Los Alamos whistleblower "Tommy Hook is still hospitalized today after being brutally assaulted over the weekend," the Project on Government Oversight is saying. "A group of three to four assailants threatened Hook to keep silent, in apparent reference to his upcoming Congressional testimony on fraud at Los Alamos."
Mr. Hook was slated to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee this month. Congressional staff from the Committee were already scheduled to arrive Tuesday, June 7th to investigate Tommy Hook's allegations. Also flying out tomorrow is the Project On Government Oversight's Senior Investigator Peter Stockton who investigated the 1974 murder of nuclear whistleblower Karen Silkwood in his previous position as a Congressional investigator.Mr. Hook had planned at the end of last week to meet an individual who claimed to have corroborating information about fraud at Los Alamos. That individual never attended the meeting. Late Saturday evening, someone who might have been posing as that individual called Mr. Hook and asked to meet with him at a bar in Santa Fe. He went to the bar and waited but that person never showed up. When Mr. Hook got into his car to leave, attackers pulled him out of the car and brutally assaulted him. The assailants threatened Mr. Hook to keep silent. A bouncer at the bar intervened and broke up the attack. Mr. Hook was hospitalized in an Emergency Room with severe trauma to his face and head, including a fractured jaw, and a herniated disk. He is heavily medicated today and unable to speak to the media.Mr. Hook and whistleblower Chuck Montano appeared on the CBS Evening News earlier this year. Audit reports conducted by Mr. Hook and Mr. Montano in 2002-2004 found a disturbing pattern of financial irregularities in the Los Alamos Lab's procurement division. In compliance with Department of Energy (DOE) requirements, Mr. Hook and Mr. 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 Mr. Hook and Mr. Montano.Although a lab spokesman once told the Albuquerque Journal's Adam Rankin that "retaliation against whistleblowers is not tolerated," the fact is that Los Alamos officials have been pretty vicious with whistleblowers in years past. But the assaults have always been financial, or political, up until now. I've never heard of anything like this.There's going to be a conference call with Hook's wife and his partner, Montano, in a few hours. I'll let you know what happens.THERE'S MORE: The conference call is done. Details are above, here. And background on Hook's long war with Los Alamos management is here.AND MORE: As John notes, "Interfering with a witness is against the law. Let's hope the GOP Congress does something about this."