Ouch! That must have hurt. You assume you’re a bad-ass and one of the guys, but then they turn on you. WTF? You acted just like them.

Stick with this one. The tale has a few twists and turns. It’s a snarly tale of rats fighting one another.

Back in 2000, Michael Chadwick sued Sandia Corp for breach of contract. He named two people in particular in his suit. One was Pat Gingrich (more about her in a moment) and the other was David Nokes. David Nokes and Patricia Gingrich both worked in security at Sandia. We’ll have to see if we can find any details about this lawsuit, but interestingly, many or all of the exhibits were removed from the case in 2014 per order. Good bet that Sandia asked for the exhibits to be removed to protect its reputation. It is, however, a good guess that this suit had to do with security problems at Sandia Labs back around 2000.

So back in July 2000, Mr. Chadwick filed the lawsuit for breach of contract and it appears it was over by April 2004. A long case. Many Sandians were deposed in the case, among them Susan Harty who used to head a disciplinary board. OK, so you’re probably thinking that this Chadwick dude musta been a gangsta bad employee. Not so fast. Consider what was going on at Sandia at the time and what came to light during this lawsuit. Consider too that Sandia is known to fabricate performance problems against its employees. Was Mr. Chadwick a bad employee or had he complained about some of the security problems that were shortly to come to light and give Sandia (and Paul Robinson) a black eye?

It finally came to light in 2003 that Sandia had some security issues. Read the POGO review of this here. Or if you don’t trust government oversight sources, here’s the short version: security guards acting bad, losing keys, watching tv, sleeping on the job all while someone was walking off with government-paid computer parts. Congress got a little ticked off, among them Charles Grassley who stated “Our nuclear secrets are not safe”.

Sandia needed to avert too much attention by Congress because there’s a lot of dirty laundry and it’s no good sorting that all out, so it admitted problems in a pre-emptive strike, launched a quasi-independent investigation and identified its victims, errrr scapegoats. Typical Sandia Treatment. Sandia walked down the street and found a lawyer by the name of Norman Bay who went on to become a law professor at UNM. Mr. Bay did his investigation and criticized Gingrich and Nokes in a 221 page report. Whoa! That’s long. Must have been a few security issues.

Remember Paul Robinson? He was going to make heads roll to let Congress know that Sandia takes security seriously. Alas, this still remains problematic years later*. David Nokes got the boot-a-roo which is to say he was allowed to retire. If he’d been remiss in his job, he should have been fired. Maybe jailed. These are nuclear weapons secrets after all. Pat Gingrich was moved out of her job and took an $11K pay cut. Oh, she was still a manager with a pretty sweet job, and apparently she was privately exonerated: “Robinson explicitly informed Gingrich … that he knew that (she) was blameless.”

She fought back and said Robinson only did it to protect his own career and to appease Congress. Might well be some truth to that. Furthermore, according to Gingrich, she was publicly humiliated “even though they well knew Gingrich had no role or blame in the supposed security problems.” OK, hold it right there. Supposed??? A GAO investigation had been critical of NNSA security, the 221 page report by the lawyer Norman Bay was critical, but they’re still supposed security problems? Sorry, not buying it.

Gingrich also, according to her, was faulted for “acquiescing” in the destruction of a computer disk with evidence about the illicit affair between two employees. Guess we’ll never get to know who that was, but it seems she acquiesced to demands to destroy the disk. Or she just played along and then turned on the other rats. Who knows. As for the illicit affair, since when did Sandia start caring about that? Anyone recall Al Narath, David Williams and Bob Brandhuber? Bob was particularly bad dating two employees (one a manager) while being married still. Perhaps one day I’ll tell the story of how he was caught in a restaurant between the two employees he was dating.

Read the Albuquerque Journal article about all this nonsense. In it, you’ll find that Patricia Gingrich says she was ruined by Sandia. The rats turned on her, she lashed out at them. She filed a lawsuit and it dragged through the courts from 2004 to 2009. The case was rather interesting, and you can google Gingrich v Sandia Corp and read about it if you’re interested.

The final twist in this case is that the original report by the Lawyer Bay was designed to address the issues of retaliation against two internal Sandia investigators. I’ve already written about the sad ending they had (one dead and the other booted out). Mr. Bay found that Sandia did obstruct the investigation. Ah heck, why not? It’s just security. Well, maybe there wasn’t retaliation at that point, but it certainly did come down the pike a little later.

Moral of the story:  stay away from the rats. You won’t win unless you make it to the top and chew off a few heads along the way.

*Security is still not where it should be at Sandia. I personally witnessed a DMTS bring in his own personal electronic equipment he bought off e-bay and hook it into the Sandia network in order to be able to play old tapes with nuclear test data. His buddies helped him. He later tried to convince me that I could see the safe in his office which he left open and got an infraction for. He wanted me to say I had it under surveillance so he wouldn’t get in trouble. Bullshit. I sat a couple hundred feet away and couldn’t see much of his office let alone his safe. Did our management do anything about these things? Sure, they came down on me. When this same guy insisted on calling his female coworkers “girls” in public meetings, I was pulled aside by my manager, Bill Perea, and told he couldn’t do anything about this guy. Maybe I should move on.

Sandia, you still have security problems. Clean up the muck!!!

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