@hihosteverino, you asked, "...colleague's research was one of the first of many attempts at cold fusion?"
The colleague's thesis was on the synthesis of an enzyme in a bacterium (Azotobacter). What I found was: (1) the bacteria would not have grown in the short period of 4 h used by him, and therefore, there would have been no material for his experiments; (2) the methods for measuring activity of the enzyme were absolutely, ridiculously, faulty: the faults would have been visible to anyone with an elementary knowledge of chemistry, e.g. at high school level.
The "colleague" rose to become the second highest boss in the organization, and then went on to be the Vice-Chancellor of a university. He currently serves on a number of govt committees on research and education, and on Academic Councils of some universities.
That has happened to me a few times, when I was in a position that required reporting certain behaviors (such as gaming the time clock or inappropriate behavior with clients). I had no authority, but I had to report to my boss. And my bosses had no idea what "discreet" means.
In the government (or at least my part of it) just run and file an EEO complaint about the person or manager you are annoyed at. Doesn't have to have any merit or be based on fact either. Suddenly you become safe and management refuses to try and do anything to you.
If you can't tell I have been on the wrong side of this. A useless coworker field a false complaint against my boss and I because we were trying to actually measure his performance and try to either get rid of him or make him shape up. He made up lies against both of us and the complaint got thrown out. However neither of us could do anything against him because it would now be considered retribution and there is now a record of complaint being filed against me