Computers Seized in Cyber-Thief Investigation (updated again)

I've decided to update this blog entry (20 Dec 2011) because it occurs to me that certain things could be misinterpreted, in no small part because of the common language that separates us across various national borders, and differences in the way debate and concepts of free speech operate in different lands.

I want to make it clear that I do not think that the blogger "TallBloke" a.k.a. Roger Tattersall has broken British law. British authorities are obviously vigorously investigating what might be a criminal act, what might be an ethical violation, what might be a mere violation of protocol or what might someday be seen as a bold strike against tyrannic forces when all is said and done, persons unknown (to all of us). Tattersall himself has not, to my knowledge, been charged with anything, and the Guardian story (the report to which this blog post is, essentially, a pointer) does not seem to indicate that he is at this time charged.

The fact that we (Tattersall and I) are on very different sides of this issue should mean spirited debate. It should mean an open conversation about the issues. It should not mean undue accusations or harassment. In pursuit of that ideal, I am offering Mr. Tattersall to publish a blog post on this site (Greg Laden's Blog) expressing his opinion on the matter, and he has agreed to to so, through his solicitor, instead of pursuing legal action that was previously suggested. I look forward to receiving the text for this post and, again in the spirit of open and public debate about these important issues, I will post it prominently and place it on the select feed for to give it maximum exposure.

Further Update (April 8 2013). On discovery that international and US law prohibits Tall Bloke from engaqing in what has become known as "Libel Tourism" ... an apt description of the particular form of harassment he has applied to me ... he and his "lawyer" have apparently gone quiet in relation to this issue, other than the occasional tweet on twitter by Tall Bloke claiming that he forced me to "retract" something.

Tall Bloke and his fellow climate science deiners are responsible for recent, current, and likely future death, destruction, and mayhem caused by anthropogenic climate change. They share responsibility for these things with other agencies because they have, unfortunately, been effective in slowing down a proper, scientifically informed response to climate change. Shame on them. History will judge them, and I suspect history will judge them as I've stated here. History will also reveal more of their motivations, including the ways they have been paid by big oil interests or by libertarian and conservative organizations such as the Heartland Institute.

When bullies see proper accusations of their own bad behavior on the horizon, the effective ones (effective at being bullies, that is) quickly make similar accusations against their victims or those who stand up for their victims. Thus, things like this. There may well be trials, of a sort (actual, social, political, whatever) but they won't be of the scientists, they'll be of the deniers.

Thieves who broke into Unviersity of East Anglia computers in 2009, stealing thousands of private emails thus compromising years of expensive scientific research and causing a fabricated and unnecessary political doo-doo storm, as part of a much larger campaign of harassment of climate scientists and science communicators, are being pursued sought by the authorities, in part through the seizure of computer equipment that appears to be linked to the storage and dissemination of the stolen documents, owned by the blogger TallBloke and which has been seized under search warrant.

On Wednesday, detectives from Norfolk Constabulary entered the home of Roger Tattersall, who writes a climate sceptic blog under the pseudonym TallBloke, and took away two laptops and a broadband router. A police spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday that Norfolk Constabulary had "executed a search warrant in West Yorkshire and seized computers". She added: "No one was arrested. Investigations into the [UEA] data breach and publication [online of emails] continues. This is one line of enquiry in a Norfolk constabulary investigation which started in 2009."

Also covered in the Washington Post.

This from Climate Progress:

It's funny to see the hyperventilating at the denier websites. As you know, the deniers routinely assume any scientist being independently investigated is almost certainly guilty, that any scientist exonerated by an independent investigation is definitely guilty, and that thousands of actual evidence-based studies are part of a grand conspiracy to deceive humanity.

Tattersall later whinged stated on his own blog that "an Englishman's home is his castle ... [but] not when six detectives form the [Met] ... arrive on your doorstop..."

So, apparently it is OK for Tattersall and this band of thieves to unilaterally play vigilante and break into your computer or mine, prompting bloggers such as Mr. Tattersall or others to accuse climate scientists of absurd conspiracies, to be dishonest in their discussion of well established data with the intent of misleading the public, or to bully anyone who disagrees with them, but when authorities investigating a crime, with proper search warrant, show up to investigate misdeeds, suddenly he's an "Englishman" in his "Castle." I don't know whether to laugh of to go medieval on him.

Added: Having said that I do sympathize with my fellow blogger, no matter how much we might disagree, in his consternation over having his equipment taken by the police. Let us hope that it is returned quickly and intact so we can resume with the business of vehemently disagreeing with each other in an open, direct, and straightforward if spirited manner. And I'll add my voice to the many others who have asked: "Why take the router? What's the point of that?"

In November 2009, thousands of emails were released ... on the eve the Copenhagen climate summit. The episode prompted a series of inquiries into the working practices of climate scientists ... they did not find fault with the climate change science they had produced.

We hope to see arrests appropriate action and a completed investigation that reveals the truth over the next few weeks or months.

Bigcitylib adds:

Tallbloke is one of the denialist bloggers who was gifted the latest batch of "Climategate" emails. I don't think he was near the center of the first release. In any case, the U.K. police want a closer look at his computers. Although Anthony Watts says he isn't a suspect. But if they do a cavity search, who knows what it will turn up....

And, as a much needed reminder, this from Nature:

Although the police
and the university say only that the investiga-
tion is continuing, Nature understands that
evidence has emerged effectively ruling out a
leak from inside the CRU, as some have claimed.
And other climate-research organizations are
believed to have told police that their systems
survived hack attempts at the same time.
Jones and others connected to the CRU
fear the hackers may be sitting on more stolen
e-mails, but Jones feels confident the worst
is behind him. "

Nature, 19 November, 2010

Some friendly advice: If you ever find yourself in possession of stolen goods, call the police, because if you don't, you're, well, guilty of possession of stolen goods if you in the US. Someone has been holding on to the recently released batch of emails (presumably those referenced by Nature) for a long time.

The rest of the blog post is deleted because it really should be the subject of a different blog post:
Further Update: This morning (Dec 18th) someone tried to post a comment on this blog post (note that I am not accepting further comments) with what appears to be a link to a set of computer files containing what may be stolen emails. I did not look though this material at all, but based only on context that is my guess as to what the numerous files seem to be. It is also possible that this is a farce of some kind, or an attempt at distributing a computer virus. However, given the context and contents of the comment I felt that the most likely interpretation is that I was being set up by one of the denialists as part of a large scale campaign of harassment they have initiated against me. The comment seemed to originate from France and there seemed to be links to other countries as well, so I reported the incident to Interpol. I don't expect to hear back from them.

Despite the fact that I'm not posting comments on that thread, obnoxious, sometimes threatening comments keep coming through. I don't understand why people would want to write multiparagraph hate-comments only to have them never seen by anyone.

I am getting more harassing missives from these climate change denialists than I ever got from You Know Who. And his notes were milder than many of these. (He is still in custody as far as I know, by the way, in case you were wondering.)

Why are global warming denialists so hateful? What is the point of that? (Don't answer in the comments below!)

More like this

This is just a loose yard that, when authorities start pulling on it, the whole climate denier network is going to come unravelled. It's going to be fun to watch.

By Rob Honeycutt (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

Link to story in Guardian.

By Physicalist (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

Aaaah but Greg, Roger and his minions "knew" those evil scientists were dishonest and hiding things, because that's what scientists do, so his group wasn't really stealing when they borrowed the emails, they were working for truth and honor and defending the common man from ivory towery folks.

On the other hand, the investigators only have "suspicions" about dear Roger's group, and so the actions mentioned above are clearly unjustified. This is just another bit of proof of the reach of the new world order folks.

Be careful, here. They've seized Tallbloke's computers because the user "FOIA" posted to his blog. Wordpress has also forwarded a US DOJ request that information not be deleted to Jeff Id, maybe others.

It sounds to me like they want to do forensics on the systems to see if they can't track down "FOIA", not that Tallbloke is the thief himself ...

IMO Tallbloke's slime, and totally ignorant of climate science, but don't label him as a criminal just yet.

Hope you've good a good and inexpensive lawyer Greg.

You've just accused a man of serious crimes - who the UK police have confirmed is NOT even a suspect.

If it's any consolation, Roger's a really nice guy and I'm sure he'll appreciate the money.

Thought you might like these.

Al Gore in Global Horsesh#t. Episodes 1-3

Episode 2
Episode 3
Between a Barack and a Hard Place.

They are funny. Enjoy - Donald

This post should be withdrawn as it is offensive and grossly inaccurate. You do your cause a gross disservice.

You might wish to read a little bit before writing slanderous drivel. (or is it libelous drivel? I always get those confused.) (insert smilie here)

You have no evidence that this individual has committed any offence whatsoever. I am appalled by your attitude and comments. What a prat you are.

Commenter #6 has it correct. Better hire a lawyer numbskull

Outstanding piece of Libel there.

You're aware that English libel law is the most draconian in the world and can get you in hot water wherever you are?

By Katabasis (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

Ah, I love the smell of sockpuppets in the morning. Especially one who imagine that UK libel laws are going to hop the ocean and grab our gracious host off the street.

Better keep an eye out, Greg, for characters dressed as bobbies!

I can't wait for the whistle blower to unleash the other 200, 000 emails. I imagine that is what you will see if you falsely imprison someone for "hacking" into UEA.

By Mike Mangan (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

"Especially one who imagine that UK libel laws are going to hop the ocean and grab our gracious host off the street."

The libel was committed in the good ol USA, dumbo - and it's a civil, not criminal matter.

I understand that your country is quite well supplied with aggressive lawyers who don't mind operating on a contingency basis for an open & shut written libel like this.

We'll see.

Some fact checking is needed.

The inside whistleblower at CRU left a link on Tallbloke's blog. The police are looking at his computers but don't have reason to suspect that he is the whistleblower.

Very slimy post there gerg. Even beneath your normal slimeball standards.

By Gerg the slime… (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

"Ah, I love the smell of sockpuppets in the morning"

Man, you guys really do make me chuckle.

You honestly can't even *conceive* that there are actually this many sceptics out there. No, they have to be "sockpuppets".

By Katabasis (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

Under British law, stealing comes under the Theft Act, part of the definition of which goes "with intent permanently to deprive".

I don't know how the law relates to such matters in your part of the World, but under British law the CRU data was clearly not stolen, as it was still present on the machines after it had been copied.

I'm not altogether sure what statute MAY have been breached by FOIA and Tallbloke, but I'd take a guess that the penalties for breaching it do not come remotely close to the potential penalties for libel.

By catweazle666 (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

Dhogaza speaks for me as well. Presumably the raid was to obtain router records and similar digital forensics information on whoever was behind the "FOIA" comments made on the blogs in question.

What you have done in this post is analagous to accusing the New York Times of stealing the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables. It's inaccurate and isn't supported by the evidence, no matter what ideological blinders are involved.

Of course, by analogy, this is like the DoJ investigating the NYT (that is, the bloggers in question) instead of WikiLeaks (that is, WordPress - Tallbloke's site is hosted by WP, so presumably that's the servers you'd want to check) in their hunt for Manning (analagous here to the "FOIA" hacker). At absolute worst, he's an accomplice; in the most likely case, he's nothing but a reporter. This raid doesn't make sense to me, and I speak as one who has been complaining for years about the apparent disinterest in finding who stole the mail in the first place.

After all, as you note, we've had several investigations into the scientists who had their mail stolen, but so far nothing on the one confirmed crime here. We need to remain focused on finding those involved - and we won't do that if we jump the gun the way the denialists do whenever there's a bit of noise in the data.

moronic fucking jackass.

I hope Tallbloke sues the hell out of you for slander, you stupid son of a bitch.

By Laden Is A (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink


FYI, from Wikipedia on US libel law -

"All states except Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee recognize that some categories of false statements are so innately harmful that they are considered to be defamatory per se. In the common law tradition, damages for such false statements are presumed and do not have to be proven........ including.....

Allegations or imputations of criminal activity "

Maybe you should touch up your old mate Supermandia for a slice of that "Climate Science Legal Defense Fund" you advertise.


Amazing. How can you read a story in the paper, which has a link to the actual source, and even with both those sources get it 180 degrees wrong? That is really weapons grade stupid.

You moron, TallBloke isn't the hacker, nor is he working with any hackers. There never was a hacker. Dolt. The e-mails were an inside job. There has been no misdeeds nor is there any reason to believe he has committed any. In fact, the police have confirmed that he's not a suspect.

This is typical of the totalitarian misanthropists masquerading as guardians of science.

Gosh, I hope you're living outside the U.S.

One, for the obvious reason, we already have a plethora of knee-jerk over-acting lunatics, and Two, defamation laws are much stricter in most other English speaking nations.

What on earth do you mean about Mr Tattersall breaking into computers? Do you have any evidence to back up that libel?

It's well known that the Climategate emails were leaked by an insider who was disgusted with his colleagues' dishonesty.

By Nicole Cooper (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

Wow. You managed to temporarily reconcile hardcore climate truthers with James Annan and Dhogaza?

Congrats Greg. I guess. :)

The police have explicitly told Tallbloke that 'he is not a suspect', so on what grounds do you call him a thief? If you are going to be that arrogant you need to at least read the stuff you comment on.

By GreatAnarch (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

What a shameful, petty blog post. There is no call for this level of rhetoric.

Hi Greg,

I appreciate your blog a lot. I'd change the wording of this post, and make the changes clear (UPDATE or something). Tallbloke is afaik not a criminal for making the CRU mails public, as he had nothing to do (afawk) with stealing the mails. This is more like Assange/Manning.



By Peter Hartmann (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

Greg, thank you for providing funds to the Tallbloke's legal costs. You have just given him all he needs to sue you back to your diapers.

By Truthseeker (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

A large number of comments coming from a smaller number of commenters.

It is interesting to watch the thieves and liars and their allies and compatriots in the process of melting down. As it were.

Feeling the heat yet Greg, or should I say a cold draught.

You have called this man a thief before it is proven that he is. Is that British Justice? I expect there are laws of libel and slander in England as well as here in Ireland?

Things I learnt from Greg

He cant read
He doesn't know what defines a thief
You really can get into Harvard with average grades
most importantly
Ignore Greg

By Joe Sixpack Esq. (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

You are a complete moron. The actual evidence of the comments shows that there are almost no commenters providing multiple commments. This means that the number of commenters is approximately the same as the number of comments.

What is small is your IQ and the traffic to this site.

By Truthseeker (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

"A large number of comments coming from a smaller number of commenters.

It is interesting to watch the thieves and liars and their allies and compatriots in the process of melting down. As it were. "

Atta boy Greg! Keep it coming. This is fantastic entertainment; watching a man in a pit just keep on digging!

Oh! This Will Cheer You Up

I'm trying to determine if your Harvard education elevates you or shames Harvard. Please help me out here. Did you learn at Harvard that it is perfectly correct to accuse any person who has been contacted during an investigation, if only to look at the content and activities on his computers, of being a criminal? Why then, have we bothered with arrests on charges, evidence and expensive trials?

As your friends here have noted, you should have concerns about your financial future. Perhaps you should engage (and pay, while you can) an attorney for the civil suit and also the subsequent bankruptcy filing. Best to plan ahead. Remember "the precautionary principle". The likelihood of a suit is 95% certainty.

Dear Mr. Laden. I do hope that you can prove your statements "Computers of Criminal Cyber-Thieves Seized" and
"Tattersall and his band of thieves".

I can only assume that you are ignorant of the offence of Libel.

I shall be watching developments with regards to this case very closely and if, as I suspect, Mr. Tatersall, has committed no offence, I will be pursuing this matter further.

By Don Keiller (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink


It appears that you have jumped the gun on this one.

Your latest comment indicate,that you are not getting the message.

"A large number of comments coming from a smaller number of commenters.

It is interesting to watch the thieves and liars and their allies and compatriots in the process of melting down. As it were."

It is YOU who are having the meltdown.You running far ahead of the evidence and official news releases.In the irrational determination to pronounce guilt on people.Who are not even charged with a crime.



The libel was committed in the good ol USA, dumbo - and it's a civil, not criminal matter.

And Greg Laden is in the USA. You know, 1st Amendment? Or can't you count that high?

That you and your dirty socks don't understand law is no surprise, given your still extant belief that there was actually a scandal associated with those e-mails.

IQ. You don't haz it.


You honestly can't even *conceive* that there are actually this many sceptics out there. No, they have to be "sockpuppets".

6 posts making the same point, stupidly? Easy to see as sockpuppets, since all of them are deniers, not skeptics.

Greg-are you absolutely positive it wasn't the one armed man?

The real story you missed is the blogger angle. Could happen to you tomorrow for something that was randomly posted here. Does that bother you? Forest. Trees. And such.

Ideology rules the day for you, as the world can see.

By Walt Disney (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

I would be more impressed if the people attacking you for calling someone a criminal when they haven't been charged would attack, with equal vigor, everyone who accuses climate scientists of being criminals who perpetrate fraud.

That, Mr Laden, is a very very poor excuse for a blog post. I just had to come here and read it for myself to confirm just how disgraceful your behaviour is. Something, you should perhaps do before spouting your mouth(keyboard) off with such vile and insinuative rhetoric. You demonstrate, quite simply, a weak and pathetic religous zeal and appear a completely cowardly 'excuse' for a human being.

First time I've visited this blog and I have to say, it's great entertainment value.
Watching Greg go into a libellous rant is fantastic - I'm sure Tallbloke will be made aware of this libel and I hope to hell he marches Greg straight into court.

Hell Greg, you're even more screechy than Joe Rantin' Romm.

I think I'll get my bucket of popcorn and stay with this blog for a little while longer - I could do with a good laugh.

From post #42

"And Greg Laden is in the USA. You know, 1st Amendment? Or can't you count that high?"

People in America have been convicted of libel.Despite the existence of the first amendment.

Can you think that far?

It is always a mystery why, presumably otherwise rational individuals, press the self-destruct button and present their heads on a platter to their opponents.

Still, libel trials usually present good value to observers.

Greg, you may as well have given tallbloke your cards PIN numbers and deeds to what ever property you may own, and told him to help himself.

By Armagh Observatory (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

Best to go medeival, (I take it that you imply resorting to a lower state of knowledge and believing in witches and a flat earth ?)
Or you could plead temporary insanity, you loose friends by producing a write up that is so abhorent and libel,
I hope the police never call at your door one day to enquire about a lost cat down the road, the headlines the next day would be unbearable for you.

Greg you just confirmed my opinion of HARVARD. gained from living within walking distances of HARVARD.

I am sure you approve of the new bill that will allow the state to declare a person an "enemy of the state" and toss them into a black hole because their attitude is considered "belligerent"

After all that is what you are advocating here.

I say....!
Of all the knee-jerk reactions I have read in the blogosphere about climategate matters, this post really hits the rock bottom level.
I could not imagine it was even possible for any thinking person to produce and publish anything like this.
It becomes rather evident that things are not going too well at the moment, and this type of slander just helps to speed things up. Not turn the tide.
So thank you.

From reading the article in the Guardian no where do they claim that Roger Tattersall is a thief. This is an incredible accusation. You should apologize for making such a false accusation against him and for also insinuating that the Guardian made the accusation that he is a thief, because they didn't.

The longer you wait the more chance this article will be quoted elsewhere on the net. Limit the damage by correcting the article as quickly as you can.

The police are busting down the door of the guy who unwittingly exposed evidence of breaches of FOI acts instead of arresting the civil servants who admitted to breaching the FOI acts. go figure.

Every "climate skeptic" that's not come over from WUWT raise their hands! :)


By Peter Hartmann (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

Too late, Rob, this thing has gone Viral.

Which makes sense, as greggy bin laden is little more than a virus.

It has been fun cross correlating the IP addresses of these posters with data on emails containing legally actionable threats against me and my family.

Are you sure your "About Me' page is long enough?

Spend more time with the famly and less on the computer.

As it stands, you're firmly stuck in the bozone layer.

#5 dhogaza: I can think of three reasons why Tattersall's laptops might be relevant: (1) he is "FOIA" or (2) he's been in contact with "FOIA" or (3) "FOIA" has accessed his machines. If the IP address from WordPress logs led to his broadband connection, that suggests (1) or (3).

I can't think of any reason why his broadband router would be relevant, though. It's highly unlikely to have any local logs of value on the device--though, related to (3), it's possible the router itself was compromised.

You do realize that Greg is capable of checking IP addresses, right? Claims of sockpuppetry are pretty well founded with that information.

By Tor Bertin (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

Drivel, the police have confirmed to Tallbloke that he isn't currently a suspect. They may suspect he has had contact with FOIA, and are looking for emails/chat transcripts on his computers.

Police investigation into deliberate dodging of FOIA requests? No. Police getting closer to finding UEA hacker? Not likely, they are just shaking the tree and hoping something comes loose.

If you can get it this wrong when reading straightforward accounts covering faily simple matters, then what confidence can we have in what you say when you talk through that hol in your head about more complicted matters like the climate. You've just revealed yourself to be incapable of basic reading comprehension. It mystifies me that anyone bothers to read your blog at all.

"Thieves who broke into Unviersity [sic} of East Anglia computers in 2009..." Stop right there!

Do you have any evidence of a break-in? The Norfolk police haven't mentioned any.

Can you prove that it wasn't a whistle-blower?

Can you prove it wasn't someone trying to hide emails on another computer in the CRU and writing rather than toms.cru ?

If you can't demonstrate that your claims are correct then (a) your posting is junk and (b) you deserve every bit of legal action against you.

JohnD, it will be interesting to see who eventually is convicted of these crimes. You may be unaware of the discussion that occurred in Nature last year (That's a science journal published in the UK) in which it was made pretty clear that this was not an "inside job."

Now, I wonder, how is my pointing to and noting what was said in the Guardian something that I can be sued for, but you saying that this crime was committed by an insider, which it apparently wasn't, is not? You nave some very strange laws over there in the UK.

Kind of amusing that I'm being accused of either being a sock puppet, or a denialist, or both. I'm not afraid to use my real name, and my opinions regarding climate change are generally clear enough on my blog (not that I've expressed much interest in the recent release of some pretty mundane private emails).

The comments here are hilarious. Keep 'em coming guys!

By Drivebyposter (not verified) on 15 Dec 2011 #permalink

Overblown claims made from misinterpretation of evidence - where have we seen that before ?

This twisting of logic is not science. It's a pity this blog doesn't adhere to its tag line "culture as science ~ science as culture".

1. Evidence was found that someone "broke into" any of the UEA computers. The climategate emails were not leaked by a secretive, disgruntled whistleblower.

2. The leaked emails exposed nothing of interest.

4. Roger Tattersall may as well be a thief, even if he stole nothing, and has been told that he's not a suspect.

5. Nobody was arrested yet.


You phobic little prick.

Some of us with integrity will hold you personally responsible for the fraud you have committed against humankind. I have a family, you fuck, and your insane religious beliefs about AGW harm them. Some of us see that as enough reason to terminate your existence.

Marcus. That was a death threat. Please do not contact me again under any circumstances or in any manner. I'm sure that someone will be in touch with you at a later time.

JohnD: Yes, actually, there is evidence that the hack was a hack, not a whistleblower.

My guess is that several readers will have fingers poised over the "comments" button to ask "why do you call it a hack with such certainty?" (I've had a few emails already asking the same thing in reference to my news article.)

I have it from a very good source that it absolutely was a hack, not a leak by a "concerned" UEA scientist, as has been claimed in some circles.

The Norfolk Police clearly see it as a criminal act too, a spokesman telling me that "the contents [of the new release] will be of interest to our investigation which is ongoing".

That's the best (and only, to my knowledge) evidence we have on the nature of the release.

Greg: You can check: My IP will confirm that I'm not one of these sock puppets. (In fact, it should reveal my exact location, which should be familiar to you: if my schedule ever matched up with hers, I'd be volunteering with a podcast you frequently appear on...) I've been critical of this post - and only this post - because it's directly contradicted by the available evidence. James has raised similar points. This post sticks out like a sore thumb among the climate realists writing on the raid - even Romm, who's normally the hyperbolic one (although, I'm quick to point out, it's usually well-sourced hyperbole) isn't accusing anyone whose name we know of being the FOIA hacker. In fact, he stresses the opposite, and emphasizes the need to stay based on evidence.

@Jim Lippard #59: I assume you were aiming that at me rather than dhogaza, as I was the one asking about the relevance of targeting the Tallbloke computer rather than Wordpress. I had considered (1) to be rather unlikely (I can't rule it out, but I have no evidence to support it), but had not considered (3). I suppose it's possible, and it is somewhat congruent with the letter forwarded from WordPress. It would just seem to be a sloppy move from FOIA; if nothing else, he's demonstrated quite a bit of internet savvy at hiding his tracks since 2009. (See the work at Decoding Swifthack.)


I suggest that you cool off.

Your post # 80 is a lot of name calling and ad homonyms.It make you look bad in doing it.

You are losing your cool as well.

You said your piece.Let it go and watch what develops surrounding the actions of the police.

Greg, I'm sorry if I came across as questioning your motives, as I don't. I definitely agree that Tattersall is in the wrong here - and if he's aware of any specific communication with FOIA, if he didn't approach the police with it straight away, he's probably guilty of abetting a crime. However, this is not the same thing as saying he's guilty of the theft in the first place. (Sweet zeus, I didn't think I'd ever be defending a denialist...)

I just don't think the chances of us overcoming denialism on the whole are improved by making unfounded accusations and playing directly into their stereotype of "warmists" or whatever slander they're painting us with today. We need powerful rhetoric, yes - but that rhetoric needs to be backed up with evidence. On the science, and increasingly on the policy, we have that evidence. For claims like this, we don't. At least not yet.

There's another side to this story, too: The Norfolk police hadn't moved for months on this investigation. (Check the link in my last post: from November 2010 to November 2011, the grand total spent on the investigation was £5,649.09, and all of that was spent in February for work "within the last six months". That's a criminally low amount spent on investigating a serious international crime.) Now, at the very least, they're moving again. I anxiously await the conclusion.

...Aaaand I just finished reading the revised version of the post. It gets the point across completely without any unsubstantiated claims.

Complaints completely withdrawn. Let's get back to the fight that matters here.

OK, I'm going to bed now. Gotta get up early for a day with the toddler. Lots of work prepping him for GROWING UP IN A WARMING CLIMATE!!!!

The upper part of the comments thread strongly reminds me of xkcd comic 386: Stickman won't come to bed because he is busy on the computer because SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET. Whether the comments above are written by just a few people or a bunch, it is a quite sorry lot.

What is really, really saddening about the comments, though, is the underlaying notion that British (or any other) libel laws are somehow a good thing (while free speech apparently is not?).

I seriously doubt that a broadband router would have anything left on it two years later.

...But you never know. I don't wipe mine that often, either. Only when it breaks.

"You've just accused a man of serious crimes"


Look again:

"So, apparently it is OK for Tattersall and this band of thieves to unilaterally play vigilante and break into your computer or mine"

Since neither you, me, nor Greg are in the UEA, this isn't about the UEA break-in.

Since it's "apparently", this is only opinion, not a statement of fact.

Since Tattersall thought the break-in at the UEA was fine and dandy, he DOES think it's OK to break in to other people's computers, as long as it's not his.

Wow. The stupid, it burns!

Now, exactly where did Greg accuse anyone of anything? Not that it matters legally one whit.

What I see is, "If you ever find yourself in possession of stolen goods, call the police, because if you don't, you're, well, guilty of possession of stolen goods."

OK, so the cops have reason to suspect Tallbloke, as he received the illegally accessed emails from someone. Whether or not he was involved in the original cracking - and no one said he was - receiving the data is illegal. And since he has contact with at least one party with access to the emails, of course the law wants to have a look at his computers to see if they can trace any connections.

Again, where is the libel? Never mind English libel law is a load of shit, guess to whom else it may equally be applied? You, the moronic denialist trolls. So, perhaps you'd better watch what you say. That goes for the threats as well, which would be covered under another law.

You're a pack of one-note idiots.

sunsettommy @ 81
I suggest that you cool off.

Your post # 80 is a lot of name calling and ad homonyms.It make you look bad in doing it.

You are losing your cool as well.

You said your piece.Let it go and watch what develops surrounding the actions of the police.

I don't know what your angle is, but you apparently cannot read, make sense, spell, or some combination of those. Apparently a concern troll as well. And don't tell people what to do on their own blogs.

name calling and ad homonyms

Seriously? Really? You have got to be kidding me. Greg has made no ad hominem fallacious argument here.

ad homonyms!

"What is really, really saddening about the comments, though..."

It's not that libel laws are accepted as good, but that people accept them as good BASED ON WHO IS LIBELLING.

It doesn't matter if you dress up in womens clothes and like to be whipped.


a) this is private

b) people WILL use it to judge you based on the claim

(a) is why there is no right to tell others some things. (b) is why you can be damaged materially by such claims, whether baseless or not.

And in our legal system, if you damage someone, you have to compensate them.

Ergo libel.

But you also don't want secrets that OUGHT to be released to be kept hidden by threat of legal desctruction.

Therefore libel applies in some cases, not in others.

And that decision is why there's a DIFFERENCE in libel laws based on the society that agreed those laws. They're no more right or wrong than other libel laws than any society is right or wrong morally.

But libel cannot be claimed when it is merely a statement of admitted fact, else the one claiming to be damaged would be damaging themselves with that same act, and have already decided that it isn't private to them.

That is why these claims Greg makes are not libel, not in the USA, not in the UK, not anywhere.

Nice flying monkey horde. Do they have some kind of bat signal or something?

I especially like "ad homonyms" - the fallacious argument from words with different meanings but identical spellings and pronunciations. I'm going to have to keep that one for future use. ;)

Jim Lippard:

#5 dhogaza: I can think of three reasons why Tattersall's laptops might be relevant: (1) he is "FOIA" or (2) he's been in contact with "FOIA" or (3) "FOIA" has accessed his machines. If the IP address from WordPress logs led to his broadband connection, that suggests (1) or (3).

I'm guessing #2. Why? There were 200,000 encyprted e-mails posted this time, along with the relatively small number that had been searched out and released in unencrypted form.

"FOIA" said the passphrase would be made available to a select group of people.

Neither of these things happened the first go 'round.

So a reasonable guess is that investigators see this as reasonable evidence that "FOIA" may've contacted various people who own blogs he's posted to, and that this what convinced the judge to issue a search warrant.

Since nothing like this was hinted at after the first go 'round, there probably wasn't enough evidence for a search warrant.

So I consider this a (thus far) minor screw-up by "FOIA".

If "FOIA" has e-mailed tallbloke or jeffID and was careless, mail headers may point towards their true identity, though forging headers is trivial and I'd be very surprised if this were true.

Of course, if "FOIA" was *extremely* careless, they might use their real name in a sig or whatever, or the e-mail contents might make it clear that the person's identity is known to the "inner circle". Or Tallbloke may've created a personal document with juicy stuff to be enjoyed in private that would help expose "FOIA"'s identity.

Etc etc.

I can't think of any reason why his broadband router would be relevant, though. It's highly unlikely to have any local logs of value on the device--though, related to (3), it's possible the router itself was compromised.

Got me. Better ones have some level of logging available but the cheapo stuff you tend to get from the cable or DSL providers are totally low-end ...

I don't think #3's a real possibility ... "FOIA" obviously has had plenty of storage available on the russian server he was using, etc etc.

I doubt the router is of any relevance, it's just that it's standard police practice to seize all associated equipment and media when seizing computers. If you connect your computer to your hi-fi, there's a good chance they'll take that too... They are completely indiscriminate, working on the assumption that it's better to seize everything and sort out what is or isn't relevant at their leisure than to risk missing something.

What about the secret chip that is placed in all routers by the NSA to keep track of ...

... hold on a sec, someone is at the door. brb ...

I wonder who told Nature that:

"... evidence has emerged effectively ruling out a
leak from inside the CRU, as some have claimed."

because that doesn't sound at all like the kind of thing that the UK police tell anyone except in detective stories.

TonyN: Exactly. Assume the UK Police did not tell them.

I assume that Nature knows who hacked the emails but for some reason can't say.

There are a lot of things that are known but can't be said.

Your "Brave New World" is going down you stupid technocratic-marxist Trekkies. Deal with it. Not only it will go down but it will backfire in your faces.

"because that doesn't sound at all like the kind of thing that the UK police tell anyone"

Who said it was the police gave them that evidence?

If all you have is suspicion and voice it, then it's hardly safe to whine about Greg voicing a suspicion that Tattersall was the thief, is it.

'I think he's a criminal for being a climate denialist. Sue me.' ... No, they shouldn't sue you. Just send you to live in North Korea.

Unfortunately, as long as we go the route of accusations and counter-accusations, we remain on ground familiar to the denialati. What matters here is the evidence. Let the police sort out the hacking--that was a crime. Let the scientists do science and keep telling the truth. And the denialists will continue to lie--it's hardly surprising that they will lie to us when they continue to lie to themselves.

In the end, either the truth will prevail in time or the lives of our progeny will really suck.

By a_ray_in_dilbe… (not verified) on 16 Dec 2011 #permalink

Dilbert, great philosophy, but I hope you accompany that approach with a cash donation to the legal defense fund because there really are people really harassing scientists and actually dragging the through court. It will be hard for the truth to will-out, as it were, if scientists stop engaging in climate related careers because they don't have the protection of society of the whackos of the type you see commenting here.

See my left side bar for the badge for the legal defense fund.

You've all been very naughty.


So, looks like every thing is open records now on the internet.

Notwithstanding all of the above, is there any chance our human history is not long enough yet to know the facts on the earths climate. Thing is we have very poor assets to assess the goings on on the planet prior to our enlightment.

It is possible that some of the long lasting cultures have old ones with understanding of long term climate due to the close relationship they had to have had due to the need to have the food to live.

Take for example the old ones of Chaco Canyon New Mexico in the U.S.. They were advanced in the understanding and timing of the moon, sun and earth tilting cycles. The knew something about long term climate in relation to wet/dry/cold/warm and did manage to live and addapt in a rather hard place to live.

They and the other older cultures of 100,000's of thousand of years ago lived with huge numbers of other warm blooded aminals. In fact could be there was more grass, trees, fires, eruptions, resulting in much higher CO2 emmissions way back then.

We must work to understand how very, very long terms cycles effect our current climate.

Thanks for posting this.

By John's Wayne (not verified) on 16 Dec 2011 #permalink


I assume that Nature knows who hacked the emails but for some reason can't say.

There are a lot of things that are known but can't be said.

I wouldn't expect the information to have come from the police. What I'd expect is that the university sysadmin types found evidence in log files of large amounts of data being transferred by (say) ftp from the e-mail machine to an external machine, perhaps even the russian machine used to host the files.

While they didn't find any evidence in the logs of someone doing so from inside the network. Or if it was from an IP inside the network, they were able to show that it was hacked into from the outside, that kind of thing.

The odds of finding out information to this level of detail is quite high. The odds of this pointing to the perp is extremely low unless the person is extremely stupid.

Not so different than investigating a physical theft. A broken lock is evidence that someone broke the lock, but without fingerprints or dna evidence for someone whose data is on file, not of very much use in finding out *who* smashed the lock.

To whatever sockpuppet above mentioned Rachel Ehrenfeld, (and misspelled her name), here is what the US thinks of the UK and other free speech denying countries:
Dr. Ehrenfeld pre-emptively countersued Mahfouz in New York to obtain a declaration that the judgment would not be enforced in the United States and that her book was not defamatory under United States defamation law. When the New York courts ruled that they lacked personal jurisdiction over Mahfouz, the New York State legislature took immediate action and unanimously passed the Libel Terrorism Protection Act (also known as "Rachel's Law"). Rachel's Law was signed into law on April-29-2008. The law "offers New Yorkers greater protection against libel judgments in countries whose laws are inconsistent with the freedom of speech granted by the United States Constitution.".[3]

So basically, GFY.

And Marcus, enjoy your jail time for a death threat.

By The Sailor (not verified) on 16 Dec 2011 #permalink

Skepticism is about keeping an open mind, so how come all the so-called skeptics here have already made their minds up that (a)Laden has libelled Tattersall and (b) Tattersall is innnocent ?

The burden of proof is clearly with Tattersall under UK libel law.

Amazing! Four separate individuals post that the CRU e-mails were released by an inside whistleblower. No, make that five. Six, counting #100.

Nicole Cooper wrote (#26): "It's well known that the Climategate emails were leaked by an insider who was disgusted with his colleagues' dishonesty."

Why hasn't he come forward, if he's so disgusted?

By Chris Winter (not verified) on 17 Dec 2011 #permalink

Chris, Nicole Cooper and some others seem very certain that they know who first stole the emails. If they have not reported this to the authorities, that would make them in the US likely guilty of obstruction of justice. That would make them criminals. Is Nicole Cooper a criminal? If Nicole Cooper knows who took those emails and has not reported it to the proper authorities, then it would seem so.

I imagine that investigators into this series of criminal acts could suss a lot of it out by just looking at the chatter on blogs and similar venues.