Under a cloud

Over at Watts Up With That? Chris Horner reports on the Freedom of Information Act request filed today by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The FOIA request seeks records including the user name and password established for a backchannel “cloud” established to hide IPCC deliberations from FOIA. (Horner reminds readers that the IPCC is Al Gore’s co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and the host over the years of numerous scandals involving fudged data and of course the infamous “hide the decline” in temperatures.) Horner writes:

CEI has learned of a UN plan recently put in place to hide official correspondence on non-governmental accounts, which correspondence a federal inspector general has already confirmed are subject to FOIA. This “cloud” serves as a dead-drop of sorts for discussions by U.S. government employees over the next report being produced by the scandal-plagued IPCC, which is funded with millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars.

As our FOIA request details, the UN informed participants that it was motivated by embarrassing releases of earlier discussions (“ClimateGate” key among them), and to circumvent the problem that national government transparency laws were posing the group.

CEI reminds [the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy] that this practice was described as “creat[ing] non-governmental accounts for official business”, “using the nongovernmental accounts specifically to avoid creating a record of the communications”, in a recent analogous situation involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff. CEI expects similar congressional and media outrage at this similar practice to evade the applicable record-keeping laws.

This effort has apparently been conducted with participation — thereby direct assistance and enabling — by the Obama White House which, shortly after taking office, seized for Holdren’s office the lead role on IPCC work from the Department of Commerce. The plan to secretly create a FOIA-free zone was then implemented.

This represents politically assisting the IPCC to enable UN, EU and U.S. bureaucrats and political appointees avoid official email channels for specific official work of high public interest, performed on official time and using government computers, away from the prying eyes of increasingly skeptical taxpayers.

CEI also reminds OSTP of a similar, ongoing effort by the administration to claim that records on U.S. government computers belong to the UN IPCC, refusing to produce them under FOIA. This practice was affirmed in a report by the Department of Commerce’s Office of Inspector General earlier this year.

As talks resume next month to forge a successor to the failed Kyoto Protocol, CEI looks forward to OSTP ceasing this unlawful activity, and providing prompt access to the requested records so the taxpayer can know what they, and the IPCC, are up to.

So this morning we requested all relevant records under FOIA, including all records sitting on that server, as they all were provided to U.S. government employees for official purposes. This was filed with OSTP run by controversial “science czar” and, we now know, former Mitt Romney “climate” advisor John Holdren. The taxpayer deserves to know about this coordinated effort between OSTP and the IPCC to subvert U.S. law.

Please check out Horner’s post and check the CEI site later today for a copy of the FOIA request.

UPDATE: CEI’s press release on its FOIA request is here; the FOIA request is accessible here.

Responses