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FBI probes death threats in 'climategate'

Dec. 8, 2009 at 7:51 AM   |   Comments

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LONDON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Two British climate scientists involved in a hacking incident have received death threats since their e-mail messages were made public, officials said.

The threats are being investigated by the FBI, The Guardian reported Tuesday.

"Climategate" broke Nov. 19 when hundreds of messages between scientists from the Climate Research Unit at Britain's University of East Anglia and their colleagues from around the globe were posted online. The content of some of the messages has been used by climate skeptics to undermine the case that climate change is being caused man.

The e-mail messages were posted just weeks before the U.N.-backed climate change summit now under way in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Other CRU scientists and their colleagues reported receiving abusive and threatening e-mail since the scandal broke, the British publication said.

British police are investigating how the computers were hacked and the materials leaked. The University of East Anglia ordered an independent review into the allegations against CRU while its director, Phil Jones, stepped down until the investigations are completed.

Climate scientists not associated with the scandal said they didn't think the work CRU does would be discredited.

"CRU is just one of many climate research institutes that provide the underlying scientific basis for climate policy at national and international levels," said Dave Reay, a climate scientist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. "The conspiracy theorists may be having a field day, but if they really knew academia they would also know that every published paper and data set is continually put through the wringer by other independent research groups."

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