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« BBC World Service on Fakegate | Main | Redoubt or bunker? »

Gloves off

The gloves appear to have come off in the Fakegate affair, with Heartland calling in the FBI.

The Chicago-based free market Heartland Institute has called in the FBI and threatened other legal action against a global warming proponent who has admitted stealing emails from the institute in a bid to embarrass and discredit the group’s questioning of climate change.

Heartland officials tell Washington Secrets that they have been in talks with the FBI over the case against prominent global warming proponent Peter Gleick, co-founder of the respected Pacific Institute. Heartland is getting ready to reveal their probe of the affair, which they hope the FBI will act on.

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Reader Comments (73)

You can't make this stuff up!

One of DeSmogBlog key funders is John Lefebvre, who has pleaded guilty to charges related to money laundering for gambling operations. Look it up!

Talk about an "own goal" on the "show me the list of your funders."

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

Lefebvre, the DeSmogBlog benefactor, (and confessed felon), also has served on the Suzuki foundation board, as has John Ehrlich (the man who holds the world record for being wrong on catastrophic predictions).

I tried to (above), imitate Gleick's writing style, (but couldn't, quite,) pull it off!!!

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

Lefebvre, the DeSmogBlog benefactor, (and confessed felon), also has served on the Suzuki foundation board, as has John Ehrlich (the man who holds the world record for being wrong on catastrophic predictions).

I tried to (above), imitate Gleick's writing style, (but couldn't, quite,) pull it off!!!

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:24 PM | Political Junkie>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Pass it around the blogs!

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

links from Reuters:

but was he convicted? abive seems to say he pleaded guilty

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMangoChutney


Today you use a @ sign...tomorrow it's text messaging speak in an email to work's a dark path you are heading down mate! :)



Feb 24, 2012 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

MOBY GLEICK - An Epic Tale of Conquest Misapprehended

When Gleick successfully tricked Heartland into sending him the board meeting
documents, as with Captain Ahab, he was sure he had the weapon and the
means to finally, at long last, destroy the big white whale, the bane of
his existence, Heartland — and take the wind permanently out of the
skeptic movement’s sails. When he reviewed the actual docs, however,
much to his chagrin, he realized his weapon could not possibly deliver
the lethal blow he envisioned. So carefully, painstakingly, he sharpened
the blade on the harpoon to a razor’s edge, devising the Strategy Memo,
rendering the weapon now absolutely deadly.

Heart beating savagely, he came alongside the terrible beast,
pressed the 'send' button, and with
seemingly the strength of the gods let fly the lethal missile.
Smiling with elation as the weight of so many years’
futile effort lifted, Gleick failed to notice not only that the harpoon was on
course to only wound and anger the monstrous narwhal, but also that the harpoon’s tether
had wrapped itself lightly, yet oh so securely, around his own ankle.

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterneill

The guy admitted to committing wire fraud. So it should just be ignored?

I think not.

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

Geronimo nailed if for me at the top of the comments with this observation:

given the warmists reaction to the climategate whitewashes, if there's no prosecution, they'll say he wasn't guilty

Just so; unfortunately for Gleick, I think he has to go down over this.

Because the Team failed to admit at the time to lying and dissembling, and chose instead to lie and dissemble further about it all, two things occurred. One was that the level of public disgrace required to debunk any of these charlatans rose. We thought that being exposed as bull5hitters would teach them humility, but no, it looks like prison is required.

The other adverse consequence was that people like Gleick felt invincible. If they could get away with fiddling graphs, evading FOI, losing data, illegally destroying correspondence, taking their orders from Greenpeace and manipulating peer review, then clearly a bit of libellous document forgery wasn't going to drop anyone in the 5hit either.

So some ecofascist cockily went ahead and forged a document.

I'm afraid we need a hanging.

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka


Gleick is still "awaiting sentencing" after several years. He copped a plea and promised to cooperate with the authorities.

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

While "calling in the FBI" sounds substantive, the decision to perform an investigation is up to the FBI; Heartland has no say in the matter other than informing the FBI of the alleged crime. Even after an initial investigation to determine whether a crime has been committed, it is then up to a federal prosecutor to file charges. These prosecutors are political appointments but have some degree of independence, but in recent years, there has been a gradual shift of power to Washington, especially in high profile cases. With the current administration and with a national election on the horizon, I would not be surprised to see an investigation dragged out beyond election day. The CYA for the Democrats would be "That case is currently under investigation, and it would be inappropriate to comment on it." Heartland can of course try to shame the FBI into action by releasing their internal investigation, but such pressure will be perceived as political in nature.

Of course Heartland can file a civil case, but the tort and the damages are not clear to me (I am a scientist and not a lawyer). Libel cases in the US are difficult to win. I am not sure whether "Heartland Institute" could be considered a public figure, but if it is then it would very difficult for them to win since they have to prove that Gleik and the various web sites knew that the information they released was untrue. This likely explains the "I got it in the mail." story. Individuals within Heartland or one of its donors might have an action, but again what's the tort? what are the damages? Heartland in the past has released its list of donors. Thus, it may be difficult to claim damages even though they gave up the practice because of harassment of their donors.

To me, the greater question is how can this situation be used to bring climate science back into the realm of critical scientific inquiry? You will only accomplish this by convincing the larger scientific community to police itself, a very high hurdle given the current environment. The least combative approach is to appeal to the ideals of scientists, e.g., for openness and honesty in the scientific process. One point that I emphasize often is that much of the current distrust of climate science in the public was brought about by a few select individuals refusing to release data. Also, well argued dissenting views should be encouraged and not suppressed, even if one political side or the other will seek to exploit the findings in any study.

One last point. Remind scientists who get funding from government that all of the public are their patrons. Labeling one political party or the other as "stupid" will alienate about half of the politicians. When the "wrong" party comes to power, an inevitability, politicians, the political representatives of your patrons may react by saying, "We'll show you who is stupid. Your funding just got cut." Moreover, such fallout would not be limited to climate science alone. Cheers.

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRandomReal[]

u r 2rite mailman

And on topic...

If you do not like the heat stay out of the kitchen.

Look Gleick as far I can see he played pretty dirty. His tone towards "deniers" is condescending and demeaning. Do you think you would receive a fair trial under his jurisdiction. Could you imagine losing your job due to this guy? If you worked for the same company, do you think underhand stuff wouldn't not be done if you voiced your lack of faith in AGW?

This guy played politics. He is not some bumbling lecturer in a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches.

He knows the rules. Big boys rules. No those rules are running.

You have to have a price for your actions otherwise civilisation crumbles.

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Crap! LEFEBVRE is awaiting sentencing!!

Multitasking at my age is risky!

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

I'm surprised Wikipedia's super bunny sanitizer didn't get to the "John Lefebvre" entry:

"Lefevre first garnered public attention in 1999, when he co-founded NETeller (now known as Neovia), an online money transfer facility. Though a publicly traded UK company, the firm's involvement in transactions serving the then-fledgling online gambling sector led to U.S. charges of possible money laundering against the company and his arrest in January 2007.[4] Lefebvre plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to conduct illegal Internet gambling transactions and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify if necessary.[5]"

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

Of course, Lefebvre's experience with the law and illegal internet transactions may become a very useful resource for Gleick.

And, if things go South, maybe they can share a cell!

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

@ duncan

A momentary lapse of judgement is when you catch your wife in bed with someone and kill them both. Not when you scheme over weeks, create fake email accounts, repeatedly mis-represent yourself as another individual to defraud and smear someone.

Absolutely - and let's not forget that people don't become criminals for two weeks and then stop forever. When Plod nicks a major criminal they don't assume it's a first time offence.

It is much safer to assume that Gleick has in fact experienced a lifetime lapse of judgement, and hence everything he has ever said or written should now be discarded as mendacious and untrustworthy.

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

scotland yard hacking

Feb 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

If the FBI dont arrest and prosecute this man they are giving the Green light to cyber terrorist whats good enough for Bradley Manning and Garry McKinnon is good enough for him

Feb 24, 2012 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Richard Drake on Feb 24, 2012 at 12:38 PM

"... from the repentant hydrologist ..."

Are you referrig to Gleick?

His wikipedia entry does not mention 'hydrologist' and neither does his PI entry:

"His research and writing address the critical connections between water and human health, the hydrologic impacts of climate change, sustainable water use, privatization and globalization, and international conflicts over water resources.

Dr. Gleick is an internationally recognized water expert ..."

And is he repentant?

Feb 24, 2012 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

Why anyone can expect Gleick to be honest or ethical amazes me. Look at his photograph. He's a pencil necked gleick.

Feb 25, 2012 at 3:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterstan stendera

I reckon that we can fairly confidently predict that Gleick will almost certainly not be charged by the FBI despite having actually confessed to a federal crime. The FBI will either decline to prosecute or drag it out so long that they may as well not bother.

If they do prosecute then it will be difficult to not find him guilty, however he will cop a plea and be sentenced to, say, 1 day's community service max, on the grounds that he has "suffered enough". Politics trumps justice every time.

Feb 25, 2012 at 4:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterEd Snack

Ed Snack

Exactly correct. However, the civil suits can go forward, and the big issue is PG has done real harm to the creditability of "the Cause."

That damage has been done and will surface time and again from now on.

Feb 25, 2012 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra


Over at Lucia’s, there are some suggestions that Gleick impersonated former astronaut and ex-congressman Schmitt to gain access to the documents. If that turns out to be true, do you think that might have any bearing on whether or not the FBI would push for criminal prosecution? I imagine that impersonating a serving congressman would have some pretty severe penalties attached but what about an ex-congressman? Would his relatively high profile make any difference?

Feb 25, 2012 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterLC

Look Gleick as far I can see he played pretty dirty. His tone towards "deniers" is condescending and demeaning. Do you think you would receive a fair trial under his jurisdiction. Could you imagine losing your job due to this guy? If you worked for the same company, do you think underhand stuff wouldn't not be done if you voiced your lack of faith in AGW?

Feb 24, 2012 at 4:30 PM | Jiminy Cricket

You are absolutely right and please don't think I am an apologist for Gleick or what he did. He seems to be pretty despicable individual to me.

Gleick and his ilk choose to play it dirty, what I am suggesting is that it would be better if we take the moral high ground, but I am clearly in the minority ;-)

Feb 25, 2012 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

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