Denialgate: likely real, and from insider, but DeSmogBlog and ThinkProgress PDFs differ at bit level
[...] two days into [the] scandal, [Heartland Institute's] CEO Joe Bast and the other players at HI have had time to write any number of blog posts, and a fund-raising letter [note: link fixed] but still...STILL!...haven't had time to go through the [leaked] documents and determine, as per their repeated claims, that they have been altered or are otherwise inauthentic.
Meanwhile, evidence continues to mount that they are in fact the real deal.
DeSmogBlog commenter "rumleyfips" points out that pulling off a social engineering attack, of the kind that Heartland claimed to have happened, is not easy:
The caller [who allegedly asked Heartland for documents] is interesting. Whoever it was a lot of knowledge was necessary.
After all , the information was sent willingly with no questions asked.
Who to call? Had to be someone used to such requests, with immediate access to the requested documents and no need for supervisory permission.
How to ask. The wording had to be usual to the organization or flags would have gone up.
What to ask for. Asking for something that didn't exist could cause [suspicion].
It would seem that only someone intimate with the upper levels of the organization could have done this. Joe Bast [fits] the profile.
Then again, it's also possible that there was no social engineering involved, and instead the documents were deliberately leaked by someone from inside Heartland.
Lastly, for the sake of completeness: I noted that the DeSmogBlog copy and the ThinkProgress copy of the leaked PDFs differ at the zeros-and-ones level, though their wordings are identical (including the OCR misspellings in
2012 Climate Strategy.pdf). Thus, even if the documents are genuine, it's likely that they're not in the same file format as initially sent out from Heartland.