Oct 22, 2009

LANL, the FBI, Espionage, and the New York Times

Fuchs, Wen Ho Lee, The "missing" CREM, hot Mustangs, hot gold, and now P. Leonardo Mascheroni.

Once again LANL finds itself featured in the New York Times. The one bit of good advice former Director G. Peter Nanos gave us was, "Don't do anything that will put you on the front page of the New York Times."

Oops
.

--Doug

Update: See also Carol Clark's story about Mascheroni from the LA Monitor.

66 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about good science that would be worthy of the front page.

Oh


Nevermind!

Anonymous said...

How about some NYT front page coverage about government/corporate corruption regarding the selling of national laboratories to large corporations for fun and profit?

Anonymous said...

The guy was fired from LANL way back in 1988. How much could he still know? And wasn't his wife working in a low level lab administrative position? Could this be another Wen Ho Lee type witch hunt?

Anonymous said...

Not sexy enough, 10:08. Corrupt government collusion with Corporate America is the daily norm. Stories about that don't sell copy.

Espionage, on the other hand, sells copy.

Anonymous said...

Any blog hits coming from the FBI, Frank? But, then, how would you know? I'm sure they go covert when monitoring this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Good thing something like this never ever happens out at "my place", LLNL.

- MIKEY

Anonymous said...

Good News! Hugo Chavez is defending LANL!!!...Uh, on second thought, perhaps that's not such good news:

www.voanews.com/english/
2009-10-22-voa30.cfm

----
Venezuela Criticizes US Probe of Former Los Alamos Scientist

By VOA News

22 October 2009

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused the U.S. of trying to create what he called the "opinion" that his country wants nuclear weapons.

Mr. Chavez made the comment during a televised Cabinet meeting late Wednesday, days after federal agents raided the home of a former U.S. government nuclear scientist who had contacts with an alleged Venezuelan government representative.

On Monday, FBI agents seized papers, computers and other items from the home of former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist P. Leonardo Mascheroni, who says the agents led him to believe he was being investigated for espionage.

Mascheroni says in 2008, a man claiming to represent the Venezuelan government agreed to pay him several hundred thousand dollars for technical information. Mascheroni says he provided unclassified information but was never paid.

In his speech Wednesday, Mr. Chavez read aloud a New York Times report of the incident and called the probe a plan against his government.

Anonymous said...

KRQE has more details on this breaking case. He apparently took $20,000 cash in a sealed envelope from Hugo. Not good (or very smart). Where does LANL dig up these losers? :

~~~

"Ex-Lab scientist fears treason charge"

Published : Thursday, 22 Oct 2009, 12:45 AM MDT

www.krqe.com/dpp/news/technology/
technology_krqe_los_alamos_nm_
ex_lab_scientist_fears_treason_
charge_200910220045

...Mascheroni told News 13 the FBI left him some documentation from their search.

"When you read all of the information in here, it is clear the case they are going to make, which is treason," Mascheroni said.

Mascheroni, a former nuclear physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said he has believed for 20 years the United States has been using the wrong designs to create nuclear weapons. But no one including members of Congress listened to him, he said.

So, Mascheroni finally found a country that would listen: Venezuela.

Mascheroni said he was promised $800,000 by a Venezuelan government representative but added he planned to take the money to Congress to get its attention about faulty weapons designs.

In exchange for information on nuclear weapons, he said he was only paid $20,000 delivered in a sealed envelope which he never opened. He was holding the money until he could get more payments to confirm the Venezuelan government representative was legitimate, he added.

Anonymous said...

Is Wen Ho Lee's solitary confinement jail cell from '99 still available? It may need to be put to use again.

Anonymous said...

The jokes just write themselves.

Anonymous said...

Any blog hits coming from the FBI, Frank? But, then, how would you know? I'm sure they go covert when monitoring this stuff.

10/22/09 11:08 AM

Ha! Good one! Everyone knows the FBI (at least locally) has few computers and no web access.

Anonymous said...

Mascheroni has been around for a long time and there was never much question that he was fired on a trumped up security issue. I believe, however, that he's not the skeleton in the closet that everyone fears. Someone will eventually disclose the collusion and incompetence that dominated the NPB and laser programs.

Anonymous said...

More breathless anticipation from the anti-LANL POGO-love-fest crowd that maybe *this* scandal will be the nail in the coffin.

This guy hasn't been a lab employee for 21 years. What element of that fact induces cognitive dissonance amongst the antilanlarrati? By that reasonning, Yale is the most blameworthy institution for starting the Iraq war...

Anonymous said...

2:55,

Dude, take a deep breath. Go reread the post and comments. There is no "breathless anticipation from the anti-LANL POGO-love-fest crowd that maybe *this* scandal will be the nail in the coffin."

Get a grip.

There *is*, to be sure, continued recognition that LANL management and NNSA are all fucked up, but everybody knows that, not just the "anti-LANL POGO-love-fest crowd".

You sound really wound up. Perhaps you should take the rest of the day off. Go home, beat the wife, kick the dog; whatever helps calm you down.

Anonymous said...

2:38 pm: "Mascheroni has been around for a long time and there was never much question that he was fired on a trumped up security issue."

Sorry, no. You know not whereof you speak.

Anonymous said...

Whew. THANK YOU 3:06 pm. Finally, another ad homenium to fill out the weeks quota. I was worried we wouldn't get there.

Anonymous said...

3:22:

Pot, meet kettle.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a nut job. I find it more than a little amusing that Hugo Chavez and Mike Anastasio are in the same (who me?) bed on this one. It is sad that a guy who hasn't set foot at LANL in over 20 years overshadows the daily raping of the place by Bechtel. Then again, the American public has a tendency to get what it pays for.

Anonymous said...

This Mascheroni fellow deserves a prize for being the lab's greatest whiner.

He gets laid off back in 1988, and yet decides to hang around Los Alamos for the next 20 years so he can continue to whine against the lab. Now, that's a record for extreme whining you can be proud of!

Anonymous said...

Yeah. He is probably a regular poster on the blog too. Perfect fit.

Anonymous said...

Wait! You say some pro-LANS blog poster is beating his wife?

Say it ain't so, Shirley.

Does he live in White Rock?

Anonymous said...

For those outsiders reading the score card:

White Rock is the home to enumerable LANL mid-level manager wannabes. White Rock is a bedroom community comprised of 60's and 70's vintage ranch-style houses on postage stamp-sized lots. A likely habitat for pro-LANS managers-in-waiting. Wife-beating amongst this particular demographic is quite likely.

Pajarito Acres: an upscale White Rock. Five acre lots. Inhabited by long-time TSMs and end-of-career middle managers, mostly. Not much wife-beating going on in Pajarito Acres.

The Los Alamos North Community is a more likely habitat for Tech and SSM species. Wife-beaters also in good supply, but most of the North Community inhabitants are neither pro nor anti-LANS. They just want to be able to make the rent payments each month.

Barranca Mesa is home to mostly long-term TSM staff and established mid-level managers. Wife beating is at a minimum on Barranca Mesa.

North Mesa, where Mascheroni hails from, is kind of like Barranca Mesa, except slightly less well established. Plus, there is a trailer park on North Mesa. There is also an enclave of high-end McMansions at the north end of North Mesa. Anything goes in this little sub-community.

Now for the lower class neighborhoods: The Denver Steels, "Sleepy Hollow" (Walnut Street and surrounding areas with all the quads and octaplexes), Central Los Alamos (the 6th Street and 9th Street '48-vintage apartments), the Royal Crest trailer park, and the airport area. Incipient wife beating tendencies are probably there, but the housing density is so packed, and the walls are so thin in these neighborhoods that this particular after-work activity is usually kept to a minimum.

I agree with 9:27 -- the most likely neighborhood to find pro-LANS wife-beaters is White Rock.

Anonymous said...

The possibility of husband beating should not be entirely discounted among LANS managers. I'm sure the FBI is onto that by now...

I wonder if Mascheroni gave the FBI the Seig Heil when they showed up at his door?...you know...for old times' sake.

Frank Young said...

Can anyone comment on whether Mascheroni was correct "to question the management of the nation’s nuclear laboratories and arsenal". I'm also interested in comments about whether his laser fusion ideas have any merit.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 10:39, you left out the Western Area. Don't we count for anything?

DrCloud said...

I think we all know the answer to this question, but I'll pose it anyway:

How is it that Mascheroni, who hasn't been affiliated with LANL for 20 years, is now being used to drag LANL through the mud again while the recent LLNL story (e.g., http://www.ktvu.com/news/21349063/detail.html)is of the ho-hum variety? [At least, I didn't see such a prominent NYT hit on it as for this Mascheroni one.]

Anonymous said...

You're right, 7:19. I had lumped the Western Area in with the North Community, but it really does deserve its own classification.

The Western Area: an upscale "Denver Steels" community. Postage stamp-sized lots, containing postage stamp-sized homes that were built built beginning in 1946. Predominate demographic: people who can afford something better than a Denver Steel or a trailer in Royal Crest, but not one of the Quemazon McMansions. Home to what passes for the "working class" in Los Alamos. Wife beating is typically not an issue in the Western Area.

Anonymous said...

Ok, DrCloud, I give up: what's the answer? That LANL's management is more fucked up than LLNL's?

Anonymous said...

10:39,

Making light of domestic violence while trashing most of a community and being completely off-topic. Nice. Real classy.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this guy last worked at LANL when the Soviet Union was still around, state-of-the-art PCs came with 386 processors, LeBron James was 4 years old, and the words like "ipod", "blog", "world wide web", or for that matter "NNSA" or "LANS, LLC" simply didn't exist. The point is, we are talking really ancient history here. How can this possibly be used as a pretext to make our working conditions even more miserable? Just you wait and see.

Anonymous said...

LANL - you got to love it - it's my everyday entertainment!

Anonymous said...

You've got to admit, 9:20, LANL's a classy place. Pissmobiles, sexual harassment Cliff Notes, shabby treatment of foreign nationals, ladder training, GRIPP'y shoes, JB Weld in the USB ports, weenie love fests to which LANL retirees are explicitly excluded, focus on PBIs not science, fine high-quality management...

I could go on and on. It's a classy place. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

8:27 am: "How is it that Mascheroni, who hasn't been affiliated with LANL for 20 years, is now being used to drag LANL through the mud again "

Who exactly is "dragging LANL through the mud" on this except posters on this blog?

Anonymous said...

Just for completeness, 10:39, you have to tell us about Quemazon community (McMansion-land).

Lots of upper level mangers and our new high falut'in Bechtel overlords like to hang out in that place. Do they beat their wives or do they just beat up on their servants?

Anonymous said...

11:03,

I was wondering that myself, 11:03. The Mascheroni thing is big, given the players and their potential agendas. The fact that he used to work at LANL just adds spice.

IMO, LANL has done a pretty good job of dragging itself through the mud over the years. LANL management, and the NNSA don't need help from anybody in that regard, they're doing just fine all by themselves.

Anonymous said...

Why the media attention to LANL, rather than to the serious LLNL espionage case which also came out this last week? LANL is "special". It symbolizes the nuclear weapons establishment in the minds of the public and Congress. Because of this, get ready for another refrain of "shut the place down" and more calls for "anal exams" of lab employees from the halls of Congress. I'm sure we can count on Dr. Chu to defend LANL vigorously (not!).

The key question at this point: Does DOE have enough polygraph examiners to handle the crush of new testing (and firings) that can be expected to result from this latest case? But, hey, look on the bright side. At least Mike has now been given an easy means for reaching the NNSA's 5% employee reduction rate at LANL without having to resort to a messy RIF and payouts of severance.

The path at LANL, as always, is ever downward.

Anonymous said...

The stuff below comes from the LLNL blog. What the heck is going on with the TCP1 pension at these two labs (LLNL and LANL)!!!

DOE is about to mount a raid on the LLNS TCP1 pension to help pay for their obligations to UCRP and the LANS TCP1. Mind-boggling!

=============================
About George's talk today:
=============================

"Two things came out of G.M.'s all hands today that were pretty significant. One is that UC will be asking LLNL employees to contribute to the UC retirement fund to help cover lab retiree annuities. The other is that DOE/NNSA is thinking about raiding the LLNS defined benefit fund to help solve underfunded defined benefit plans of other national labs."


----- COMMENTS -----

My jaw dropped... WTF!? TCP1 is at 150% over the necessary levels to cover the pensions of its members and they (UC and DOE) want to raid it! Why am I not surprised.

October 20, 2009 9:38 PM
-

Thanks George, I sure am glad we have you overpaid, overfunded, wealthy Laboratory LLNS to help your sister Lab LANS here in New Mexico. An electronic transfer to my personal bank account would be great. I'll make sure it is well spent. Sincerely, Mikey the Great of LANS.

October 21, 2009 6:39 PM
-

How can a government entity (DOE or UC) legally get their hands on a private company's (LLNS) ERISA sheltered retirement funds, no matter WHAT the current funding level is? This is NOT the collective Gulags of the former soviet union we're talking about.

October 22, 2009 12:47 PM
-

Anonymous said...

You're right, 11:43, a description of Quemazon is required for completeness.

People live there who could afford to pay a bit more than they would for one of those '49 vintage singles on 36th street (the "good" side of 36th street -- on the north side of Diamond Drive, not the south side. The south side of 36'th places you onto the periphery of the decaying Sleepy Hollow neighborhood that has been previously described).

Prices in Quemazon range from moderately more than you should have to pay for decent housing, to $1 million+ McMansions where the two or three top LANL managers who don't live in Santa Fe reside. The Cerro Grande fire of May, 2000 did a marvelous job of de-landscaping Quemazon, so that the view there now matches the morale at the the lab: bleak.

Sorry to report that I haven't yet seen the survey results on wife-beating incidents for the Quemazon neighborhood,

Anonymous said...

Corporate pension raiding... YE-HAAAAWWWW!!!!

Anonymous said...

Can DOE legally do this to the new corporate pensions at LLNL and LANL? This sounds rather shocking!

Anonymous said...

After a huge effort all our laptops are now encrypted. However while it may CYA (or mine...) against a common thief, this is totally useless if an espionage agency decides to obtain the information.

See

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/10/evil_maid_attac.html

SVDecomposer said...

We're in the NY Time again this evening, about cleaning up TA-21:

New York Times Article (click here).

Carefully Cleaning Up the Garbage at Los Alamos

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — No one knows for sure what is buried in the Manhattan Project-era dump here. At the very least, there is probably a truck down there that was contaminated in 1945 at the Trinity test site, where the world’s first nuclear explosion seared the sky and melted the desert sand 200 miles south of here during World War II.

Anonymous said...

Wait wait wait wait wait - He was going to give the sealed envelope with $20K to congress? WTF?

This jackass is a raving lunatic

Anonymous said...

12:04 pm: "Why the media attention to LANL, rather than to the serious LLNL espionage case which also came out this last week? LANL is "special". It symbolizes the nuclear weapons establishment in the minds of the public and Congress. Because of this, get ready for another refrain of "shut the place down" and more calls for "anal exams" of lab employees from the halls of Congress. I'm sure we can count on Dr. Chu to defend LANL vigorously (not!)."

Your fantasy about a media frenzy about LANL on this is just nuts. Aside from a brief mention that the guy formerly worked at LANL, I have seen no move in the media or anywhere else (except on this blog) to suggest LANL has anything to do with this. Calm your paranoia (or blood lust).

Anonymous said...

"Wait wait wait wait wait - He was going to give the sealed envelope with $20K to congress? WTF?

This jackass is a raving lunatic."



Hard to argue with logic like that.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry to report that I haven't yet seen the survey results on wife-beating incidents for the Quemazon neighborhood,

10/23/09 12:33 PM"

Pardon my French, but what the fuck is your problem? Is this suppose to be funny or insightful? You come accross as a really fucking creepy person who probably lives in your mother's basement. I feel sorry for the people that have to care for you, I hope at least they are getting paid. You are a real gift to the world.

Anonymous said...

Somebody need a chill pill, 9:36. Sounds like you've been hanging out in the "community" a bit too long. Get off the Hill for a day or two, it will do you good.

Anonymous said...

9:36 pm is a prime example of who makes this "community" so creepy. These people who presume to condemn the semi-humorous meanderings of others as blasphemy, or worse, are the real threat. Liberals are the nastiest people around. Luckily for the rest of us, they don't believe in guns.

Anonymous said...

This is a general problem with anonymous blogs. Any lunatic can try to hijack the discussion by posting irrelevant, stupid, even sick stuff. Just like we have here with the "wife-beating" troll. Nothing can be done, just have to filter out this junk and concentrate on the real discussion. As long as the moderators choose not to block out Mr. Wife-Beating Sicko, nothing can be done on our end.

Anonymous said...

9:36 is probably a "Good Christian".

Yes, I recognize the irony.

Anonymous said...

"9:36 pm is a prime example of who makes this "community" so creepy. These people who presume to condemn the semi-humorous meanderings of others as blasphemy, or worse, are the real threat. Liberals are the nastiest people around. Luckily for the rest of us, they don't believe in guns.

10/23/09 10:59 PM"

Reread your post pal, talk about creepy.

Palin in 2011!!!

Anonymous said...

10:59,

Pro LANS, and pro Palin. Why am I not surprised. You know what? I actually hope America the Stupid elects Palin in 2011. You know how good it is to watch people get what they deserve.

Anonymous said...

I love it! Please keep arguing about subjects like the humor (or lack of) in wife-beating while me and my richly compensated executives continue to rape and pillage what remains of LANL.

Another 1000 of you need to go in the next 2 years so I can keep my sweet 20% annual bonus. Most of these reductions are planned for the scientific staff. Take a close look around at the pointy-headed scientist to your left and to your right. One of you is not going to be invited to the annual LANS love-fests for much longer. You'll have to get your free weenies elsewhere.

Screw you all and please remember to keep up the infighting. All these useless distractions sure help.

- MIKEY

Anonymous said...

MIKEY!

You have nothing to worry about. The good Sheeple of LANL rolled over and exposed their pasty bare bellies at the merest of threats when they were posed by the big bad Nanos. They continued to maintain that submissive posture the entire time that DOE, NNSA, and our fine elected officials were conspiring to sell our lab off to the Bechtel-led corporate raiders.

Rest assured that your bonus is safe as long as LANL, well, remains LANL.

Enjoy your easily-won spoils!

Anonymous said...

10/24/09 3:49 PM

You know how good it is to watch people get what they deserve.

That's right Mr. Obama lover. Boy, Chu really came through. Change you can believe in. Really felt that change with Tom DAg getting to stay put.

YOu are a fucking moron.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that the lab let such a gem go. He should be hired back in immediately, such a great fit with the best and brightest.

Anonymous said...

5:30,

Boy, Skippy! You sure won that round. GREAT snappy repartee.

Go Sarah! You deserve her.

BTW, 6:45: I like your style.

Anonymous said...

"YOu are a fucking moron.

10/24/09 5:30 PM
"

No, yOU are a fucking moran.

Palin/Jindal 2011!!!

Frank Young said...

Enough already. I'll pick the next administration so we don't have to argue about it.

Kinky Friedman/Don Imus

Hey, we've had worse!

Anonymous said...

Frank, you have the patience of Job (if you even know that reference). Anyway, your tolerance of the jerks is great. I only ask that you filter the really obscene ones.

Frank Young said...

I had to look up the reference and I'm still not sure I fully appreciate it. I am a Christian but not the sort that should be held up as an example for others. Thank you for the compliment even though it is clearly an undeserved exaggeration.

Doug has been doing almost all of the moderation this summer while I've been living in a tent trying to get a house built. Just last week I finally had electricity, satellite internet, a desk and a chair. Still no heat, but I could have hot water and a toilet as soon as this week! Ah, the little things.

I still read every comment and I see what Doug rejects. I've asked him to allow as much as possible so if anyone is to blame for an obscene comment slipping through it is me. In my opinion he's doing a great job, but don't tell him I said that. He'll want a raise.

Anonymous said...

Frank, what would I have to pay you to shut this damn blog down? Would you take $1 million? How about $2 million and a percentage of the annual profit fee?

Let's negotiate a price. I'm sure my lawyers can cut you a nice deal and pay for it out of the lab's operating budget as a new overhead expense. Getting rich can be lots of fun. I should know!

- MIKEY

Frank Young said...

Mikey,
It would cost you one or two sheets of paper, 30 minutes of typing, and whatever postage is these days. Heck, even email would work.

With that out of the way I'd be happy to be an occasional commenter on the next blog. If there is a next blog.
--Frank

Anonymous said...

"With that out of the way I'd be happy to be an occasional commenter on the next blog. If there is a next blog." -- Frank

No, there won't be the need for another blog, because, well, there won't be a Los Alamos National Lab for much longer. You don't see blogs about Rocky Flats, do you?

Anonymous said...

You don't see blogs about Rocky Flats, do you?

10/26/09 8:44 PM

It's important to keep in mind that the world didn't start when you were born. For example, there were no such things as "blogs" when Rocky Flats closed.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sad, boys and girls of LA, can't you get the dialog above Jr. High school?

What's needed here is some real info on these pension and layoff rumors, some of which were partially corroborated at the Udall Q&A (not by Udall).

Then, consider that at the real innovation centers of this country, if you can't stand the decaying monster any longer, you go start something new and show them how it's done. Anyone up for starting a new non-profit?

If the salaries are true, then more of us should be rattling this in front of Congress and the news. It has real potential to catch fire and get the privateers in serious hot water.