Americans honor the courageous informant, the gutsy citizen who
stands against the savagery of the profit-mongering conglomerate.
Well, sometimes. It appears, believe it or not, that there are
those who aren't religiously tethered to this sacred obligation.
For now—because of revelations of the ClimateGate scandal, in
which hacked e-mails revealed discussions among top climate
scientists about the manipulation of evidence—Phil Jones, head of
the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit in
Britain, has stepped down from his position. Michael Mann,
architect of the famous "hockey stick" graph, is now under
investigation by Pennsylvania State University. Similar inquiries
"You call it 'ClimateGate'; I call it 'E-mail-theft-gate,'" Boxer
clarified during a committee shindig. "We may well have a hearing
on this; we may not. We may have a briefing for senators; we may
not." Boxer, as steady as they come, went on to put the focus
where it belongs: on hackers. She warned: "Part of our looking at
this will be looking at a criminal activity which could have well
been coordinated. ... This is a crime."
If this hacker(s) is unearthed on U.S. soil (or anywhere in the
Middle East, actually), Boxer can jettison the guilty party to
Gitmo for some well-deserved sleep deprivation.
But surely there is time for some sort of investigation? This is,
after all, the senator who ran a vital committee hearing in 2008
so that an Environmental Protection Agency whistle-blower, who
accused the Bush administration of failing to address greenhouse
gas emissions appropriately, could have his say.
Boxer's rigid devotion to rule of law is also admirable. But this
is the senator who championed the Military Whistleblower
Protection Act and fought for whistle-blowing rights for defense
contractor employees (to ferret out bureaucratic waste) and for
nurses (to protect patients' rights).
All of which sound like sensible protections for the
truth-seeking citizen. Because taxpayers matter.
So take Kevin Trenberth, who was caught claiming it was a
"travesty" that climate scientists could not "account for the
lack of warming at the moment"—though such anxiety never slowed
him from weaving unnerving tales of calamity. Trenberth runs the
Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric
Research in Boulder, Colo., which obtains 95 percent of its
funding from taxpayers.
Take the taxpayer-funded EPA, which was handed the incredible
power to arbitrarily (and without Congress) regulate all
carbon dioxide, through the Clean Air Act, in part
because of the science in question.
Take NASA, which—despite a 2-year-old Freedom of Information Act
request asking for research detailing its historical
data—continues to ignore taxpayers.
Are these state secrets?
Surely this insularity is one reason 59 percent of Americans,
according to a new Rasmussen poll, believe it is "somewhat
likely" that some scientists falsified research data to support
their own global warming theories. (Thirty-five percent of
Americans believe it's "very likely.")
Fortunately, President Barack Obama has an unwavering admiration
of truth tellers, asserting during his campaign that their "acts
of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and
often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than
Well, we don't need acts of courage and patriotism. Not yet. Just
start with a committee hearing, and work your way up. Because the
real crime here would be to continue to irresponsibly pass more
experimental legislation that fundamentally undermines our
affluent economy and free society on the word of those whom we
might not be able to trust.