Not saying it does in this case, but this does raise the old philosophical issue of "do the ends justify the mean?" But because of, in party politics, Repubs and Dems' different approaches to the issue, this becomes an IOKIYAR issue, at bottom line.
And, therefore, I'm not saying that the ends DON'T justify the means, either. Not right now. And, even if he wasn't totally ethical, this only leaves his career in tatters if everybody wants to believe that i does.
Or, too look at it anyther way, the ends vs. means issue is, like so many other things, a vector, or a scale, not two polarities.
But, per Rosen/Shirky/Jarvis, we're all "citizen journalists." Snark at the three of them aside, and given that no "actual journalists" had tried something like this ... just where does this stand on the ethics scale of violations? Petty misdemeanor? Grand misdemeanor? Fourth-degree felony? (I don't know that I would put it any higher than that; if your state has more than four degrees of felonies, put it at fifth-degree, maybe.)
Per Zhou Enlai, from a utilitarian perspective, of course, it's too soon to tell. From a "virtue ethics" point of view, though, which is kind of where I'm coming from, maybe a fourth-degree felony, but no, no higher than that.
I'm thinking of an episode of the original Star Trek, where an "Abraham Lincoln" was created out of Kirk's mind, as part of an alien civilization trying to determine "the difference between good and evil."
And Lincoln told Kirk that, in fighting the four psychopaths or whatever on the other side, that one had to fight fire with fire, and even occasionally add a little gasoline to the fire.
"Bad astronomer" Phil Plait agrees that Gleick is not necessarily wrong in what he did or how he did it. That said, I'm curious as to why Gleick outed himself; that alone, if he did it for ethical reasons, certainly counters Andrew Revkin, who seems to be the leading "panicker" on this issue among enviros.
Contra Revkin, environmentalists and climate scientists should NOT go into an “apologetic shell” right now. No way. No how.
And here's why:
Per a link at Watt's Up:
Peter Gleick, a prominent figure in the global warming movement, confessed to stealing electronic documents ...Nooo, he never confessed to *stealing* anything.
Let's also remember, per this letter from PEER to Heartland (PDF) that Heartland, et al, continue to post emails that WERE stolen, not just gotten under a pseudonym but by legitimate channels. Reason No. 2 that we should all be at least as tough-minded as PEER.