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Kent Clizbe e-mail exchange summary, and yes, he quite probably _was_ a CIA agent, but...

I was recently in an e-mail exchange with Kent Clizbe, an ex-CIA agent who has allied with the cause of global warming inactivism and recently spammed the University of Virginia to fish for 'whistleblowers' against climate scientist Michael Mann.

In brief, I tried to get Clizbe to go beyond reading WorldNetDaily for his climate change 'facts', and introduced him to Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming. In reply, Clizbe described the climate science community around the CRU and Michael Mann as "the equivalent of a Mafia family" which "delight[s] in destroying careers and reputations, taking retribution against those who they think have harmed their conspiracy". (Ahem.)

He also said, "I learned long ago that when something smells rotten, it's usually because something is rotten", to which I responded, "You rely too much on your 'sense of smell' -- while blindfolding your eyes and plugging your ears!"

Overall, it wasn't very productive, but I can say I tried.

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Given Clizbe's kooky stance on climate change, some people have wondered if Clizbe really was a CIA case worker. On Climate Progress, someone wondered if he was "just another discount bunko artist". Well, there's a 2007 article in The Atlantic outlining one of his counter-terrorism operations (though spelling his name as "Clizbee"); I take this as prima facie evidence that Clizbe did, indeed, work as a CIA agent. [cached]

However, looking at Clizbe's biography, we find that Clizbe's linguistics expertise is in "Vietnamese, Italian, Malay/Indonesian, Spanish, and Arabic". Yet in his blog and in his announcement on an upcoming book, he speaks of how "KGB Covert Influence Operatives" are acting as the "political handlers" of Obama, Hollywood, and academia, to spread "communist rhetoric" and grasp power. [cached: 1, 2, 3] Unless Clizbe had secretly learnt Russian, I don't see how his stated language skills would allow him to reach such conclusions!

So is it the case that Clizbe, despite being a former CIA agent with considerable skills, is now spewing nonsense about subjects beyond his areas of expertise?

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Update 2011-01-17: Inactivist John O'Sullivan heaps nonsensical praise on Clizbe's crazed anti-Mann crusade. [cached] He writes,
Using his adept intelligence training to good effect Clizbe easily obtained a list of Mann’s colleagues during his time at U.Va’s Dept of Environmental Sciences. The data is publicly available via the services of Web that has U.Va’s DES faculty list from March of 2000.
Oh wow, wow, wow, Clizbe's CIA-honed skills are so superb that he knows how to use the Wayback Machine. (And presumably Google too.) Never mind that our, um, elite intelligence operative didn't know anything about Spencer Weart's work on climate science history all this while.