Monday, June 06, 2005

Los Alamos Whistleblower Assaulted Over Weekend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, June 6, 2005
Contact: Beth Daley, Project On Government Oversight, 202-347-1122 beth@pogo.org

MEDIA ADVISORY
PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY AT 3:00 P.M. NM Time, 5:00 P.M. EDST

Los Alamos Whistleblower Assaulted Over Weekend
Days Before Congressional Investigators Arrive

Whistleblower Tommy Hook is still hospitalized today after being
brutally assaulted over the weekend. A group of three to four
assailants threatened Hook to keep silent, in apparent reference to
his upcoming Congressional testimony on fraud at the Los Alamos
National Laboratory.

WHO: Suzanne Hook, wife of Mr. Hook; Chuck Montano, co-worker who
blew whistle with Mr. Hook; Bob Rothstein, attorney representing Mr.
Hook and Mr. Montano.

WHAT: Press conference to receive statements concerning situation
with Mr. Hook.

WHERE: Law firm of Rothstein, Donatelli, Hughes, Dahlstrom &
Schoenburg, 1215 Paseo De Peralta, phone# 505-988-8004.

TO CALL IN: Conference line 1-888-446-2816 and enter #57632.

WHEN: Today at 3:00 p.m. New Mexico time/5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight
Savings Time

BACKGROUND:
Mr. Hook was slated to testify before the House Energy and Commerce
Committee this month. Congressional staff from the Committee were
already scheduled to arrive Tuesday, June 7th to investigate Tommy
Hook's allegations. Also flying out tomorrow is the Project On
Government Oversight's Senior Investigator Peter Stockton who
investigated the 1974 murder of nuclear whistleblower Karen Silkwood
in his previous position as a Congressional investigator.

Mr. Hook had planned at the end of last week to meet an individual who
claimed to have corroborating information about fraud at Los Alamos.
That individual never attended the meeting. 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. When Mr. Hook got into his
car to leave, attackers pulled him out of the car and brutally
assaulted him. The assailants threatened Mr. Hook to keep silent. A
bouncer at the bar intervened and broke up the attack. Mr. Hook was
hospitalized in an Emergency Room with severe trauma to his face and
head, including a fractured jaw, and a herniated disk. He is heavily
medicated today and unable to speak to the media.

Mr. Hook and whistleblower Chuck Montano appeared on CBS Evening News
early this year. That segment can be viewed here:
http://pogo.org/video/facethenation.rm. 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.

Mr. Hook and Mr. Montano filed a whistleblower retaliation suit
against the University of California and supervisors at the Lab in
March, 2005. A copy of the complaint has been posted on POGO's Hook &
Montano resource page here:
http://www.pogo.org/p/homeland/HookMontano.html

"As our nation celebrates the revelation of Deep Throat's identity, we
should be mindful that blowing the whistle on corruption is still
dangerous. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tommy Hook and his
family. We have grown to admire Tommy's courageousness and integrity
over the many months we have worked with him. This assault will only
steel the resolve of Tommy Hook, Chuck Montano, and others to tell the
truth." said Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project On Government
Oversight (POGO).

Mr. Hook and Mr. Montano's allegations echo concerns raised by
whistleblowers Glenn Walp and Steve Doran in 2002 and 2003. Mr. Walp
and Mr. Doran's whistleblowing resulted in a series of Congressional
hearings on Los Alamos National Laboratory. More background
information about Los Alamos can be viewed in POGO's archives:
http://pogo.org/p/environment/eo-losalamos.html

POGO investigates, exposes, and seeks to remedy systemic abuses of
power, mismanagement, and subservience by the federal government to
powerful special interests. Founded in 1981, POGO is a
politically-independent, nonprofit watchdog that strives to promote a
government that is accountable to the citizenry.

Comments:
The news report linked above blames "culture" at the lab whatever that means. The real problem is lack of accountability. Nobody in management is ever held up as having overall responsibllity for any of these problems. Instead we punish the messenger. At LANL management is never the problem and if somebody tells management otherwise, they become the problem.
 
Let's think for a moment who stands to gain from this:

Certainly NOT Los Alamos or UC - they will be first to be blamed.

LockMart may gain by casting doubt on Los Alamos' integrity.

POGO and Hook/Montano gain because the attack now lends them an aura of credibility that they wouldn't have otherwise.

If a bunch of vigilantes have done this, then they are both incredibly stupid and extremely wicked.
 
I am disgusted with any individual that thinks this is an appropriate method to deal with problems. At the same time I am disgusted with POGO and their shameless use of another individuals pain and suffering to further their own agenda.
 
To 6:35: Yeah, let's not have any press releases at all! Cuz you know the Los Alamos management takes care of their employees.

Did it ever occur to you that Hook and his family are working with POGO?

And if POGO's agenda is to support whistleblowers, I don't see how that's so bad.
 
First, I am so very sad if Mr. Hook was injured because of any LANL occurence. However, I wretch at the notion of Glenn Walp or Steve Doran as being do-gooders of any sort. The Lab seems to have been an easy mark for misdirected "whistling" folks whose imagination runs way deeper than their intellect - Walp, Doran, Montano, Popeye Pete, Foley, and the current upper (division on up) management being prime examples. The last two years have been dominated by "window-dressing" management rather than anything substantive. It is so bad that Lock-Mart's management actually looks good in comparison to UC. Who'd a thunk it? Most every normal Lab employee appreciates diverse, dissenting opinions, but the POGO/anti-nuke/anti-lab/anti-reality minority are hammering every last political drop out of this turnip. I can hardly wait... the Santa Fe "Enquirer" aka the New Mexican will put a huge negative spin on all this. I hope the real culprits are exposed for the cowards they are.
 
This story STINKS. Something is not right.

Let's forget for a moment that Chuck Montano has made a habit of suing LANL. In fact, he didn't uncover accounting "fraud" at LANL until after he'd already sued LANL for discriminating against Hispanics. But let's leave that aside and look at the story of Tommy Hook.

http://www.abqjournal.com/news/state/apwhistle06-06-05.htm

http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2005/06/violence_agains.html

Something about this story is not right.

A guy goes to a strip club in the middle of the night to get "information" about accounting fraud.

He goes into the bar, has two drinks, and leaves.

The thugs don't touch him while he's in the parking lot, completely defenseless. They wait until he's in his car and almost able to get away before attacking him.

Nobody sees the incident until the very end, even though it happens in the parking lot of a crowded bar.

And, oddly enough, POGO seems to have far more details than those available in the newspapers are on the local news stations.

Time for a few questions:

Who goes to a titty bar in the middle of the night to get "information" about accounting fraud?

Why would the thugs wait for Mr. Hook to get back in his car before they beat him up?

Why would thugs who wanted to keep him quiet not kill him?

We're all New Mexicans here. How many shootings do we have in this state every year? If the thugs wanted to kill Mr. Hook, as is asserted by POGO, they would have shot him, and it wouldn't have been done in front of a bar for everyone to see.

This whole incident sounds like it was set up by somebody who's been watching a little too much Sopranos lately.

Something is very, very wrong with this story, and POGO needs to be investigated immediately.
 


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