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Heartland Institute Document Leaker Comes Forward, Maintains Documents Are Real 442

Posted by Soulskill
from the having-a-conscience-can-be-inconvenient dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "Last week, an anonymous source leaked several internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a non-profit think tank known for anti-global-warming rhetoric. The leaker has come forward: Peter Gleick, scientist and journalist. In his admission, he cites his own breach of ethics, but also maintains that all the documents are real. This includes the potentially embarrassing '2012 Climate Strategy' document stating that Heartland wants to 'dissuade teachers from teaching science.' Heartland still claims this document is a forgery, but there is no solid evidence either way."
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Heartland Institute Document Leaker Comes Forward, Maintains Documents Are Real

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  • Let's see.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:30PM (#39114691)

    Who has MORE reason to lie about this?

    • Re:Let's see.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:35PM (#39114777)

      I'd say Exxon Mobil might be motivated to fund people to tell a few porkies.

      After all, if I was making over $40 billion a year and big fat margins, I could consider that throwing a few million here and there to pay some PR people to lie about climate change is a good investment. And being a fossil company, I wouldn't care, since I would already be an expert at liability-dumping in any case, so I would sleep perfectly soundly, knowing that the massive negative externalities my business is generating (and that I'm not paying for) won't be my problem until long after I'm dead.

      Nihilism, FTW.

      • Re:Let's see.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by dnaumov (453672) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:56PM (#39115069)

        I'd hardly call a 5 year average net profit margin of 8,81% particularly fat.

        • Re:Let's see.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by frosty_tsm (933163) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:00PM (#39115107)

          I'd hardly call a 5 year average net profit margin of 8,81% particularly fat.

          For an established company delivering a commoditized product, that's a pretty big margin.

          Honestly, I thought it would have been higher.

          • There are some special considerations.

            There in the part of the market that requires a lot of fixed capital equipment that require long lead times and specialization. Deep sea oil wells, refineries, etc. When there is over capacity in these types of industries profit margins are brutalized. DRAM and Chemicals are 2 good recent examples. Oil has not been plagued with that for the past 10 decade. There are few people willing to risk billions on a project that has a 10 year recover time.

            I am not sure which w

        • Yeah, but their expenses include the congress critters they've paid off...

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:03PM (#39115141)

        The fossil fuel industry and many of the issues that the Right in this country are harping on have an interesting pattern.

        They take an issue that could be potentially dangerous to their profits and turn it into an emotional issue - in this case Global Warming - and when it becomes an emotional issue, all reason is thrown out the door and rational discourse becomes impossible.

        Global Warming was discovered decades ago. The fossil fuel companies started to become threatened by it. So we go from scientists have data about global warming and what we could possibly do about it to scientists have a Liberal Agenda to destroy capitalism and our Way of Life.

        I have a neighbor and in-laws who live on a steady diet of Fox News and Talk Radio; such as Hannity, and if Global Warming comes up, they say words like "hoax", "socialist", "cause higher taxes", "destroying America", "predictions based upon inaccurate computer models", etc .... in very angry tones.

        They're thinking emotionally. The anti-global warming crowd did a very good in turning this into a personal emotional issue.

        They do this with other issues. Turn an issue from a purely academic one into dumbed down emotional rhetoric, and you got the other guys by the balls.

        That's where the climate scientists got screwed. The fossil fuel industry got their PR people on it and then the right wing talking heads grabbed onto it, and now we have this mess of an issue that I for one have given up complete hope that anything can be done now.

        tl;dr: industry is great at turning a scientific issue into an emotional one - an "us" vs. "them" issue and neutering the opposition.

        • by tbannist (230135) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:11PM (#39116221)

          For certain conservatives, Global Warming might actually seem like a big of a threat. Global Warming calls into question their idea of what America is supposed to be. The bastion of free capitalism. The problem that Global Warming presents is huge and scary to them. The problem is that Global Warming shows that the system is broken and not perfect. It's enough to make libertarian heads explode. The government is required to do something that isn't protecting private property from thieves? Heresy.

          It's very existence contradicts the deregulation, trickle-down-economic, let-the-corporations-and-job-makers-run-wild conservatives because it's something the market can't fix. Of course, if there's something that the markets can't fix, then the principles that their lives are built around might be wrong. And that can never be allowed.

        • by PapayaSF (721268) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:38PM (#39116627) Journal

          They're thinking emotionally. The anti-global warming crowd did a very good in turning this into a personal emotional issue.

          As opposed to the always calm, unemotional arguments of environmentalists and global warming activists? Come on, there's plenty of emotion (if not outright hysteria) on both sides.

          • by Carewolf (581105)

            As opposed to the always calm, unemotional arguments of environmentalists and global warming activists? Come on, there's plenty of emotion (if not outright hysteria) on both sides.

            On both sides sure, but there is no emotion in the scientific facts. You can always find people who agree with the reality for stupid reasons, but that does not make it wrong. I apologize if we are focusing more on correcting those that disagree with reality for stupid reasons than those that agree with it, but it just kind of mak

            • it just kind of makes sense to do so.

              Not if you're trying to convince them to join your side, it's not. Yes, if all you want to do is trumpet "I'm right! You're wrong! Shut up, you morons!" you're free to do so, but that's going to significantly harden the other side against you.

              There are a lot of people on both sides of the aisle who have little or no real opinion about global warming. They don't think about it. If they do, they're going to think of cases like this (if they're on the right) as very good examples of when someone the left did

          • by microbox (704317) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:24PM (#39117133)

            As opposed to the always calm, unemotional arguments of environmentalists and global warming activists? Come on, there's plenty of emotion (if not outright hysteria) on both sides.

            The two sides are not even remotely comparable. Most IPCC scientists are thoroughly against environmental alarmism.

            All you have to do, is follow the references that some "alarmist" or "skeptic" comes up with. Keep following them to their source, and assess whether they are actually using them correctly. This is shockingly easy to do, and you if you do it, you will quickly discover that the "skeptics" are actually "believers" since they will believe anything that reifies their biases. (Environmentalist ideologues do this as well -- but we're talking about the "scientific" debate here.)

            Since the facts are squarely stacked against the "skeptics", we see a lot of projection, denial, hostility, anger, externalisation, and very, very little unemotional argumentation.

        • Both left and right try invoking emotional responses, the difference is the left typically goes for guilt, for causes benefiting the more defenseless, (children, animals, environment, developing nations, oppressed peoples, etc), and the right goes for righteous anger (you are being screwed by the morons in charge, here's how!).

          In Canada, the last 6 months have seen the Conservatives in charge accuse opponents of draconian copyright and tough-on-crime legislation of being extremists or terrorists ourselves.

      • One of the interesting things about the Heartland documents is that they make it pretty clear that they're not being funded by oil companies.

    • Seems as though both have an equal reason to lie, both of which seem equally valid reasons to lie.

      Peter Gleick has a reason to lie in order to advance his career by making *someone* besides his mum know who he is.
      The Heartland Institute has a reason to lie because the information purportedly obtained by Mr. Gleick is highly prejudicial in nature.
  • by Genda (560240) <{mariet} {at} {got.net}> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:32PM (#39114719) Journal

    Oh yeah, these are the guys that told you cigarettes were healthy, and that there was no reliable evidence that they harmed people. The world is full of shills and whores who will lie to your face if the price is right. Why should this be a surprise. These guys have a track record. The only thing controversial here is that these reprobates are telling a significant amount of the population exactly what they want to hear. I know its hard, double rough for some, when the lies they tell sound so sweet (consistent with your belief systems...), get over it. These people are not your friends and if China should hire them tomorrow, they'll give you 20 good reasons why eating lead is great for you.

    Wake up, that smell is your ass on fire, and these clowns are holding the matches.

    • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:40PM (#39114863)
      Cigarettes are healthy! They freshen your breath and provide your body with much needed menthol! Dont fall for the leftist, socialist propaganda telling you different!
    • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:55PM (#39115041) Homepage

      Oh yeah, these are the guys that told you cigarettes were healthy, and that there was no reliable evidence that they harmed people.

      Not really, they worked with Phillip Morris to spread material on the effects of secondhand smoke, which was questionable at the time they did so (they had long since stopped doing this before actual studies confirmed the effects). Every think tank ofcourse helps it's sponsors ...

      You need to keep history of something in mind. There's a history to every idea, as hard as that is to see. Until 1954, the official medical opinion on smoking itself was that it was healthy as well (there were suspicions from 1912 onwards). Even today I heard someone claim that smoking pot does not have worse health effects than tobacco smoke (think about it : no filters on the sigarettes -> you're actually inhaling burning leaves directly into your lungs which will never again come out. Healthy ? Of course not)

      This is still happening to other products too. E.g. soda is supposedly healthy (esp. soda with "added vitamin C" or some such. It's not healthy at all). And sugar-free soda is worse, again something often denied. Or another popular one, that TL lights are healthy and generally good, especially CFL bulbs. We all know you get headaches from them, they can induce epileptic seizures, and research confirms long-term health effects. But they're "better for the environment". I guess environment doesn't include people.

      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:46PM (#39115833)

        Even today I heard someone claim that smoking pot does not have worse health effects than tobacco smoke (think about it : no filters on the sigarettes -> you're actually inhaling burning leaves directly into your lungs which will never again come out. Healthy ? Of course not.

        Surely it depends on what is actually being burnt and inhaled. Normal cigarette smoke has things like formaldahyde, benzene, ammonia and acetone - all known carcinogens while normal pot smoke does not. What's ironic here is that your default position is what I heard from all source of authority, until just recently.

        There is even a recent medical study indicating that moderate, chronic pot smoking increases lung capacity compared to tobacco-smokers and non-smokers alike:

        http://pulmccm.org/main/2012/asthma-review/infrequent-pot-smokers-have-better-lung-function-than-non-tokers-jama/ [pulmccm.org]

        And FWIW, I've never used an illegal drug in my life, not even once. I don't have a dog in the "pot is better for you" fight.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by steveha (103154)

      these are the guys that told you cigarettes were healthy

      Citation needed.

      Who, at the Heartland Institute, told us that cigarettes were healthy? Do you have any evidence that the HI told us that, gave money to people who told us that, or were in any factual way related to telling us that?

      steveha

      • by steveha (103154) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:01PM (#39115111) Homepage

        Never mind, it's right there in Wikipedia.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Heartland_Institute#Smoking [wikipedia.org]

        The tone of the GP post was just right to punch my buttons. Even a single link in support of the rant would have been nice.

        steveha

        • by vlm (69642)

          Even a single link in support of the rant would have been nice.

          I think he was intentionally making a point that The Heartland Institute is so over the top loony that reporting the truth makes the report look like a disregardable parody.

        • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:47PM (#39115841) Journal

          Except that the Wiki entry doesn't actually say "cigarettes were healthy" in any way shape or form. That is an editorialized addition that is not in evidence. And during the period of time (go back and check) people were claiming secondhand smoke was worse than actually smoking.The Anti Smoking crowd was making up its own BS at that same time. I guess that goes unnoticed and unmentioned because smoking is nasty (it is)

          People lie, exaggerate and otherwise stretch the truth to support their position. Shocking ... I know. The point being, there is no reason to exaggerate unless you're wrong. ;)

        • by microbox (704317)
          The historian Naomi Oreskes wrote a book call "Merchants of Doubt" that details the activities of the Heartland Institute and those like it, in the war on science. It is always a fight against regulation or government interference, and they play /dirty/.

          Although this talk is about AGW, it gives a very good overview of the think-tank situation in the USA. American denial of global warming [youtube.com].

          If you think AGW has nothing to do with it, then it is time to hit the books, and learn something rather chilling ab
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:33PM (#39114729) Homepage Journal

    Have to applaud the whistleblower for having the courage to do this. Heartland is clearly a tool, not just for deniers, but for industry which would profit from a (further) dumbed-down populace. Where is the outrage, probably due to the present level of dumbing-down, there isn't very much. Bread and circuses.

    • by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:40PM (#39114853)

      I think it's fairly obvious that they're just right-wing jackasses-for-hire, who'll lie for the highest bidder.

      There is no idealism here at all. Just a desire to make a buck and watch the world burn. The epitome of the very worst side of human nature.

    • I could call social-engineering/stealing those documents to be unethical and possibly illegal (IANAL).

      But I salute somebody willing to knowingly destroy their own life to out a bunch of paid liars.

      The whole thing is morally ambiguous, and whether or not he actually did the right thing (especially if he has a family to support), is open to debate.

      • by jythie (914043)
        Thing is, it will do no good. While having their own words is something, this actual behavior (and knowledge of it) is pretty old news. The people who dislike them will continue to dislike them, and the people who like them will continue to like them. A lot of people just buy the story presented by their particular news outlet and anything else is a 'left wing/right wing smear campaign'.

        Plus, given just how well funded and connected they are, I am sure that the story will be pained rosy for them in the
    • I guess I can't speak for everyone, but I can't summon much outrage over this at all? Personally, I feel like it's simply a case of another "special interest group" with an agenda getting caught up in a situation of someone showing the world some of their internal content that leaked. I don't even care if people can eventually prove that one of their specific papers was real or fake.... As others posted, we know where they sided on the cigarette issue, and we're pretty clear where they side with respect

  • by BlackWind (11057) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:33PM (#39114739)

    Here is one article written about it (by someone who believes in AGW)
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/02/leaked-docs-from-heartland-institute-cause-a-stir-but-is-one-a-fake/253165/

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by benjfowler (239527)

      Climiate science is SCIENCE. In science, belief is irrelevant. Only evidence matters.

      The denialists don't have evidence. They have good PR, online polls, debates, and other slick propaganda tools, but they will never win the scientific debate, because the evidence for AGW is overwhelming.

      This is a political and ideological issue, not a scientific one.

      • Traits of a Cult. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        1. The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

        Hansen, Jones, et. al.

        2. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

        Read the latest textbooks? AGW is taught as a FACT, pages and pages. Have to indoctrinate early ya know.

        3. The group is preoccupied with making money.

        Government Grants. Although I have to say that these guys are more narcissists that money grubbers.

        4. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even puni

      • Climiate science is SCIENCE. In science, belief is irrelevant. Only evidence matters.

        Then let's play the science game - state your falsifiable hypothesis of either AGW or CAGW. What observations of CO2 levels and global average temperature, past, present or future, would disprove your hypothesis? Add other variables if necessary, and be specific.

        Obligatory popper reference: http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/popper_falsification.html [stephenjaygould.org]

        • Denialism (Score:5, Interesting)

          by microbox (704317) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:51PM (#39117419)
          Deniers always talk about popper, and science, and how they are the rigorous ones. They want falsifiable hypotheses, and when they get one -- they will argue black is white over whether or not it is falsifiable. They think they know more then the 1000s of /actual/ scientists who study the issue.

          It is denial, because it is a black and white issue, they are right, and there is an inability to cognitively represent any disconfirming evidence. They always see themselves as sane, and therefore people who disagree with them are: stupid, evil, or uneducated.

          Lord Monckton is at the zenith of climate change denialism. I honestly believe that he doesn't know he is just making stuff up. Vetren anti-science debunker potholer54 puts out a challenge to denialists: come up with ONE thing that Monckton gets right, that calls into question the IPCC's conclusions. To complete the challenge, you actually have to find Monckton's references, and assess that they really support what Monckton say.

          And this is the key sticking point. Denialists just believe anything they hear, so long as it confirms their biases. It is obvious that denialists doen't follow references, because of the absurdly high number of mistakes that are made.

          There is actually a slew of falsifiable hypotheses in AGW. All of them are very precisely defined and tested. An argument is built from 1000s of studies of more then 100 years of scientific research.

          Don't believe me? Crack open an IPCC report and actually read it.

          PS: Popper is not without critics in the philosophy of science, but that is another story.
          • They want falsifiable hypotheses, and when they get one -- they will argue black is white over whether or not it is falsifiable.

            I think the problem is that they want legitimately falsifiable hypotheses, not just silly statements like the CO2 absorption spectrum means that AGW is true. Yes, if any of the physical constants of the universe weren't what they are, then all of our science would be falsified. But it takes more to come up with a more than trivial hypothesis of AGW (trivial, meaning that human CO

    • by steveha (103154) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:06PM (#39115165) Homepage

      I agree that Megan McArdle's analysis of this document is interesting and worth reading.

      http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/02/leaked-docs-from-heartland-institute-cause-a-stir-but-is-one-a-fake/253165/ [theatlantic.com]

      For a document that supposedly is a glimpse to the inside machinations of a bunch of corporate suits, it sure has an odd tone.

      See also the followup:

      http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/02/heartland-memo-looking-faker-by-the-minute/253276/ [theatlantic.com]

      The metadata and timestamp analysis is interesting as well.

      steveha

      • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:43PM (#39115773) Homepage
        I considered the metadata and timestamp to be very interesting a few days ago, and to be a possible indication of forgery. I no longer consider that to be the case. Gleick explained that he got the document separately and then obtained the other documents to try to verify that document. Gleick's story adequately explains the apparent differences in metadata.
        • by demonlapin (527802) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @07:42PM (#39117993) Homepage Journal
          But it also casts enormous doubt on the provenance of that document. You can say, with near certainty (assuming that Gleick isn't lying about not changing any documents) that all but one of the documents is a genuine Heartland document, because they were emailed to an account he controlled by a Heartland staffer. But that one document was supposedly received in the mail, with no return address, no identified author or list of recipients, not even a note to indicate why the possessor of the document was sending it to Gleick (and yet, as far as we can tell, nobody else). And it's the one that makes all the outrageous claims.
  • No evidence? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Troyusrex (2446430)
    It is very likely faked. It was not gotten through the same channel as the other documents and there are many inconsistencies which make it of doubtful authenticity including metadata: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/15/notes-on-the-fake-heartland-document/ [wattsupwiththat.com] That said, it serves Heartland right after the fuss they made over Climategate.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by benjfowler (239527)

      You blew your credibility the millisecond you quoted WUWT as a reliable source. Anthony Watt is just another right wing corporate whore with no credentials, no scientific training, no mainstream credibility, and a big mouth (very common in the wingnut alternative reality).

      • Re:No evidence? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Layzej (1976930) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:00PM (#39115105)

        Anthony Watt is just another right wing corporate whore with no credentials, no scientific training, no mainstream credibility, and a big mouth (very common in the wingnut alternative reality).

        It should also be noted that he was implicated in the leaked documents. He has every reason to claim that they are fake.

    • You realize that voting present in the Illinois Senate is similar to voting no, except it has a different impact on how the bill in question gets handled after the vote gets tallied, right? That it has nothing to do with not having an opinion?

  • stupid (Score:5, Informative)

    by Monkey-Man2000 (603495) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:39PM (#39114837)
    This was a really stupid thing for Dr. Gleick to do because it diminishes his cause substantially. For example, he was the lead author of the recent Science paper [sciencemag.org] that everyone was making a big stink about having so many National Academy members on. I'm no (anthropogenic or not)-climate change denier, but this is bad. On a similar note, he also wrote this Forbes piece [forbes.com] that mysteriously did not mention he was the lead author of the Science paper.
  • by theangrypeon (1306525) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:39PM (#39114843)

    Some pretty interesting and pretty detailed analysis of the memo here [theatlantic.com].

    I'm inclined to say the memo is probably fake given all the weirdness surrounding it, and given who the "leaker" is.

  • I'm Confused (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:40PM (#39114851) Journal
    Either Gleick revised his post or Bad Astronomer got this one wrong. Gleick says he received the Climate Strategy anonymously:

    At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute's climate program strategy. It contained information about their funders and the Institute's apparent efforts to muddy public understanding about climate science and policy. I do not know the source of that original document but assumed it was sent to me because of my past exchanges with Heartland and because I was named in it.

    It appears the rest are documents that he knows are official that he acquired deceptively in order to verify the anonymous document. My own personal hunch, as I first noted when this broke [slashdot.org], is that '2012 Climate Strategy' is a cheap fake thrown in with real documents. There is probably no way to verify this one way or the other but I don't think this summary or Phil Plait's blog posting adequately explain what Gleick did exactly. Here is one thing that is going for the validity of '2012 Climate Strategy' and that is if Gleick did not alter it then some of the sums and investments roughly match up with the budget document -- which caused Gleick to believe it is completely authentic. However, fiscal knowledge of the Heartland Institute might be more public than people think ...

    • Someone mod this guy up. This was my understanding after RTFA. Gleick got some stuff about Heartland anonymously, then did a quick fact checking and forwarded the whole kit & caboodle off to some journalists. The thing is we still don't know where the original stuff came from.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Either Gleick revised his post or Bad Astronomer got this one wrong.

      I think you're just confused.

      The summary and especially the BA's blog post are accurate and not contradicted by what you quoted. The blog post in particular points out that he received many of these documents anonymously at first, and then sought to verify them using the deceptive practice that is mentioned in the summary.

      Since this update in particular is about the source of the documents, and their veracity, the part about how he verified the documents is rather relevant.

  • Institute chooses names it thinks sounds reassuring but falls into uncanny valley and ends up sounding a bit creepy.
  • "I only note that the scientific understanding of the reality and risks of climate change is strong, compelling, and increasingly disturbing, and a rational public debate is desperately needed." (from Gleick's Huffpost piece.) Haggling over the provenance and ethics of the Heartland documents is a dangerous distraction. People with a financial interest in perpetuating the status quo (and no sense of honesty, scientific ethics or responsibility to future generations) are going to look for every opportunit

  • Heartland institute says the document entitled "Heartland Climate Strategy" is a fake.
    Peter Gleick says the document entilteld "2012 fundraising strategy and budget" is real.
    They are probably both right. Why is this news?

  • So just to help me clarify here, we are not free men and we must exist and act within little narrowly defined jobs, all with conflicting standards and goals. Unfortunately this dude doesn't seem to have a clearly defined job so it's hard to evaluate him:

    1) If he's a scientist he's supposed to at least appear objective and honest (reality, especially in private, is permitted some divergence). Both sides of this issue flake out from facts into intense social engineering so all players on both sides fail. T

  • ...he never says "they are real", he only says "he got them anonymously".

    Gleick has lawyered up, and I'm getting some popcorn.

  • It's not stealing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gstrickler (920733) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:26PM (#39117155)

    Heartland claims [heartland.org] Earlier this evening, Peter Gleick, a prominent figure in the global warming movement, confessed to stealing electronic documents from The Heartland Institute in an attempt to discredit and embarrass a group that disagrees with his views.

    In fact, he made no such confession. What he said [huffingtonpost.com] is: At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute's climate program strategy.

    Then, he went to the effort of attempting to verify the authenticity and accuracy of the documents by pretending to be someone else and asking for information directly from Heartland [slashdot.org]: The materials the Heartland Institute sent to me confirmed many of the facts in the original document, including especially their 2012 fundraising strategy and budget.

    So, he did pretend to be someone else, but he stole nothing. If the original documents were stolen (which is pure speculation), it was by someone other than Gleick. Impersonating someone else is certainly nothing to be taken lightly, but it's a well established technique used by reporter and investigators when using your real name may impede or alter your access to the information. Whether a crime was committed requires more details than given. But there is no evidence that he stole anything, and as such, he may have a slander or libel claim against Heartland for their statement. IANAL.

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