Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Nanos' Testimony Before The House of Representatives

Since my attempts to get the attention of Senator Bingaman and Sara's attempt to gain the attention of Senator Domenici have both failed I believe it is time to speak publicly about the issues that we wished to discuss with the Senators. In the letter that I sent to Senator Bingaman (and posted here) I made it clear that I believe that former Director Nanos was not truthful with the United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Considering the outrage that some Congressmen expressed at the possibility that Raphael Palmiero might have lied to a Congressional Committee about steroid use in baseball I would think that issues of actual national importance would elicit an even greater response from the congress. Sadly, their silence is proving to be deafening with the message that it sends. When someone who is in a position to know makes the allegation that a former weapons lab Director lied to a Congressional committee under oath a Senator should at least take the time to look into the matter. Especially when that person is willing to go before the same committee and testify under oath. It is becoming evident to me that Congress does not want what I have to say to go on the record. This nation, this community, and Todd's family deserve an explanation for what has occurred here. That cannot be done without all of the relevant facts being brought forth.

It is my assertion that the Director engaged in a series of mischaracterizations and blatant untruths in his testimony before congress. His statement was carefully crafted to attempt to uphold the story that had already been woven as well as to deflect tough questions about the sorry state of security policies, in general, at LANL. Unfortunately questions that were asked of the director did not reveal those deficiencies. However, his answers to the questions he was asked displayed the falsehoods on which his statement was based.

It has been well documented that there were two individuals in this case who falsified records. I am not disputing that fact. The key piece of information to remember is that it was two and only two people who willfully violated policy. Nanos' statement was cleverly crafted to portray Todd as a malefactor by including him in blanket statements about the CMC's. There is absolutely no evidence to support any willful misconduct on my part or on Todd's part. In fact there is no evidence to support any misconduct or error by either of us. That fact negates Nanos' statement and discredits the actions taken against us.

The director's repeated assertions that there were clear signs of a behavior problem are simply untrue. Nanos made repeated references to three individuals who were terminated for misconduct in this case and stated that I had knowingly taken a shortcut with respect to how I handled the barcodes that I was given. That statement is patently false. And, Nanos was unaware of the CMC's violations at the time he initially made statements about misconduct on 14 July, 2004. I cannot say with certainty why he made these statements but I have discovered some disturbing information that, coupled with Nanos' own statements, seems to explain his actions. I believe the director deliberately initiated the perception of a crisis in order to facilitate the changes he wanted to make but did not have the intelligence to implement. Much like the Cerro Grande Fire, it seems that the director started a "controlled burn" that quickly got beyond his ability to control. From that point he had to make the scenario fit his previous statements and actions to avoid being held accountable for his gross mismanagement. His disregard for the truth and the well being of others coupled with an end justifies the means mentality led to this completely avoidable and tragic series of events.

My belief that Nanos' statement was intended to be misleading stems from the manner in which he compared the CREM I and CREM II incidents and from the admissions he himself makes about the gross inadequacies in the LANL security systems. I am at a loss to understand why Congress did not hold the Director accountable for his role in security inadequacies at LANL. Possibly, by admitting weaknesses he might have diverted some needed closer scrutiny on these issues. In his introduction Nanos makes the following statement: "I have spent considerable time since assuming leadership of the Laboratory evaluating our strengths and weaknesses and working with the University of California to improve the overall direction of the Laboratory." If that is true then Nanos was derelict in his duties to appropriately assess the condition of security policy and infrastructure at LANL. Even before he became Director there were clear indications of a hopelessly dysfunctional system as evidenced by the hard drive case of 2000. Later in his statement he provides a full page laundry list of problems that should have caused him to be concerned about secure operations at the Lab even without the stark reminder of the CREM I incident in May of 2004 which his own incompetence helped to cause. These are the problems that he admits existed:

"In the process of conducting the root cause analysis of the incident we reached the conclusion that while human error and improper action were the direct causes, there were additional systemic weaknesses that contributed to this incident, and that would allow similar incidents to happen again:

* The sheer size and geographic spread of accountable CREM operations increased the likelihood of an incident.
*The inventory of accountable CREM exceeded 80,000 pieces at its high point.
*There were over 4500 employees with daily direct access to the media.
*Our classified operations are widely dispersed, spread over 40 square miles.
*The transaction volume is large, with daily movement of classified items between organizations within LANL
and throughout the DOE Complex.

* The lack of detailed supporting documents (e.g. checklists and plans) to serve as job aids for employees engaged in classified work activities hindered effective performance.

* Custodians responsible for safeguarding and controlling classified items suffered from a variety of organizational ailments, including:
*Lower job status
*Lack of authority
*Part-time job for many
*Lack of training specific to CREM handling and control
*Lack of support/conflict of interest within parent organizations

*The absence of a DOE or LANL standard accountability system increased the potential for classified items to "drop through the cracks" as they moved between organizations. In March 2004 this problem was recognized , and with the concurrence of the University of California, the Laboratory is implementing a single site-wide accountability system."

Later Nanos also addressed another key set of LANL failures by stating:

"I believe it also very important to point out that many of the problems we have had in the past regarding difficulties with safeguarding classified information can be tied to two over-arching issues. The first is a failure to invest in what I would term "engineered" solutions. In many cases we have had good employees trying to do a difficult job without the benefit of the right tools."........

"The second over-arching issue is that we have not done as much as we could to provide our scientists and engineers with the necessary security resources. As with any large operation involving highly classified information, the rules and requirements for security can be difficult to understand and implement.".......

Given these true statements, when Nanos was looking for people guilty of misconduct some personal introspection was certainly in order. Additionally, the entire laboratory was poorly served by those supposed security professionals who should be held to account for the abysmal state of security policy at LANL. Todd and I were no different than any other employees at the Lab. We were given a set of rules to work within and we did so to the best of our ability. The fact that the policies were fatally flawed is not something that was within our ability to change nor was it within the scope of our expertise to assess. That is one of the exact institutional failures that Nanos admitted to in his statement. So, why were we singled out for the Director's personal attention?

Part of the answer to that question relates to my belief that Nanos intentionally created this crisis. At a meeting I had with my former Division Leader on 18 February, 2005 she told me that a week or so before the discovery of the supposed missing CREM Nanos had been reading a book on management techniques. One of the tenets of the book was the theory that in order to make sweeping changes in a large organization a crisis is required to convince individuals that widespread reform is necessary. This thought is further supported by Nanos' statement on 18 March, 2005 in response to a question from Mr. Walden of Oregon. Congressman Walden asked if he had the buy in of LANL employees. Nanos claimed that he believed that he had the support of the Laboratory although he made claims of a vocal minority. I think he may actually be foolish enough to believe that statement. But the statement that concerns me is the one that followed. Nanos said that the shutdown had caused "the kind of disquiet that has allowed me to implement a lot of change probably more rapidly than would otherwise be the case." These words do support the possibility that LANL may have been a guinea pig for Nanos to try out do-it-yourself management books. Additionally Nanos and his DuPont advisor, Dave Herbert, inquired of the then DX Div leader who she felt could be portrayed as prima donnas and/or personnel who displayed "cowboy-like tendencies". The fact that this question was asked proves that they had not identified people who had violated rules or policy, rather it indicates that this was a contrived scenario in need of people to fill roles that had been predetermined. So, if this was in fact a manufactured crisis I must object to being used for that purpose and I certainly object to Todd being sacrificed for it. This is one of the key items that I believe needs to be investigated. If this was not only avoidable but intentional then that fact needs to be factored in when holding people accountable.

The director's stories about "cowboys and renegades" began to fall apart early in the course of events in July 2004. On the 17th of that month there was a conference call between the former DX Division Leader, George P. Nanos, and Linton Brooks. The former DL relayed the following information to me on 18 February of this year. She told me that she was a participant in the conference call and she was asked to update Nanos and Brooks on the situation. She told them that they were confident that there was a faulty inventory and that it was likely that the media in question did not exist. At that point Linton Brooks made the following comment:"Oh god, don't tell me this is another nothing really happened at Los Alamos story!" For someone in his position to be upset that nothing had actually occurred is curious and makes me wonder how involved he was in the actual cover up of the truth. This is the point where an honest and honorable man would have apologized for the unnecessary uproar and would have told the truth. Instead Nanos and Brooks continued with their self indulgent charade about culture problems and phantom cowboys. As I said earlier, there was nothing to indicate that such a problem existed.

Amid the general mischaracterizations in Nanos' testimony there were examples of outright deception. One clear example is the reference Nanos made about my involvement. He told the Congress that I had taken a short cut and had engaged in an unauthorized practice by taking the bar codes. He further claimed that the barcodes were accountable. This statement is completely false. In fact, at the 18 February meeting I referenced earlier my DL told me that I was clearly trying to do the right thing by appropriately marking the media as I created it. Furthermore, there was no policy that prohibited or even referenced the practice because barcode stickers were never accountable before this incident. Nanos lied when he lead Congress to believe that LANL had policies against taking barcodes. It was actually a fairly common practice. Had Nanos been correct in his assertion I'm sure that I would have been reprimanded for that error. I was not. I returned to work on 03 January of this year. On 31 January I was given a security infraction based on the following statement taken from the letter of reprimand I was given on 23 November, 2004: " failed to ensure that items of Classified Removable Electronic Media ("CREM") that you created during an international conference between September 29 and October 2, 2003 were properly entered into accountability."( Notice there was no mention of improperly obtaining barcodes.) At that point I asked for a specific violation of policy of which I was being accused. The response that I received was not satisfactory which prompted me to send the following email to Kevin Jones on 03 February, 2005.

Mr. Jones:

At 10:00 A.M. on 31 January, 2005 I attended a meeting in your office. Also in attendance was XXXXXXX. The purpose of this meeting was for you to issue me a security infraction for an alleged violation in the CREM II incident.

The document that you provided to me contained no specific information. The document simply stated that a security infraction had been issued. I informed you at that time that I would require the "specific" details of the infraction.

The subsequent document that I received made a nebulous reference to "failure to meet appropriate security standards in handling classified material."

I now reiterate my request for a specific definition of this alleged infraction. For the purposes of this request please use the following definition of spe-cif-ic: Explicitly set forth, particular, definite. I require a detailed description of what the appropriate security standards were at the time of the alleged infraction and the manner in which the LANL claims that I violated them so that I can effectively refute the charges. This should be accompanied by the exact citation of rules or policy supposedly violated in accordance with AM111.

I would assume that after all of the months of investigation that this information should be readily available. If it is not available so long after the close of the investigation then this retaliatory action must cease. I contend that no such violation occurred and if information to the contrary cannot be delivered to me by COB on 04 February, 05 I submit that you have acquiesced to my contention and no violation occurred. If that is the case I require the immediate removal of this infraction from my file.

John Horne

The response to this email contained this statement:

Violation of accountability re: See attachment 6 to Classified Security LIR

Section 3.1 General Requirements, "worker ( user, owner, or originator of accountable matter), bullet 5: Notify the custodian whenever new CREM is generated."

According to his August 1, 2004 statement, HORNE states that he informed (name redacted) he was returning CREM on October 3, 2004. However, the MEDIA TRACKER system was not modified on that date to show the disparity between the number of barcodes assigned to HORNE, and the number of classified zip disks actually created.

There are several problems with S divisions statement and their stretched interpretation of the policy. First, the referenced section says I must "notify" the custodian when CREM was created. Their own quote from my statement said that I informed the custodian. Since inform and notify are synonymous it is obvious that I did make notification as required by the LIR and the training that I received.

As we interrogated the records in the media tracker during our investigation of these events in early to mid July 04, it became apparent that the time and date feature on the system had not been properly set. To base any conclusion or time line on the time and date stamp places the validity of the conclusion in question.

Next, I conducted interviews with my line managers that clearly state that I was never required or authorized to access or update the media tracker in the DX-3 vault. Furthermore, I was never required or authorized to monitor the due diligence of the vault custodian. Based on these facts the above statement by S Division does not say that I failed to correct the disparity between the number of barcodes assigned to me and the number of CREM actually created. It simply states that the disparity existed and was not corrected. Since I had no duty, responsibility, or ability to find and correct the disparity it cannot be said that I had committed a violation. In addition, the crux of this issue is the fact that the barcodes were actually assigned to me before I created any CREM. Barcodes were not accountable at the time of this incident and the fact that they were assigned to me before said creation rather than given to me in anticipation of that creation is a key detail that proves I did not commit a violation. I handled the barcodes in accordance with the stated rules and policies in effect at the time and I made notification of creation of CREM at the proper time.

Lastly, in response to the nebulous assertion of 31 January, 2005 that I mishandled classified material, the fact that all of the material which I actually created was properly entered into accountability is proof that I did in fact properly notify the custodian. All classified material that actually existed was properly handled. The addition of the two extra barcodes was an error that was beyond my control to remedy since I had no knowledge of the event.

Nanos had all of this information yet he chose to misinform congress rather than tell them what actually occurred. And it gets worse. Todd had absolutely no involvement with these events. I was the one who created the media and I appropriately fulfilled my duties. The only allegation made against Todd with regard to the "missing media" was that "He left it to John Horne to ensure that the CREM created during the international conference was placed into accountability even though Kauppila was the conference chair...". The information that I provided above should dispel any theories that Todd had acted improperly as my supervisor. With all of the Director's accusations of misconduct by "cowboys" this is all that they came up with to accuse us of. If those assertions had merit the list of infractions would have been long and irrefutable. LANL went out of their way however, to attempt to dredge up derogatory information about Todd since his firing had been preordained by the Director on 07 or 08 July of 2004. Todd was fired because he had drawn the ire of the director. One reason for this is that he didn't immediately return from vacation even though he had no knowledge of a requirement for him to do so. In fact he was given permission to stay on vacation by his immediate supervisor. Nanos knew that Todd was fired because of his own irrational ego driven vendetta. Yet, he told Congress that he had drawn the line on malfeasance correctly knowing that not to be true. Kevin Jones willingly carried out the hit on Todd under the direction of Nanos. He even admitted, at a meeting with DX-3 members, that he was directed from above to take action against one employee. If that doesn't convince you that Todd was set up to take the fall for management then the next story will. Following a meeting at R-40 where these issues were discussed with members of DX-3 a colleague of Todd's asked Sue Seestrom why people were being used as a scapegoats when they knew we had done nothing wrong. Her reply was, "Sometimes good people have to go down for the good of the Laboratory."

That prior statement is indicative of the manner in which LANL pursued Todd Kauppila. During Nanos' Congressional testimony Congressman Walden asked if the terminated workers turned up elsewhere in the government. Nanos' reply that he had not kept track of these individuals was again untruthful. They kept close enough track of Todd to know where he was applying for employment so the could blackball him at every attempt to find a job. Even after his termination Nanos and LANL continued to aggressively attack Todd at every opportunity. As a case in point Nanos regularly referred to Todd as a Son-of-a-Bitch rather than referring to him as Mr. Kauppila. I was told of several accounts when he did this and, he said it to my face when I confronted him on 16 February of this year. This attitude shows a clear disposition against Todd by the Director himself. That public display of animosity permeated the lower levels of management in DX-Division, S Division, and Lab Legal making it open season on Todd. On 09 May, the day after Todd's untimely death, Virginia Melvin, a Team Leader in S Division, laughed when she heard the news and said, "Well, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy." Not only does this kind of attitude further show a bias against Todd it shows the callous and inhuman manner with which the Laboratory pursues its enemies. On the morning when Todd's wife and two children were mourning his loss managers in S Division were making statements like that.

More directly, LANL engaged in a pattern of deceit in order to fulfill the Director's wishes to ruin Todd personally and professionally. The Case Review Board did not interview people who had a favorable working relationship with Todd. Kevin Jones vetted people in order to portray Todd in as poor a light as possible. After talking to several people who were interviewed by Jones and the CRB it became obvious to me that the process was rigged from the outset. The CRB document even stated they had done an incomplete review. The document started by claiming that due to time constraints and other restrictions, they were unable to speak with some key witnesses, including (name redacted) and the DX-3 Group Leader. Considering the severity of the consequences there is no excuse for failing to interview people they identified as "key witnesses". I have every reason to believe that the redacted name was mine since I was at the center of these events. The CRB had no problem finding other people who were on investigative leave so there should be no reason why they could not have spoken with me or my Group Leader unless, they were unwilling to hear any positive input with respect to Todd. Even without the benefit of an advocate in this process the CRB still only recommended a three week suspension. They did not even bring up the issue of termination. So, it is interesting that Kevin Jones wrote that he was following the advice of the CRB when he decided to terminate Todd's employment. I'm sure he was unaware that we could obtain CRB files through the FOIA.

The harassment and unethical actions did not stop after Todd's termination. When Todd applied for unemployment LANL attempted to stop him by telling the California Unemployment Bureau that Todd was fired for violating LANL policy and was therefore ineligible for unemployment. Early in December 2004 Todd and I were sworn in, via telephone, in a California court. We explained to the Judge that LANL's assertions were untrue and that the matter was proceeding to arbitration. Since LANL failed to appear for the hearing the Judge decided in Todd's favor and he began receiving unemployment checks. LANL's response was to file an appeal. The centerpiece of this appeal was a copy of the CRB report detailing the allegations against Todd. However, Lab Legal failed to include the last two pages of the report which included the recommendation of a three week suspension, not a recommendation of termination. LANL was so intent on destroying Todd that they actually filed false documents with a California court in order to deny him unemployment benefits. Beyond the attempt to deny his unemployment was the continued attempts to deny him any employment at all. Todd was repeatedly turned down by contractors because they were afraid to hire him based on the actions of Nanos and Seestrom. This became evident when Todd and I had dinner with a representative from AWE. Todd had recently returned from a sabbatical at AWE and had contacted several people inquiring about employment with them after his termination. The gentleman that we dined with told Todd that they very much wanted to hire him but they could not do so as long as he was "being sacked by Los Alamos." He continued by relaying the details of a phone call that Sue Seestrom made personally to AWE to express LANL's desire that they not hire Todd. These events and the continued black balling of Todd with numerous employers dispels Nanos' claim that he had not kept track of Todd after his termination of employment. They kept very close track of Todd in order to deny him the funds to fight them in court. That is why Nanos liked to brag that we had to pay for our lawyers while his were free. The air of superiority and entitlement displayed by the upper echelon of the Lab in this case is genuinely disgusting. Nanos made even made the statement that "....if innocent people get caught up in this that's tough. I can't worry about the buddy system here." He believed that the people working for him could be used in any manner that he felt necessary. Even if it meant the destruction of their lives. Sue Seestrom used her position to engage in inappropriate conduct with regard to Todd and his future employment. And, Kevin Jones was a willing participant in the attempt to falsely accuse Todd of misconduct. The zeal with which they pursued Todd is indicative of people who needed a villain. If we had been such problem employees these extreme measures would not have been necessary in order to make their story sound credible.

It is also important to remind everyone of LANL's initial attempt to cover up the fact that the CREM never existed. As Todd and I stated in our earlier submission, TA-15 CREM Incident and Aftermath, S Division attempted to confiscate all documentation that proved that the media did not exist. Not only that but they attempted to intimidate the OCSR who compiled the information and proved the theory. Members of the SIT told the OCSR that the conclusion was false, the media did exist, and she was to remain silent about the mistaken inventory. At that point I was the target who was going to take the fall for this situation since the non-existent media had been placed in my name. After I retained an attorney LANL decided it would be easier to shift the blame over to Todd and they made him the object of their attacks. Shortly after the confiscation of the exculpatory documents we independently verified that the media didn't exist. The next day we were escorted from lab property under armed guard. I'm sure that was no coincidence. LANL did not want us telling others what we had discovered. The lengths that Nanos went to in order to cover this up were a genuine misuse of taxpayers funds and should not be tolerated. Nor should the needless abuse of honest Americans for personal gain be allowed. I have heard Nanos expound numerous times on how he dreaded the thought of having to call the spouse of someone who was injured or killed by the Laboratory. Now that he has personally taken part in such an event he is strangely silent on the topic.

The information that I have catalogued above leads me to ask several important questions that I had wanted to discuss with our Senators. Since they continue to remain unresponsive I will ask the questions here. When has it ever been good for the Laboratory to destroy and honest American and, who is it that makes such a determination? Is it appropriate for officials of a government contractor to destroy an honest American using the taxpayer paid resources of the United States solely to protect their reputations? Is it appropriate for those officials to lie under oath before Congress to avoid accountability for their collusion? Is it acceptable for a former Vice Admiral to place his perceived reputation above the good of the nation during a time of war? And, is it appropriate for the Congress to selectively investigate bits and pieces of this national debacle to avoid the need to hold people, above the DX-3 Team Leader position, responsible for this billion dollar mess? We all know the answers to these questions but it seems your Senators and Congressmen are unwilling to accept their responsibility to investigate the real story.

The information I have shared with you here is only a portion of the record that refutes the official assertions of the University of California, NNSA, and LANL. I hope this will lead many of you to write or call Senators Bingaman and Domenici and the rest of our Congressional delegation to compel them to do what is required of them.

John N. Horne

Every now and then a bully picks the wrong "little person" to screw with.

You go, John! Let's see what happens now that lots people can read about our former director's dishonest testimony before Congress.
Wouldn't it be nice if Nanos' behavior finally caught up with him? With the help of his buddies in UC and NNSA, he skated away from the disaster that he caused at LANL, smack into a cushy COS to DTRA, which came with a cushy salary of $245,000. Now that word is spreading that he may have perjured himself in front of a Congressional hearing, perhaps DTRA will think twice about continuing to provide safe harbor for him.
Nanos was a liar. Those of us who were there for the shutdown know that. He lied about LANL's safety record. Who can forget the fiasco at one of his famous manditory all-hands meetings when he tried to use his own cooked accident statistics to "prove" how bad we were? And he knew within days that the supposed missing CREM was likely nothing more than a bookeeping problem.

Proving that he lied to Congress, however, will take more energy and motivation than either Dominici or Bingaman have. It would be karmic, though, if UC and NNSA turned the tables and scapegoated Nanos, dropping their support for him.

I can just hear Linton Brooks and Bob Dynes in their testimonies in front of a Congressional Committee:

"Congressmen, we had no idea that Admiral Nanos was fibbing to us about what really happened at Los Alamos."
So, now is the time to hear from the following people (come on, now, we know you're reading this):

-George Peter Nanos
-Sue Seestrom
-Kevin Jones

You must have SOMETHING to say...

Just who is even going to read all this crap except those who have a vendetta? Doesn't anyone want to just get over this? Nanos is gone. Who in hell will care about revisting his sins? Get on with life, because it is going to get a LOT more interesting in the next few months. If you want to live in the past, you either don't care about or are oblivious to the potential disasters in the near future. Fasten your seatbelts.
So, 9/07/2005 08:19:13 PM--is that you, Pete?
Logging in from DTRA?
UC, or all the listed managers are not going to answer Horne's tirade. It does appear that some were treated unfair -- but it is also clear that one side of the story (in this case, Horne's) is only part of the real thing. Based on several other personnel cases I have observed, only some of the facts have been presented here. It is possible, even likely, that previous history played a role. Unfortunately, when Horne complains that only people that disliked the principals were interviewed, this suggests that there is more.............

Horne's long letter will go no where because much of the argument is based on splitting hairs and looking for dual meaning in phrases or sentences. It can not be disputed that Nanos was a vindictive, small minded, unqualified lab leader. But Congress is not going to revisit this issue. DoE is not going to revisit this issue. LASO is not going to revisit this issue.
Someones missing the point. All we really have heard til now is LANLs side. Now we're hearing Horne's side. It looks like he might have struck a nerve.
Congress, DoE, LASO may not revisit the issue, or they may have to. In any case, it doesn't hurt to get as many pieces of the story from as many sources as possible. That enables interested readers to get as close to the various truths as possible. That should be the goal of those who think a laboratory serves a valuable purpose. Thanks for keeping the blog more or less anonymous, Doug.
Regarding the 9/07/2005 08:19:13 PM posting:

Saying that we should forget and get back to work because Nanos is gone is like saying the displaced people of New Orleans should forget and get back to work because the winds and storm surge of Katrina have gone. The fact is that the cesspools, broken lives, destroyed careers, and rubble of programs essential to national security remain. The truth is the past director did not drain the swamp. He converted it into an open sewer filled with the bodies of his victims.
To use another New Orleans analogy... as long as LANL people think it was just Nanos and some 'cronies' who had it in for LANL.. they are like the people staying in their homes thinking the water is going to recede tomorrow.

Congress, DOE, NNSA, OMB, and many other organizations.. were tired of the "Nothing ever happens at LANL." and piled on hard. Nanos and others were just the people Congress/DOE/etc wanted because he would give LANL the beating they thought it needed for years.

That is the sad truth.. and the sooner LANL can accept that versus saying its just a little hurricane.. the better.

You couldn't be more right.

One of the primary reasons is that not only did they get tired of "nothing ever happens at LANL," they got a lot more tired of LANL's extreme arrogance in all interactions with DOE, NNSA, and the congress.

Not that LANL was always, or even mostly wrong, but the way LANL staff responded to directives and program needs was light years from the way our "competitors" like LLNL and Sandia did. Our statements have more often than not been along the lines of:

"this can't be done. It would violate the law of gravity. How stupid are you?",

while the typical Sandia and LLNL approaches would be more like ".. hmmmmmmm, ANTIGRAVITY....this is a complex problem. It deserves more in depth study. We'll need to increase the budget, but it definitely is worth evaluating and the payoff could be enormous...."

Survival of the fittest. Not the smartest, just least annoying.
In response to 5:23. You are correct. For every 2 ideas Los Alamos presents in Washington, Livermore presents 10. The difference is that 9 out of 10 of theirs are stupid. Once upon a time, both of our Los Alamos ideas were good and sound and we could deliver on them. In recent years, I am hard pressed to say we are 50-50. The solution is NOT to join Livermore with a wealth of dumb ideas, rather to improve our statistics to the 90-10 level.
To 6:58 am: "Saying that we should forget and get back to work because Nanos is gone is like saying the displaced people of New Orleans should forget and get back to work because the winds and storm surge of Katrina have gone."

Nice try, but not an apt analogy. But, to extend it, the "victims" have the power to immediately end the toxicity of the environment. Why extend it? Recognize that continuing it lessens the chances that your personal result will be as good as it can be. Is the search for "justice" more important than your and your family's future? Maybe you should focus on the latter.
What a pack of cowards!! Is John the only one willing to stand up for what is right here? Just because Nanos is gone doesn't mean that you stick your heads back in the sand and go on like nothing happened. Just because a criminal leaves town doesn't mean you stop pursuing justice. Now that Todd is gone is John going to have to fight these criminals alone? The least you can do is show some support and quit with the Domenici "get over it" lines. Until there is justice there is no getting over it.
A good analogy is in the eye of the beholder, I agree with 6:58 and suspect that neither 9/08/2005/08:25:03 PM nor I have any idea what 6:58 has done to secure his or her family's future. Neither do we know what financial burdens and humiliation his or her family had been subjected to by the LANL philosophy as enunciated by Seestrum that every once in a while good men (or women) must be sacrificed for the "good of the laboratory." I'm sorry but bystanders have no right to suggest that any abused person roll over and forget it. Let's just say that it's too close in time to declare, "Laissez les bon temps roulez."
9/07/2005 08:19:13 PM Said:
"Just who is even going to read all this crap except those who have a vendetta? Doesn't anyone want to just get over this? Nanos is gone. Who in hell will care about revisting his sins? Get on with life, because it is going to get a LOT more interesting in the next few months. If you want to live in the past, you either don't care about or are oblivious to the potential disasters in the near future. Fasten your seatbelts."

Those are nice lines, but it's justice I seek, not vengance...and I have had my seatbelt fastened for over a year now, and it's still not doing much to protect me or my family. I have to ask the author of the above comment how he or she feels I should "get on with life." The management of the lab and the politicians pulling strings killed my husband and deprived my children of thier father by using him as a scapegoat and deliberately ruining his career so that things would appear other than they are. I'm sorry, but I'm having a little bit more trouble than you getting on with life.

If it helps put things into perspective, even when John Horne obtained a lawyer last fall, Todd was still certain that reason would prevail. He didn't get a lawyer at the time thinking that certainly they'd figure it out and all would be well. In fact, I remember Todd noting that something like this could only help upper managment to fix the procedural problems with security that he and his coworkers had tried for some time to call to upper management's attention. The point is that Todd had a "my employer will take care of me" attitude. Guess what? Your employer will chop you into pieces on a whim to protect themselves. You are expendable. Upper managment has been quoted to say "HR exisists only to protect the Director" (just in case any of you thoght HR was on your side.)

Many of you are out there thinking stuff like this won't happen to you. So did we...and we were wrong. If you think that because Nanos is gone all the bad is're delusional. The rest of the players in this farce are stil here and well employed with apparently no regrets for their part in this. Todd is dead and despite the generosity of the community, I'm faced with whether I can afford to stay in this town because the lab took life insurance away that we'd had for 20 years. For those who were comforting themselves on the comments made shortly after Todd's death about how the lab was "looking into" our situation... Please be assured that the lab and UC continue to do nothing but ask for extensions to and exemptions from legal rules.

Everything John Horne said in his post is true. There is proof that will be presented in proper courts of law. In the meantime, please don't be lured into thinking that things are well... unless you are one who is ok with watching a wrongful hanging as long as it's not you.


Sara Kauppila
Sara - I feel for you and your kids. I honestly hope I am totally wrong, but it is doubtful that the existing Lab management is "looking into" much besides ass coverage and golden parachutes. Today's Lab is no longer part of the "generous community" of Los Alamos & Northern New Mexico. When it comes to the 9-5 world, many people are slowly putting their heads back into the sand hoping the whole situation will just go away. I too am having a little trouble with the don't worry be happy crowd...odds are one of them will be the next victim of the malarky that Todd and others have faced and it will hit them like a ton of bricks. Hang in there. Undoubtedly, there are many changes ahead and some of them may have substance. - Scott
09:21:32 PM:

"What a pack of cowards!!"

Unfortunately true. I have been struck by the general cowardice of the bulk of LANL employees. They cowered before Nanos, they continue to cower even after he is gone. There are a few who are not afraid to speak out about what is wrong at LANL: Sara Kaupilla, John Horne, Brad Holian, Doug Roberts, Dave Hanson, a few others.

Many of the rest, unfortunately, are cowards.
Tyranny's most supportive conspirators have always been the advocates of silence. Its second most supportive conspirators are those who purpose to forget.
It is to say the least disheartening to read comments such as sent by anonymous: 09/072005 05:17:46 PM. The writer states that only those who have a vendetta will read "THIS CRAP". Well all who know the real story will read "THIS CRAP" and there are many of us who will help carry the cross with Mr. Horne until justice is served. The writer asks: "Doesn"t anyone want to just get over this?" Ask Todd's family that question. Ask others who were directly effected by the events orchestrated by Nanos and those weak cowards that supported his lies and deceit. The writer also states that Nanos is gone and then asks "Who in hell will care about revisiting his sins?" Nanos and his accomplices are not gone. They are still on the University of California's payroll. Yes, his sins must be revisited hare and now because he is very likely guilty of perjury and other felonies related to the "CREM" cover up. Those administrators who knew of and supported those events must also be held accountable. Mr. Horne's efforts to bring the truth to light is not a vendetta, it is a cry for justice. Those who know the truth must keep the pressure on until those representative who have assisted in keeping the truth undercover show the courage to do the job they were entrusted to do. Those events that have cost the tax payers over a billion dollars, destroyed the lives and professions of so many and has so heavily hindered the operations at this loboratory must surface and those involved must be revealed publically.
After reading John Horne's comments, I have the following recommendations to Blog readers:
1) Contact Senators Domenici and Bingaman,and request an in-depth congressional hearing and investigation...afterall,there is a death of a Lab employee involved. We do need to expect them to do their job, and if they won't, and if we do not "hound" them, then we are not doing our job as citizens.
2) Carefully evaluate what Horne says,and see if he has any motives other than to tell the truth. I know Horne, and I believe him. If you don't know him, then you should meet him personally. Yes, he is a man of faith, spiritually refined several years before any of this happened. If you know him, it is likely that over the last ten years, he has prayed for you, without your knowledge. He is an honest man. He is a man of his word, who says what he means, and hides nothing. He loves his country, and his loyalty to God and county will propel him forward. Like Job of the Bible, he will not admit to sins he never committed.
Now let's examine Mr. Nanos: I have seen this man interact with Lab employees first hand. He is rude, condescending, arrogant, an attitude of "above the law," revengeful, glory-seeking, power hungry, crude, and insensitive, except when challenged personally. No, I don't like Mr. Nanos, but it is not because of any of these things. It is because I fully believe he has intentionally attempted to put this Lab down. When I retire soon, I will reveal my name with more explicit points to make...obviously I can't now because I don't trust the system Nanos has put into place, and have a mortgage payment to make.
If an individual tried to destroy my credibility and wreck my life I would be raising hell too!!!! I know John and in 20 some years know that he has NEVER had a security infraction! John is a good and honest man, not the "cowboy" he has been made out to be.

As for "Skipper Pete", no man who reads a book on "How to Manage: FOR DUMMIES" has any business running a National Laboratory.

Lastly, we should all be writing our Senators and Congressmen demanding thar Mr. Horne be allowed to tell his side of the story. We as citizens and tax payers have a right to know. Put and end to this bureautic bull s***!!!
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