Climategate evidence suggests release was a leak

Published 28 December 2009

Climategate – Outside hacker, internal mole or whistle-blower ?

New information reveals that the now-famous break-in of the computers at the University of East Anglia— which revealed that in a few instances leading climatologists seemingly massaged data to show more global warming and discussed excluding contradictory research— in fact, may not have been the act of an intruder. A detailed analysis of the East Anglia’s files by Canadian network engineer discloses that the emails and documents were likely leaked by an internal source, spotlighting a perennial but often neglected threat — old-fashioned espionage or whistle-blowing.

The current controversy, over the validity of scientific global warming modeling and the legitimacy of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), has been amplified by the recent release of hundreds of e-mails and other documents allegedly purloined from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, in England. The common accusation has been that the e-mails and documents were accessed by a “hacker” from outside the organization.

Countless hours of broadcasting time have filled the airwaves with talk, not only of the contents of the e-mails, but also with questions about how the intruder was able to gain access to the university’s supposedly secure computer system. The University’s website maintains that the release of the information is the result of an external intruder.

All this chatter, however may well be misdirected. Canadian network engineer Lance Levsen, the UNIX systems administrator for the PW Group, a major Canadian publishing firm, has generated a detailed forensic analysis of the released e-mails and files.

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Levsen re-created the e-mail distribution system at UEA over the last ten years, capturing system changes by the university’s e-mail administrators during that time. Using information contained within the files that constitute the e-mails, as well as the filenames themselves, his modeling concludes and identifies the source for the leaked documents as an internal source within the University of East Anglia. The alleged “hacker”, Levson conludes, must have been someone with administrative, or “root” privileges, to UEA’s secure computer systems.

Levsen writes that the email files were stored on a single server, as indicated by their respective filenames. The sequential, but not consecutive, numbering is actually not random, as first appears, and has been reported. The filenames are actually UNIX epoch timestamps, which create a filename based on the number of seconds since midnight, 1 January, 1970. What this means is that the files were originally saved on an archiving