I do hope Mr. Russell considers the atmosphere in which the FoI “breaches” occurred: scientists under siege by a wave of vexatious freedom of information requests orchestrated by ClimateAudit. This provocation was designed to elicit embarrassing responses from the scientists, which were then exposed by the hacking attack. If the UK’s National Domestic Extremism Unit can find out who the hacker was, much will be revealed.
13:58 12 February 2010 by Fred Pearce
One day in, and already one of the five reviews into "climategate" has been hit by its own controversy.
Former civil servant Muir Russell will head an independent inquiry into the professional behaviour of climate scientists at University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, UK, relating to the emails which were leaked into the public domain last November.
Russell, whose career was devoted to the government of Scotland, announced his panel of six independent experts yesterday. Hours later, one of them – Philip Campbell, editor of Nature – was forced to step down over claims that he is not impartial: last year, Campbell told a Chinese radio station that there was nothing to suggest that the UEA scientists had misbehaved.
"I made the remarks in good faith, on the basis of media reports of the leaks. As I have made clear subsequently, I support the need for a full review of the facts behind the leaked emails," Campbell said yesterday.
Russell's review will investigate whether the UEA emails – which were leaked on the web last November – demonstrated that the UEA scientists were guilty of "manipulation or suppression of data".
It will also investigate whether the scientists thwarted freedom of information legislation and whether the UEA Climatic Research Unit's policies for "acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings" met best scientific practice. The research unit is at the centre of the email scandal. …