Did News of the World Hack into Climate Scientists' Emails?


Image: ssoosay via Flickr/CC BY

The scandal du jour is unquestionably the phone-hacking debacle surrounding Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid -- which, until it was canned due to allegations of myriad criminal deeds, was England's top-selling newspaper. We now know that the paper's reporters and editors illegally intercepted some 4,000 voice messages and emails of celebrities, crime victims, policemen, and others, and paid off top officials in the Scotland Yard to keep the whole thing quiet.

Over at Climate Progress, Joe Romm raises the question -- could the News of the World have played a role in hacking the email accounts of climate scientists that lead to the ridiculously persistent (and entirely baseless) event known as Climate Gate?Here's the meat of his case:

There have been countless independent investigations into the scientists whose e-mails were hacked in November 2009. And the scientists have been (quietly) vindicated every time ... But we still don't know who hacked the emails! And now we know that one of the key investigative bodies tasked with tracking down the hackers -- Scotland Yard - were compromised at the time ...

In the light of the News Corp phone-hacking scandal, it is clear that Murdoch's outfit had means, motive, and opportunity for the Climategate email hacking. News Corp certainly has a history of defaming climate scientists and a penchant for hacking ...

So News Corp would obviously now be on the top of anybody's short list for possible suspects in the Climategate hacking. At the same time, we now know things were so cozy between News Corp, Wallis [Executive Editor of News of the World], and Scotland Yard that it is hard to believe News Corp would have been thoroughly investigated for Climategate, if they were investigated at all.


Photo: Howard Lake via Flickr/CC BY
Read the whole thing to get the detailed account. And for the record, Romm's not accusing News Corp of being responsible of the attacks -- he's just saying, quite rightly, in my opinion, that they must be investigated for that particular crime.

This once again raises the issue: how outrageous it is that we still don't know who was responsible for the so-called Climate Gate hacking. Can you think of another high profile hacking case in recent times when authorities have been content to let the perpetrator of such a crime get away scot-free? The fact that nearly no effort at all has been made to catch the hacker(s) seems to lend some validity to Romm's case.

With everyone obsessed over whether or not the hacked emails made scientists look bad, we never figured out whether the stunt was pulled by a party that had a vested interest in creating that impression. I second the motion: Investigate News Corp and the News of the World -- and let's find out who was paid to drag good scientists' names through the mud.

More on the Hacked Climate Email Scandal
Cold Case: Who Hacked Climatic Research Unit Emails Back In 2009?
Hacked Climate Email Event Fully Explained in Under 10 Minutes
The Truth Behind the Hacked Climate Email Controversy

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