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In addition, the investigation would review CRU's compliance with Freedom of Information Act requests and also "make recommendations about the management, governance and security structures for CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds." On 22 March 2010 the university announced the composition of an independent Science Assessment Panel to reassess key CRU papers which have already been peer reviewed and published in journals.
The panel did not seek to evaluate the science itself, but rather whether "the conclusions [reached by the CRU] represented an honest and scientifically justified interpretation of the data." The university consulted with the Royal Society in establishing the panel.
The four were either recipients or senders of all but 66 of the 1,073 emails, with most of the remainder of the emails being sent from mailing lists.
A few other emails were sent by, or to, other staff at the CRU.
The story was first broken by climate change denialists Several people considered climate change "skeptics" argued that the emails showed global warming was a scientific conspiracy, that scientists manipulated climate data and attempted to suppress critics.Many commentators quoted one email in which Phil Jones said he had used "Mike's Nature trick" in a 1999 graph for the World Meteorological Organization "to hide the decline" in proxy temperatures derived from tree ring analyses when measured temperatures were actually rising.This 'decline' referred to the well-discussed tree ring divergence problem, but these two phrases were taken out of context by global warming sceptics, including US Senator Jim Inhofe and former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, as though they referred to some decline in measured global temperatures, even though they were written when temperatures were at a record high.John Tierney, writing in The New York Times in November 2009, said that the claims by sceptics of "hoax" or "fraud" were incorrect, but that the graph on the cover of a report for policy makers and journalists did not show these non-experts where proxy measurements changed to measured temperatures.The final analyses from various subsequent inquiries concluded that in this context 'trick' was normal scientific or mathematical jargon for a neat way of handling data, in this case a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion.
Norfolk police subsequently confirmed that they were "investigating criminal offences in relation to a data breach at the University of East Anglia" with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police's Central e-Crime unit, Commenting on the involvement of the NDET, a spokesman said: "At present we have two police officers assisting Norfolk with their investigation, and we have also provided computer forensic expertise.