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On February 20, Peter Gleick confessed to stealing documents from The Heartland Institute with the intent of exposing its funding sources and damaging its reputation. He also disseminated a fake “climate strategy memo” that he and other environmental activists on the left claim describes Heartland’s “secret strategy” to mislead the public about the true nature of climate change.
Glieck has been stripped of his ethics position, may lose his position in the Institute he founded, and may face charges for identity theft and wire fraud. The acts of a desperate charlatan who is seeing the basis of his grant funding slipping away.
The scientist who exposed the inner workings of the ultra-conservative Heartland Institute, triggering the defection of key donors, has been reinstated after an investigation.
Peter Gleick, who impersonated a Heartland board member to obtain and make public confidential budget and strategy documents, was restored to his position as president of the Pacific Institute, the organisation announced on its website.
The Pacific Institute indicated in the statement that it had found no evidence for Heartland's charges that Gleick had forged one of several documents he released last February.
[Edit for concision. --DJW001]
There was no immediate response from Heartland. But the organisation has taken a big hit since Gleick's revelations – although much of the damage was done by its own combattive response to the sting.
The documents released by Gleick exposed Heartland's donors' list – which it had kept private – as well as a plan to spread misinformation about climate change in schools. The ultra-conservative organisation immediately moved to capitalise on the media exposure, setting up a website which it called "Fakegate" and using Gleick's image to sell $22.49 coffee mugs.
But when Heartland promoted the climate conference by taking out a billboard comparing believers in climate change to psychopaths like the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, a run in donors, which had been relatively modest immediately after Gleick's exposé, spiked dramatically. Two board members resigned, almost all of those based in its Washington DC office quit, and a number of Heartland allies publicly chided the organisation and dropped out of last month's conference.