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Is this a clue?

Among the recent spate of Freedom of Information requests rejected by CRU is this one, by a gentleman called John Walker, asking for correspondence between Phil Jones and the University of East Anglia FoI officer, Dave Palmer. In the light of the climategate emails hinting that CRU staff conspired with UEA FoI staff to withhold information, this seems eminently sensible.

The reasons for rejecting the request were threefold, but the one that I find interesting is this:

It is our belief that [the FoI exemption for information pertaining to a criminal investigation] applies because pursuant to an investigation carried out by the Norfolk Constabulary, this information is relevant to a current investigation by police forces into a possible criminal offence. Disclosure of any information relevant to that investigation at this point could or would prejudice the ongoing investigation of this matter.

At the moment, we don't know if the police are investigating a hacking of the CRU servers or if it is a case of a leaking of information by someone internal to UEA. But wait! If, as CRU seem to suggest, the information was hacked, what possible relevance could correspondence between Jones and Palmer be to the inquiry? If on the other hand the information was compiled for an FoI request that was subsequently rejected, then it makes perfect sense that the Jones/Palmer correspondence is relevant.


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Reader Comments (10)

They run, run run.

They hide, hide hide.

They haven't figured out yet the times have changed and these acts just make them look more guilty, guilty guilty.

Not too bright for a bunch of slick uni boys.

Jan 7, 2010 at 8:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterFred from Canuckistan

"If on the other hand the information was compiled for an FoI request ": ah, but compiled so that it could be released, or compiled so that it could be destroyed or hidden?

Jan 7, 2010 at 8:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

Paul Hudson, BBC weatherman, said he received copies of certain East Anglia emails on Oct. 12.
He confirmed that they were present in the leaked emails and links to a particular text file among them.

This means that a leaker existed at that time.
The only 'criminality' mentioned so far has been 'hacking'.
They seem loathe to address criminal fraud of unprecedented audacity.

That the leaked folder was labelled FOIA may have been a joke by whoever insisted the material should be public. It does not establish that the documents were collected pursuant to any actual FOIA request.

Jan 7, 2010 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave McK

It could also mean that because the original investigation into the leak has exposed possible malfeasance in regards to past FOI's the investigation has been broadened. Of course the "Team" and their cohorts could just be hiding behind the investigation.

Jan 7, 2010 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin_S

given the track record, I don't think I'd put much stock in anything they said.

Jan 7, 2010 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

Heh- they've already had 1,700 'scientists' sign the loyalty oath affirming the outcome of the investigation, so consensus will emerge as you expect, Stan.

Jan 7, 2010 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave McK

If I had been doing something for 20 or30 years, and had never previously been held to account for my behaviour, why would I think that 'now' was different?

Jan 7, 2010 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterTony Hansen

Walker has also asked for Correspondence - UEA Chief Librarian and Phil Jones which receives rejection on the same grounds, including involvment of Knacker of the Yard.

Jan 7, 2010 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr Slop

I totally agree with you Tony... It is an everyday thing and why must it be different now? That's the question I would ask...

Jan 8, 2010 at 6:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterAcai Optimum

My speculative theory is different: The leaked emails are the residual emails of a batch which had *already been sanitized* from the CRU production email systems, in order to illegally prepare an i*ncomplete* response for a future FOIA request. The emails in question were *not* going to be provided under a FOIA request.

They were going to “leave in” the harmless small talk and less incriminating correspondence in the production email system to be produced under discovery for an FOIA. Remember, there was a request to delete emails.

Therefore the leaked emails form the residual from a sanitized batch which were foolishly or purposely archived on another system and/or discovered by an insider or whistleblower (perhaps the sanitizer himself). The insider then had pangs of conscience or an axe to grind and released them surreptitiously.

Jan 9, 2010 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterjallen

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