Update on 'Richard Windsor' – EPA Email Release 'Gravely Compounded Unlawful Activity We Have Exposed'

CEI’s Chris Horner Says Agency Has ‘Gone Bunker’ Over Growing Richard Windsor Scandal

By Brian McNicoll

Washington, D.C., January 14, 2013 – At about 4:55 p.m. on Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency finally complied with a court order to deliver the first of four sets of emails in response to a lawsuit filed by Christopher Horner, a senior fellow in the Center for Energy and the Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Here is Horner’s statement on the emails:

Where in the World is Richard Windsor?

EPA’s Court-Ordered Email Production Proves Agency Has “Gone Bunker”

Just before 5 pm on this deadline date for producing records, I received a hand-delivered CD and cover letter from the EPA in response to CEI v. EPA, now best known as the “Richard Windsor” suit. The delivery came under order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In short, this response is deeply troubling and seems to have gravely compounded the unlawful activity we have exposed involving a false identity assumed for federal recordkeeping purposes. 

Problems begin with the cover letter, which states not the promised (to the court) first delivery of “approximately 3,000” but “more than 2,100 emails received or sent” by Jackson, on what EPA insists is her one non-public account.

“Waiter, the food was terrible, and the portions too small!”

First, 2,100 is two-thirds of the way to the agency’s commitment (possibly the agency also will determine two-thirds of 12,000 is sufficient, although we have our doubts). Perhaps seeking to take the air out of a growing scandal, EPA’s defective compilation boasts an impressively anemic content-to-volume ratio. It starts with Washington Post daily news briefs, then follows with Google alerts for “Lisa Jackson EPA” (none for “Richard Windsor”). Then EPA HQ national news clips. And so on. Rope a dope. Clever. Maybe too much so.

It seems EPA simply decided it had to produce a lot of something. Desperate to produce nothing at the same time, it came up with this. But in the details, the desperation shows through.

A big red flag in the cover letter is the claim that, “As you are aware” — with no support for how we know this, which we do not — “the Administrator uses one secondary official account to conduct EPA business,” then states these emails come from that one account.

In fact, the record is far more clear the Administrator likely has two such secondary or “alias” accounts: one as previous administrators have used, showing her name in the sent to/from box, and one that uses the false identity “Richard Windsor,” which neither Jackson nor EPA disputes is her account and which obviously does not reflect the administrator’s name.

At this time it is useful to remember EPA’s public statements earnestly but aggressively implied Windsor was just another secondary account. So EPA has some explaining to do.

So EPA is implying here – until a journalist or the court wrenches a straight answer to the question: Did you produce “Richard Windsor” emails? – that Jackson’s single alias account is the admitted-to, recently revealed “Richard Windsor.” After all, we know this alias account exists. EPA confirms it. So EPA’s implication in trying to waive away revelation of her alias account(s) – that she in fact does not have another EPA.gov account in her name, like all other administrators – is no longer operative.

Accepting this means the only EPA.gov email account Jackson used to correspond with EPA employees (including lawyers, presumably the EPA IG who has vowed to get to the bottom of this) was the false identity of “Richard Windsor.”

In that case, nearly everyone at EPA and throughout the ranks of senior Obama officials was in on the secret. Even though we know from sources and anecdotally this revelation came as a great surprise to Agency employees. Strike one.

Further, it means Jackson did not have an account she used to correspond outside of the Agency. Really. Meaning, either she did not correspond outside of EPA, or she used a private account.

No good answers or implications there. Yet EPA really wants to go there – as preferable, apparently, to just coming clean about Richard Windsor’s activities.

Staking out the position Jackson used only one secondary account signals the agency has gone bunker. Rather than search or produce from the Richard Windsor account, it is more likely the agency intends to in essence pretend it does not exist. Count as wasted that week EPA spent with all of the muttering to the contrary about its origin being a combination of her pet’s name and the town in which she once lived.

EPA would rather fight than snitch. Instructively, in EPA’s view, tempting Congress, the court and public opinion risks less fallout than revealing “Richard Windsor’s” correspondence.

This is both deeply distressing and entirely consistent with its approach throughout. But then again, frankly, what did you expect from a gang caught using false identity for federal record-keeping purposes? To just say ‘you caught me; now I’ll come clean?’

* This conclusion no longer would be operative if EPA established that in fact Lisa Jackson did communicate internally exclusively using the Richard Windsor address, however implausible that is, and even though that would simply then beg the troubling questions noted above.

BACKGROUND of key points to remember:

a.) CEI sought emails from Lisa Jackson’s secondary or “alias” email account(s) using one or more search terms: coal, climate, endanger, MACT

b) There is no record of any other senior official having ever created such an account using a false identity

c) EPA’s own memo informing the National Archivist of having discovered these accounts stated they always show the administrator’s name

d) 3 exemplars we have obtained from elsewhere all show “Richard Windsor”

e) This presents EPA with a fork in the road: Burrow deeper into the bunker, and interpret that this request sought only the secondary account that shows Jackson’s name, or come clean and search her various non-public, alias accounts

f) Even given EPA’s public spin when the Windsor identity was revealed – that the Windsor account is just another secondary account, a continuation of a practice every administrator has employed since Carol Browner – now, despite this spin, EPA claims Jackson had just one such account

g) if indeed EPA is producing only non-Windsor email, it really has decided to declare war on this one, risking the obvious fallout and revealing it truly has much to hide.

> See also: cei.org/richard-windsor for a story timeline.

> To schedule an interview with Christopher Horner, please email: bmac@cei.org

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Paul Westhaver

crowd sourcing the email?

Dave

I’m sure Eric Holder is right on this…

Jeef

Don’t let this go, guys.

Thanks for the update. It’s about what I expected.

Chuck

So EPA found a way to fall short of unimagined low expectations. What a surprise. /sarc

Mark

Wow, they are just playing pointless semantic stalling games. It looks like you’re onto something they are desperate to delay going public as long as possible. If you haven’t already, it looks like you’ll need to draft an FOIA specifically for emails sent or received at the ‘Richard Windsor’ email address (using the actual ‘@’ address since Richard doesn’t exist) regardless or who sent or received them. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad and unethical that you must resort to crafting requests for public documents like you’re posing wishes to a malevolent leprechaun determined to misconstrue or misunderstand every word to your detriment.

RockyRoad

Exceptionally Poor Activity.

Rud Istvan

You make the arguments overly complicated. EPA did not apparently comply with the court order. News clips from the EPA are not requested emails with key words from the Windsor email account. Why? Even the EPA would not be stupid enough to send out internal versions of news clips from a dummy account, since the employees might want to respond. Oh, not a two way email? Well, you have already established that it was.
So, nail them on contempt of court. ASAP. Friendly recommendation from one lawyer to another.

Paul Westhaver

Chris,
Where are the email?

DS

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
SUBJECT: Transparency and Open Government
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration…
Source: http://m.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/TransparencyandOpenGovernment
Most transparent administration EVER!

Rob Dawg

Contempt for law from the people who perfected contempt for science.

Whoa. Looks like this one is going to be messy. Contempt of court, obviously. Go get ’em!

William McClenney

Yup. Transparency. Got it.

Well done for all your work on this – another crack in the dam. Hopefully the EPA and its co-conspirators will soon run out of fingers.

TBear

Sure there is something interesting going on here, but this post makes very hard reading. Read the whole post and have no idea what the issue is.

Alex Heyworth

Maybe another FOI request is in order, seeking all emails with “Richard Windsor” as either the author, a recipient, or mentioned in the text or attachments.

DaveG

There was a crooked man, who had a crooked smile, that hid a crooked mind, that hatch a crooked plan………. Turns out it was a crooked woman!!
Disgusting economy wrecking EPA!

pat

Purely corrupt. Again we see these bizarre patterns with the EPA. I wonder if there are other names used. If they are hiding the routing info.

HAS

This post needs to be rewritten so it is comprehensible to people who haven’t been living and breathing it.

Lance Wallace

Chris Horner–
You might get a lot of help from the WUWT denizens if you were more forthcoming–provide the precise details of your FOI request, the EPA replies, and of course the emails themselves.

Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings and commented:
THANKS CEI

I’m surprised Horner actually believed he would get anything other than a coverup. Naive of him.

Manfred

Is Jackson still in office or is this her successor’s first disturbig footprint ?

Thomas

It is piling on as increasingly clear that our government acts as the enemy of the people. Lies, secrets, misdirection, propaganda, and we are supposed to respect these thugs?

Mark and two Cats

EPA’s Court-Ordered Email Production Proves Agency Has “Gone Bunker”
——————————
So the EPA are not cooperating. Was anything else really expected? Now they will stonewall and play games of delay until this all fades away.

Andrew

Maybe the law is different in the US state in question, but here, in the socialist utopia which is UK, no responsible and savvy publisher** would accept online public comments for any case which is sub judice.
They can, and frequently do, carry reports of legal disputes in progress but they don’t offer the comments facility. The usual reason is to preclude the possibility that an offender walks free citing the “I could never get a fair trial with an unbiased jury because of all this publicity” defence.
Reports on a case which has made it to court always end with: “[Name of defendant] has pleaded [guilty/not guilty]. The case continues”.
It wouldn’t do for some lying malfeasant climate activist to walk, would it? (QED?)
** WUWT is both responsible and savvy.

If the clarity of the post is anything to go by it’s entirely possible that the EPA had absolutely no idea what Chris Horner was asking for!

Scute

I’ve been here before, obtaining important records from supposedly professional people who trade on the trustworthiness expected of them to appear honest.
Look out for:
1) “oh, you meant that archive, not this [little known archive/ personal hard drive].”
2) “but we have to actively back up to archive and some people forget. You didn’t ask us whether the person in question had forgotten. You just asked us to check the archive.”
3) “but we have a programme that divides emails and memos into two databases. Memos to staff aren’t counted as emails even if they come from the email address in question.”
4) “when we clicked on ‘print emails to document’ the (said proprietary programme) printed just the email data base and not the memos.”
5) “the (said proprietary programme) asks for various data fields which must be ticked. We thought we were being asked for internal emails so we didn’t click on the ‘outside agency’ field.”
6) “we inputted the keywords you said but the system only sees those keywords in the subject line, not the body of the text. It is set this way because otherwise a huge number of emails would be thrown up because most emails have these words somewhere in the text. It wouldn’t be a useful way for us to work and we were just following our usual system with the keywords you asked for.
7) “didn’t you know? By law, we have to check through any FOIA or court ordered submission for references to innocent third parties who’s privacy might be compromised. This redacting can be done by an in-house lawyer, senior employee or [insert other fox in our chicken coop here].
8) (Of their systems, computer, hierarchical or otherwise): “it doesn’t work like that” ; “we’ve always submitted information this way” ; “the person who copied over the data was new and they went onto a restricted LAN without realising it. I shall see to it personally next time” [and that will allow me to take personal control of the redacting as in point 7].
In the UK we have the comic catch phrase, “the computer says no”. That has to be borne in mind at all times when requesting data. ‘Just following orders’, so to speak, and from a computer at that, just isn’t on. The numbered points or ‘get-outs’ I’ve made can be summed up by what Mark said, above:
“…you’re posing wishes to a malevolent leprechaun determined to misconstrue or misunderstand every word to your detriment”.
I could have done a list twice as long but I’ll leave it there.
Scute

Jockdownsouth

I agree with the commenters above that this post is difficult to understand for the many layman readers of this wonderful blog. Apart from anything else it’s 11.1 on the Gunning Fox Scale (thanks Willis!) which is defined as “hard to read”. We need it laid out or explained in the clear style of Steve McIntyre or Andrew Montford.

Michael Larkin

I have to agree with those who found this post to be largely incomprehensible. I don’t mean to be disparaging to Mr. McNicholls, just stating it as I find it.

Eliza

You cannot beat the system/government of the day, its been proven time and time again. This is will only happen when The Government changes. In general majorities are quite stupid (ie case of Gillard in Australia, apparently shes become super popular again).You will most likely not be able to uncover anything, but best of luck.

Yeah. Someone from right wing organisation funded by who knows uses legal tactics to try and stop environmental action. Great work guys. Lets cheer him on.

Bloke down the pub

” its origin being a combination of her pet’s name and the town in which she once lived.”
I thought her dog was named Windsor after the town she had lived in. Richard was presumably chosen because she wanted to be a Dick, like so many others that are employed by the EPA.

Patrick

John Brookes; CEI is, in the words of Don Chipp of the Democrats (australia), trying to “keep the bastards honest”. The EPA is a very compromised govt group and it could be argued that their activites could ultimately harm the environment, let alone the harm done to people economically. I saw from your facebook profile that as First Year Physics Coordinator that you state “Making sure that 1st year Physics units run properly!” is your goal. Ok, cool. Hope that works out. Will you ensure your lecturers teach physics physics instead of political physics?

Geoff Sherrington

John is an Australian youngster who is training himself to be a drive-by blog assassin. He is progressing slowly, but his appearance on WUWT might mean that he feels he has another Boy Scout badge to sew on the sleeve. Problem is, he contributes nothing but snide and we real Aussies don’t like that very much.
JB, your comment could place your good self as someone from a left wing organisation funded by the Australian taxpayer trying to stop action against illegal activities in the USA. You have the pot/black kettle problem that is quite obvious to the sophisticated readers here.

Meanwhile, in the UK, keep an eye out here
http://climateaudit.org/2013/01/14/acton-and-muir-russell-at-tribunal/
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2013/1/14/the-trip.html
“David Holland questioning Sir Muir Russell and Edward Acton about the details of the Climategate inquiries at the Information Tribunal”

Merovign

The most transparently corrupt administration ever!
Oh, and Mr. Brookes, tendentiousness is bad for your argument.

TimC

As others have mentioned above, this isn’t the clearest of articles – and Horner’s statement is of course partisan by nature in the current court proceedings.
The CEI complaint is at: http://cei.org/legal-briefs/cei-v-epa-complaint-re-secret-accounts
One of the key paragraphs is (23) which says: “Recent revelations confirm that it is a widespread practice among federal employees to hide the record of agency activity”.
While the covering letter (to the CD produced by EPA) is not quoted at all I think what this amounts to is that EPA has only disclosed emails from Jackson’s “official” and “secondary” account both as held on EPA’s government servers. This leaves open the possibility that she also operated an email account on private servers (using the Richard Windsor alias) which were also partly or wholly used for EPA business. EPA have chosen not to deal with the possibility of the private account: this is perhaps a risky strategy but (not being a lawyer qualified in any US jurisdiction) I can’t say whether they were actually obliged to do so by this complaint brought against EPA alone – where EPA can (rightly or wrongly) deny they knew of any such private account.
Isn’t the next step to interrogate EPA (in this action) as to whether they have any knowledge of a private account operated by the Administrator – putting the question to them with absolute clarity? They will know the risks if they deliberately choose to embark on a cover-up (see Watergate, and all that followed).

Alberta Slim

Scute says:
January 15, 2013 at 1:02 am
“I’ve been here before, obtaining important records from supposedly professional people who trade on the trustworthiness expected of them to appear honest………..”
That list is so true. It seems impossible to get anything incriminating.

“Maybe the law is different in the US state in question, but here, in the socialist utopia which is UK, no responsible and savvy publisher** would accept online public comments for any case which is sub judice.”
In the US, OJ Simpson got a trial and walked away despite outrageous public commentary. A site such as Watts Up With That, with much more limited reach, could hardly be accused of tainting a jury pool sufficiently to jeopardize a trial (as if there’s going to be one.)

LazyTeenager

This whole story is told in a confusing and ambiguous way. It’s quite possible to have just one email account with multiple email addresses.
So an “alias” is just an alternate email address for one account. This is what alias means!!
So is Chris Horner just totally confused and has become dizzy by too much of his own spin?

Man Bearpig

John Brookes says:
January 15, 2013 at 2:15 am
”Yeah. Someone from right wing organisation funded by who knows uses legal tactics to try and stop environmental action. Great work guys. Lets cheer him on.”
I think you miss the point. Why do government bodies need anonymous email addresses to discuss policy ? What if you found that your President was using Yahoo! email account to discus covert military operations ?
You see, the point is not the content but the purpose as to why they are using such clandestine email accounts for the purposes of discussion of something they don’t want you and I to know about. If that is in your definition of ‘free and open’ society, may your god help you or you may feel more at ease living in North Korea where this sort of activity may be expected.

DSC

I think the media has found a new source of income – covering for the people that control the purse strings. And getting Obama elected twice is the greatest proof they have that they can be effective.

Chris:
Just got your book for my birthday. Grin 😉
Suggest having someone lay out the count of emails by date and time, and look for gaping holes. Things like missing weeks… or never a Tuesday… Also take any and all addresses and see what you can find from THEIR ISP archives. If any one of them is under Sarbox or just acts like they are, you might find a whole lot of archived mail server traffic. Look too (on such machines) for reverse flow email. Mail TO the target account that just happens to have a whole lot of other email in the history / attachment block.
Every bit of what IS present and every bit of what is NOT present has to ‘fit’. Where it doesn’t, that’s the clue. Then there is the ‘negative space’. What ‘ought to be but is not’, that can shout at you. Things like 3 Thursdays in a row the “press release” email is there. 4th week it isn’t. You look and find that one was issued (probably public record). Now you have at minimum that they didn’t include that one. Why?…. What else?…
(As an old email / systems admin who has done some forensics work, the last thing you want to do is try to erase an email thread / history. The gaping holes say as much as the actual email. If every week there’s an average 100 kB of mail, and one week is 70 kB and its not a holiday, something is wrong. If “John” sends a “Staff mtg at noon” every Wednesday, it better be there every Wednesday. For ALL recipient. If an email alias has that address on it, then ALL email to that alias needs to be in that account. and on and on and on… It is just impossible to get a ‘mock up’ that covers everything ‘just right’. )

kramer

TBear says:
January 14, 2013 at 9:50 pm
Sure there is something interesting going on here, but this post makes very hard reading. Read the whole post and have no idea what the issue is.

Thanks. I was starting to question my ability to read and comprehend… 🙂

Steven Kopits

The head of the EPA is emailing using an alias? This is a quite serious matter.

Sam the First

“This post needs to be rewritten so it is comprehensible to people who haven’t been living and breathing it.”
Agreed, and link to the previous post/s on this up top would help, for those of us who didn’t have time to read the first instalment/s

Robert of Ottawa

What are they hiding?

mpainter

Steven Kopits says: January 15, 2013 at 5:55 am
The head of the EPA is emailing using an alias? This is a quite serious matter.
=================================
Yes, quite illegal and the trail will lead to very big players in government and Industry. Very Big. This post reveals the desperation at the EPA and their flouting the FOI orders of the court.

knr

LazyTeenager and e-mail address whose name has no logical link to the owner is designed not to improve but inhibit communications, Bottom line when it became public Jackson went and EPA have but a lot of effort into not realising the e-mails despite court order , a very odd action if there nothing to worry about . But has we have seen time and again quite a common one when there much to worry about for the sellers of ‘climate doom ‘