Peter H. Gleick, global warming activist and president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, has admitted to stealing documents from The Heartland Institute.
In a statement published Monday night at The Huffington Post, Gleick admitted his wrongdoing and expressed remorse for his actions — going so far as to apologize for his conceit.
According to Gleick, he anonymously received a Heartland document and, in an effort to confirm it, stole documents from Heartland.
“Given the potential impact, however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name. The materials the Heartland Institute sent to me confirmed many of the facts in the original document, including especially their 2012 fundraising strategy and budget,” Gleick wrote.
“I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues,” he added. “I can explicitly confirm, as can the Heartland Institute, that the documents they emailed to me are identical to the documents that have been made public. I made no changes or alterations of any kind to any of the Heartland Institute documents or to the original anonymous communication.”
According to Heartland, however, at least one of the documents, “A Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” was forged.
“[Gleick] claims he did not write the forged memo, but only stole the documents to confirm the content of the memo he received from an anonymous source,” Heartland Institute President Joseph L. Bast said in a statement. “This too is unbelievable. Many independent commentators already have concluded the memo was most likely written by Gleick.”
Gleick did offer his regrets for his actions — actions which the New York Time’s Andrew Revkin described as having “destroyed his credibility and harmed others.”
“My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts — often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated — to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved. Nevertheless I deeply regret my own actions in this case,” wrote Gleick. “I offer my personal apologies to all those affected.”
Bast expressed hope that a fuller confession would be forthcoming from Gleick. He added that a mere apology is not enough.
“Gleick’s crime was a serious one,” said Bast. “The documents he admits stealing contained personal information about Heartland staff members, donors and allies, the release of which has violated their privacy and endangered their personal safety.”
According to Bast, Heartland will be consulting with legal counsel about what comes next. The organization has asked that publishers retract and remove the information distributed by Gleick.