Monday, December 7, 2009


Why Are We So Sure CRU Was Hacked?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the main reason we are "sure" that the CRU emails and code were hacked that...the CRU people told us that's what happened? (Well that, and the fact that everyone for two weeks has been referring to them as "hacked" and/or "stolen" emails?)

Check out this news story in the UK Telegraph (HT2 a Crook):
[IPCC head] Mr Pachauri said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) received contributions from scientists worldwide and had a rigorous peer review system which ensured a balanced view.

"The processes in the IPCC are so robust, so inclusive, that even if an author or two has a particular bias it is completely unlikely that bias will find its way into the IPCC report," he told The Guardian.

His comments came after the apparent suggestion in the leaked emails that work on climate change which the scientists did not agree with was not included in the IPCC's fourth assessment report, published in 2007.
Mr Pachauri said: "Every single comment that an expert reviewer provides has to be answered either by acceptance of the comment, or if it is not accepted, the reasons have to be clearly specified.

"So I think it is a very transparent, a very comprehensive process which insures that even if someone wants to leave out a piece of peer reviewed literature there is virtually no possibility of that happening."
*Yawn* OK nothing to see there, right? But wait, your diligent blogger kept reading the article and discovered this:
Last week, Paul Hudson, a BBC weather presenter and climate change expert, admitted he was sent the controversial emails more than a month before they were made public.

It raised questions about why the BBC did not report on the matter sooner, and reignited the debate over whether the Corporation is "biased" on the issue of climate change.

In his BBC blog, Mr Hudson said: “I was forwarded the chain of emails on the 12th October, which are comments from some of the world's leading climate scientists written as a direct result of my article "Whatever Happened To Global Warming".

"The emails released on the Internet as a result of CRU being hacked into are identical to the ones I was forwarded and read at the time and so, as far as I can see, they are authentic," he added.

The BBC has previously accused of failing to cover the climate change debate objectively. Earlier this year, Peter Sisson, the veteran newsreader, claimed it is now "effectively BBC policy" to stifle critics of the consensus view on global warming.
Doesn't that strike you as odd? Apparently whoever had this bundle of fun in his or her possession, first tried to get the BBC to pick up the story when it ran a skeptic-friendly story. After a month went by and it was clear the BBC wasn't going to run with it, the bundle of fun was uploaded to a Russian server and quickly sent to skeptic-friendly websites.

I admit that both the outside-hacker and inside-job hypotheses can handle this new twist, but this sounds more and more like an inside job to me. Perhaps the person wasn't a true whistleblower who was agonizing at night over the ethics; it could have been a spy planted by the Russian government (say).

But if I had to guess, I'd say someone working at CRU was involved with this. This doesn't seem at all like some random Glenn Beck computer hacker got past CRU's firewall.*

* You're right, I don't even know if this sentence makes sense. I truly used to be "good with computers," but that was back when I had a Tandy 1000 running DOS. Remember this prompt?


Ahhh, those were the days. If you wanted to send an electronic message to someone in California, you uploaded it to the BBS hub that was a local call and you were ecstatic if it got there 2 days later.

The BBC has a culturally left-liberal bias, a pity because despite being state-funded it produces very good news coverage and excellent entertainment like Doctor Who.

As for the CRU emails, looks like the Russian theory is gaining some credence:
Also in favor of the inside-job hypothesis are:

1) The file package has the form of a response to an FOIA request.

2) The hackers would have had to know exactly what to look for to get these exact files -- so assembling them requires deep knowledge of the server.

No links, but these points have been mentioned on other forums.
While I agree that the hacker theory is the less-likely scenario (although not particularly unlikely), I'm not sure you are right about Paul Hudson receiving the emails in advance. He meerly says that his correspondance was authentic and he was not referring to the thousands of other emails.

You may want to correct this.


Inside Job seems very likely but not based on the Paul Hudson statement. Joe Hopkins has it exactly right.

WUWT has the best analysis of this, based on the email headers and other stuff that only an IT person would be able to analyze properly.
UK Libertarian Sean Gabb thinks it's the Russians. And now, after a short delay, so does the Daily Mail (not that that proves anything).

The above makes the argument for why a leak is more likely than a hack in some detail. Haven't read it for myself yet but the guy who mailed it me found it persuasive.
Joe Hopkins,

What do you think is wrong? There is some ambiguity over whether the BBC guy was sent the whole she-bang, versus just that subset of the CRU package having to do with him. The UK Telegraph story makes it sound as if he got the whole she-bang, but you're right, his own quotation makes it unclear.

Is that what you mean?
The most recent emails are from November, AFTER Paul Hudson is alleged to have received the "chain" of emails.

Therefore he is likely referring only to the email conversation that was forwarded to him by one of the participants.

The email chain is here. it is also duplicated in several other emails, so it's impossible to say to which version he was referring.

The email is dated Oct.12, the same date that Paul Hudson alleges he recieved the forwarded email chain.
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