A local police force in the United Kingdom has closed its investigation into the 2009 incident in which private email accounts of researchers at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU) were hacked, and stolen messages between climate researchers were posted on the Internet, causing some to question the integrity of climate science. The Norfolk Constabulary announced Wednesday (July 18) that it did "not have a realistic prospect of identifying the offender or offenders and launching criminal proceedings" within the 3-year statutory window imposed by UK law. Police characterized the incident as a "sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack on the CRU’s data files, carried out remotely via the Internet."
The so-called Climategate scandal sent shockwaves through the world of climate research, as some parts of the pilfered messages suggested that CRU researchers and their collaborators in the United States and elsewhere were hyping up global warming to incite hysteria and garner attention to their cause. Wider investigations of the leaked messages, viewed in their full context, however, cleared the scientists involved of any malpractice, and an independent assessment of climate data confirmed the CRU scientist's findings.
While the case is closed on the UK end of the Climategate investigation, the US Department of Justice continues to look into the matter. Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann, who collaborated frequently with CRU researchers, told BBC News, that he was hopeful that the perpetrators of the attack would be brought to justice. "I hope that the separate investigation underway by the Justice Department in the US will continue undaunted," he said.