Monday, June 06, 2005

Whistleblower Beating: Details Emerge

Whistleblower Beating: Details Emerge

The phone reception was awful on the conference call describing the assault on Los Alamos investigator Tommy Hook. But here's the information I pieced together, based on what I could hear his wife, his lawyer, and his partner say:

Last Friday, Los Alamos auditor-turned-whistleblower Tommy Hook got a phone call at his Albuquerque home. It was late -- past ten-thirty at night, and Tommy was getting ready to go to bed. He had had shoulder surgery recently, and a stroke about a year-and-a-half before that. So he needed his rest.


Full Story

Sounds like Tommy got mugged coming out of the bar and needed a good story to explain to his wife what he was doing at a "nudie" bar.

This sounds a little fishy...
Well, guess what...professional thugs would set up the meet for exactly that kind of that doubt would be cast on the victim.

IF he was mugged at a nudie bar and is lying about it to cover up, he could be prosecuted. The story should fall apart shortly if so. But there were recent phone calls that could be tracked still in the telephone exchange records (I'd guess the LANL phone exchange is pretty thoroughly surveilled by the govt these days), and a witness, so this seems more serious.

IF he was assaulted and told not to testify, whether or not he went there on a regular basis (it is a legally operating business, so no crime there), then there is only a question of who was involved in the conspiracy (multiple attackers = conspiracy).

So until more is known, please no ad hominem attacks.
This whole things sounds very
fishy to me. He had two drinks?
They always say a couple of drinks. I think this has nothing to do with LANL.
What kind of idio.., I mean person, drives to Santa Fe from ABQ at 10:30PM to meet someone they don't know at a topless bar?
See the pictures at KRQE. He looks terrible! This is nothing to laugh about!
Nothing about this makes sense. I really think that a lot of caution needs to be taken before any link to LANL is made. In any case I do feel for the guy. But wait and see how this really plays out.
It's horrendous to see anyone beaten within an inch of their life.

But let's all of us conspiracy theorists, sloppy media writers, and sensationalists, take a big breath, because we have no facts to go on besides a severely injured individual, and what his lawyer is reported to have said.

Before we rush out and commit the same kind of dismissal of the facts in order to grind our own respective political axes, like we resent Pete Nanos for doing so to LANL, let's just wait.

I know its hard, because there's advertising to sell, POGO's got axes to grind and whistleblowers to exploit, UC to demonize, Lockmart to demonize, auditor's credibility to question.

It's just so darn exciting and tempting, but we've got to stop this lunacy until there are independently verifiable facts that we can base our opinions and actions on.
Every attack on a human being if not in defence against similar attack from the opposite side should be considered as criminal offence and treated very seriously. As a deeper reflection, in such kind of political cases one should always look for who is supposed to gain from the super ugly action, and neither LANL nor UC comes to mind.
I know Tommy Hooks, and I believe him. He would have gone to Santa Fe at 10PM to meet someone who needed his help. Anyone who says differently doesn't know Tommy.

I also agree with the poster who asked, who will gain from this. I don't see how it could be UC.

I sure hope they put the FBI's first team on this, not the inventigators that messed up the Wen Ho Lee case.

Laura Liles
First, my wishes for a speedy recovery and justice, if due. Too bad no one in the vicinity was exercising their rights as acknowledged by the Second Amendment. I trust the FBI is applying their full forensic portfolio on this one. With that level of violence the attackers left DNA behind and took it with them into their vehicle, unless they were surpassing experts.

Let's use some logic, folks. A witness observed Tommy Hook being beaten by a group, and his injuries are severe. Is there any refutation of those points?

Next, consider his claim that his attackers made comments regarding his upcoming testimony: there are only 4 possibilities. This is either 1) a true statement of events, or 2) a falsehood, or 3) he is in full command of his faculties and sincerely mistaken in remembering what they said, or 4) an impairment led him to hear, remember, or synthesize something not actually said. There are no other possibilities, given that a beating was witnessed and injured him.

If 2, 3, or 4 are true, the beating has nothing to do with whistleblowing, and presumably involves non-LANL issues, barring further information. That comprises 75% of the possible outcomes.

If 1 is true (25% of outcomes), who did it? Look at means, motive, and opportunity. Means and opportunity are clear, but who has a motive?

It is reported that the attackers did not present themselves in a meeting setting until the attack. If true, they were lying in wait for him. This might mean Hook knew them and possibly would have been alarmed by seeing them, or the attackers did not want him to be able to relate details to a sketch artist.

The severity of the beating leads me to think that the perpetrators were amateurs. True pros would likely not resort to the level of damage seen. The attackers were not sophisticated in coercive violence or intimidation. This also suggests anger and fear on the part of the attackers. Maybe they are people at risk of prosecution if a full accounting of fraud at LANL is exposed? Perhaps this group includes fellow employees, people hired by one or more employees...the list is not endless, but it is certainly longer than one would think for a place charged with valuable national security missions.

Who has the most to gain from an attack? Probably those with the most to lose from his testimony. Since he is still alive and presumably under police protection (if not, he should hire private guards)...his testimony will be the key.

A sad thing, no matter why it happended.
This is really bad. I think it is clear that this has nothing to do with LANL. I would bet this guy made it up. Come on, look at what kind of bar he was in, look at the time frame, also he was drinking. Now it is being said that the muggers did not say anything about testimony.
The police will fix this one up real

Come on people this has nothing to do with LANL. Go with your gut, he made it up. I do not want to belittle what happened but if you go to these kinds of bars at 11pm on a Fri you know the risks. It is still the real world out there with risks and human failings.
It's unfortunate and a shame that anyone would be subjected to such butality for any reason. I hope Tommy's condition improves rapidly. However, rather than speculate wouldn't it be better to wait until all the facts are in. As story is now going, the ridiculous conclusion that LANL was involved will likely carry the story regardless of the real facts. That is precisely what POGO and Chuck Montoya seems bent on accomplishing.
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.

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.
Let's look at the ad hominem cases, which say: Hook was beaten up by common thugs in a random act of violence. While his jaw is broke and his disk herniated, suffering with other injuries as well, he decides to make up a story about being intimidated as a witness. This is because he is embarrassed about being found in the parking lot of a strip club, a legal business, where a significant percentage of politicians, police, and LANL employees enjoy adult beverages and cultural dance exhibitions. Quickly, a large group of people decide to believe his story and hold a very widely publicized press conference, staking their reputations on it. OR, Hook or his attorney arranged to have him beat up as a publicity stunt. OR, Hook was beat up for not paying a gambling debt, etc. Now, which one of these is true? Isn't it easy to attack the victim of a violent crime? Some of these comments sicken me. They are like telling rape victims that they "must have done something to provoke it." I am disgusted. Wait until the police and FBI sort it out before attacking him. He might be making it up, but he is in deep trouble if so.
I'm surprised to see so many disparaging comments that cast a totally different light on the whole crowd of LANL folks, including or maybe MOSTLY the crowd that frequents this blog.
. . .
This, if it even IS the same crowd of people who have lovingly donated and emotionally supported the widow and family of a Todd Kauppila whose death has been linked with the recent trevails at the Lab. No one has cast doubts on whether or not his demise was LANL-related. I'm certain that Mrs. Kauppila or the counsel will have the burden of proof to make the connection to LANL and convince any court who may see the case that there were not any other likely explanations for his untimely death.

Couldn't either event have been disassociated with LANL or equally as plausible, couldn't either event be associated with LANL?

Isn't the current circumstance at LANL deserving of a unified effort to instill accountability and integrity into the Lab, regardless of whether it arrives from the 'Chuck Montanos' or the 'Todd Kauppila Memorial Front' or from a grassroots effort within LANL's rank and file, or from a blogging bunch of diehards who hate to see the Lab dwindle to a mere shadow of its former self or fizzle out in a pathetic effort to cling to its existence?

Shame on those who are either new to visiting here to add the insults to Mr. Hook's injuries or the ranks here are picking and choosing which victims merit their support regardless of the pending investigation and final analysis or glaring lack thereof.

My children watched the late news with me and recognized Mrs. Hook as a school teacher and worry with her for the safety of her husband but also for the other adults who are associated with LANL and its difficulties. They don't know all the details nor do they need to, but they did see a man's picture who obviously was hurt and they cared about him as a human which is more than I can say for some of the comments I've read here.
11:02 poster

You go to a strip club to enjoy "cultural dance exhibitions". That is one of the best things I have ever seen posted on this blog. Look I am sorry but the guy made it up. POGO is one sad lot. By the way I feel bad for Todd K and believe he was unfairly treated. However, LANL did not kill him, why not google the condition that did kill. Also google some statements he said on Fri before he died. I am sorry but this is the truth
I'm surprised how many people are already invested in this story and 'disgusted' at our reluctance to believe LANL is hiring thugs to beat up whistleblowers. What Lab division does POGO think is responsible for dispatching thugs?
Well, A negative report on Los Alamos tops the ABC radio news this morning. I imagine that that is what the attackers wanted to achieve...
Look at this guy's picture! He may well be permanently disfigured. The plausible explaination is that somebody wanted to 'punish' him.

But you fools want to believe he hired 4 people to beat him within a inch of his life. He probably hired the security guard, too. In fact he is faking the whole thing- he is so good he is even pulled the doctors and nurses into his scheme.

Now, really. Think about the cases where someone 'faked' their injuries for what ever reason. Usually the injuries are superficial- a cut on the arm, a black eye, a bad scratch.
They describe one attacker who disappeared quickly, leaving no physical evidence.

You so desperately want to believe that there are no evil people at 'our' LANL. 2 billion dollars can draw a lot of bad actors, even organized crime.

I repeat, look at the picture- no one would willingly do that to themselves.
This is Beth Daley, Director of Communication at POGO. There are several misrepresentations in the posts above that I would like to clarify. No where in our release do we accuse UC or the Lab of hiring the individuals who attacked Tommy Hook. We also did not say that the attackers tried to kill Tommy. I have worked with Tommy over many months. Those of you who know him, know that he is honest. Here at POGO we are sickened by these disgusting attacks on Tommy.
Defense Tech staff is watching this blog. I don't really care about this story, but it is really annoying for stories about sensitive weapons to be published that could be in the eyes of unfriendly countries. This is an unpatriotic and irresponsible act threatening the defense of our country. Meanwhile, it sounds like Defense Tech as zionists since they have often rate high about Israel equipments while often bashing military equipments of America. I have almost never seen Defense Tech bash Israel made equipments. Why only is American equipment often bashed and not Israel made equipment? By the way, I must also say that relations between Defense Tech staff and DOD has not been very good according to my source. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a result of the relationship. I am not very happy if Defense Tech is bashing DOD for its own personal motivation. If they want justice, they had other ways to achieve it.
^ ^ ^
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Why has this comment been posted on this thread on this blog? Defintely far too off topic to be appropriate.

You may not have explicitly said that you blame UC or the DOE, but it sure sounds like you are trying hard to imply it and capitalize on this extreme misfortune that has befallen Tommy Hooks.

Even in your clarification you do not state that you absolve UC and DOE of suspicion. You only clarify that POGO did not explicitly state that.
"Even in your clarification you do not state that you absolve UC and DOE of suspicion. You only clarify that POGO did not explicitly state that."

You can't absolve anyone right now. Nor can you point the finger at anyone, yet.
From Beth's statement on this blog:

"We also did not say that the attackers tried to kill Tommy."

From the initial POGO blog entry (

"The men concentrated on kicking his head, and Hook's family thinks the men would have killed him if it hadn’t been for the witness who had just walked out of the bar. "

Seems like a contradiction in statements to me...
This is all Los Alamos needs....unfortunately, the lab and the community are being held to higher standards than any other lab and community. As a result, everyone needs to stop whining, stop complaining, do your jobs and give the press something positive to report. It may not be fair, but it's reality.
I can't believe that some people are so dense, they actually think that Mr. Hook created this phenominal story to try and "cover up" going to a nudie bar. The poor man has been harrassed time and time again for simply doing his job in a proper manner. Now the man has been beaten half to death, and people have the nerve to claim the story is "fishy". I have known the Hooks for many years, and there is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Hook is the victim of hired goons.
We shall soon see. I'm quite confident in the FBI's ability to get to the bottom of this. Considering the inconsistencies in the story already, I suspect Tommy Hooks is not being completely forthcoming.
This guy made it up. It is clear cut.
Anonymous : 6/7/2005 03:35:48 PM said:

"This guy made it up. It is clear cut."

I assume that you mean it is clear cut that Mr. Hook made up the story. I have been reading about it since it was reported anonymously, as a question, at 8:19:00 PM on June 5, 2005. What do you know that I have not learned from reading the newspapers?

This blog needs facts, not opinions.

Larry Creamer DX-1, Retired
I can’t believe that some people are so dense and gullible that they actually believe this tall tale. Seriously, driving alone 50 miles to a topless bar in the middle of the night to met a stranger because he’s just a great guy, give me break. UC and LANL are just easy targets these days. Gods speed FBI!

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