Well, maybe Peter had something to do with it after all!

His version of events in short:

1) he received the paper document which mentions him, (the “strategy” document) from an anonymous source

2) he “solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name”

In Peter’s telling of events, the reason the scanned document is different is because the scanned document was sent to him anonymously before he extracted the other documents from them.

How #2 was achieved, and whether it was reasonable opposition research or otherwise, is something that no doubt will lead to further speculation. Peter calls it an ethical lapse. I am not a lawyer but I suppose that much depends on the details of that.

I stand by my confidence that Peter would not be involved in making anything up, and that whatever the scanned document represents, it is not something of his own composition. But admittedly that would be awfully difficult to prove either way. He should just have left that anonymous document out, methinks, but hindsight is 20/20…



  1. "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 the one document the Heartland Institute claims is "fake!" is... not?

  2. I think it's implicit in his version of events that Peter found everything in "strategy" more or less corroborated and came to believe it was authentic.

    But it will be very hard to prove either way. I guess it depends which party you find more trustworthy.

  3. Pingback: What I’m Reading Monday, February 20, 2012 | Rationally Thinking Out Loud

  4. As I mentioned in a comment back when Michael first wrote about this here, my first thought was that this might have been some kind of "false flag" operation, in which Heartland leaked the documents themselves, intentionally, in order to discredit the person who publicized them. But that didn't make sense, given the extensive nature of the document dump, which seemed pretty clearly to include documents that Heartland would not have revealed willingly.

    But Gleick's statement about the chronology (his receiving the presumed-fake strategy memo first, and only obtaining the larger dump of documents via his own social-engineering attack on Heartland) clears that up nicely. In this scenario, Heartland could have leaked the strategy memo to Gleick, intending to expose and discredit him if and when it came out. The strategy document is juicy enough to have been tempting to someone like Gleick, but non-specific enough (and especially if convincingly denied as fake by Heartland) not really damaging to them.

    I speculate about this further in blog post at:

  5. Well, there is one rather obvious disgruntled employee whose departure is well-timed relative to the leak. Just sayin'. But Heartland is a big enough organization that there are probably other candidates.

    But now that this whole thing is prominent enough to get Real Reporters involved, I have a feeling there'll be lots more to come.

    The future looks to me to be all downside for HI. The AD's cover being blown is a disaster for them, and JM's stuff hasn't even had a chance to start bearing fruit yet. The denial industry has spun off an awful lot of eggs to HI in the last few years, noting that the business used to be primary centered in some of the DC tanks like CEI, and given that the reason for the spinning off probably had something to do with the increasing discomfort of even the oil companies at being directly associated with lies, it's going to be hard to unspin things.

    And oh yes, I do believe it's no put up or shut time for HI on the lawsuit front. I expect Peter was not unaware of that consequence, plus the adage that further coverage of a story acts to drive it even more into the public consciousness. No prediction here, but this entire story might even have the potential to become a media feeding frenzy.

    Michael, note that it would have taken a lot of foresight for Peter to have thought that HI would disavow the first document. As I've said, I'm convinced that the claim that it's a fake is 100% media strategy. Why, after all, would anyone fake something that was true in all factual particulars?

    And ethical lapse? I don't see it. Peter's getting a note of thanks from me.

  6. There's a movie in which Steve Martin has to play the Lily Tomlin character in Steve Martin's body, trying to pretend nothing is amiss. ("All Of Me" I think it's called. Quite hilarious.) Martin's performance, as a woman in a man's body trying to pass as a man, is brilliant, a great moment in comedy. But not everybody can pull it off.

    So was this really written by somebody trying to sound like Gleick trying to sound like Bast, so that Mosher could (apparently completely out of the blue) put the heat on Gleick once he turned around and released the bogus document? That sounds too much like the movies and not like real life to me.

    But I still find it impossible to believe that Gleick manufactured the document. So how did the heat get put on Gleick? Something doesn't add up. I expect Mosher will say that he really did think it was Gleick without any prompting from the perpetrator, and that the right explanation is that Gleick really did manufacture the "strategy" document. And that would be a coherent theory except for the fact that Gleick wouldn't do that.

    But not for the first time Mosher is right at the center of the vortex acting like an innocent bystander. Weird.

  7. If you take Peter Gleick's blogpost at face value--and I see no reason not to:
    1) He received a document in the mail (can we assume that this was snail mail and that Gleick scanned it?);
    2) He used a fake identity to extract copies of electronic documents from HI. He went phishing, in other words.

    To construct a conspiracy out of this, with HI using the original document as entrapment bait seems far fetched to me.

    I feel sympathy for Gleick because I know how frustrating it is to engage in the fight to get public acceptance of the urgency to act on climate change. His opponents never felt the need for any coherence in their own worldview and they were hypocritical in demanding total transparency from scientists while hiding behind walls of confidentiality themselves. But I'm also angry that Gleick, by his own account, exercised such poor judgement.

    Of course, this does not affect the integrity of climate science at all. That message will get lost, alas, in all the noise over this affair.

  8. Even without knowing the character of the parties involved, I have a hard time understanding why Gleick would have included the faked strategy memo in the document release if he already had the real documents obtained from Heartland via the social engineering trick. Why include the fake? The whole point of the document release was to get real evidence of the internal goings-on at Heartland out there before the world. The strategy memo doesn't really contain anything significant that isn't in the legitimate documents. So why risk including it?

    I have a similar risk-reward problem with the folks who have inside information from Heartland putting themselves out there to point to Gleick as the leaker in the days before Gleick came clean. See this item by Ross Kaminsky that appeared at The American Spectator's blog on Friday:

    Kaminsky writes, "One obvious suspect in the Heartland document theft -- and this is just my speculation -- is Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security and a true enemy of the Heartland Institute. Gleick is a committed alarmist rent-seeker who seems quite bitter that he shares Forbes magazine’s pages with Heartland’s James Taylor."

    Gleick is the only person singled out by Kaminsky, which is awfully prescient. And again, it seems like a risk: What if evidence appeared that the leaker was actually someone other than Gleick? Would Kaminsky be willing to get that far in front of the issue without actually knowing that Gleick was, in fact, the leaker?

  9. Seems to me that there is still much we don't know. John Callender's proposal seems plausible but there really isn't much evidence for it, or anything else.

    Though I do find it extremely hard to believe that Gleick wrote the 'fake' document.

    It is usually best, however, not to accuse people without good evidence. I'll Apply this equally to Mosher and Gleick.

    But the fact that people were singling out Gleick before his admission does raise questions.

    If only we had answers.

  10. I liked that movie.

    I haven't read all of Mosher's talk about the memo, but there is this comment and others there:

    I wonder if anyone else came up with things that might connect Glieck with that memo, or was it only Mosher noticing all these details?

    Sometimes on Criminal Minds, the killer inserts himself into the search for the killer.

  11. "Latonya Harris, who was our computer systems manager for the past 10 years, was let go in
    late 2011 due to chronic truancy. She received severance pay for 2 weeks in January, so she
    still appears in the personnel budget for 2012. She will not be replaced, as her duties are being
    picked up by others in the office and AMI Communications, a contractor we’ve been
    increasingly relying on and will use to set up our new computer network in the new office

  12. One thing you all seem to be missing, is that it was the content of the strategy memo that allowed Gleick to credibly impersonate a Board member.

    Whoever wrote (or faked) this memo, had independent inside knowledge of what was going on at Heartland, before Gleick obtained any of the other docs.

  13. Two things:

    I think pretexting is a more accurate description of what Gleick did. There is some legal precedent that pretexting a bank or teclo is illegal but otherwise the law seems pretty grey on the issue (as far as I can tell, but I am no lawyer).

    Far fetched or not, though there is no real evidence. means we can't say very much.

  14. Well prior to the Glieck confession, a writer from The Atlantic (not a skeptic) had analyzed the strat memo and said it was constructed from the other docs. This means it was almost certainly done by Gliek. (If the composer of the fake memo had access to the board meeting notes, he would have sent them along with the memo. If he did not have those board notes, there would be more variances of the docs...and the memo has obvious signs of borrowing from the docs.) Add onto that the writing style observations that show Gliek traits and the mention of him and all?

    Really crude construction to make that memo and laughable that he would think others (even on his side) would think he did not write it.

    [ I remain unconvinced. The crescendo against Gleick seemed a grotesque distraction. Now that there seems to be some truth to it, it just seems they already knew somehow. -mt ]

  15. John, I think the key point is that HI doesn't want scrutiny on its internal doings, and in particular on donors. Something like this was guaranteed to result in such scrutiny. Also, if the document was a fake that they expected Gleick to release, why not put some falsehoods in it so as to lend veracity to their claims of forgery?

  16. That's the most obvious one.

    From the same document, there's also this guy:

    Sam Schulman, senior advisor for development, was retained in 2011 to help identify major
    potential donors. His efforts didn’t produce any receipts, so his agreement ended at the end of
    October, he was unpaid in November, we then agreed to a two-month agreement (December,
    January) at $2,500 a month.

    This guy would actually be my prime suspect for authoring the document.

    Plus a raft of new folks who may not necessarily be "freedom" movement fellow travelers:

    Kendall Antekeier started in mid-2011 as a legislative specialist on health care issues. The
    position was vacant.

    Roy Clippard started in mid-2011 as receptionist and database assistant. He replaced
    Devonte Smith.

    Amanda Evans started mid-2011 as director of development. The position was vacant.

    Vince Galbiati will start on January 3 as director of the Free to Choose Medicine (FTCM)
    project, a three-year, $1 million/year project inspired by and partially funded by Bart Madden.

    John Griswold starts in January 2012 as a contractor overseeing a direct mail campaign. He
    is paid $0.055 per letter mailed, and one million letters are expected to be mailed in 2012.

    Ray Lehmann started in late 2011 as deputy director of the Center on FIRE and managing
    editor of OOTS News, a blog. He replaced Arin Greenwood.

    John Monagham started in mid-2011 as a legislative specialist on environmental issues. The
    position was vacant earlier in the year.

    Joy Pullmann started in mid-2011 as managing editor of School Reform News. She replaced
    Ben Boychuck.

    Pete Snyder started in late 2011 as a contractor providing Web programming.

  17. What I find really strange is how Gleick got accused of being responsible for the strategy memo on the basis of practically nothing:

    Out of all the people in the pacific time zone, why finger him?

    Imagine a Dan Rathering that didn't go as planned.

  18. Sorry, but the "confession" looks fishy. There's nothing on Gleick's Twitter feed about it. The Pacific Institute web site also says nothing about it. Plus, the "confession" is so generic and free of detail -- the details of the social engineering operation, which I pointed out as one of my main reservations over Heartland's story, is completely glossed over (!).

    Anyway, here's what his Twitter feed currently says:

    Great to be away with family. Celebrating 2 big birthdays. (Total =100!)
    12:40 PM Feb 18th via Twitter for Android

    If there's something like an actual interview where Gleick fesses up, then I'll believe it.

    -- frank

  19. Frank I expect that the Huff Post piece was composed with legal counsel, and contains precisely what they thought was wise. And I don't expect he will engage in any further communication for now. His lawyer will speak for him.

  20. Mosher at Blackboard:

    Steven Mosher (Comment #89992)
    February 16th, 2012 at 4:03 pm
    err Duke
    I dont think I got it. Kinda busy now, may get the leaker IP.
    fingers crossed.

  21. A few hours before that is when the Gleick speculation started:
    Steven Mosher (Comment #89946)
    February 16th, 2012 at 1:52 pm
    I have some speculation on the writer of the document.
    1. West coast time zone.
    2. trashes Curry and revkin, known adversaries
    3. Uses a very strange word (anti-climate) in the document
    and in his tweets
    4. uses parenthesis in a very odd way when he doesnt know
    how to punctuate sentences. in the document and in
    his letter to Pielke.
    5. glorifies himself in the document.
    6. prior history of making phony statements
    Its not proof of course, just a speculation, kinda like Mann speculating that Steve mcIntyre had something to do with the leak. which nobody objected to.

  22. OK, the Guardian article seems to be enough confirmation for me that the HuffPo confession is genuine:

    In a sign of combat to come, Gleick has taken on a top Democratic operative and crisis manager, Chris Lehane. Lehane, who worked in the Clinton White House is credited for exposing the rightwing forces arrayed against the Democratic
    president. He was Al Gore's press secretary during his 2000 run for the White House.

    -- frank

  23. Tobis wrote: "I expect Mosher will say that he really did think it was Gleick without any prompting from the perpetrator, and that the right explanation is that Gleick really did manufacture the “strategy” document. And that would be a coherent theory except for the fact that Gleick wouldn’t do that."

    Would you have said the same thing 24 hours ago about Gleick fraudulently obtaining the documents from Heartland?

  24. Yes, I would have. And I did. And I was wrong.

    But I don't think Gleick is lying in his public statement, and his version all makes the whole thing a lot clearer and more plausible, except for how Mosher and Kaminsky knew it was him.

  25. Wrong. The content of the strategy memo wasn't what allowed Gleick to impersonate a board member. All he needed to know was a board member's name and a meeting date.

    But much of the info in the forged strategy memo duplicated info found in the other documents, so it would appear that the forger had access to at least some of the other documents, or similar materials. So who had access to the other documents?

    Well, Heartland Board members, of course, and staff.

    And Gleick, of course.

    And whoever else Gleick shared the stolen documents with. We're ruling out Gleick and his friends... why? Because Gleick says he's not the forger, and that's proof enough for us? Because Gleick would never lie?

    What evidence do we have that the forged document was created before Gleick stole the meeting package? Gleick's word?

    Well, maybe someone was snooping on a Board member's emails, perhaps at an ISP, or via a trojan infection on a PC, or similar.

  26. "Wrong. The content of the strategy memo wasn’t what allowed Gleick to impersonate a board member."

    That theory, i.e., Heartland telling the truth, requires

    1) somehow Gleick worked up the nerve and the motivation to try to convince a staffer without any information that wasn't public.
    2) Heartland was gullible enough to cough up everything that was asked for without any confirmation
    3) Gleick thought it necessary to sex up the document to make his nefarious plot work
    4) Mosher recognized Gleick's writing style and was so sure of it he worked up a frenzy of speculation about Gleick so fierce that Gleick confessed

    Gleick telling the truth in his confession requires, in addition to an informant (or a deliberate bait drop, but that also strikes me as implausible), that

    1) Mosher knew it was Gleick somehow other than brilliant textual analysis of something Gleick didn't write

    possibly elaborated to

    1a1) Gleick was too unsophisticated to send the mail from a neutral physical site.
    1a2) Then Mosher got hold of the mail and identified the IP address. (He apparently did state he was on the trail of the IP address, but curiously, only after he started "speculating" about Gleick, so possibly this is to throw us off the track.)

    ymmv, as we used to say on the internet in its glory days

  27. The timing of Gleick's confession seems like damage control. Gleick didn't confess until he realized that Mosher had figured out that Gleick was the culprit. So Gleick confessed to as little as possible, but not to the worst part. Damage control.

    But, as Mosher noticed, the way they forged document is written still suggests that Gleick was the author:

  28. I'll grant the bait thing is speculative, but it hardly seems implausible. It would explain how Mosher and Kaminsky knew, and why the memo has a mix of Snidely Whiplash and verified (but non-public) fact, the sorts of things they'd like to discredit. They just wouldn't have expected Gleick to use it to get more.

  29. Dave Burton, again, your proposed timeline makes zero sense. You can't expect us -- can you? -- to believe that Gleick 'forged' a bogus memo based on the leaked documents, and then went back in time to impersonate a board member by using the information in the memo.

    -- frank

  30. "Back in time," frankswifthack? What are you talking about? Gleick didn't use any info from the forged memo when impersonating the Board member. Where did you get the idea that he did?

    There's no evidence of any sort that the forged memo was created before Gleick stole the documents from Heartland. He was sent the documents February 6th at 9 a.m., which was nearly a week before the PDF timestamp in the forged memo.


  31. Based on what Heartland released, it was a very weak phishing attempt requiring no knowledge except the name of one board member. Dave Burton is assuming that the Heartland release is both true (I suspect it is) and complete (I highly doubt it).

    If it is the whole story, Heartland's response was stunningly incompetent. Heartland's implicit defense is that mere incompetence on Gleick's part was met with raging spectacular incompetence on Heartland's. I suppose that is possible.

    But we don't know what went on before that email exchange or why it worked. I have to guess that there were some phone calls.

    Normally if you change an address the confirmation is sent to the old address, not the new one, nicht var?

  32. Gleick didn't use any info from the forged memo when impersonating the Board member.

    Then explain to us this: how did Gleick know (1) whom to impersonate (2) which documents to ask for (3) whom to contact, all before he even received a single one of the leaked documents?

    Can you at least put up a theory that at least makes sense, instead of treating us like idiots?

    -- frank

  33. And how would Heartland know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the document was faked by Gleick and no one else?

    And when can we expect them to sue Gleick for libel? How about 'never'?

    -- frank

  34. OK, just checked out the 'evidence' on Heartland's web site. One oddity is that the receptionist apparently sent an older version of the Board Directory, with only one e-mail address for each board member, instead of the updated version with the fake address.

    I sure hope a Motion to Expedite Discovery is in the works...

    -- frank

  35. This blogger has posted emails about Heartland inviting Gleick to debate in Janurary, presumably without Gleick's permission, and without stating where the blogger got them. And the two links to Heartland documents don't work.

    The timing may be interesting; according to these emails as posted, Heartland's Jim Lakely emailed Peter Gleick on Jan. 13, 2012, inviting him to do a debate, and several emails passed back and forth over up to Jan. 27, with some interesting things said.

    I don't know when in January Gleick received the memo anonymously, but I wonder if the invitation was given at this time by coincidence? And Gleick seems to me to have been fishing for information.

  36. Ah, I see those emails probably came from the Heartland's fakegate site.

    But they do seem to me to support Gleick's story that he had received that memo and was trying to confirm its accuracy.

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