Sometimes I wonder what sort of logical thinking skills are employed over at UEA and CRU. Surely, they have little skill with public relations, that has been demonstrated time and again. Climategate itself is a direct result of “failure to communicate“.
The UK Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has made a letter available (here Summers_UEA_ICO_20100129 PDF) that in British terms could only be described as “gobsmacking”.
UEA is apparently trying to make the mere mention of a crime committed disappear.
This is ICO’s response to UEA’s Brian Summers, who wrote a letter to the ICO asking them to withdraw claims about the ICO’s position on a violation of the FOI law pertaining to CRU’s conduct.
…the ICO has been alerted by the complainant and by information already in the public domain via the media, to a potential offence under section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act. The prima facie evidence from the published emails indicate an attempt to defeat disclosure by deleting information. It is hard to imagine more cogent prima facie evidence…In the event, the matter cannot be taken forward because of the statutory time limit.
It makes clear that the UEA staff committed an offense by deleting emails subject to an FOI and were only saved from prosecution because the offense was timed out under the legislation, due to it’s built in statute of limitations.
In my email exchange with Jonathan Leake he points out to me that:
It’s fairly self explanatory except that in Point 4, Graham Smith, the commissioner refers to errors in The Times report without specifying them. I actually don’t know what he is referring to because although I initiated and researched this article it was Webster who wrote it as it was eventually appearing in The Times – his title.
Leake also mentions that “Webster does not accept that there were any errors in his article.”
Meanwhile, Bishop Hill reports that:
Some explanation of the rather surprising statements on FoI made by Sir Edward Acton and his colleagues in their submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee has emerged. As noted in the previous post, Sir Edward said that no offence under the FoI had been established and that the evidence was prime facie in nature. Here is the exact quote for reference
On 22 January 2010, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) released a statement to a journalist, which was widely misinterpreted in the media as a finding by the ICO that UEA had breached Section 77 of the FOIA by withholding raw data. A subsequent letter to UEA from the ICO (29 January 2010) indicated that no breach of the law has been established; that the evidence the ICO had in mind about whether there was a breach was no more than prima facie; and that the FOI request at issue did not concern raw data but private email exchanges.
But there’s a problem, the word “private” has come up missing in Bishop Hill’s search:
And what about the statement that the information related to “private emails”. I’ve read and reread the document. I’ve put it through OCR and searched the text. The word “private” does not appear in the document.