"There were shoe marks on his face"

Plenty more new details and background context about this weekend's Los Alamos-whistleblower beating over at Defense Tech and LANL: The Real Story.

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  • ||

    So the FBI is involved now? I hope he can identify at least one of the attackers.

    Can anyone think of a scenario in which someone in charge didn't send these goons after him?

    I'd try to imagine:

    Well, we were sittin' in the lunchroom one day, and one of the guys said, "You know that auditor guy is gonna testify before congress pretty soon?" ...and so I said, "Really? Well, why don't we all just sucker him into a dark parking lot and stomp him?" ...and then the other four guys just kinda went along with it...I mean...it was all re-runs on TV that night anyway.

    ...but it's just so freakin' implausible!

  • ||

    .. I think it's more likely that he was grabbing one of the girls or acting like a jerk and the bouncers/patrons set him straight.. he then concocted this story to keep his wife from kicking the snot out of him for hanging out at a topless bar..

  • ||

    ".. I think it's more likely that he was grabbing one of the girls or acting like a jerk and the bouncers/patrons set him straight.. he then concocted this story to keep his wife from kicking the snot out of him for hanging out at a topless bar.."

    Comment by: Jemez Hobbit at June 7, 2005 01:44 PM

    "I'm sure someone, somewhere is dismissing this as the speculation of tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists. How frightening!"

    Comment by: Ken Shultz at June 6, 2005 08:43 PM

    http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2005/06/silkwood_ii.shtml

  • ||

    Jemez didn't dismiss it as a tinfoil conspiracy theory by others, he suggested that the victim made up a story. There is a slight difference...

  • ||

    I don't buy it, Jemez. A bouncer roughs him up - and gives him a broken jaw and a herniated disk? A late middle aged geek, what kind of fight would have been putting up that it goes that far? And with the background of the story, that would be very coincidental.

    Maybe it's possible, but I wouldn't be dismissing alternate theories out of hand if THAT's your most likely scenario.

  • ||

    It sounds plaussible that Tommy Hook made the story up. But let's think about human nature. A person in Hook's shoes is going to drive 60 miles to a strip club to look at and oggle women before testifying in front of Congress? Sounds like he might have a credibility problem. Also sounds like he might have an easily discreditable testimony if other Los Alamos workers knew of these discretions. Sounds like a pretty stupid story.

    So if Hooks is telling the truth, he must be one of the most trusting persons that ever worked for our government, because it seems fairly stupid to go meet a fellow whistleblower at a titty bar. Either this story is false (which I doubt), or Tommy Hook has learned something most of us knew. And that is don't trust anyone who works for the government. And he almost paid the ultimate price. Let's all hope that he can still testify.

  • ||

    Isn't it possible that we don't have enough facts yet to conclude either of the following?

    1) Los Alamos National Lab or the University of California hired goons to rough up a whistleblower.

    2) A drunken guy at a nudie bar got grabby or mouthy and got what was coming to him.

    I don't think it's insane to think either could be possible, or something else entirely. I'll be interested to see what the FBI finds. POGO, DefenseTech, and "LANL: The Real Story" have already made up their minds, but I'd prefer to see what an official investigation yields instead of going on basically one guy with an agenda's words.

  • ||

    It wouldn't have been bouncers that beat him down, but maybe one of the girls had her boyfriend and his friends visiting her, and the guy got grabby, or maybe it was just a group of dudes who were drunk and lookin' for some shit...make up any reason why they would've picked out whistleblower.

    But the timing of the event is what makes it suspicious to me. I mean, the dude's about to testify before Congress (right?) and he gets the living crap beaten out of him?

    Seems fishy.

  • ||

    The goons need not have been hired by LANL or UC. They could have been hired by an individual who's afraid of getting in trouble rather than the institution.

  • ||

    A person in Hook's shoes is going to drive 60 miles to a strip club to look at and oggle women before testifying in front of Congress?

    I agree that doesn't make much sense. It also doesn't make much sense to beat up a guy that badly and tell him to keep quiet, when nine times out of ten someone in that situation will tell the cops they were beaten up badly and told to keep quiet. It's not exactly the easiest way to deflect suspicion away from you. And if you're going to go that far, why not just kill the guy?

    Chances seem good that bigtime stupidity is going on here, one way or another.

  • ||

    phocion, thoreau,

    This - "It also doesn't make much sense to beat up a guy that badly and tell him to keep quiet, when nine times out of ten someone in that situation will tell the cops they were beaten up badly and told to keep quiet" - is why I'm inclined to believe this - "The goons need not have been hired by LANL or UC. They could have been hired by an individual who's afraid of getting in trouble rather than the institution."

  • ||

    I like thoreau's theory. From the DefenseTech.org quotes it sounds like there are plenty of people there who would just be pissed off enough just by the fact that he *was* a whistleblower to want to kick his face in.

  • ||

    As in, a career-type with his hand in the till isn't a criminal mastermind, and the loser friend of his brother that he hires isn't one of John Gotti's capos.

  • ||

    And by fishy I mean, sounds like someone didn't want him to testify.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Of course the government is totally capable of just such nonesense. But why such an idiotic performance? You don't eliminate a whistle blower or his credibility by turning the whole thing into front page news across the nation. And why now? Why not at some point during the last three years? Hook has been on TV and has been filing reports about this stuff since 2002. Seems to me that if the beating is connected to his whistleblowing that it is more likely to have come from individuals who are facing jail time over the financial irregularities rather than "the government" or the "university". My Tin Foil Hat is a big one, but this dog just don't hunt and I say, if it don't make sense it probably doesn't make sense (Ockham et al). Not to mention that most conspiracy theories are crap.

  • ||

    From the DefenseTech.org quotes it sounds like there are plenty of people there who would just be pissed off enough just by the fact that he *was* a whistleblower to want to kick his face in.

    That could be. There's so much angst over the future of LANL that it wouldn't even necessarily need to be people who know anything about the fraud beating him up.

  • ||

    joe - yeah, it's like all the dipshits who try to hire a hitman to kill their wife or something. It's always a cop or FBI agent or something. I don't think there are any real hitmen out there, unless you're really into some heavy shit already.

  • ||

    For the record, I'm not saying that I am convinced the goons were sent to intimidate or silence him. But I won't dismiss the possibility out of hand.

    If he's alleging corruption by criminals who aren't exactly masterminds, rather than institutional corruption by people who can hire Men In Black, then it seems plausible that third-rate goons were hired.

    And it seems plausible that a guy not well versed in cloak and dagger stuff might answer a call to go meet with another alleged whistleblower at a bar an hour away. Somebody involved in the corruption knows enough details to get the whistleblower's attention, and suggests that they meet somewhere far away where no other lab employees will see them, and somewhere loud so nobody can overhear them. A distant strip club with loud music starts to make sense as a place for such a meeting.

  • ||

    Hell, the strip club might even seem like a safe place for the meeting: If you meet in a dark alley there's no telling what the other person will do to you. But if you meet in a place with big tough bouncers, well, that seems safe.

    Until you step outside where the bouncers don't see you.

  • ||

    "Jemez didn't dismiss it as a tinfoil conspiracy theory by others, he suggested that the victim made up a story. There is a slight difference...

    If Jemez is right, and four to six guys stomped a middle aged accountant type for gettin' too close to the strippers, then the suggestion is that the rest of us are... Is it not?

    "Isn't it possible that we don't have enough facts yet to conclude either of the following?"

    You're right--we don't have enough facts to conclude either of those things.

    ...On the other hand, I don't think the fact that a strip bar is a part of the story detracts from this man's version of events.

    Indeed, I think I'm as or more likely to believe that there's a conspiracy at Los Alamos to silence a whistle-blower, cover up gross mismanagement and intimidate any who might, likewise, consider coming forward than I am to believe that this is all an elaborate conspiracy to trick one man's wife into forgiving him for going to a nudie bar.

    ...but like you said, I look forward to more facts. The FBI should be able to help with that.

  • norbizness||

    Keep on truckin' in the Mystery Machine, I'm sure one of y'all will crack the case.

  • ||

    Chances seem good that bigtime stupidity is going on here, one way or another.
    Also that somebody or other has been watching way too much TV. (Although that may be the same thing.)

  • ||

    What probably happened is this Hook guy just went and had a "Fight Club" style delusion and beat himself up in the parking lot.

    What clearly did NOT happen is someone who benefits from the many billions of government dollars that flows through Los Alamos had anything to do with this. It is laughable, nay inconceivable, that anyone who controls such vast sums of money would ever do such a thing. Why would they? To quiet a man who is about to tell a congressional investigator they're all a bunch of liars, cons and criminals? Please. I'm quite sure that if anyone at Los Alamos were guilty of any sort of crime, fraud, or malfeasance, they would be the FIRST ones to step right up to the plate and tell Old Uncle Sam "gee mister, I think I made a mistake. Please take me to prison. I accept full responsibility for everything."

    Well? Did anyone from Los Alamos come forward and say anything like this? No! So we can therefore safely conclude that no one there has done anything they need to worry about. In fact, it's likely that Hook was just going there to report on the wonderful job they're all doing.

    So please, forget all this nonsense about a man beaten half to death just a few days before he's supposed to testify in a massive fraud investigation. It's obvious he hasn't been sleeping well and has dreamed up a sexy alter ego and fantasized about having a fight with it and in the course of that fantasy, beat himself about the face and head.

  • ||

    Having worked at LANL for a couple of summers, I've got to say that driving to Santa Fe to go to a bar isn't that unusual. I only know of one bar in Los Alamos, although I didn't go looking for others. Heck, while I was there, the closest movie theater was in Espanola, a good 30-45 minutes away. Quite a few people commuted from Santa Fe every day, and I even knew one guy who came in from Albuquerque.

    Anyway, my point is that in that neck of the woods, driving an hour to meet someone is pretty standard.

  • ||

    I can't remember which site it was, but one of the sites the previous post linked to mentioned that his testimony had been delayed several times due to an "impending family cruise". Not sure how that could delay the testimony several times, but I am sure that it shows how important he considered his testimony to be.

  • ||

    As for Occam's Razor, I'm not sure which way it cuts here.

    If he's telling the truth, someone at LAL found out about his testimony, which was not publicly known; this person then found out that he missed a meeting with another whistleblower earlier in the day, then planned out this idiotic course of action; and Hook was foolish enough to fall into this trap.

    Or he got roughed up in a bar parking lot and lied about it.

  • ||

    If he's telling the truth, someone at LAL found out about his testimony

    Dude, they already knew what his testimony was going to be.


    Here's another tidbit I found out about Hook: looks like he might have been a bit of a Union Agitator, based on this post he wrote on the Los Alamos company newsletter, dated Jan. 6:


    "Here is the problem in a nut shell. How can Laboratory employees protect our pay and benefit packages presently offered by the University of California? One must first recognize the fact that keeping UC in itself does not ensure anyone of any continued benefit. To my knowledge, no UC employee has any contractual agreement guaranteeing any benefit with the university. Therefore, UC could change any and all benefits at their whim. It is also my understanding that we UC employees do not even enjoy the governmental protection of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which protects corporate America employees from some employer pension abuses.

    The only sure way to protect employee benefits and pay is through collective bargaining. I have spent a considerable number of years as the corporate designee for union contracts. In the past I would have never considered such an option for myself or other UC employees, but in today's environment and the uncertainty of UC's future management prospects, it is important to protect ourselves. We could rely on the goodwill of others, but who knows for sure what that outcome will be."

    See: http://www.lanl.gov/news/newsbulletin/forum/2005/letter2005-010.shtml

  • ||

    Hitmen do actually exits. One of the nasties most chemically imbalenced people I've ever met said the wrong thing to the wrong person and... Of course they were more street thug type who needed cash than the romantisized mafia types.

  • ||

    independent worm,

    The fact that he was going to testify was not publicly known.

  • ||

    Hitmen do actually exits.

    I think you meant to say, "Hitmen actually do exits." :)

  • ||

    I do entrances, foo!

  • ||

    No, dumbass, I do the entrances, you do the exits!

  • ||

    No, I do the exits!

  • Ken Layne||

    Here's a nice story about a couple of cops hired as hitmen to kill the editor of a DefenseTech-style military web site.

    If you respond with a "Well, that happened in Russia so it's not relevant," then you're not paying attention.

  • ||

    Well, here's the verdict:

    http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/06/09/whistleblower.beaten.ap/index.html

    He backed his car into a pedestrian in the parking lot after he had had a couple of drinks, got out of his car to argue, and got his ass kicked.

    Please adjust your tin foil hats forward to cover your eyes and proceed as before.

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