Los Alamos whistleblower beaten up
Tommy Hook, a whistleblower at Los Alamos National Laboratory,
The Associated Press
SANTA FE , N.M. - A Los Alamos lab whistleblower scheduled to testify before Congress about alleged financial irregularities was badly beaten outside a bar — an attack his wife and lawyer believe was designed to silence him.
Police and the FBI said that they were investigating the circumstances of the incident which, according to his wife, left Tommy Hook hospitalized Monday with a broken jaw and other injuries.
Police Deputy Chief Eric Johnson said officers found Hook after responding to a reported assault at the Cheeks Night Club about 2 a.m. Sunday. He provided few other details.
“We are working jointly with the FBI, trying to determine what may have happened and what the assault may have stemmed from,” Johnson said. FBI spokesman Bill Elwell described the agency's inquiry as preliminary.
Hook's wife, Susan, alleged the assailants told her husband during the attack: “If you know what's good for you, you'll keep your mouth shut.”
Tommy Hook and another whistleblower sued the University of California in March, alleging that after they uncovered management failures, university and lab managers tried to make their jobs miserable so they would quit.
Hook, a former internal auditor who now works at another job at the lab, had been scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee later this month.
Left for dead
According to Susan Hook, her husband received a call late Saturday from someone wanting to meet with him at a bar. She said her husband told her the man never showed up, but that as he was leaving the parking lot, a group of men pulled him from his car and beat him.
“They left him in the parking lot for dead,” said Tommy Hook's lawyer, Robert Rothstein.
Rothstein said the assailants didn't take Hook's wallet, other personal belongings or car. Without any other motive, it appears the beating was related to his whistleblowing , Rothstein contended.
Susan Hook said her husband did not frequent bars.
Los Alamos lab spokesman Kevin Roark called the beating a “senseless and brutal act and should not be tolerated.”
The lab and UC also issued a joint statement decrying the violence. “Director (Robert) Kuckuck , the University of California and the laboratory believe that any form of physical violence toward an individual is unacceptable,” the statement read.
Hook had been voicing complains about lab management for years. He testified in a 1997 deposition that the chief of the lab's audit division “didn't want to see certain things put in reports,” including “unallowable costs” and “embarrassment to the university.”