CIA climate research effort decommissioned

Seal of the US Central Intelligence Agency. Author United States Government, public domain image.
Seal of the US Central Intelligence Agency. Author United States Government, public domain image.

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Mother Jones reports that the CIA Medea programme, a climate research effort which involved providing civilian experts with access to classified information, is to be shut down.

According to Mother Jones;

The program was originally launched in 1992 during the George H.W. Bush administration and was later shut down during President George W. Bush’s term. It was re-launched under the Obama administration in 2010, with the aim of providing security clearances to roughly 60 climate scientists. Those scientists were given access to classified information that could be useful for researching global warming and tracking environmental changes that could have national security implications.

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Some experts have expressed surprise the Medea programme is being shut down. But the programme is not without its critics.

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a 23-year veteran of the CIA who had first-hand knowledge of the program before leaving the agency in 2009. He said he was not surprised to see Medea close down.

“In my judgment, the CIA is not the best lead agency for the issue; the agency’s ‘in-box’ is already overflowing with today’s threats and challenges,” he said via email. “CIA has little strategic planning reserves, relatively speaking, and its overseas presence is heavily action-oriented.”

The programme also attracted criticism from members of the US government:

… when CIA Director Leon Panetta stood up the climate change center in 2009, conservative lawmakers attempted to block its funding.

“The CIA’s resources should be focused on monitoring terrorists in caves, not polar bears on icebergs,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said at the time.

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May 23, 2015 7:19 am

I suppose the strategic analysis was that in a warming world, spies would no longer need to wear trench coats, thus making it more difficult to determine who is or is not a spy.

Reply to  H.R.
May 23, 2015 7:22 am
Reply to  H.R.
May 23, 2015 10:59 am

Recent prevalence of trenchcoats in Western World indicates Global Cooling. Or a previously unheard of resurgence of spying.

Alan the Brit
May 23, 2015 7:21 am

Ah but they would still need to wear dark glasses!

Reply to  Alan the Brit
May 23, 2015 11:21 am

How would anyone recognise them without their disguise?

Reply to  jones
May 23, 2015 12:21 pm

Oh, the usual way, jones. They’ll be sitting on a park bench on a Thursday reading the Sunday Times, and you sit beside them, looking straight ahead, and say the secret code phrase, “97% of Climate Scientists believe Climate change is real.”
The counter sign is……… s’cuse me a moment, jones. Someone is at the door.
AHHHHH!…. No! Not That! Anything but that! I’ll go quietly!

Berényi Péter
Reply to  Alan the Brit
May 23, 2015 11:53 am

Not necessarily. This guy can blend into a crowd perfectly without them.

Ian W
May 23, 2015 7:22 am

“In my judgment, the CIA is not the best lead agency for the issue; the agency’s ‘in-box’ is already overflowing with today’s threats and challenges,”

But we have just been assured on the highest authority that ‘climate change’ (sic) is the per-eminent and existential threat to the country indeed the world. Surely the CIA is dropping the ball here if that is true?

Reply to  Ian W
May 23, 2015 6:21 pm

Yes, Obama has said that problems in the Middle East are due to climate change – at least that claim absolves him of any lack of consistent leadership in the mess.

Crispin in Waterloo
May 23, 2015 7:24 am

Was the underlying purpose to monitor the effect of the weather modification programme that was run over the same period? There has been a polite gap between shutting that down and closing this project, perhaps after the final reports were handed in.
The military value of local weather modification is high.

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
May 23, 2015 8:04 am

This is incredibly redundant with operational capabilities that are in place in all the armed services. The Navy alone has more than 1,000 personnel that deal with nothing but weather, and a good 20% of them are credentialed by one of the professional organizations, have a formal degree, or both,

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
May 23, 2015 6:31 pm

… and with Obama tasking NASA’s chief administrator, Charles Bolden, with the “foremost” task of reaching out to the Muslim world … one can see the blurring of responsibilities among all of our bloated government’s agencies.

Pamela Gray
May 23, 2015 7:25 am

Lordy. Tightening a governmental belt is glacially slow. Your post does not bring me any amount of celebration. It instead highlights the continued resistance of proven useless government programs to…die.

Reply to  Pamela Gray
May 23, 2015 2:58 pm

A government program is an emergent life form who’s main motivation is survival.

May 23, 2015 7:34 am

It makes me wonder if their justification for shutting it down is…….the science is settled

Reply to  Latitude
May 23, 2015 8:51 am

Or changed to covert. Who knows with these shape-shifters.

Reply to  Tim
May 23, 2015 11:29 am

Tim sez:
“Or changed to covert.”
Yeah… Black Ops… that’s the ticket. They switched from studying the weather to studying why it gets dark at night. All reports triple-encrypted and all off-budget, of course.
Back in a minute…………………………..
OK. No Black helicopters. I can hit Post Comment now.

Jim G1
May 23, 2015 7:35 am

“The programme also attracted criticism from members of the US government:… when CIA Director Leon Panetta stood up the climate change center in 2009, conservative lawmakers attempted to block its funding.“The CIA’s resources should be focused on monitoring terrorists in caves, not polar bears on icebergs,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said at the time.”
“Programme”? “Stood up”? It’s almost as difficult to understand the English language when written by the British as it is to understand it when spoken by someone from Mississippi, but then I are an enjinear.

michael hart
Reply to  Jim G1
May 23, 2015 8:17 am

I was also a bit confused by that. Does it mean that Panetta created the climate change centre, or brushed them off in the sense of not turning up for a date?

Reply to  Jim G1
May 23, 2015 8:59 am

Sorry, but I must correct this (I often work as a checker): “I are</strike is an enjinear.”
There. That looks better.

Reply to  PiperPaul
May 23, 2015 9:01 am

Sorry, but I must correct this (I often work as a checker): “I are is an enjinear.”
There. That looks even betterer.

Reply to  PiperPaul
May 23, 2015 9:58 am

“I is uh enjinear.”

Mike McMillan
Reply to  PiperPaul
May 23, 2015 11:11 am

That depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

Reply to  PiperPaul
May 23, 2015 11:28 am

“I BE an enjinear?”

Reply to  Jim G1
May 23, 2015 1:21 pm

enjinears can rite. The head of my university’s testing bureau told me that engineers score significantly higher than average on verbal skill tests, as well as scoring at very high levels on quantitative tests. He also said, “Intelligence correlates positively with everything.” Tests show that intelligent girls are better looking than average. The dumb blonde and the illiterate engineer are invalid stereotypes.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
May 23, 2015 1:24 pm

I’ve long called engineers ‘Invisible Magicians’.

May 23, 2015 7:35 am

If the data was only available to 60 climate scientists then what good is it? I’ve seen the data and we are warming/cooling/flatlining. Trust me I’ve seen the data and you can’t.
Just what climate science needs. More data that can’t be shared.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  TRM
May 24, 2015 8:38 am

It has value if they were not watching the weather but the effects of their attempts to modify it. One such experiment was run in South Africa for some time, exposed and complained about by a phone-in artist by the name of ‘Eddie in Ficksburg’. He sounded like a looney but he was right and that experiment has been shut down. Or turned off anyway. Maybe these guys studied weather modification, not weather.

Paul Westhaver
May 23, 2015 7:49 am

The CIA are very serious people.
They….kill enemies of the USA.. For real.
If climate change meant anything to them in terms of altering the foreign policy dynamic, they’d be all over it.
I guess Climate Change is Bull Sh1t.

Jim G1
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
May 23, 2015 8:13 am

Climate change is not BS, it is a naturally and continually occurring process upon which people have little or no impact. As far as the CIA is concerned, it is always difficult to determine their real motivation since though they are influenced by the politics of those in charge, they also love secrecy as it has its uses and its own charm. Like living on a hill so that one can look down upon others. If the powers that be want secrecy, I doubt the CIA would resist. So, who knows the real motivation.?

Reply to  Jim G1
May 23, 2015 1:38 pm

Indeed. Actions over motivations.

Phil R
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
May 23, 2015 6:58 pm

Paul Westhaver,
You say, “If climate change meant anything to them in terms of altering the foreign policy dynamic, they’d be all over it.”
They are, and have been since 1974
Funny, didn’t have anything to do with global warming back then.

May 23, 2015 7:54 am

“Hubbard Glacier, located in southeast Alaska, is the world’s largest non-polar tidewater glacier. It has been steadily advancing since it was first mapped in 1895; occasionally, the advance creates an ice or sediment dam that blocks a tributary fjord (Russell Fiord). The sustained advance raises the probability of long-term closure in the near-future, which will strongly impact the ecosystem of Russell Fiord and the nearby community of Yakutat. Here, we examine a 43-year record of flow speeds and terminus position to understand the large-scale dynamics of Hubbard Glacier. Our long-term record shows that the rate of terminus advance has increased slightly since 1895, with the exception of a slowed advance between approximately 1972 and 1984. The short-lived closure events in 1986 and 2002 were not initiated by perturbations in ice velocity or environmental forcings, but were likely due to fluctuations in sedimentation patterns at the terminus. This study points to the significance of a coupled system where short-term velocity fluctuations and morainal shoal development control tidewater glacier terminus position.”

Reply to  ren
May 23, 2015 10:06 am

great link. Thanks for the info ren. You always have some interesting links. Especially liked the link to dutchsinse, iirc, with the earthquake graphics software I saw on the talkshop.

May 23, 2015 7:55 am

Transpaaaaaarency! Apparently now available only through Hillary Clinton’s server.

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  kim
May 23, 2015 8:05 am

No, you have it backwards, Hillary’s server is transparent, (i.e., vapor)

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
May 23, 2015 8:21 am

Shhhh, please don’t tell anyone that the 18 & 1/2 minutes of missing emails from Hillary’s server have been pored over for years by intelligent servants.
If we’re all very good, we’ll get selected excerpts from them soap operaed out through the ever ensuing weekday ennuies.

Mark from the Midwest
May 23, 2015 7:56 am

Having spent 6 years at Rockwell Aerospace, I have a former co-worker, who helped develop a part for a spy satellite, who has an anonymous source, who claims to know somebody, who has it on good authority, that this is all just a ruse to get us to believe that they’re shutting down, so they can function under double secret operation rules that, as we all know, are so important for good climate research

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
May 23, 2015 8:09 am

and will now have a new shot at finding the invisible missing heat

Reply to  Bubba Cow
May 23, 2015 9:18 am

We already found it but it will have to remain secret for national security and climate research purpose.

Reply to  Bubba Cow
May 23, 2015 9:52 am

What secret? Everyone knows that a UFO in the Marianas Trench is absorbing the energy and transmitting it to a mother-ship on the back side of the moon.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Bubba Cow
May 23, 2015 11:08 am

<redact>The ███████████████ was ████████████ ! </redact>

Reply to  Bubba Cow
May 23, 2015 11:33 am

Mike McMillan,
Far be it from me to contradict your point but ————————————— and —————————————- especially when —————————————————–however ————————————————–.

Repel space Damocles swords
May 23, 2015 8:32 am

Of course! The SUPREME Damocles sword is deadly space electricity, to be repelled with (Boeing patented) Laser-Plasma-Shielding Earth eventually!!! National Space Weather Strategy Released for Public Comment | NOAA / NWS Space Weather

May 23, 2015 8:52 am

Now I’m curious, what classified information would a climate “scientist” need in order to research climate?

Reply to  RWTurner
May 23, 2015 10:07 am

My guess is Arctic ice cover. It’s of strategic importance as submarines wander around there.
And the reference to polar bears implies it’s up that way too.

Reply to  RWTurner
May 23, 2015 1:27 pm

Secret stuff. Too secret to tell anybody else. But it’s there, right there in our secret files, where we keep all our secret stuff. Trust us.

May 23, 2015 8:52 am

From bitter experience we know that Climate Scientists, at least the famous ones who would likely receive security clearances, are the worst kind of untrustworthy, sell out to the high bidder scum, our society has ever had the misfortune to produce.
They’re already enemy agents and spies, built into their character.
I wouldn’t put it past a Trenberth or Mann to suck up all the national secrets he could Hoover then defecting to North Korea.

Reply to  papiertigre
May 23, 2015 10:06 am

All part of a highly secret plan to “Grueber” the N. Korean economy to death.

Reply to  Dahlquist
May 23, 2015 7:36 pm
May 23, 2015 9:16 am

Perhaps the CIA was the first government agency to actually look at the climate data for the last 19 years instead of the climate models, and came to the most logical conclusion – “Neaw, there ain’t nuttin’ here, so let’s close this stupid department.”

Sun Spot
Reply to  JimS
May 23, 2015 9:42 am

I agree, they concluded cAGW is false so why would they be needed? If they managed to get the false nature of cAGW through to Obama, he did not like it and shut them down. Either way if cAGW was a real threat why would they be shut down, after al Obama says it is the greatest immediate threat to mankind/USA and his preeminent focus !!!

Reply to  JimS
May 23, 2015 9:43 am

@ Jim S. Exactly.
Some of the CIA must have Americas interests at heart, they must look into a meme that the President and Secretary of State both insist is the number one danger to the USA.
If a logical honest evaluation was actually done, what do you think they would find?
And what would be the political response?
Shut down? There never was any such investigation, the CIA was never involved.
Kind of begs the question, as the Pollies insist a clear and present danger, yet no investigation by security agencies….

Reply to  john robertson
May 23, 2015 10:44 am

I imagine when Panetta heard Obama’s speech to the Coast Guard he laughed out loud because CIA Director Panetta actually reads the daily sit-reps so he understands true threats.
Plus, I’ll bet the other spy organization guys were poking fun at Leon down at the pub.

Svend Ferdinandsen
May 23, 2015 9:56 am

The warming has been hiding so well, that only a spy could find it.

Reply to  Svend Ferdinandsen
May 23, 2015 10:50 am

It’s in the witness protection program.

masInt branch 4 C3I in is
May 23, 2015 10:03 am

Currently DMSP-5D3 F20 is the last satellite in the DMSP program and may be launched from VA on an F9 (SpaceX) rocket for Air Force. NPOESS, joint Air Force – NASA – NOAA follow-on program was canceled. A later proposed follow-on program DWSS (Defense Weather Satellite System) was removed from FY2012 Defense Authorization Act, effectively killing it and Air Force subsequently instructed Northrop Grumman to halt work at that time.
Looks SOL to me.
Have to contract out to France or NATO.

May 23, 2015 10:10 am

Is it possible they finally dropped this cia climate faction because they have access to the real data? That data which would show no actual evidence for AGW for about 30 years? Nah, that would be me just thinking like a typical denier again. i think 27 years or whatever was enough for this organizations that s supposed to be non political and deal with actual real threats. This is big.

Bruce Cobb
May 23, 2015 10:13 am

Death by a thousand cuts for the CAGW beast. This must be oh, about #950.

Alan Robertson
May 23, 2015 10:17 am

“Yes, Mr. President, we know full well that your agenda requires such statem…”
“Yes Sir, as I was saying…”
“No, Mr. President, we can not and will not support such a plan.”
“Sir, that’s not the kind of world…”
“Yes Sir… ”
“No Sir! We will not stand down! We will go public,”
“That is correct, Sir.”
“Very well, Sir…”
“All right, Sir, we already have the announcement prepared.”
“Of course, Sir, we anticipated your reaction.”
“Yes Sir, your speech to the cadets did move things forward…”

May 23, 2015 10:33 am

It is fear. AMO in the Atlantic drops very quickly since 2010. The ice in the Arctic will increase rapidly. The secret !!!

May 23, 2015 12:23 pm

The only information the CIA (publicly) releases, is disinformation.
They are a bunch of sneaky bastards, glad they are on my side.

May 23, 2015 12:33 pm
found the heat – was hanging out with the albino grizzlies

Reply to  Bubba Cow
May 23, 2015 12:48 pm

What are the odds that that sub surfaced so close to a polar bear family ?
I think there are way more bears than we have noticed, it’s the camouflage 🙂

Reply to  Bubba Cow
May 23, 2015 3:57 pm

The polar bears are hoping the humans would come out.

Reply to  Bubba Cow
May 23, 2015 6:54 pm

I served on Subs back in the 70’s. On one of trips near the pole we saw two within minutes of surfacing. Thought this was neat and rare, till I learned that it happens often. Made me wonder if/how they know we are coming. Lookouts are stationed on the sail (the highest portion of the Sub out of water) looking for Polar Bears when Sailors are out on the Ice on North Pole Liberty. A Sailor from a different Sub has pictures of several taken when they surfaced at the North Pole. How/why do they go there?

Tom Crozier
May 23, 2015 12:49 pm

I don’t know about ’92, but in 1995 Bill Clinton, under pressure from Al Gore, signed an Executive order declassifying most of the early Corona imagery. The move was actually pushed by both Gore and early Project Corona scientists who had noticed dramatic changes since the early 60’s.

Tom Crozier
Reply to  Tom Crozier
May 23, 2015 12:56 pm

Text of Execitive Order; I was unaware that the CIA subsequently became involved in activities beyond the original declassification project, but I’m not surprised:

May 23, 2015 1:01 pm

Here’s a new hypothesis. The urge to classify was dependent on the need to keep imaging capability secret and now that much of the rest of the world exceeds our capacity, there is no longer any need to keep our capabilities secret.
Yep, that’s the tikket.

Tom Crozier
Reply to  kim
May 23, 2015 1:23 pm

That’s exacty right. But closet industries develop within the Agency and entire careers are then devoted to keeping stuff secret, whether it’s obsolete or not. Breaking down those walls can be difficult. In this particular case, I think the scientists were right to push declassication; sort of like an early crowd sourcing effort. Whether Gore already had the idea to use the imagery to create his own climate alarm industry I can’t say. The scientists just wanted more eyes analyzing the pictures at a low cost.

Reply to  Tom Crozier
May 23, 2015 1:28 pm

I heard an old-timer once relate how Departments of Syphilogy persisted in Medical Schools long after the introduction of penicillin. Those departmental experts even persisted, but wisely eventually started calling themselves dermatologists.

Tom Crozier
Reply to  kim
May 23, 2015 1:51 pm

Dr. Albert Wheelon…
I was fortunate enough to be a friend Dr. Wheelon’s. He explains the whole thing here.
Unfortunately I can’t get the video for some reason, but the audio download works fine. Well worth listening to.

Louis Hunt
May 23, 2015 2:45 pm

I’m a bit surprised CIA climate research is being decommissioned right after the President gave a speech naming climate change our greatest risk. If Obama is asking the military to fight climate change, why wouldn’t he want the CIA to provide intelligence for their upcoming battles? Without proper “intelligence,” they might end up tilting at windmills. On second thought, any attack on climate change is going to be an attack on an imaginary enemy anyway, so no intelligence needed.
But what really surprises me is that they don’t seem to have thought this through. Giving security clearances to climate scientists is a great way for government to not only direct climate research but to control the release of information. All they would have to do is say, “Sorry, we can’t respond to your FOIA request because the data are classified.” They could also threaten researchers who attempt to report “skeptical” findings with violating national security by revealing classified information. It’s just not like this administration to pass up the opportunity to completely control the climate narrative.

Tom Crozier
Reply to  Louis Hunt
May 23, 2015 4:51 pm

The correlation of what Obama says with what he does is <0. I think even his supporters agree.

May 23, 2015 3:41 pm

Don’t be alarmed, this expenditure has been part of “erring on the side of caution” in regards to climate change.

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
May 23, 2015 3:41 pm

Do I need proof of sarcasm on that remark?

May 23, 2015 4:32 pm

who will leak the names of the 60 scientists?
(tho, by the sounds of it, there’s potentially a lot more than 60 in cahoots with the CIA outside the Medea program)
amusingly, those commenting at motherjones seem quite happy about CIA involvement! lol.

May 23, 2015 10:53 pm

It’s no surprise the CIA is involved. It’s always been about world government and the CIA no doubt were mainly concerned about how to secure the world’s resources under the pretexts of global warming and how to put pressure on world leaders to play ball.
After all the CIA has nothing to do with ‘National Security’ and everything to do with guarding the interests of their central banking Oligarch masters.

May 24, 2015 6:59 am

Due to the increase of the GCR for about 10 days can be predicted block of the southern polar vortex.comment image

May 24, 2015 9:42 am

Graphics shows the current pressure distribution in the lower stratosphere in the north.
The area darker (lower pressure) shows the circulation in the upper troposphere.

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