ClimateGate - Hacker or leaker?

From an anonymous contributor

Climategate Whistleblower.

It was probably a whistleblower that released files from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA)? If so then the information is admissible in court and we will get greater detail on the greatest deception in history.

Phil Jones, former Director of the CRU knew the potential damage and legal implications of the file’s content. Jones told the police the files were from CRU, and claimed a crime was committed. Ludicrously, he said the information had no value because it was criminally obtained.

Why an Insider?


Major clues suggest the leaks were from an insider. A few emails were sent to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reporter Paul Hudson on October 12, weeks before full release. This indicates someone trying to draw attention, but Hudson did nothing. He knew of the wrath and reach of Michael Mann. As a CRU member noted on October 26 2003,  Anyway, there's going to be a lot of noise on this one, and knowing Mann's very thin skin I am afraid he will react strongly, unless he has learned (as I hope he has) from the past...."   He didn’t as his later reactions showed.

An October 11 2009 email from Narasimha Rao to Stephen Schneider says, You may be aware of this already. Paul Hudson, BBC's reporter on climate change, on Friday wrote that there's been no warming since 1998, and that pacific oscillations will force cooling for the next 20-30 years.” Mann became aware and on the 12th wrote, “extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. Its (sic) particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard Black's beat at BBC (and he does a great job). From what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met Office. We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be appropriate for the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard Black what's up here?” This is Mann at his nasty bullying best.

When Hudson did nothing the person(s) released the entire file to the world. Hudson’s failure was disappointing because he had credibility as a BBC weather presenter and former Met Office employee. The Copenhagen conference was probably the concern because the files showed the scientific basis for climate policies was falsified.

Knowledge and Access to the University Computer System


Whoever released the files knew which were significant and had access to the UEA computer system.

Canadian network engineer Lance Levsen after detailed analysis showed convincingly the source was someone within the university. He concluded, “For the hacker to have collected all of this information s/he would have required extraordinary capabilities…to crack an Administrative file server to get to the emails and crack numerous workstations, desktops, and servers to get the documents.”

Strong Candidate


There are several internal candidates including Keith Briffa. Emails show his conflicts within the group. On October 5th 2009 Wigley wrote to Jones, It is distressing to read that American Stinker item. But Keith does seem to have got himself into a mess. As I pointed out in emails, Yamal is insignificant…….I presume they went thru papers to see if Yamal was cited, a pretty foolproof method if you ask me. Perhaps these things can be explained clearly and concisely -- but I am not sure Keith is able to do this as he is too close to the issue and probably quite pissed of (sic). I think Keith needs to be very, very careful in how he handles this. I'd be willing to check over anything he puts together.  Jones forwarded the email to Briffa.

Briffa’s dislike of Mann goes back a long way. On 17th June 2002 Briffa wrote to Dr Edward Cook about a letter involving Esper and Michael Mann, “I have just read this lettter - and I think it is crap. I am sick to death of Mann stating his reconstruction represents the tropical area just because it contains a few (poorly temperature representative) tropical series. He is just as capable of regressing these data again any other "target" series, such as the increasing trend of self-opinionated verbage (sic) he has produced over the last few years, and ... (better say no more)”Cook responds; “We both know the probable flaws in Mike's recon (reconstruction), particularly as it relates to the tropical stuff…. It is puzzling to me that a guy as bright as Mike would be so unwilling to evaluate his own work a bit more objectively.”

On 22nd September 1999 Briffa again confronted Mann in a long email that included the comment, “I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago.” Treasonous words for Mann’s hockey stick paper that claimed no medieval warm period existed. Mann appeared to back off. He wrote, “Walked into this hornet's nest this morning! Keith and Phil have both raised some very good points.” In reality he puts Briffa down again. “SO(sic) I think we're in the position to say/resolve somewhat more than, frankly, than Keith does, about the temperature history of the past millennium. And the issues I've spelled out all have to be dealt with in the chapter.” One cynical comment from Mann says, “And I certainly don't want to abuse my lead authorship by advocating my own work.” It’s a classic example of Mann’s dishonesty, because he abused it in the IPCC 2001 Science Report and Summary for Policy Makers.

Wigley didn’t help. Here is the first part of a belittling email from Wigley to Briffa on 10 January 2006. Thanx for this. Interesting. However, I do not think your response is very good. Further, there are grammatical and text errors, and (shocking!!) you have spelled McKitrick wrong. This is a sure way to piss them off. Typical of Wigley’s patronizing way of talking to wayward CRU members. 

Conflict continued as Briffa expressed his concern. Mann made some overtures, but on April 29th 2007 Briffa responded, “I found myself questioning the whole process and being often frustrated at the formulaic way things had to be done – often wasting time and going down dead ends. I really thank you for taking the time to say these kind words. I tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC, which were not always the same.” What damning commentary about what the CRU and the IPCC were doing?

Briffa may have worked with the Information Officer at the University who was under pressure for Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. In September we learned Briffa was ill. Did this give him time to think about what was happening? Maybe, but his treatment by Mann and the sinking ship was an impetus. Whatever the answer any reading of the emails show they were anything but normal correspondence between colleagues. 

(The above was sent anonymously to NCTCS. If the originator wants it removed, that wish will be honoured.)


  1. The climategate emails were not leaked to Paul Hudson. That story was based on a misunderstanding. He was copied on the thread that you referenced, so when he saw it was included in the released emails, he checked to see if that was authentic. When people read that, they mistook his reference to the thread to mean that he had received the climategate emails. He never clarified but read his words and you'll see.

  2. Another option is accidental release. From what we've learned the CRU wasn't exactly a hotbed of IT expertise. Didn't Phil Jones admit at one point that he didn't know how to use Excel?



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