As if this week’s Rupert Murdoch Phone-Hacking Scandal wasn’t enough, it now appears that the University of East Anglia CRU email hacking scandal (a.k.a. Climategate) might actually be the work of the same News Corp henchman who helped to feed insider information from a Scotland Yard police investigation directly to Murdoch’s News Corp.
Neil Wallis, one of the key figures in the hacking of the phones, voicemails and electronic communications of anywhere from 4,000 to over 12,000 people, was essentially a double agent working by day as Executive Director of News of the World, and simultaneously as a public relations consultant during the police investigation into the scandal. Wallis conveniently reported back to News Corp on Scotland Yard’s investigation.
While Murdoch’s henchmen were getting the skinny on the police investigation, the police were convincing other news organizations not to cover the story.
After the November 2009 hacking of the computer server at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, the victimized climate science unit sought public relations guidance to help fight back against allegations of scientific misconduct.
Guess who they hired - Neil Wallis and his PR firm Outside Organisation.
And what of Wallis’ work in restoring the reputation of climate scientists? Well, the myth that the emails disprove climate change is still circulating. Fox News and other Murdoch-owned news channels were among the earliest and most vocal mouthpieces working to establish the myth, and continue to promote it to this day.
Neil Wallis’ role in the original CRU hacking is still unproven, but if his involvement in the NOTW phone hacking scandal is any indication, there is reason to question his interest in Climategate.
News Corp’s allies at Fox and Friends are telling us that the scandal is overblown that we should move on, but let’s hope Fox News doesn’t have the last say in this. Joe Romm is calling for an independent investigation into the scandal - one that does not involve the possibly compromised Scotland Yard. Perhaps the first step should be to see whether any climate scientists’ phones were hacked?
Head over to ClimateProgress to read Joe Romm’s coverage and to Daily Kos for Keith Olbermann’s thoughts, and check back for more on this ‘metastasizing’ story.
Here is Romm on Keith Olbermann’s show discussing the Neil Wallis scandal: