Heartland Institute Responds to Stolen and Fake Documents

FEBRUARY 15, 2012 – The following statement from The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more information, contact Communications Director Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/377-4000.

Yesterday afternoon, two advocacy groups posted online several documents they claimed were The Heartland Institute’s 2012 budget, fundraising, and strategy plans. Some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.

The stolen documents appear to have been written by Heartland’s president for a board meeting that took place on January 17. He was traveling at the time this story broke yesterday afternoon and still has not had the opportunity to read them all to see if they were altered. Therefore, the authenticity of those documents has not been confirmed.

Since then, the documents have been widely reposted on the Internet, again with no effort to confirm their authenticity.

One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact.

We respectfully ask all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, especially the fake “climate strategy” memo and any quotations from the same, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

The individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages, including damages to our reputation. We ask them in particular to immediately remove these documents and all statements about them from the blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

How did this happen? The stolen documents were obtained by an unknown person who fraudulently assumed the identity of a Heartland board member and persuaded a staff member here to “re-send” board materials to a new email address. Identity theft and computer fraud are criminal offenses subject to imprisonment. We intend to find this person and see him or her put in prison for these crimes.

Apologies: The Heartland Institute apologizes to the donors whose identities were revealed by this theft. We promise anonymity to many of our donors, and we realize that the major reason these documents were stolen and faked was to make it more difficult for donors to support our work. We also apologize to Heartland staff, directors, and our allies in the fight to bring sound science to the global warming debate, who have had their privacy violated and their integrity impugned.

Lessons: Disagreement over the causes, consequences, and best policy responses to climate change runs deep. We understand that.

But honest disagreement should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.

Those persons who posted these documents and wrote about them before we had a chance to comment on their authenticity should be ashamed of their deeds, and their bad behavior should be taken into account when judging their credibility now and in the future.

12 thoughts on “Heartland Institute Responds to Stolen and Fake Documents”

  1. This is exacly the right direction – hit ’em where they live – in the wallet. A number of years back, my industry was plagued with a series of frivilous lawsuits, with my company being the main target (deeper pockets). It went on until we picked one especially egregious situation, whipped them in court and then filed against the law firm that brought the suit. We were awarded a very large sum due to the lawyers’ lack of even minimal due diligence in vetting their client and claims. The word spread quickly through the plaintiffs’ bar and the suits stopped cold.

    More organizations/companies need to strike back……….

  2. As a guy who is rather slow on the uptake, too dim to be employed as a light-bulb, would someone please explain this to me, please?
    In the British High Court, it was agreed by the Government’s scientists and the makers of AL Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, that Al, in the words of the judge, “It would appear that, Mr Gore, inadvertently reversed the science of the ice cores.” It was established that over the last 12,000 years the ice cores show that CO2 levels were dictated by the global temperatures that proceeded them by 800 – 2,000 years. (I know you know all this stuff), but what baffles me is this:
    NASA and the UN are running around highlighting the current rising (according to them) CO2 levels and relating it to current global warming, but the current CO2 levels are the product of the global temperatures of the period, 12 AD to 1212AD? So unless they have a timeship that will transport them to 2812 – 4,012 how can they possibly foretell what the effect of our emissions will be? Am I crazy – please help!!!

  3. Well, partly, Ralph, it is because when you are relatively poorly funded, the ship isn’t as tightly run. Having worked with Senators and other heavy hitters, you’d be surprised how much is run via old fashioned voice phone calls and such. And people travel, so sending docs to different places/people is par for the course. Every safeguard and procedure is another roadblock and annoyance to staff/board members/etc.

    Bottom line: we’ve got them in a full panic run in the face of an uncooperative sun/climate. Lets take the shots like Men, keep shooting science/reality back at ’em, and unleash the Lawyer-kracken!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. The Heartland Institute is fully aware that there are radical people and organizations out there who want nothing more than to destroy them. Why (!) were security safeguards and procedures not put in place to prevent such a thing from happening?

    I can’t even stream a Netflix movie without proving that I am who I claim to be!

  5. If they are not a publicly traded company, then theit financials are no ones business but their own. Who can forget Fan Blathers forged NG “documents”?

  6. The zero growth nut jobs of the left will justify not only the theft but also the fabrication as they truly believe they are above the law and their moral superiority entitles them to do as they please. They are still upset over the leak that destroyed their flagship issue, Anthropogenic Global Warming, and the loss of momentum in their agenda to bring about the devolution of human society.

  7. maybe they can release all their emails, meeting minutes and budget information?

    ye know, just to clear things up?

  8. If Heartland does catch these criminals, and successfully prosecutes them in civil and criminal court, the results should be published far and wide so that the disrepute of the watermelon leftists is seen far and wide. Publicly humiliating the individual(s) in this manner will pull even more undecideds away from the alarmists and toward the side of science and reason.

  9. This isn’t the first time, and won’t be the last, that the rush to grab headlines has overwhelmed the need to do confirmation and fact-checking. That the alarmists circulated this so greedily shows once again that confirmation and fact-checking are foreign concepts to them. That others got caught out as well should inspire them to examine their commitments to quality journalism — if there are any.

  10. Hmm, faked and altered documents, looks like the left is recycling their playbook.
    Just the tone of the heartland statement oozes responsibility and maturity.
    I cannot say the same, of any of the Alarmist sites I have visted.
    “Hysterical, Angry, Condinsending, Smearing, Misleading,” would be more appropriate words for them.

  11. The only comment I have is that no matter what computer security you put on your system, if you don’t have physical security and a secure method of verifying phone identities (such as a caller ID table) you don’t have security. Shame on Heartland’s secretary. They should know better.

    I’m not going to comment on the thief because I doubt my temper would hold and I prefer to keep at least a modicum of decorum on public boards.

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