The University of Virginia is providing ammunition for skeptics by citing 'proprietary nature' of some material requested under a Freedom of Information Act request, forcing a court order to get it.
Mann does himself - much less the University of Virginia or his lawyers - no good by delving into law interpretation with the rigor of his statistical analysis techniques, telling Science magazine
"U.Va has not turned over emails related to discussions of research, unpublished manuscripts, private discussions between scientists about science, etc.,--i.e., any of the materials that are exempt from release by state law...U.Va has simply turned over the non-exempt emails, and many of these were turned over to ATI months ago."He seems to be bragging that UVA has stonewalled skeptics the way the University of East Anglia did, and which got them into trouble. What law says 'private discussions between scientists about science' are exempt from a Freedom of Information Act request? None.
Mann will be cleared of literal wrongdoing again, just like the NSF did, and he should be - but he needs to shut up and stick to research. He does more harm than good for climate science by being clever with Frankenstein graphs and now playing shade tree lawyer.
If he wants to have his emails exempt, he simply has to stop taking public money. Progressives in science who cheered Greenpeace efforts to condemn and harass skeptics using FOIA requests but cheer stonewalling now are hypocrites of the highest order.
Look for resolution, or at least some progress in the fight, next month. If there is nothing to hide, UVA might be better off just handing over the emails. If they are making a conservative stand about intrusion of big government into their affairs, that is darn ironic.
Hiding the Decline of Academic and Scientific Transparency - By Paul Chesser, American Spectator