FOIA for Me But Not For Thee

I thought this was one of the more interesting quotes unearthed so far from the Hadley CRU emails:

“When the FOI requests began here, the FOI person said we had to abide by the requests. It took a couple of half hour sessions – one at a screen, to convince them otherwise showing them what CA [Climate Audit] was all about. Once they became aware of the types of people we were dealing with, everyone at UEA (in the registry and in the Environmental Sciences school – the head of school and a few others) became very supportive. I’ve got to know the FOI person quite well and the Chief Librarian – who deals with appeals.”

I am not familiar with the ins and outs of the British FOI request process, but in the US such requests must be honored based on the content of the information requested, and NOT based on the views of the requester or the intended us of the information.  Basically, what the FOI officer has determined here is that this was a perfectly legitimate request that had to be honored UNTIL it was learned that it came from a person or group who disagreed with the center’s scientific conclusions and wished to use the data to try to replicate and/or criticize their work — then it could be ignored.   In the US, this would be a gross violation of  FOIA rules.  I am willing to be that it is not too kosher under British law either.

  • Papertiger

    We so much for the Limies. Let’s go get the Yanks now. GISS and NCDC internal memos, emails, codes, budget shenanigans, have to be at least as entertaining as CRU.

    Besides that, once someone hacks NOAA, there will be concrete evidence to embarass question selected Supreme Court Justice’s about why they hastily ruled that government can regulate the citizen’s right to breath.

  • hunter

    If you found out your 401-k was being managed like these guys are managing climate science, what would you do?
    Would you trust what they told you?
    Would you keep your money with them?

  • Bob Hawkins

    Until they went out of business, the biggest user of the U.S. FOIA was the Soviet Union.

  • tim heyes

    As one of the limies I have to agree with the points made. We have muppets for lawmakers in Britain, on both sides of the political divide. We have limited recourse to challenge the political classes and our legal system is the joke of the entire world – cf UK libel laws.

    We have no formal constitution or bill of rights, we are deferring all our social and political rights to an autocratic Europe… It’s no wonder the pilgrims set sail – just sorry i missed the boat.

  • Patvann

    Internal memo from Jones after getting wind of the FOI request (I found this within the released e-mails)…

    Options appear to be:

    1. Send them the data
    2. Send them a subset removing station data from some of the countries who made us pay in the normals papers of Hulme et al. (1990s) and also any number that David can remember. This should also omit some other countries like (Australia, NZ, Canada, Antarctica). Also could extract some of the sources that Anders added in (31-38 source codes in J&M 2003). Also should remove many of the early stations that we coded up in the 1980s.
    3. Send them the raw data as is, by reconstructing it from GHCN. How could this be done? Replace all stations where the WMO ID agrees with what is in GHCN. This would be the raw data, but it would annoy them.

  • Mtngoat

    The folks asking for this data should immediately file suit and name every one of these folks as defendants in interference with a legal request and conspiracy to deny access.

  • hunter

    Mtngoat,
    Great point.