Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Peter Gleick Hires Fastow (Enron) Defense Attorney, Monicagate Crisis Manager

Grab some popcorn, this could get interesting.
From Megan McArdle at the Atlantic (no denier she):

Peter Gleick Confesses to Obtaining Heartland Documents Under False Pretenses
I hardly know what to say about the latest developments in the Heartland document dump.  Profanity seems too weak, and incredulity too tame.

To recap for those who weren't following along at home, last week, someone emailed a bunch of climate bloggers documents that purportedly came from the Heartland Institute, a think tank which has been active in promoting skepticism about global warming:
Dear Friends (15 of you):

In the interest of transparency, I think you should see these files from the Heartland Institute. Look especially at the 2012 fundraising and budget documents, the information about donors, and compare to the 2010 990 tax form. But other things might also interest or intrigue you. This is all I have. And this email account will be removed after I send.
Chortling and glee followed as the climate bloggers pored over the documents and posted exerpts, mostly from a "Climate Strategy" memo which had a rather damning way with words.

24 hours after the document dump, Heartland confirmed that someone had basically phished them--talked a support staffer into sending documents from a recent board meeting to the "new email" of a board member.  Except . . . Heartland denied that the "strategy memo" was theirs.  And after reading through it--and the documents--carefully, I was inclined to believe them; the text was all wrong, and while the other documents had been printed to PDF sometime in January, this one had been scanned into a computer less than one day before it was sent to the climate bloggers.  While some journalists argued that all the checkable facts in the memos were backed up by the other documents that Heartland admitted to sending, to me, that merely suggested that it was written by someone who had those documents in their possession.  

But not a full understanding of those documents, because the memo made curious errors.  Most notably, it claimed that the Koch foundation had given $200,000 in 2011, when the actual number was $25,000 ($200,000 is what Heartland's fundraising document indicates they hoped to get in 2012)--and since that money was donated for Health Care News, Heartland's health care newsletter, it's hard to see why it would show up in the climate strategy document, rather than, say, a document about their health care strategy.  Given other anomalies surrounding the document, it seemed to me very likely that whoever had phished the authenticated board package had been disappointed by the lack of sizeable contributions from Big Oil and the Kochs, and so had written the memo to make sure that the documents told a nice, neat story about corruption and secrecy, rather than a boring, equivocal story about an issue advocacy organization with a spot of budget trouble.

By late last week, Steven Mosher was in the comments of multiple blogs, including mine, not-so-subtly pointing a finger in the direction of Peter Gleick, head of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, California and apparently until very recently, the chair of the American Geophysical Union's Task Force on Scientific Ethics.  Here's what Mosher wrote in my comments.

If you want to look for the author of the fake memo, then look for somebody who tweets the word "anti-climate". you'll find it. Look for somebody on the west coast ( the time zone the document was scanned in)

You'll find somebody who doesnt know how to use parenthesis or commas, both in this memo and in other things he has written.

you'll find he mentions himself in the memo

that's all the clues for now. of course its all just speculation. Note, he's not tweeted for a couple days. very rare for him.
The case he made was not implausible.  Gleick's name had always seemed somewhat anomalous in the climate memo--I've never heard the climate skeptics mention him, though they do have a lot of very nasty stuff to say about folks like Michael Mann.  And Gleick has done some writing for the Forbes site, which would explain the frankly lunatic paragraph which portrayed Forbes as something close to the site of a primordial battle between good and evil for the soul and conscience of America.  Plus there were some similarities in the writing styles....MORE
From Politico:
...Two sources in California — longtime Democratic operative Chris Lehane and Corey Goodman, a member of the Pacific Institute board of directors — confirmed to POLITICO that Gleick authored the Huffington Post blog confessing to be the source of the leak.

Lehane, Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign press secretary, is helping Gleick pro bono with communications issues. Gleick is represented by John Keker, a prominent San Francisco-based white colar criminal defense attorney....
From Bloomberg June 24, 2011:
Fastow Cases Pit U.S. Against One Lawyer: John Keker
From Wikipedia:
In 1992, Lehane was the political director of the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign in Maine, and was later brought into the White House where he served as a lawyer in the White House Counsel's Office who worked as part of a small unit responsible for helping the White House manage various scandals throughout the 1990s such as Whitewater and the Monica Lewinsky affair....