Thursday, September 01, 2011

Inside Job

One of the bunnies noticed a note from the Department of the Interior Office of the Inspector General sent to Sen. Inhofe, that Inhofe has posted.

29 comments:

CapitalClimate said...

A mole planted by the previous maladministration, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Idle speculation....

The investigation transcript makes it clear that Monnett does not suffer fools lightly..

Possible scenario: Mr seasoned career employee tosses a snarky denialist comment at Monnett by the water-cooler -- Monnett responds by tearing him a new one (or two), throwing in a pointed grammar-school arithmetic lesson for good measure.

As the laughter at the water-cooler slowly subsides, Mr. seasoned employee slinks back to his cubicle to like the wounds on his pride, and immediately starts plotting to get even....

Anonymous said...

That's *lick* the wounds...

Anonymous said...

Your missing the key phrase in this statement: "... that acts of scientific misconduct..." .

Weren't we told the investigation had something to do with administering contracts, and not following department policy on contracting? This investigation has morphed into a really bizarre 'fishing expedition.'

Perhaps if Dr. Monnett had been contacted earlier, they could have organized a more effective fishing expedition, since he is a wildlife scientist.

Paul K2

Anonymous said...

The more I think about it, Dr. Monnett and his legal team must take legal action to make the accuser come forward, so that Dr. Monnett can address the technical issues directly. Select three prominent wildlife scientists, and a scientist expert in sampling, then let this panel hear the accuser make the charges directly, and get Dr. Monnett's responses.

This issue of 'scientific misconduct' can be settled in an afternoon.

Paul K2

Steve Bloom said...

Steve (first commenter), for me as perhaps you the name Indur Goklany comes to mind. But probably there are other candidate "burrowers," and indeed a fair number of motivated non-burrowers among the rat's nest that is Interior.

But what's most interesting about this is that a mere "j'accuse" can get this kind of result. Watch them try to keep the accusatory memo from going public.

Also, since the accusation was indeed all about scientific misconduct per the OIG, the contract compliance business is entirely the OIG's own call.

This all looks worse and worse.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

I don't think he's at DOI anymore. However he is the Julian Simon "Fellow" at PERC which is, unfortunately, located in my town of Bozeman, MT. We have to put up w/stupid op-eds from the guys who run this place (they are famou8s for holding sindigs [sic], at Big Sky for federal judges on environmental issues. Pretty odious bunch, those guys.

crf said...

The alleged act of scientifc misconduct was Monnett helped someone write a research proposal that would later be evaluated by a committee of which Monnett was a member?

Steve Bloom said...

No, crf, at least if we can rely on the statement BOEMRE head Bromwich issued a while back.

RN, he's still listed at Interior.

J Bowers said...

I imagine a straight-up scientist working for MMS/BOEMRE must have been a nigthtmare.

Anonymous said...

"seasoned, career Department of the Interior (DOI) employee"

This tells us a couple of things. First, this person was not likely a scientist. If that was the case the IG would have mentioned it to bolster credibility. Besides, everyone knows a scientist would have aired any gripe by submitting a note to the journal pointing out problems with the paper. That leaves us to suspect the source was a manager. Managers at MMS/BOEMRE have been roasted since the Gulf spill for their close associations with the oil business. If Monnett was not popular with the oil business, one wonders if there was a connection through the source of the complaint to Shell or one of the other companies that has effectively operated a revolving door for former MMS managers in recent years. Inhofe's statement, in his letter"

"This response is striking not only because it makes clear that these allegations came from within the Obama Administration, but also because it appears that the IG investigation may be centered on scientific misconduct rather than only the procurement issues which were cited by BOEMRE as the reason for Dr. Monnett's suspension."

seems to be trying to deflect readers from thinking that this could have anything to do with him, or other flat-earther/oil industry influence. However, the most parsimonious explanation may be that an oil-business-linked employee may have been playing into Inhofe's game which appears to be to create an issue that Perry can raise to distinguish himself from the other rightwing candidates. Inhofe recieves more contributions from the petroleum industry than any other senator. He is tightly linked to his former communications director Marc Morano who manages "climate depot" a blog that is releasing numerous statements supporting Perry. Would be nice to know who the accuser is. Must be fun for Monnett to walk the halls at the agency wondering ...

J Bowers said...

Is that the same Marc Moarano who was connected with Swift Boat?

"But a call comes in from Anthony Watts,..."

Don't know why that stands out.

Lars Karlsson said...

Yes, that's Swift Boat Morano. He also used to work as reporter and producer for the Rush Limbaugh Television Show.

Anonymous said...

Snow Bunny says

Goklany was listed at DOI in May, 2010, according to Wikipedia, but it doesn't say how long he's been there. He also wrties op-ed pieces, essays for the Cato institute and posts at Anthony Watts. Steve Bloom said DailyKos said he appeared to be hired in 2003. Bloom wondered why he was still there in 2010 in the key position of "Assistant Director of Programs and Science & Technology Policy". One wonders, indeed. I wouldn't equate him with "a seasoned, career employee of DOI'. Maybe OIG would.

Apparently, the public fuss over this case is making an impact. PEER's exposure of the inane interrogation of Monnett and Gleason has OIG defensive at this point. Remember, DOI or any agency has limited control over IG investigations, to provide independence in case of investigations of corruption.

The investigation began as 'scientific misconduct'. Whoever alleged it must have been fed crap from the unusual deniers. Clearly mis-science was fed to the IGs. "How did you know it was a polar bear?" Then, the questions about "the statistics". (Monnett said it was 5th grade arithmetic, not statistics.)

There were plenty of employees at now-renamed MMS that were in bed with the mining industry, sometimes literally. Unknown numbers cavorting with denier 'think tanks'.

DOI has suggested a reorganization to separate management of wildlife scientists and environmental impact evaluators from management of leases, as there is an inherent conflict of interest. A review of the MMS scandal prompted the reorganization. It takes time for government to carry out a reorganization, which often requires congressional approval.

Robert said...

You might like this Eli,

http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/9/2002/pdf

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Robert, in the words of the Stoat: "Oh Dear..."

Brian Dodge said...

A couple of clueless nonscientist OIG investigators ask Dr Monnett a bunch of questions they couldn't have come up with on their own about his polar bear drowning paper. Then he's put on administrative leave, and they confiscate his papers and PC, no doubt to see if they can dig up some dirt.

Then BOEMRE head lawyer Bromwitchunt says "..but I can assure you that the decision had nothing to do with his scientific work, or anything relating to a five-year old journal article..."and "It is a sign of the work that remains to be done that so many individuals and groups were ready to criticize us without any knowledge of the facts that led to the decision -- and without asking about them." Questions were asked about the facts - but he kept the info secret in a feeble attempt to deflect the outrage the investigation and suspension caused. The facts may have been kept secret, but the motives are clear.

Now Mary L. Kendall, Acting IG at Interior lets the cat out of the bag, telling Senator Inhofe that it actually was about his scientific work. And Inhofe merrily puts it on the web - Thanks Senator!

Meanwhile, back in Alaska, Dr James Kendall (same last names gotta be a coincidence, right?) is named as the Director of the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Region.

dhogaza said...

Robert, RN ... oh my, indeed:

"...as many climate researchers and engaged observers of the climate change debate pointed out in various internet discussion fora, the paper by Spencer and Braswell [1] that was recently published in Remote Sensing is most likely problematic in both aspects and should therefore not have been published....

Therefore, I would like to take the responsibility for this editorial decision and, as a result, step down as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Remote Sensing..."

I've ellipsed a lot, but what I've left should tantalize people enough for them to go read the entire piece. It's a whole lot of "we f***ed up" complete, as you can see above, with face-saving seppuku.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

@Eli

How happy are you that the editor of remote sensing resigned?

Neven said...

Isn't that the paper Pielke Père mentioned in a recent discussion with John Nielsen-Gammon?

EliRabett said...

Neven, yep see updates everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Well, this is curious.

First Roy says this:

"Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says:
September 2, 2011 at 1:03 PM
The “gatekeeping” activities of IPCC scientists is indisputable, and has been reported on repeatedly (e.g. here).

re Q1: Almost every journal requires a list of suggested reviewers, and except for one reviewer, the identities of the reviewers chosen was unknown to us."

But later he says:

"Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says:
September 2, 2011 at 5:29 PM
Excuse me, but the peer reviewers were all researchers who have actually published on the subject of climate sensitivity. "

Seems to me that Roy is telling lies.

Obscurity

Anonymous said...

Re above. Oops, wrong thread.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Greg Laden has one up too...

http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2011/09/cloudgate_denialism_gets_dirty.php

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Obscurity,

Let's Lindzen, Choi, Christy, Pielke Sr. Who else can the bunnies name?

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Same for me. Reposted in the right place...

Steve Bloom said...

Snow Bunny, Goklany had a prior stint at Interior, IIRC in the same office, during Reagan/Bush I. Having been "burrowed" (for those who aren't familiar with the term, it refers to the conversion of a political appointee to Civil Service status, somrthing the Bush regime did extensively on its way out of office), Goklany is certainly "career," and between his age (~60 now) and extensive experience at DoI and the think tanks, "seasoned" isn't even that unreasonable.

As well, the innumeracy of the criticism of the paper as related by the IG investigators just reeks of the sort of low-rent crap typical of the denialist think tanks, to say nothing of Goklany himself as he continues to moonlight at WTF and elsewhere.

But having re-read the transcripts carefully, in Monnett's I saw a couple of things I'd missed the first time around:

1) According to a 2010 GAO report, the annual turnover of the Alsaka BOEMRE technical and scientific staff is as high as 50%, which would seem to be very strong evidence of the sort of poisonous atmosphere Monnett describes. Federal scientist bunnies, is this as atypical as it sounds?

2) Monnett's superiors refused to let him do a redesign of the bowhead program to account for changed circumstances that caused it to no longer be able to meet its objectives. If run according to a proper design, it would have the potential to find that the bowhead migration patterns were being disrupted (actually its stated purpose), which would throw a very large monkey wrench into drilling operations. See the transcript pp. 88-92. Come to think of it, is anybody looking into who it was that did the blocking so that the IG can go after them? And where are the media on this? Passively transcribing DoI press releases, apparently. :(

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Steve,

I saw that our dear friend Indur is still at DOI. Somebody should fix the Sourcewatch page on him then. I'm surprised that a search for "indur goklany department of interior" didn't bring the contact page up in the first few hits, since it is like, at the Department of Interior...

Anonymous said...

Today's Green Blog article on the tawdry letter from the DOI IG to the ignominious Senator Inhofe doesn't add to what's been posted here, AFAIK, but worth a read and possibly a comment.
Taylor B