Climategate: US Department of Energy Issues Order to Preserve All Documents Related to the CRU!
In a surprising move, the United States Department of Energy on Monday morning issued a “Litigation Hold Notice” directing its employees to preserve all documents and data relating to the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
A litigation hold order requires all personnel to preserve the information in anticipation that it may become evidence in judicial or investigative actions.
What this means is that enough traction has been gained by the climategate revelations that the Inspector General in the Department of Energy now realizes that the agency may be liable if it destroys any information relevant to the case. One would wish that the order were broader and included other US agencies including the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the NASA Goddard Institute as well, but it is an important first step in securing evidence.
From the order:
DOE-SR has received a “Litigation Hold Notice” from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) General Council and the DOE Office of Inspector General regarding the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England. Accordingly, they are requesting that SRNS, SRR and other Site contractors locate and preserve all documents, records, data, correspondence, notes, and other materials, whether official or unofficial, original or duplicative, drafts or final versions, partial or complete that may relate to the global warming, including, but not limited to, the contract files, any related correspondence files, and any records, including emails or other correspondence, notes, documents, or other material related to this contract, regardless of its location or medium on which it is stored. In other words, please preserve any and all documents relevant to “global warming, the Climate Research Unit at he University of East Anglia In England, and/or climate change science.”
The Litigation Hold Notice appears to have been triggered by a letter from Senator Inhofe (see copy below) which was written back on November 30th. Why did it take two full weeks for the DOE to comply?
Hat Tip: Climate Audit
One commentator at Watts Up With That makes a very astute observation:
I haven’t read through ALL of the responses, but there’s a point here I’d like to make. This “notice”, in effect, is not so much an order to preserve documents, as a WARNING to DESTROY them. For the really incriminating stuff, there’s nothing to lose by destroying it, even if you get caught destroying it. Our lawyer friend mentioned certain “sanctions”, which basically revolved around the the prosecution being able to assume that the destroyed documents were “bad” for the defendant. But this is certainly couldn’t be any worse than what the documents ACTUALLY showed. And it only helps the prosecution if the destroyers are caught. And if an individual gets caught destroying stuff, he’ll just claim it was accidental – that he didn’t know that file had anything to do with global warming; or he just likes to clean out his old email messages once a month; or he missed that memo from the Legal Counsel. Of course, computer experts know that, unless you’re really, really computer savvy, no electronic document is EVER completely destroyed – there’s a backup somewhere. But I wonder how diligent DOE’s IT techs will be in ferreting out document destruction and finding the backups. I wonder how far Obama’s Secretary of Energy will go to help bring down his own side of this debate.
Believe me, the paper shredders at DOE will be working overtime tonight. And probably a few well-placed IT techs with AGW sympathies will be deleting the electronic trails. In the end, even if they get caught, DOE will claim, just like CRU, that the evidence was just “lost”. If the DOE really wanted these documents preserved, they would have sent teams of investigators to all facilities, simultaneously, and just kicked everyone out of their offices and began searching. The real content of this message was “delete or destroy everything you have that could be used to disprove global warming or prove fraud or malfeasance on the part of anyone who is a global warming alarmist. Immediately.”