An investigation into a wildlife biologist at the Interior Department has evolved into a multiagency probe of his research for a 2006 paper that galvanized the global warming movement, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
Interior’s inspector general office began its investigation of Charles Monnett two years ago. Officials first said the probe was related to his role in a sole-source contract for a current polar bear study, but investigators have repeatedly focused their questions on Monnett’s famous 2006 paper that linked the death of polar bears to melting ice caps.
In October, two IG agents interviewed Jeffrey Gleason, an avian biologist and Interior employee who co-authored that paper. In a tense conversation — revealed in the transcript PEER released today — agents Eric May and John Meskel questioned the validity of the database Gleason and Monnett used to conclude an uptick in polar bear deaths in open water.
Now investigators are turning their sights on the current operator of that database: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In an email sent in January, and provided by PEER, May asks to interview the employee in NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Lab who oversees the surveys recorded in the database…