Year 3, Month 1, Day 6: I Can Haz Latin?

The New York Times reports on the hunt for whoever it was that leaked the CRU emails:

Some have noted that in 2009, the online trickster used the initials R.C. and linked to a zip file named “FOI2009,” an apparent reference to Freedom of Information statutes in both Britain and the United States.

(Much of the criticism of climate scientists at the University of East Anglia centered on delays in responding to Freedom of Information requests, usually from climate skeptics, for access to all of their data and even their e-mails.)

This time, he signed his blog comments simply as “FOIA,” a common nickname for the leaker in online discussions of the e-mail affair.

Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington and a frequent spokesman for climate change skeptics, said the encryption of the file had challenged his thinking on FOIA’s identity.

Previously, he said, he had assumed the leaker was an employee of the University of East Anglia who had been troubled by the denial of requests for the prompt public release of scientists’ full data and e-mails under Britain’s Freedom of Information Act.

But a principled commitment to open information is not in keeping with an encrypted file, Mr. Ebell said. So he suspects a different kind of intelligence is at work.

“It is very suggestive of someone who has thought through how to cause the con men at the C.R.U. the maximum possible anxiety,” he said, referring to the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. “It is like knowing your building has a bomb in it that could be detonated at any time.”

I know this one won’t be published, but it felt pretty good to write. Sent January 2:

To gain insight into what contemporary “conservatives” are doing and thinking, just look at the accusations they level at others. While this habit is ingrained in Republican political strategists, and can be found in their remarks on issues across the full policy spectrum, it is spectacularly on display when it comes to the GOP’s rejection of the science of climate change. Who better to claim that climatologists manipulate numbers and information for financial gain than Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose administration raised crass, pecuniary data-mining to Cheney-esque levels? Who better to malign scientists as deceitful frauds than Newt Gingrich, primus inter pares in the Republican mendacity sweeps? When a spokesman for the Competitive Enterprise Institute calls climate scientists “con men,” it’s just another example of projection.

Unfortunately, the he-said/she-said stenography that passes for reportage in much of today’s media gives more credit to outlandish claims than to their refutation.

Warren Senders

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