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Climategate: James Hansen Finds Complying with FOIA To Be Too Much of a Burden

The longtime Al Gore adviser, with his taxpayer-funded salary, finds the public's right to know how their money is spent to be unacceptable.

by
Christopher Horner

Bio

March 24, 2010 - 12:00 am
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As the FOIA emails show, Hansen, et al spend a significant amount of time spinning the press and massaging posts for the RealClimate website (which was established to defend the indefensible “Hockey Stick” and to attack author Michael Crichton), in addition to dealing with FOIA requests.

Only one of these activities is a required condition of Hansen’s employment. (PJM will be publishing some upcoming additional examples of GISS wasting taxpayer time and money.)

I’m curious what Hansen refers to with his statements regarding how to access Makiko Sato’s password-protected research directory.

Hansen says his team, followed by NASA’s FOIA team, inadvertently let some information slip that they didn’t want to be public. (And naturally, he does not blame his people for the error). I believe Hansen here — it probably wasn’t a conscious act to turn over the admission that NASA’s data set no longer exists for any legal or policy purpose.

However, given Hansen’s history and his use of the speculative “most if not all,” is this just another attempt by Hansen to equate those who disagree with or annoy him with the criminal and unethical?

How exactly was the described material accessed? Is Hansen’s claim regarding the event true, or a fabrication? He does have a history of moonbattery, including his insistence that presidents named George Bush have muzzled him — even as he gave countless interviews, and numerous FOIA emails pay homage to him as a media king.

Further, recall the spin, post-Climategate, was that the scientists caught subverting transparency statutes — among other transgressions — merely had to learn to “communicate better.” This spin continues here, as does the persistent claim that their messages are “out of context.” This was demonstrably untrue in the case of the “Climategate” emails — posted in their entirety within their relevant email thread — as it is with the GISS emails which we posted in full.

Analyses are available at GISS’s website, but admissions about the unreliability of those analyses were only available through FOIA, which seems to be what has Hansen’s attention.

My advice to Hansen: if this condition of your lucrative public employment is, in hindsight and amid all of the revelations, now no longer acceptable to you, you are the person best positioned to do something about that.

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Christopher Horner is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and author of the recently-published The Liberal War on Transparency: Confessions of a Freedom of Information "Criminal".
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