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Competitive Enterprise Institute Sues NASA in Wake of Climategate Scandal

A CEI fellow details their just-filed Freedom of Information Act suit regarding files requested three years ago and never received.

by
Christopher Horner

Bio

November 24, 2009 - 12:09 pm

Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for those bodies’ refusal — for nearly three years — to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

The information sought is directly relevant to the exploding “Climategate” scandal revealing document destruction, coordinated efforts in the U.S. and UK to avoid complying with both countries’ freedom of information laws, and apparent and widespread intent to defraud at the highest levels of international climate science bodies. Numerous informed commenters had alleged such behavior for years, all of which appears to be affirmed by leaked emails, computer code, and other data from the Climatic Research Unit of the UK’s East Anglia University.

All of that material, and that sought for years by CEI, goes to the heart of the scientific claims and campaign underpinning the Kyoto Protocol, its planned successor treaty, “cap-and-trade” legislation, and the EPA’s threatened regulatory campaign to impose similar measures through the back door.

CEI sought the following documents, among others. NASA’s failure to provide them within thirty days will prompt CEI to file suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia:

– Internal discussions about NASA’s quiet correction of its false historical U.S. temperature records after two Canadian researchers discovered a key statistical error, specifically: discussion about whether and why to correct certain records, how to do so, the impact, or wisdom, or potential (or real) fallout there from or reaction to doing so (requested August 2007).

– Internal discussions relating to the email sent to James Hansen and/or Reto A. Ruedy from a Stephen (Steve) McIntyre calling their attention to the errors in NASA/GISS online temperature data (August 2007).

– Those relating to the content, importance, or propriety of workday-hour posts or entries by GISS/NASA employee Gavin A. Schmidt on the weblog or “blog” RealClimate, which is owned by the advocacy Environmental Media Services and was started as an effort to defend the debunked “Hockey Stick” that is so central to the CRU files. RealClimate.org is implicated in the leaked files and expressly offered as a tool to be used “in any way you think would be helpful” to a certain advocacy campaign, including an assertion of Schmidt’s active involvement in, e.g., delaying and/or screening out unhelpful input by “skeptics” attempting to comment on claims made on the website.

This, and the related political activism engaged in, are inappropriate behavior for a taxpayer-funded employee, particularly on taxpayer time. These documents were requested in January 2007 and NASA/GISS have refused to date to comply with their legal obligation to produce responsive documents.

See also this PJTV video.

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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