Australian professor of economics and blogger John Quiggin:
In writing my previous post on the “Climategate” break-in to the University of East Anglia computer system, I remained unclear about who was actually responsible for the break-in theft of the emails, which were then selectively quoted to promote a bogus allegation of scientific fraud.
Looking over the evidence that is now available, I think there is enough to point to Steven McIntyre as the person, along with the actual hacker or leaker, who bears primary moral responsibility for the crime.
Having received the stolen emails, McIntyre played a prominent role in disseminating dishonest and misleading claims about their contents, focusing on the phrases “trick” and “hide the decline” which were used to suggest a conspiracy to commit scientific fraud. In fact, as the U Penn investigation found, these claims were baseless. “Trick” referred to a clever way of combining data, and the “decline” was not a decline in global temperatures but a well-known problematic feature of tree ring data.
So, to sum up, McIntyre organised the campaign which led to the creation of the file, obtained information from the CRU file system by means he declined to reveal, received the stolen emails shortly after the theft and made dishonest and defamatory use of the stolen information. Whether or not he was directly involved in the theft, or merely created the opportunity and benefited from the proceeds is impossible to determine, and essentially irrelevant.