Holding the Government Accountable

Whistleblowers Call for Inquiry into LANL Employee’s Death

Three Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) whistleblowers have called for a renewed investigation into the 2002 death of the lab’s former Deputy Director of Operations, Richard Burick. Steve Doran, Glenn Walp, and Chuck Montaño, along with Nuclear Watch New Mexico, have sent their appeal to the New Mexico District Attorney. They cite the Project On Government Oversight’s review of Montaño’s book, and additional interviews POGO conducted with Lab sources.

Walp and Montaño discussed reopening the case in July 2012 with the previous District Attorney. Their evidence, including Doran’s investigative report on the matter, raises questions about suicide as the cause of death.

Burick was Deputy Director during a period marked by security breaches, lost classified information, and large scale procurement fraud. Renewing the investigation of Burick’s death, the whistleblowers say, may lead to evidence of greater corruption within the lab’s scandal-plagued management.

Los Alamos National Security’s contract to run LANL will be up for competition in 2017 for the first time in 11 years, according to the Associated Press.

“It is imperative that decision makers know the full extent of what transpired in order to know how best to proceed with the award of the new contract,” writes Montaño in the letter to the U.S. District Attorney, and urging a quick reopening of the case.

“Corruption at Los Alamos must be taken out at the roots and those responsible brought to justice. This will build a strong national laboratory system that can be both trusted and productive,” Doran said in a Nuclear Watch press release.