Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Climbing down

If Sir David King had that mysterious quality of prestige yesterday, he has a whole load less of it today.

The Guardian (again!) does the honours, recording Sir David pontificating that: "The operation looked amazingly efficient and amazingly sophisticated. It looks very much like an intelligence operation."

But, the paper says coyly, "it emerged that he had been misinformed about key facts." Misinformed? The man was talking out of his rear end, from a standpoint of total ignorance. However ...

One of his grounds for believing a high-powered team of professionals were behind the leak, he said, was that there had been a wide spread of emails going back decades "between very different people". He told The Independent: "The emails date back to 1996, so someone was collecting the data over many years."

But, as UEA confirmed today, all the files and emails were archived on a single backup server on the Norwich campus. Once access was gained, it would have been simple to copy all the material.

That is exactly what Lance Levsen had surmised – and furthermore, Guardian inquiries indicate police investigators have no evidence of foreign intelligence involvement.

Similarly, we are told, the fact that the leaked files were originally posted on a Russian server, and links to them came from servers in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, does not prove the operation was "highly sophisticated".

Computer hackers say that there are simple pieces of software which can divert a file through layers of so-called open proxy servers. One called TOR can be downloaded from the internet. It renders the origin of the message anonymous.

Thus, from the initial days, when the Mail on Sunday was hyperventilating about Russian agents, we see "a marked change of emphasis" on the part of police and information commissioner investigators.

While the University of East Anglia, which had called in the police, talked about illegal hacking and "theft of data", the police now say that they are investigating "criminal offences in relation to a data breach."

There are an awful lot of people going to have to eat their words over this affair, especially R K Pachauri, who has gone along with the rest of the warmists, alleging "theft" and all sorts of dire conspiracies.

For the moment, though, we can be content with the fact that the great Sir David King has made a complete fool of himself – and has been "outed" by The Guardian.