Saturday, August 27, 2005

LANL Assails TV News Report on Laptop

By Adam Rankin
Journal Staff Writer

A report by KOB-TV, saying that a used Los Alamos National Laboratory computer bought at an auction by one of the station's news photographers contained items marked "classified," has drawn a strong rebuke from lab officials.

The story, which aired at 10 p.m. Thursday, reported that a news photographer bought the Apple computer at an auction and was surprised to find the hard drive contained information. The report listed memos and time sheets, some of which had the word "classified" on them, among the items still on the computer's hard drive.

LANL spokesman Jim Fallin said the news station "jumped the gun" by airing the story the way they did.


Full Story

KOB journalists are SCUM!
Somehow, there ought to be some accountabillity!
Accountability...from a TV station?
Catch them blowing the facts or interpretation of a story and what you get is: "We stand by our story."
In other words...yes, we screwed up...but we won't admit it.

Look at their promos. Daily, they'll drill into your heads the words trust, integrity, balanced coverage. Their reputation is everything to them.
They'll tell you they're number one, and care more about getting you the complete story than anybody else.
THAT's Public Relations.

They are a business and an elaborate headline service...period.

Years ago Tom Joles BS'd his way onto the Lab at Greg Mello's urging to do a big expose' about how "full-scale nuclear detonations" were being done inside large metal cylinders. We were told they were doing a story on something else.
They ambushed one Lab official on camera who didn't have a clue what they talking about.
Turns out, the Lab was just storing the cylinders behind his facility.
What Mello and the KOB crew didn't know was that the Lab stopped doing contained HE detonations inside the cylinders because of safety concerns

Also, the tests had been halted about 14 years earlier.

I didn't learn about any of this until after, when the Lab took a look at what it was all about. But by then it was too late. The stories had aired and KOB "stood by their story."

It was interesting watching the video of the computer story. I couldn't help notice the authentication page requiring a crytocard entry. You all know what that means.
Somebody from the Lab went down and checked the computer on Friday so the information is closer to the truth in the Director's statement.

What KOB did is jump the gun and commit some of the most unpardonable sins a journalist can commit:

-they assumed
-they assumed something they knew nothing about
-they published a story with unverified facts

Will they own up to their mistake?
Tha'll be the day.

Now, what about that drive left in the computer?

John Bass
(ex TV newsperson)
Broadcast Media Specialist
LANL PA Office
Call and chat anytime
Well, yes. What about that drive left in the computer? That is completely
unacceptable. What I want to know is who was tasked with removing these
drives? Was it KSL? We are on thin ice these days. Leaving a drive in
an auctioned PC is stupid, stupid, stupid! We can expect DOE to give us
some hell over this incident, classified memos, or not. It should never
have happened, and seems like an easy thing to prevent.
Let's see -- how much do you think we got in auction on that PC? Maybe
$200 bucks. Now compare that with the bad publicity it has brought to
LANL. Looks like the risk-to-reward ratio on trying to recoup money on
old PCs is a very bad idea. You would think that LANL management would
realize this, but I've come to the conclusion our management has very
poor judgment.
So tell me Mr. Bass, when will Nanos, Seestrom, Foley, Jones, and the rest admit their mistakes and outright lies? As you say "that'll be the day." It seems a little hypocritical to be complaining about KOB when LANL/UC employs even worse in its upper management. At least KOB didn't cost the taxpayers several hundred million dollars with its lies. What goes around comes around.

John N. Horne
I'm very tired of the constant barage and willingness of journalists like KOB to infer wrong doing on the part of the Lab or its employees AGAIN when it isn't deserved.

I consider that type of journalism to be unprofessional, misleading, and in very poor taste. For journalists to be believed, they must research the facts and report them responsibly. Why is that so hard to do?

I suggest they get honest and leave the hype to the "rag journalists."
"Now, what about that drive left in the computer?"

There should certainly be thumbscrew punishments for that. If Saddam Hussein could have athletes beaten just for losing a competition, you can't be too merciless to someone who carelessly allowed broadcast emails about water main breaks on Jemez Road to fall into the wrong hands. And what of all those time cards? (the ones I can predict said "40 hours" because the system doesn't let you enter anything else and contain the same salary information you can download off the public internet.) Yes, some modestly compensated local mother who handles the administrative tasks in Salvage definately needs to be made an example of what happens when you don't deliver "flawless performance."

The Lab might be able to consider having old computers destroyed, but then we'd probably be nailed for a RCRA violation. Life is much easier for those who spend their days inventing policies than for those who look for ways to prevent terrorism.
John Horne,

In reference to your 11:17 post.

I do believe that you and Todd experienced totally unacceptable treatment, including all the behavior you have described on this blog. I am fully in support of the comments you have shared here in the past. But I can not understand your 11:17 post. Just because a group of lab managers has committed acts for which they have yet to be held accountable, why is it that KOB can not be taken to task for unacceptable journalism? In fact, I wonder why you are not more interested in taking KOB to task given that much of the environment that brought our former Director into office was based upon the false sensationalism of the "Mustang" incident.

Why can we not defend ourselves from these outrageous fabrications?
The fact is that we should, of course, defend ourselves against outrageous journalistic charges. The question is: how outrageous are these latest claims? I'm told that the Macintosh computer in question did in fact have material on the disk that was marked as classified. If so, how were the KOB reporters to know that it was "simulated" classified material? We should wait until all of the facts are known before jumping to judge the parties involved.
8:31- I did not mean to insinuate that KOB should not be held accountable. I agree that this type of "journalism" is reprehensible and it is practiced far too often these days. Sensationalism in the media has gone a long way to create the deep divides we see in this nation today. So, I agree with your statement entirely. I am concerned about inaccuracies in the media which is why I have spoken out here, for the most part,
and have done very few interviews. It is precisely the the type of behavior that KOB engaged in that made Todd and I so cautious about who we spoke to. It is also what has made this forum so incredibly valuable.

After reviewing my post @ 11:17 I realize that I was not clear on the point I was trying to make. I found it ironic and hypocritical that LANL would be upset that another entity would engage in the same tactics that they employ against others. If you take the following statement from Mr. Bass' post: "What KOB did is jump the gun and commit some of the most unpardonable sins a journalist can commit:

-they assumed
-they assumed something they knew nothing about
-they published a story with unverified facts

Will they own up to their mistake?
Tha'll be the day."

Now substitute LANL for KOB and manager for journalist and the irony becomes clear. That was the point I was trying to make. I'll try to be more concise in the future.


John N. Horne
Wasn't the lab official Bruce Matthews, then Division leader from NMT? I specfically remember this t.v. interview about the vessels because Bruce looked like a deer trapped in headlights when Tom Joles was questioning him. Seemed like he was caught off guard and didn't know how to respond.
John Bass, 8/27/2005 10:23:06 PM said:
"Years ago Tom Joles BS'd his way onto the Lab at Greg Mello's urging to do a big expose' about how "full-scale nuclear detonations" were being done inside large metal cylinders."

That was a long time ago, and my memory is weak on the details. Maybe you could get Tom and Greg to comment on the results of their investigation. I'm sure their remarks will greatly enhance the credibility of the latest story by KOB.

Larry Creamer, Dx-1 Retired
It is clear, and has been for some time, that the media do not give a damn about getting to the truth. The only thing that matters is that the reported (TV or newspaper) gets his/her name on the front page (or 10 PM news).

The media have no integrity at all!

The next time that we take Tommy Hook to Cheeks we should bring along some reporters.
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