Los Alamos Whistleblower Beaten Down
June 7, 2005 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Los Alamos whistleblower "Tommy Hook is still hospitalized today after being brutally assaulted over the weekend," the Project on Government Oversight is saying. "A group of three to four assailants threatened Hook to keep silent, in apparent reference to his upcoming Congressional testimony on fraud at Los Alamos."
posted by Coherence Panda (31 comments total)
This is very, very terrible. The perpetrators should be brought to justice and penalized to the full extent of the law.

That said, what is this guy doing going to a nudie bar in a town far from his home, at night, without security, for an alleged meeting? I'm sure the caller requested that he go alone or something like that, but if you're going to be in a federal whistleblower trial in a few days, aren't you going to be extra careful with your personal safety?
posted by gen at 8:31 PM on June 7, 2005

Karen Silkwood
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:34 PM on June 7, 2005

Amazing that they let him live - I hope the beating fastens his resolve to testify, rather than the opposite.
posted by jonson at 8:51 PM on June 7, 2005

Clearly, those nucular geeks are a dangerous crowd and need to be federally monitored. At least, that's what might be said by some wackos who want to rule the world but can't even pronounce nuclear.

I think this stinks of something subtle, some misdirection or something. As jonson said, its amazing they didn't just snuff the guy. armatures maybe? Or some darker purpose?
posted by Goofyy at 9:08 PM on June 7, 2005

Well met, Goofyy!

Yes, I agree, it's amazing they didn't just kill the guy. It amazes me they didn't torture him first, with hot pokers in his eyes, and burning oil in his butt. Amazing. Amazing, that we have made for ourselves such a world.

A world in which rat finks like this guy only get off with a public beating, when they deserve summary execution, with no trial.

Armatures. Yes, that would explain a lot.
posted by nervousfritz at 9:27 PM on June 7, 2005

What amazes me (but doesn't necessarily shock me, unfortunately) is that some people are actually blaming him instead of the people who beat him up. Seriously. That's like saying, "Oh well, that girl deserved to get raped. She was such a tease."

WTF has this world come to?
posted by shoppingforsanity at 9:41 PM on June 7, 2005

Now they are questioning his veracity.
posted by arse_hat at 10:47 PM on June 7, 2005

News media in Austin Texas reported the "bar" as being a "topless bar". Gen has it correct... what was he doing at a nudie bar? Sounds like a b-movie plot for disaster
posted by buzzman at 10:52 PM on June 7, 2005

"topless bar", isn't rain a problem?
posted by arse_hat at 11:02 PM on June 7, 2005

well buzzman and gen, other reports had the wife saying a friend had indicated he had information, and that Hook thought he was going to meet that friend, and that he wasn't the type to hang out in bars. on the internet, information is just a few clicks away. armatures.
posted by quonsar at 11:02 PM on June 7, 2005

No, arse_hat, you're being silly. The kind of bar with spanish snackies, duh!
posted by freebird at 11:32 PM on June 7, 2005

Are "spanish snackies" the ones that taste like tuna?
posted by arse_hat at 11:38 PM on June 7, 2005

The article says a bouncer broke it up. Otherwise they very well might have done more damage or killed him.
posted by Vulpyne at 12:21 AM on June 8, 2005

That Karen Silkwood story is uber-creepy. This too is very creepy. Somehow it's hard to imagine University of California physics geeks perpetrating such thuggery. Wasn't there recently some bidding over the contract to run the place? Could this have been done by a prospective contractor trying to make the UC look bad (um, worse)?
posted by Astragalus at 12:44 AM on June 8, 2005

Something is just wrong with this story. I'm willing to bet that eventually we will learn something that changes how we think about it....
posted by HuronBob at 4:23 AM on June 8, 2005

I'm with HuronBob... something doesn't sound right about this.

Why would these bad people wait to attack him in a public place? If the black helicopter guys wanted him so badly this seems lke a strange location. One would think a bungled home invasion or car accident would work better.

Married guy, strip joint, 2AM, "I wasn't looking at the girls honey. I swear, I was working. It was a secret meeting to exchange information. Sorry, if I told you more I would have to kill you."
posted by cedar at 5:24 AM on June 8, 2005

I think it's pretty obvious that the guy was beat up, and definitely deserves our sympathy. That said, there's something funny about this. Does anyone honestly think that the sinister Men In Black would stop some guy by giving out a non lethal beating in a public place with lots of witnesses? And...if you got a strange phone call in the middle of the night asking you to meet an anonymous caller at a shady topless bar, would you do it?
posted by unreason at 5:54 AM on June 8, 2005

I'm with HuronBob, cedar and unreason. This is hard to grok.
posted by OmieWise at 6:30 AM on June 8, 2005

Maybe you cats are right, and there is something amiss here, but remember, these people aren't cloak-and-dagger types. Hook is an auditor of some sort, and his attackers were, presumably, employees of Los Alamos or UC. And as far as meeting at a strip club goes, I would imagine that it is not all that uncommon for folks to mix business with pleasure, if it can so be called.
posted by Tullius at 6:58 AM on June 8, 2005

Late Saturday evening, someone who might have been posing as that individual called Mr. Hook and asked to meet with him at a bar in Santa Fe. He went to the bar and waited but that person never showed up.
It's pretty obvious he was lured there. The choice of location is perfect if the motive was to discredit him. Reminds a little of the Danny Casolaro - the setup part, not Casolaro's gullability.

Strip joint? Well, where would you expect security goons to hang out. I don't think the attackers were physics geeks, I think they were security creeps. (I know this is speculation, I'm just playing another one of those hunches.)
posted by warbaby at 7:09 AM on June 8, 2005

Not everyone employed at Los Alamos is a scientist. There is a rather large number of military guards, for starters.

That said, I'd expect these guys were hired goons ("Goons!" "Hired goons."), not necessarily lab employees.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:31 AM on June 8, 2005

Kiss me I'm New Mexican!
posted by protocool at 7:33 AM on June 8, 2005

I'm having a lot of trouble picturing engineers or scientists pounding the crap out of a co-worker. It sounds almost like the kind of thing you read about when a non-union "scab" crosses a picket line during a union strike.

As far as I can tell, there's nothing saying what Tommy Hook does (did) at LANL. He's consistently described as a "whistleblower."

Audit reports conducted by Mr. Hook and Mr. Montano in 2002-2004 found a disturbing pattern of financial irregularities in the Los Alamos Lab' procurement division. In compliance with Department of Energy (DOE) requirements, Mr. Hook and Mr. Montano produced a report assessing the Lab's contracting operations. Lab supervisors refused to allow the report to be submitted to DOE, instead submitting a report that glossed over the problems identified by Mr. Hook and Mr. Montano.

Manager? Internal auditor? And who's procuring what, exactly? This raises a lot more questions than it answers.
posted by alumshubby at 7:37 AM on June 8, 2005

Didn't anyone ever tell this guy not to touch the dancers? Something just doesn't seem right here, he probably got grabby with one of the girls and got his ass whupped and needed a story to keep from get whupped again by the Mrs.
posted by MikeMc at 7:57 AM on June 8, 2005

Hey, MikeMc and the rest of you playing that tune: he got rescued by the bouncers. Stop injecting noise into this story and RTFA.

Here's the latest update. He's pretty wrecked. And the FBI is finally involved (little good that will do, they sure screwed up other cases at LANL).
posted by warbaby at 8:36 AM on June 8, 2005

Did it ever occour to any of you that not all the people who work at Los Alimos are "men in black."

People were stealing money, and this guy found out about it so they beat him up. Nothing really complex about it.
posted by delmoi at 9:19 AM on June 8, 2005

No matter what the dancer says, there is no sex in the champaigne room.
posted by hatchetjack at 11:03 AM on June 8, 2005

Man, you people are nuts.

First of all, scientists and engineers are all kinds of people. Some of them are big and violent. You might go meet some sometime. Secondly, Los Alamos is a town of about 35K which is insular and relies utterly on LANL for its existence and a lot of folks are tired and angry over the lab being made to look bad. Thirdly, Santa Fe isn't "so far" from his home considering that lab employees commute that distance every day and Santa Fe is the nearest city to shop, etc.

This was just someone pissed off at his whistleblowing and his upcoming testimony.

Oh, also, the only strip bar I know of in Santa Fe is right on Cerillos and probably everyone knows where it is.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:50 PM on June 8, 2005

Al kinds of shit goes down at L.A. or any national lab bringing in a that kind of money to the locval economy with a limited DOE presence to provide adequate oversight. No one wants to have their "embezzlement" discovered - it looks like some may have taken steps to get this message across. On the other hand, all kind of misdirection is possible...
posted by Pressed Rat at 8:20 PM on June 8, 2005

Update: He hit a pedestrian with his car on his way out of the parking lot. Friends of the pedestrian beat him up. Seems moderately unrelated to his work.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 8:57 PM on June 9, 2005

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ho. um... heh. He, he.

According to the Chronicle:
"Facts, evidence and information obtained during the course of this investigation has led investigators to believe that the altercation involving Mr. Hook is an isolated incident and is in no way related to Mr. Hook's whistleblower status at the Los Alamos National Laboratories," Santa Fe Deputy Police Chief Eric Johnson said in a statement.
Heh, heh. *Snort*
posted by warbaby at 2:57 PM on June 12, 2005

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