LONDON, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- A foreign intelligence service was likely behind the hacking operation that led to the leaking of British climate change researchers' e-mails, an expert says.
David King, the British government's former chief scientist, told The Independent Monday the hacking operation was sophisticated and the way certain e-mails were leaked to produce embarrassment bore the hallmark of a coordinated foreign intelligence operation.
One of the leaked e-mails written by University of East Anglia professor Phil Jones was used to cast doubt on the scientific validity of climate change research in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate conference in December, and was seized upon by opponents of carbon emissions restrictions as a "smoking gun" that global warming research was being manipulated for political purposes.
King told the newspaper he believes the e-mail leaks were deliberately designed to discredit Copenhagen, dismissing the contentions of some that it was a run-of-the-mill hacking. He reportedly asserted the operation was perpetrated by a team of skilled professionals working either for a foreign government or at the bidding of U.S. anti-climate change lobbyists.
"Quite simply, it's the sophistication of the operation," King told The Independent.