OT: Mystery Surrounds Scientist's Murder

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Mystery Surrounds Scientist's Murder


By MICHELLE LOCKE Associated Press Writer 02/16/00

LIVERMORE, Calif. (AP) -- On Oct. 20, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory designer Lee Scott Hall was found lying face down in his bedroom, beaten and stabbed to death.

Then, police discovered Hall knew about a flaw in the lab's super laser, a $1.2 billion project called the National Ignition Facility that has been plagued by projected delays and cost overruns.

Four months later, police are still trying to unravel the mystery: Did Hall's job at the weapons lab somehow lead to his death?

Lab officials say no.

"We know of no connection between Mr. Hall's death and his work on the National Ignition Facility. He was an important member of our team but to infer that he found a problem and was a whistle-blower is just not accurate,'' said lab spokeswoman Susan Houghton.

Police had been quoted as theorizing that Hall may have angered a co-worker, but they declined comment on that this week.

On Tuesday, Livermore Police Chief Ron Scott said some of the information in stories about the whistle-blower theory was "correct, some based on speculation, and some inaccurate.'' He declined to identify which was which, saying "I don't want to feed into anything else that's going on.''

The super laser is designed to test nuclear weapons by using simulations instead of underground tests. Plans call for it to be the size of a football stadium; it will be able to fire 192 laser beams onto a target the size of BB to simulate temperatures and pressures similar to those inside a nuclear explosion or at the sun's core.

It is a cornerstone of the nuclear weapons program, but it became a source of embarrassment to lab officials last September with revelations it might be five years late and $350 million over budget.

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson immediately demanded to know why he'd been assured only months earlier the project was in good shape, setting off a round of investigations.

Livermore officials said Hall, 54, had been working to fix a design flaw on the super laser. But Hall's boss, Richard Foley, said Hall was part of a team looking into a potential problem and the flaw in question was pointed out by someone else when Hall was on vacation. The problem is relatively small -- not part of the major troubles forcing the delays -- and could be fixed for around $1 million, Foley said.

"Everybody here was working on the same problem,'' he said. "There was nobody that got punished for it at all. Nobody has been nor anybody will be.''

It was Foley and another lab worker who found Hall's body, when they went to his house after he failed to show up for work.

Hall lived alone and there was no sign of forced entry or robbery and little sign of a struggle. He was stabbed repeatedly



-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), February 19, 2000


Pack your bags Scully, I've got two tickets to California...

-- Mulder (spooky@basement.gov), February 19, 2000.

This article reminded me of an experiment that was suppose to be performed I think last November. The contoversy about the experiment was that it might create a black hole. Anybody know if that experiment ever occured? I remember a lot of discussion on this forum about it last year.

If it was performed it evidently didn't create a black hole cause we're still here. Anybody else remember this?

-- Lucy (lifeisgoodhere@webtv.net), February 19, 2000.


Brookhaven Labs RHIC comment


-- Jerry B (skeptic76@erols.com), February 19, 2000.

Did he have anything "on" Bill Clinton?

-- JB (noway@jose.com), February 19, 2000.

What did he know, and when did he know it?? The truth is out there.

-- Liz (lizpavek@hotmail.com), February 19, 2000.

He was the last person Ron Brown talked to!

-- Eagle Feather (links2u@hotmail.com), February 19, 2000.

Could this be one of many mysterious deaths the U.S. will be subject to in the coming decade that will finally be traced to the Chinese new stated policy of the PLA , that was presented in a thread about 3-4 days ago ? In the thread , documents released by the CIA (?) allowed that a new book circulating among the young colonels in the Chinese army , said a future war would not be declared or fought in past ways , but through other inovative ways such as killing key people in science , industry , government of the targeted country so that their deaths would weaken said country BEFORE or during any future conflict.

This was only one of many new ideas that would be initiated YEARS before any hostilities commenced . As best I can remember it . Eagle

-- Hal Walker (e999eagle@FREEWWWEB.COM), February 19, 2000.

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