Climate Research Unit Cracking - play the ball

Penn State has released the preliminary conclusions of its inquiry into the purloined e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

Dr Free-Ride provides an excellent discussion

PSU story on the internal inquiry

Full report (pdf)

In the meantime, the Grauniad reports police questioned a UEA scientist about the original cracking of the CRU e-mail archive

There has been considerable external pressure on PSU on this issue, with protests planned by conservative student groups this friday on campus, weather prermitting...
The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Awareness took out a full page ad in the local student newspaper earlier this week questioning the integrity of the university process, before the outcome was known, and attacking Prof. Mann.

The inquiry was called despite there being no formal allegation of misconduct per University policies, which is unusual.
The preliminary conclusions exonerated Prof. Mann on 3 of the questions posed, and calls for a full inquiry into one remaining issue: whether Mann "engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities."

See Dr. F-R above.

Across the pond, the Grauniad has turned on the UEA folks, calling for Prof. Jones to resign, and, curiously, the public affairs person at UEA.
Sounds like some people were not happy with the communication process...

As this is still under formal inquiry at PSU, I will not comment personally at this point.
I do not speak in any way for PSU, or any bits of PSU.

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There has been a lot of chatter about the e-mail cracked from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (not to be confused with the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research at the UK Met Office in Exeter). I would like to post abou it, but, I really can't comment. Since…

I'm very concerned by the Guardian's behaviour this week; they actually ran the "climate scientists covered up" piece as the front page lead, although you had to make it through 7 or 8 pars to find out that the Chinese researcher whose data was supposedly evil had been exonerated. They then went on to lead with "why won't Pachauri resign" (answer: it wasn't his fault), and to have a crack at Michael Mann one day before PSU exonerated him. All of this came with rather odd and unconvincing disclaimers that "of course none of this affects the evidence of climate change".

I've got a 10 link post coming up about this.

I theorise that either there's a major weirdo lobbying effort on, or else people at the paper have some sort of grudge with UEA. Back in the day, i.e. when half their editors were in one extreme-left sect or other, UEA was a very radical leftwing campus, and I wonder if someone's trying to settle a score from the 80s. This sounds farfetched, but it did play a role for a lot of journos about Iraq...

Looking forward to the post.

My sense with the grauniad is that someone, like maybe the esteemed M. Monbiot, was not treated with due deference by the UEA public affairs people, or Prof. Jones hisself.

Or, this is the East Anglia Footites revenge on Benn faction.
I sometimes think certain people read the "History Man" as prescriptive, rather than descriptive.

Grauniad did come up with an interesting point: namely there appears to have been no crack of UEA servers; it was either an inside job, with a crude attempt to re-source the leak to US bloggers via Russian (hah) crackers, or the e-mail were just left unprotected on publicly accessible servers (or both).

There definitely was cracking involved at one end, at least. According to Gavin Schmidt:

"For clarification and to save me going through this again, this is a summary of my knowledge of the topic. At around 6.20am (EST) Nov 17th, somebody hacked into the RC server from an IP address associated with a computer somewhere in Turkey, disabled access from the legitimate users, and uploaded a file FOIA.zip to our server. They then created a draft post that would have been posted announcing the data to the world that was identical in content of the comment posted on The Air Vent later that day. They were intercepted before this could be posted on the blog. This archive appears to be identical to the one posted on the Russian server except for the name change."

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack-cont…
(Comment # 156).

Occam's razor suggests that the cracker who broke into RC got the emails by breaking into UEA.

By Robert P. (not verified) on 05 Feb 2010 #permalink