The story was broken on Valentine's Day by Brendan DeMelle of DeSmogBlog who wrote "documents obtained by DeSmogBlog expose the heart of the climate denial machine". DeMelle also writes "We are releasing the entire trove of documents now" Later that day Richard Littlemore (also of DeSmogBlog) wrote a post saying that the anonymous source of the documents used the pseudonym Heartland Insider. DeSmogBlog host the documents. The story was picked up by the fringes of the MSM mostly crediting DeSmogBlog , I have yet to see an MSM account which quibbles that DeSmogBlog broke the story, exclusively.
Keith Kloor breaks the story on his blog the following day after it had already garnered some MSM coverage and he speculates that the Heartland Insider was 'a recently fired employee or someone still there [..] not feeling a lot of love for [Heartland President] Bast'. This is Kloor's account of what happened next :
'The whistleblower/insider sent an email around to a bunch of folks yesterday, which got forwarded to me. While the documents have been disseminated on the internet, nobody reporting on this appears to have mentioned the accompanying email'
Dear Friends (15 of you):
In the interest of transparency, I think you should see these files from the Heartland Institute. Look especially at the 2012 fundraising and budget documents, the information about donors, and compare to the 2010 990 tax form. But other things might also interest or intrigue you. This is all I have. And this email account will be removed after I send.
There's no header information or metadata. We don't even know who the 15 original recipients of that email are. We do know that Kloor was not one of them. We don't know whether this email contained attachments or links to the docs. And we don't know when this email was originally sent to it's original recipients. When pressed to reveal more his response is "Alas, as I mentioned in my post, just the email itself was forwarded to me. And because I’m at a conference, I don’t have the capacity to dig into this."
Alas without seeing the email on Keith Kloor's hard drive neither do we.
I should caution that it's plausible that Kloor's and DeSmogBlog's accounts simply differ by omission in which case these differing accounts show a wide gulf between what each blogger feels relevant. The email might have been from Heartland Insider, but it could equally be from someone drawing attention to what he/she had read on DeSmogBlog.