Watts Up With That?
December 15, 2009

It appears bigger things are brewing related to CRU’s Climategate.

WUWT commenter J.C. writes in comments:

CRU’s Phil Jones got funding from DOE.

I work at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. I’ve been following the Climategate scandal since its inception. The first time many of my coworkers had heard of the situation was when I asked them about it.

Well, well, well.

Look what was waiting in every single email Inbox on Monday morning:


“December 14, 2009

DOE Litigation Hold Notice

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.”

As a reminder, this Litigation Hold preservation obligation supersedes any existing statutory or regulatory document retention period or destructive schedule. The determination of what information may be potentially relevant is based upon content and substance and generally does not depend on the type of medium on which the information exists. The information requested may exist in various forms, including paper records, hand-written notes, telephone log entries, email, and other electronic communication (including voicemail), word processing documents (including drafts, spreadsheets, databases, and calendars), telephone logs, electronic address books, PDAs (like Palm Pilots and Blackberries), internet usage files, systems manuals, and network access information in their original format. All ESI should be preserved in its originally-created, or “native” format, along with related metadata. Relevant backup tapes and all indexes for those tapes should also be preserved. Further, information that is reasonably accessible must nonetheless be preserved, because such sources will, at the very least, need to be identified and, under compelling circumstances, may need to be produced.

If you have any doubts as to whether specific information is responsive, err on the side of preserving that information.

Any employee who has information covered by this Litigation Hold is requested to contact Madeline Screven, Paralegal, SRNS Office of General Council, 5-4634, for additional instructions.

Michael L. Wamsted

Associate General Council”


Everyone on-site who has an email account received this letter. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 8000 people. How about that? And this is the first official mention of the entire subject that I have seen.

DOE-SR = Department of Energy Savannah River

SRNS = Savannah River Nuclear Solutions

SRR = Savannah River Remediation


NOTE: Some commenters raised some doubts about the authenticity of this email.

I checked out a couple of things before I posted this. The IP address of J.C. comes from the correct location in South Carolina, Aiken, and the name Michael L. Wamsted does work for DOE at the SRS in SC in legal. See http://phonebook.doe.gov/

Also the existence of the paralegal “Madeline Screven” listed in the email (whom I believe composed it) is listed in the DOE phonebook search of  “Screven” and is listed in the same building as Wamsted.

The “Council -vs- Counsel” spelling error could be something as simple as a spell checker substituting the wrong word, or just a dumb mistake when composing email where the spell checker would not flag “council” as it is spelled correctly.  Heck, I misspell “meteorologist” sometimes in correspondence, dropping an “o”. I have had a situation sometimes where “metrologist” (also valid) gets substituted on spell check. Spelling mistakes, compounded with spell checker substitution errors – they happen. I have one computer (the one I’m typing on) that always switches the word “because” to “becuase” in spell checks for some odd reason, and I can’t figure out how to correct it. So I live with it and try to manually fix it when I notice it.  There is another spelling error “Climate Research Unit at he University”. Which is a mistake I make from time to time, missing the “t” on the. Spell checkers don’t catch that one, since “he” is a correctly spelled word.

If the IP had not come from Aiken, SC where Savannah River Site and lab is, I would be highly suspect of it. But the IP address in Aiken and the names check out. Aiken is right next to SRS.

See the doc and map for directions here: http://www.srs.gov/general/about/directions_aiken.pdf

The language used also checks out, it has been reviewed by an attorney who frequents WUWT and he raised no red flags. Steve McIntyre points out that Dr. Jones got funding from DOE (of which SRS is part of). The different pieces connect pretty well and I don’t have a reason to doubt this memo sent via email today. – Anthony

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