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Los Alamos Whistleblower Hospitalized After Assault

MONITOR Wire Services

Spinning The Los Alamos Story

A whistleblower who was scheduled to testify about fraud at the Los Alamos National Laboratory before a Congressional committee is in hospital after he was assaulted late Saturday night in Santa Fe.

Auditor Tommy Hook was set to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee this month to explain the pattern of financial irregularities in the Los Alamos Lab's procurement division that he and colleague Chuck Montano found during their audits at the lab in 2002 through 2004. His testimony may have to be postponed.

His wife, Suzanne Hook, Montano, co-worker and fellow whistleblower, and attorney Bob Rothstein, who represents Hook and Montano, told reporters today that Hook had planned Saturday to meet an individual who claimed to have corroborating information about fraud at Los Alamos. That individual never appeared at the bar where the meeting was planned.

Late Saturday, someone who might have been posing as that individual called Hook and asked to meet with him at a bar in Santa Fe. Hook went to the bar and waited but that person did not appear.

When Hook got into his car to leave, attackers pulled him out of the car, assaulted him, and warned him to keep silent. A bouncer at the bar intervened and broke up the attack.

"If you know what's good for you, you'll keep your mouth shut," the assailants told Hook, according to his wife.

Hook was hospitalized with severe trauma to his face and head, including a fractured jaw, and a herniated disk. He is heavily medicated today and is unable to speak to the media.

Congressional staff from the House Energy and Commerce Committee were scheduled to arrive Tuesday to investigate Hook's allegations.

Also flying to Santa Fe is the Project On Government Oversight's (POGO) Senior Investigator Peter Stockton, who investigated the 1974 murder of nuclear whistleblower Karen Silkwood in his previous position as a Congressional investigator.

In compliance with Department of Energy (DOE) requirements, Hook and 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 Hook and Montano.

Hook and Montano filed a whistleblower retaliation suit against the University of California and supervisors at the Lab in March. A copy of the complaint has been posted on POGO's Hook & Montano resource page.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is operated by the University of California for the National Nuclear Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy and works in partnership with NNSA's Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories.

Los Alamos describes its mission as the enhancment of "global security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to defense, energy, environment, infrastructure, health and national security concerns."

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Albion Monitor June 7, 2005 (

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