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Denialgate: fallout has just begun

February 23rd, 2012 (04:41 pm)

The fallout from Denialgate seems to have just begun, and it's not just on the Heartland Institute (or the intermediate leaker Peter Gleick, for that matter). From ThinkProgress, Indur Goklany of the US Department of the Interior may also be impacted.

Denialgate: likely real, and from insider, but DeSmogBlog and ThinkProgress PDFs differ at bit level

BigCityLib says this regarding Denialgate:

[...] 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.

Mindless Link Propagation, 16 May 2011: Wegmangate starts getting real

(Digression) A Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, very literally

Why does Climate Progress seem to be the only climate blog covering this story?!?!?!?!?!? [cached]

While the [oil tycoon] Koch brothers -- each worth over $21.5 billion -- have certainly underwritten much of the right, their hidden coordination with other big business money has gone largely unnoticed. ThinkProgress has obtained a memo outlining the details of the last Koch gathering held in June of this year. The memo, [cached] along with an attendee list of about 210 people, shows the titans of industry — from health insurance companies, oil executives, Wall Street investors, and real estate tycoons -- working together with conservative journalists and Republican operatives to plan the 2010 election, as well as ongoing conservative efforts through 2012.
On p. 3 of the memo:
In order to understand issues and develop strategies more effectively, the proceedings of this meeting are confidential. The meetings are closed to the public, including media. Please be mindful of the security and confidentiality of your meeting notes and materials, and do not post updates or information about the meeting on blogs, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, or in traditional media articles.
If there's such a thing as a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, this is it.

Update 2010-10-22: More. (Also on Mindless Link Propagation.)

Another update 2010-10-22: There seems to be more coverage of this story outside the climate change blogosphere: Gawker also calls it a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy; and Media Matters looks at the attendees working for the Washington Examiner news outlet. [cached: 1, 2]

Update 2010-10-31: Mother Jones links one of the attendees, Ray Thompson of Semitool, to the Tea Party private jet named "Patriot One".

Update 2011-01-28: Another scoop by Climate Progress.

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