothing from Hansen on this.
Push, push, push.
They have distorted and cuorrupted this process for far too long.


I was wondering if GISS would be next.

Very appropriate question about Gavin’s workday posts and activities related to RealClimate blogging, commenting and administration, versus his day-to-day work on the federal dime. Clearly he is eligible for breaks in work, as are all employees under federal laws, and what he does during those breaks is his own business as long as it is not illegal pr prohibited by the employer, but I’ll bet he was/is routinely logged in all day or essentially all day, making posts and doing whatever RC “work” was required to be a good little activist at all hours. It would be instructive if someone were able to obtain his computer logs (his work machine as well as the RC administrative login materials as far back as they may be available) to see how much time during Gavin’s regular workday was spent logged in to RC, monitoring messages, postings and making comments.


Did anyone see this: http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/17183
Is Obama’s Climate Czar Holdren involved? Is he in the emails CC?

Right on, CEI!
Now is the time to ratchet up attention for surfacestations.org, because that goes straight to the issue of “the other data sets” that Phil Jones is claiming replicates his data.
Also, I am surprised WUWT has not yet put anything out about the arguably bigger bombshell that the code and data is providing:

Pamela Gray

Yes. An overwhelming request for information right now will break the log jam. Go! Go! Go!
To be sure, I am not advocating any one scientific finding. Indeed, it is our responsibility to uncover every rock related to the null hypothesis of this inquiry. It is our burden to state the intention thusly: There is no evidence of impropriety.


I don’t like this political crap. I acknowledge that this is the proper political move to play. I acknowledge that the alarmists would do the same if the roles were reversed.
I still think its crap. If somebody appointed me king of the skeptics, and I were foolish enough to accept the post, I would choose to take the high road and not do this.

Jean Bosseler

Report in german Spiegel:
with report from Schellnhuber et al.
Just for information!


What is there to prove with Gavin. Just a quick look at the time stamp of his blog entries shows that he edits realclimate on the tax payer dime.

Tim S.

It’s also time to sue the Nobel prize committee for giving a peace prize to Algore. By doing that, they were in effect helping to promote the fraud.


Pardon me for thumping the drum but….
Hip Hip Hooray.


No CEI news release yet. http://cei.org/pubsbytype/news_release

Thomas J. Arnold.

May I wish you the best of luck in your endeavour, freedom of information should be just that, however it appears that some info’ is less free than some other data.
Our politicians constantly espouse our free and democratic society ad nauseum.
Britain is not the land of the free, whereas I always considered the USA to be the ultimate land of the free.
Time to put it to the test.
And who better than an attorney to prosecute this action?


Good luck. From what I’m observing in this society lately, the rule of law means absolutely nothing to and for the far-leftists in power. What Constitution?

Midwest Mark

The Climate Gate story continues to grow legs, but so far only conservative media outlets, talk shows, bloggers, and FOX News have given it attention. The big three television news outlets are ignoring it for now. I don’t think they’ll be able to do that for much longer. In the meantime, Senator James Inhofe has called for a full investigation of the UN’s IPCC “to determine whether and in what manner that body has been complicit in scientific fraud.”
Ladies and gentlemen, the ice is beginning to thaw (pun entirely intended)!

R Shearer

I hope that revealed questionable accounting practices are also investigated, e.g., adding funds back into accounts to avoid the suspicion of NOAA, having deposits sent to personal accounts in daily amounts less than $10,000 to “avoid big taxes.”

Development from the Guardian – few quotes from Jones

Julian in Wales

I thought this scandal would become litigation driven, but not this fast. I am not a lawyer but if I were at the University of East Anglia I would be asking for their advice.
Surely as a precaution they should suspend the implicated staff and announce that they are investigate the papers that have been put out with their names on. How can they honestly say nothing and watch decisions being made at Copenhagen when they are aware that so much of the data from the university’s CRU department, on which the international decisions are being made, are unreliable?


What about the Chamber of Commerce suing them too?
The Navajo nation for the shutdown of the power stations in the desert.
Sue the EPA for their ridiculous definition of co2 as a poisonous toxin.
Maybe the lawyers would trade off some medical malpractice caps for a go at the entire AGW industry.


Gene L. (09:41:09)
It is not legal to use a government computer for outside activities. If Gavin used his NASA computer for RealClimate business, he should be subject to sanctions.

Gary Palmgren

Rush Limbaugh is covering this in the first hour of his show for the second day in a row.
I am writing to my congress woman, Michael Bachmann, asking for an investigation into the funding organizations and journals that have been complaisant in failing to insist on the release of data and methods where their own policies require such a release. I would like to see Sarbanes-Oxley extended to the heads of all publicly funded research organizations to force them to sign a legally binding document that all published research has complied with all policies requiring the release of data and methods. I hope compliance with such a law becomes as time consuming and ghastly as it sounds.

DD More

Yes and get GISS to pay for it too.
These tax exempt organizations are receiving billions of federal tax dollars in attorney fees and costs, for winning or settling environmental cases against the federal government.
The actual amount awarded in these settlements is often confidential, even though money comes from tax dollars and should be a matter of public record.
There are two major sources of these federal tax dollars.
The first is the Judgment Fund that is a line item expense in the Congressional budget. The fund was created to pay attorney fees and costs for prevailing plaintiffs in cases involving the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and several other public laws that also allow the prevailing plaintiff to recover costs and attorney fees.
According to the Budd-Falen Law Offices, in just the time between January 2003 and July of 2007, the Judgment Fund paid nearly 42,000 claims totaling more than $4.7 billion taxpayer-dollars to reimburse prevailing radical environmental organizations for their legal costs and attorney fees. The average reimbursement to the prevailing non-government environmental organization was $112,000. The total amount paid per settlement may never be known because neither the federal government nor its agencies appear to track the payments from the Judgment Fund.
The second major source of prevailing plaintiff payments is the Equal Access to Justice Act. In this scheme, funds are taken from the losing federal agency’s budget to pay the attorney fees and costs claimed by the winning environmental organization.
Between 2003 and 2005, the United States Forest Service alone paid about $1.7 million to 44 prevailing environmental organizations. Once again, it appears that neither the federal government nor its agencies are tracking the cumulative costs of the Equal Access to Justice Act. In fact, the amount of the individual settlement payment made by the agencies to the environmental organizations is often kept confidential.
The federal law allows the court to require the government to pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees and costs when the plaintiff prevails in court. The law specifically prohibits the prevailing defendant government agency from recovering their costs and attorney fees. When a case is settled out of court the law allows for the plaintiff to recover their costs and attorney fees if the settlement substantially favors the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff is unlikely to settle out of court unless the defendant government agency agrees that the settlement “substantially” favors the plaintiff insuring that the environmental organization gets paid.


Gene L – I’d be most interested in understand the extent to which Gavin’s bosses were / are involved in Gavin’s “extracurricular” activities. It may go far beyond tolerance and knowledge of them. It may include management and planning of them. If that can be shown, the house of cards may well fall.

Rational Debate

Rush Limbaugh discussing the whistleblown CRU emails right now, including, in very general terms, its tentacles into other climate groups and organizations around the world including the mainstream media.


A couple typos – my user name (which I had to manually re key in due to a recent browser crash and subsequent cache wipe out) and “understand” which should have been “understanding.”

Ron de Haan

It’s part of the clean up process which has to start today according to Alan Garuba: