Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Institutional Fact Canning at Penn State

Penn State has examples of the institutional ignoring of facts (or at least sources of facts) in both the Paterno/Sandusky scandal and their investigation of Michael Mann.

Now what most people would think of as ignoring facts in the Paterno/Sandusky case would be coach Joe Paterno, president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley ignoring sex crimes by Jerry Sandusky and trying to keep them under wraps. But Sandusky got indicted and convicted, Paterno got fired, and Spanier, Schultz and Curley  each got convicted of child endangerment. Then Penn State hired a former FBI director, Louis Freeh, to write a report to explain it all (for $8 million). For the public, the monster was caught and the institutional miscreants were punished. It all looks pretty tidy, unless you've been reading John Ziegler's site, Framing Paterno, or Mark Pendergrast's book, The Most Hated Man in America.
If you have, you know there was another investigation of the Penn State scandal that came up with very different results. This was an investigation into whether Graham Spanier should have his top secret security clearance renewed, and it was conducted by John Snedden, an agent of the Federal Investigative Services (FIS). He found no evidence of any cover-up or any crime to cover up, and Spanier's security clearance was renewed. Ziegler has a post and podcast here. I very strongly recommend listening to the podcast. It really is John Ziegler at his best. He gives a blow by blow account of Spanier's trial and does an interview with Snedden.

Freeh ignored Snedden's findings. Snedden interviewed Gary Schultz and Tim Curley. They declined to be interviewed by Freeh on advise of counsel. You'd think  Snedden's investigation would be a good resource. The only possible conflict I could find was that Snedden had attended Penn State. Looking at the Freeh report, it's surprising to see that he didn't interview Mike McQueary -- at the request of the Pennsylvania Attorney General (page 12, second paragraph, third sentence). From watching TV cop shows, aren't feds, PIs and local law enforcement always at odds with each other over jurisdiction? He doesn't want to interview the probably most significant witness in the case? Is there something he might not want to find? Well, Ziegler's certainly uncovered a lot of things he might not want to deal with, including, and as Dave Berry would say, I am not making this up, McQueary sending pictures of his penis to a woman, not his wife, over a Penn State phone! The details are here, including the pictures!

Now, about the Penn State investigation of Michael Mann, while I was arguing in the comments of an Amazon review, Jonathan Koomey dropped this link to a Think Progress post by Joe Romm, with the hilarious title, Much-vindicated Michael Mann and Hockey Stick get final exoneration from Penn State — time for some major media apologies and retractions. They supposedly found no substance to these two allegations:

> “Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to suppress or falsify data? “

> “Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4, as suggested by Phil Jones?”

As to the first one, right after McIntyre and McKitrick published their first paper, Mann said the data they used (which he sent them) was wrong. He also lied that it had been requested in the form of a spreadsheet. Email records showed this was a lie. He later repeated this lie to ...the Penn State inquiry! See this comment by Steve McIntyre.

As to the second, Phil Jones email about "deleting emails" was sent to Mann. In it he asked Mann to tell Eugene Wahl to do the same. Mann actually made a reply that included, “I’ll contact Gene about this ASAP”. Wahl was never interviewed by the PSU inquiry, but he "later testified to a federal inspector general that he did receive Mann’s message and complied".

Well, at least in the Mann investigation, Penn State was looking after its own interest.  As Pat Michaels said in this podcast interview with Alex Epstein:
 "And why was Mann exonerated? Mann was exonerated according to Penn State because he gets a lot of government money, so therefore he must be OK. That was basically what they said. ... Alex, I'm not smart enough to make that up. Just ask the other guys."
In the Sandusky case, they paid on the order of $100 million in settlements to about thirty former Second Mile kids. If you think this large number of claimed victims means Sandusky must be guilty, note that between the first Grande Jury, which refused to indict and the one where the lurid presentment was leaked, there were only a few, and police were interviewing hundreds of Second Mile kids without success. After that presentment misrepresented McQueary seeing sex in the shower, it was the lawyers who were trolling Second Mile kids. And besides the settlements, Penn State paid tens of millions in fines and penalties. Altogether, it has cost them over $200 million.

To finish, I'll just say that the links at Framing Paterno dot com make for fascinating reading, viewing and listening. I find Ziegler's case completely believable.

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