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Los Alamos Whistleblower Beating Story Debunked

There was a great outpouring of public sympathy and concern last week when it was reported that a whistleblower at Los Alamos nuclear labs was severely beaten outside a bar he had supposedly been lured to under false pretenses. It turns out the only falsehoods in the story are coming from the whistleblower himself.

(CBS/AP) - An attack on a Los Alamos nuclear lab auditor outside a bar was unrelated to his status as a whistleblower, authorities said Thursday, calling into question the man's allegation that he was beaten to ensure his silence.

Tommy Hook, 52, suffered a broken jaw, a herniated disc and missing teeth in the attack outside the Cheeks nightclub in Santa Fe early Sunday. He has said the beating was carried out by thugs intent on keeping him from talking about alleged financial irregularities at the nuclear lab.

But investigators disputed that account Thursday, saying the attack occurred after Hook's car struck a pedestrian while leaving the club.

"Facts, evidence and information obtained during the course of this investigation has led investigators to believe that the altercation involving Mr. Hook is an isolated incident and is in no way related to Mr. Hook's whistleblower status at the Los Alamos National Laboratories," Santa Fe Deputy Police Chief Eric Johnson said in a statement.

The investigation is "leaning toward a fight in the parking lot as a result of Mr. Hook backing into a pedestrian," Johnson said. He said after Hook hit the pedestrian, he exited his vehicle, "at which time the confrontation escalated into a physical attack."

Looks like he's ensuring his own silence. Who would believe anything this guy has to say at this point?


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Comments (16)

So, let's get this straight... (Below threshold)
slim999:

So, let's get this straight.

CBS and AP (paragons of reporting) say that unnamed anonymouse "investigators" claim that the attack has oh-so-nothing to do with the fact that this guy was about to testify about corruption at Los Alamos.

Why?

Unstated "facts"
Unstated "evidence"
Unstated "information" shows that the whistleblower bumped into someone with his car in a parking lot.

So five guys beat him to within an inch of his life?

The investigation is "leaning" toward a fight in the parking lot as a result of this bumping. It's "leaning" that way.

They refused to release the identities of the people who beat this guy up, but they know who they are (supposedly)

And you think that we should question everything the VICTIM says now?

Hmmmmm.

The latest word is that the... (Below threshold)

The latest word is that the guy backed into a visitor from the planet Zarkon and the Zarkonian and four of his drinking buddies (two from neighboring planet Zircon) too offense as the assault was carried out with a plastic, rather than the traditional metal. bumper. Assault with a plastic bumper is rarely a capital offense on planet Zarkon the first time but the guy exacerbated his offense by exiting his vehicle, a grave insult on both Zarkon and Zircon.

Surely you can understand that in these days of cultural sensitivity, we cannot place blame of these innocent visitors from other planets...

He should get together with... (Below threshold)
Yukyuk:

He should get together with the chick who claimed she ate a finger at Wendy's.

When I first read the story... (Below threshold)
Lew Clark:

When I first read the story, I told friends that is was not necesary to identify him as a "whistleblower".

Every time I read a story about a guy staggering out of a topless bar, getting in his car, almost running over someone in the parking lot, jumping out of his car and getting the crap beat out of him; I immediately know he is a whistleblower at a nuclear laboratory and it's just one more incident of Department of Energy goons working someone over to keep things quiet.

I think a few questions sho... (Below threshold)
Ken:

I think a few questions should be answered before assuming this guy is lying:

1. Was it common for him to go to bars or topless bars?

2. Was he actually seen in the bar? Was he drunk?

3. There were a number of people with the person he bumped, and most participated in beating him. Were they all seen in the bar earlier?

4. Were the people that beat him known to go to that bar?

5. What circumstances brought those people together to the bar at that time.

6. Phone records should shine some light on the supposed phone call that led him to the bar.

There should be all kinds of details that will allow the police to sort it out, if they try to do a straight job on it.

OMG!! Some ya... (Below threshold)
lowmal:

OMG!!

Some yahoo got his ass kicked at a bar??

That's the most rediculous thing I've ever heard!!

Next they'll say Michael Jackson sleeps with young boys..

Yeah, RIGHT!!

Oh, wait a minute...

And you think tha... (Below threshold)
John:


And you think that we should question everything the VICTIM says now?

Hmmmmm.

Lets see, he gets beaten up after hitting someone with his car outside a nightclub bar(which he apparently forgot to mention when he first made the claim) yet he says its an attempt to shut him up, and you DON'T think his claim (which appears to be nothing more than an assumption) should be questioned??

hmmmm...

I can't wait to hear the en... (Below threshold)
Labbie:

I can't wait to hear the end of this story. So much does not add up. The phone records are key evidence, as are statements made by Hook about the first cancelled meeting, if those can be verified by multiple witnesses. What I find truly astounding is that the police are able to investigate and make a conclusion that the attackers had nothing to do with his whistleblower status, yet none of the assailants are arrested. Sounds like a priority is out of order there? And, where is the pedestrian victim of the hit and run? Are they in a hospital somewhere? What is the extent of their injuries such that a near-fatal beating was provoked? Why are none of the dancers, bartenders, or "witnesses" giving interviews to the press? In similar crimes, there is always "film at 11" of numerous bystanders relating what happened. I still don't think Hook's story can be dismissed outright...if he was initially cornered in a lavatory and threatened (observed by no one else), and then a pretext pedestrian accident was staged outside and a beating administered, that sounds like a pro intimidation job. Leaves the victim discreditable. We must admit that Mr. Hook was concussed severely shortly into the attack, and he probably could not be held responsible for claims made for quite some time after the beating, perhaps even now. A brain scan was probably taken and would serve as evidence in that respect. If he made the story up, shame on him. He should be recanting shortly if so...the more he insists on his story, somehow that makes the burden of substantial proof to the contrary necessary. Taking the word of people in a crowd who did nothing to stop (or carried out) a terrible beating? They have a motive to stay nameless and faceless too. If he got a lap dance or two while waiting for a contact, no legal charge there. Some reports say he told a waitress at the club he was waiting for someone BEFORE the attack (please don't tell me he had a cover story in place IN CASE he got busted!). If he was drunk and driving, the blood sample taken at the hospital will show it. Why haven't the police announced his B.A.C? They do it with every other person in similar circumstances. Like I said, the story is not over for me. Mysterious! Probably will become a TV movie. A sad commentary on the casual attitude to brutal violence in our society. Where is the outrage over the lack of arrests of attackers? These guys are still out there, and tomorrow is Saturday night...

Cheeks is still around? Som... (Below threshold)

Cheeks is still around? Some friends of mine in college used to dance there back in the day. Thier opinions of the customers truely soured me on the whole concept of going to titty-bars...

Hmmm.Frankly I res... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Frankly I reserve judgement. Los Alamos has a very long history of embezzlement, misappropriation of government funds and more. The University of California system is in charge, but they almost were kicked out a couple years ago and still very well might. We're talking billions of dollars here. Not just in direct funds but in research grants and subsidies.

When the number is in the billions, a beat down is easily afforded.

And frankly, that was one helluva beatdown. I'm surprised the guy lived and anyone who was involved should be indicted for attempted murder.

I'm curious as to why nobody has been arrested yet.

Labbie,You are an ... (Below threshold)
slim999:

Labbie,

You are an excellent critical thinker. Having been an investigative reporter for many years in a previous life, these are exactly the kinds of questions an inquiring mind would want to know.

And they are exactly the kinds of questions small town cops and junior Clark Kents almost never ask.

I'm not suggesting this wasn't your typical "guy goes to strip club, feels up dancer, dancer's boyfriend and his buddies teach him a lesson" type of event.

Could have easily happened that way.

However, five guys who beat the crap out of someone and who are known to the police HAVE NOT BEEN ARRESTED. Isn't that odd?

Wizbang, and Instapundit and DefenseTech are buying the local-cop line, well ... hook, line and sinker.

Critical thought people. Ask questions. Dig. Dig. Dig.

Bring the same Fiskian powers you so routinely employ against the Boston Globe and the New York Times to the released statements of the local police and you will quickly find hole after hole after hole in this investigation.

Ed,What you wrote is... (Below threshold)
vlado:

Ed,
What you wrote is a complete mischaracterization of Los Alamos National Lab, based on a few false media reports. Los Alamos is a government lab doing national security work. Some of the best scientists in the country are working there. It is a $2B operation. Yes, auditors had found some thousands of dollars of misappropriated funds, but the whole account has been blown out of proportion. Any large organization will have some waste. It's just that Los Alamos is a lot more transparent than private organizations, since this is a government lab.
Now, it is a terrible thing what happened to Mr. Hook. But to somehow incriminate Los Alamos into this, without any evidence for that, is irresponsible.
Mr. Hook got beat up outside of a topless bar at 2 am on a Saturday night. The bar was closing and it was busy in the parking lot. He was in his car ready to leave, backed out of his space and put the car into park and then he got beat up when he got out. If "someone" had lured him there to beat him up don't you think they would have done it sooner and not when it's closing time and everyone is leaving the club.
The police handed over the information about the assailants to the DA for prosecution. There will probably still be charges pressed once the story is clarified.

Dear WizbangI supp... (Below threshold)

Dear Wizbang

I suppose it's possible the severe beating this fellow took was not related to the information someone doesn't want him to share.

But I doubt it.

Big companies are professionals at setting up a beating to make it look like it was related to something else.

They are pros.

God Bless
Bonnie

And this makes the incident... (Below threshold)
Worried in NM:

And this makes the incident all the more mysterious. His spouse was *out of town* at the time of the elusive late-night call and subsequent failed rendezvous at Cheeks. Will we ever know what really happened?

I actually used to live in ... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

I actually used to live in Los Alamos. My parents still live there, and both work at the Lab. Residents of Los Alamos and Santa Fe do not necessarily get along that well, Los Alamos being mostly brainy Caucasian types, and Santa Fe being primarily Hispanic and Indian (levels of intelligence stereotyped, unfortunately, to be much lower than on The Hill). It is entirely within the realm of possibility that Mr. Hook visited the strip club, left, bumped into whoever, and bystanders noticed the Los Alamos county tag on his car license, and decided to beat the hell out of the stuck-up Labbie.

And Santa Fe's the nice place. Don't get caught in Espanola...

And UC wasn't recently near... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

And UC wasn't recently nearly kicked out; it was deciding on its own whether it wanted to continue running the joint. They're currently in negotiations with DOE, partnered with Bechtel and in competition to Lockheed. I'll add that some of the most recent events that are making UC weary of running the place are all the missing nuclear hard drives and tapes (that Taiwanese spy thing). Those events happened while Bill Richardson was the DOE secretary (formerly NM congressman and UN ambassador and now governor).

I think Richardson's being groomed for a possible Presidential run, after the Hildebeast of course.




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