'Foreign spies behind email leak'

Norfolk police today declined to comment on a claim that foreign spies were behind the leaking of hundreds of emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Norfolk police today declined to comment on a claim that foreign spies were behind the leaking of hundreds of emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The claim was made by the government's former chief scientist, Sir David King, who said the hacking and selective leaking bore the hallmarks of a co-ordinated intelligence operation.

Sir David said the emails were deliberately leaked in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate conference in December, in a bid to “destabilise” the event.

Sir David said: “A very clever nerd can cause a great deal of disruption and obviously make intelligence services nervous, but a sophisticated intelligence operation is capable of yielding the sort of results we've seen here.


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“It was an extraordinarily sophisticated operation. There are several bodies of people who could do this sort of work. These are national intelligence agencies and it seems to me that it was the work of such a group of people.”

He added: “I don't think that it's a coincidence that the stealing of the emails was put out for publication one month before Copenhagen. The emails date back to 1996, so someone was collecting the data over many years.”

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The unit's director, Prof Phil Jones, has temporarily stood down from his post while a police investigation and an independent inquiry are carried out into the hacking.

Last week the Information Commissioner's Office said UEA had breached freedom of information (FOI) rules in its handling of requests from a retired Northampton engineer, but would not face action because the time limit for prosecutions had run out.

Norfolk Police and UEA said they would not comment on speculation that a foreign intelligence agency was involved in the security breach.

The leaked files include documents, detailed data and private e-mails exchanged between leading climate scientists. But academics deny claims the material showed science had been manipulated.

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