For the record, I don’t know who “FOIA” is either and given the stunning lack of success (and poor judgement demonstrated recently) in investigation two years on, I doubt they’ll ever discover who it was. – Anthony
Guest post by Jeff Id
Their Side – Bloggers “knew” FOIA emails were coming
I just had a phone conversation with Leslie Kaufman of the NYT on the ‘hacker’. She was careful to call the FOIA people by that PC name. Rule 1 – Don’t offend the witness unless you want them upset. I didn’t really want to do the interview because these things don’t usually go well for me and it took me several days to make time. Unfortunately my Achilles heel is that I tend to say what I think. — I know you are all surprised.
She asked several questions about the hacker and said that her job was to investigate that aspect and not the climategate emails – which she believed had been covered. Of course I took a little time to explain the science of the issue and even brought up the conversations between the Dept of Energy and Phil Jones. In general, she seemed to repeat the opinions of the climategate committees despite the blindingly obvious problems in meshing any of their conclusions with reality. She said it was well covered that the researchers hadn’t been ‘open enough’. If that is the limit of the curiosity of your audience, it didn’t seem worth getting into.
One thing I did make clear and have made clear before, I don’t want to know who the FOIA gourp/person is because I’m not going to be willing (or technically able) to protect them – so if FOIA.org reads this, don’t tell me. My life is fine the way it is and the last thing I need is a leftist Justice department with an overstock of rubber gloves visiting my home. Leslie was very interested in whether I knew who the ‘hacker’ is. I had to tell her several ways and times that I really don’t know. I even told her that I used to think it was a student, to which she later questioned why I don’t think it is a student any longer. (Implying that I knew something). Hopefully, you can understand the direction of the interview from this. She said it was her mandate to follow this portion of the story.
For the readers here, it isn’t that I don’t believe it was a student, it is that I don’t know either way. Some friends with more knowledge than I on computers have pointed out some fairly technically sophisticated behavior in the releases which make me reconsider. I brought up the RC hack to Leslie, pointing out that no adult with sensitive information would release it that way. It’s a prank-like behavior. Of course, there is a certain narcissism which comes with a hacker mentality that sometimes delays the adult thought process. When I was in college, a stunt like that would sound like fun. Now — NO effing way.
I once met a 25 year old guy who had been caught hacking, and later hired by a security company. Despite having been “caught”, he was so cock-sure that he was flat nauseating. Either too dumb to know he wasn’t as smart as he thought or too young to have the social skill to refrain from flaunting his smarts. It is a culture of some computer programmers (sorry guys), which the ‘adult’ of my story believed he had risen to the top of. — Look what I can do! I often wonder if the hacker culture recognizes the vastly superior work built into the technology of the things which they program on.
This is not to say that FOIA.org released the emails out of narcissism or proof of superiority. Readers here understand that. Instead, it was done of understanding with a slight hint of that hacker mentality. They/he/she hold a recognition that the math and science are being perverted, data was absolutely covered up where necessary and the known results were without a doubt exaggerated to promote the cause. In my conversation with Leslie, I took the time to explain that I was not a denier and that any scientifically minded person knows full well that the basic effect of CO2 warming is incontrovertibly true. She suggested to describe me as a Lukewarmer, to which my reply was that I don’t even like that name because I don’t know how much warming there will be but due to current political mechanisms, there is a systematic exaggeration of the science.
Anyway, the most interesting point of the conversation came out when she said in very rough paraphrase ‘Their side is that the email releases were known to you ahead of time.’
The ‘their side’ was fairly interesting as we know the “Climate Scientists™” are in good contact with the NYT as are the government agencies. It could have been nothing but often when you hear inflection of how something is said, you can get the meaning. I took it as though she had been talked too by someone of the opinion that the three blogs mentioned in the DOJ letter were intimately involved.
The fact that I have done nothing wrong does not relieve me one tiny bit regarding the police. This is especially true when a billion dollar industry is involved. Those who haven’t dealt with law won’t get that. What gives me comfort is that this blog and its global friends have a wide readership means that ANY direct police action will have a wide public audience – not that it will stop the crazy stuff anyway. That is the limit of my protection.
As I have written before, I think Leslie has it right. Some powerful idiot(perhaps a congressman), who doesn’t understand blogs, internets (love the plural) or techie things in general with more than one button, thinks that the bloggers were in direct communication with FOIA. This is the single reason that I can make sense of for the confiscation of Tallbloke’s computers. Any other potential communications can be taken in pristine form right from the blog logs at WordPress.
Anyway, the conversation came across as some verification of my theory on why Tallboke had his computers confiscated. As always, I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks.
UPDATE: Hilary Ostrov has an interesting piece on Climategate events in timeline format. She muses that a story in the Guardian may have had something to do with all this. – Anthony