SPY CASES - UNITED STATES

Wen Ho Lee

From January 2000

 

Materials presented in chronological order.

Loeb, Vernon. "The Physicist's Biggest Puzzle: Lee's Motives, Possible Damage in Atomic Secrets Case Remain a Mystery." Washington Post, 2 Jan. 2000, A3. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

"Why did [Wen Ho Lee] copy enough computer data to design a nuclear warhead when he didn't need all that information for his work? Why did he transfer top-secret computer codes to unsecure tapes? What happened to seven of the tapes? And if Lee destroyed them -- as he claims -- how, when and where did he do it?... U.S. District Judge James A. Parker ... cited the lingering questions as he ruled, after three days of testimony, that no combination of bail restrictions could protect the country from the possibility that Lee might somehow pass the missing tapes to a foreign power."

Risen, James. "Scientist's Lawyers Seek Better Access to Classified Material." New York Times, 7 Jan. 2000. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Lawyers for Wen Ho Lee have asked a federal court in New Mexico to ease restrictions on their access to classified information."

Loeb, Vernon, and Walter Pincus. "FBI Made Wen Ho Lee Think He Failed Polygraph." Washington Post, 8 Jan. 2000, A2. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"FBI agents misled physicist Wen Ho Lee into believing that he had failed a Department of Energy polygraph test as they pressed him during a lengthy interrogation last March to confess to passing nuclear weapons secrets to China."

Sterngold, James. "Accused Scientist to Go Free on Bail in Los Alamos Case." New York Times, 25 August 2000. [http://www.nytimes.com]

In a 24 August 2000 decision, Judge James A. Parker of the Federal District Court in Albuquerque says that the U.S. "government case against the Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee 'no longer has the requisite clarity and persuasive character' needed to keep him in detention before his trial." The judge's decision requires Dr. Lee to post $1 million in bail and meet other "tough conditions..., amounting to home detention." The government is expected to appeal the decision and request a stay.

Sterngold, James. "Accused Scientist Has Bail Blocked at Last Moment." New York Times, 2 Sep. 2000. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The impending release on bail of Wen Ho Lee was stayed on 1 September 2000 by two judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Sterngold, James. "U.S. to Reduce Case Against Scientist to a Single Charge." New York Times, 11 Sep. 2000. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 10 September 2000, the U.S. government agreed "to drop virtually its entire case against Wen Ho Lee ... in return for Dr. Lee's agreement to plead guilty to a single charge that he improperly downloaded classified material onto an unsecure computer."

Sterngold, James. "Nuclear Scientist Set Free After Plea in Secrets Case." New York Times, 14 Sep. 2000. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 13 September 2000, Wen Ho Lee pleaded guilty "to a single charge of mishandling nuclear secrets and left court a free man with an apology from a federal judge, who accused administration officials of abusing their power and misleading him into thinking that Dr. Lee posed a threat to national security."

Loeb, Vernon, and Walter Pincus. "Guilty Plea, Release Leave Unresolved Questions in Lee Case." Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2000, A12. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Dr. Lee's plea of guilty "to removing classified information from Los Alamos National Laboratory" leaves "many of the key questions about his case ... unanswered.... Among the central issues ... are whether China stole U.S. nuclear secrets, why the government investigation focused on Lee, why he copied data about nuclear weapons onto portable tapes, and how important the data may be."

Broad, William J. "Los Alamos Scientist's Book Creates a New Controversy." New York Times, 5 Aug. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Wen Ho Lee ... may be on a collision course with the government over whether he has violated security rules in the handling of his forthcoming autobiography."

Eggen, Dan. "Report Details More FBI Blunders in Wen Ho Lee Probe." Washington Post, 27 Aug. 2001, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to a classified portion of a Justice Department report, "[t]he FBI's investigation of Wen Ho Lee was more seriously bungled than officials have previously disclosed, with inept agents making amateurish mistakes and ignoring orders to consider other suspects.... The 166-page chapter ... outlines a succession of blunders, misjudgments and faulty assumptions by the FBI that contributed to the government's shoddy investigation of the former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist."

U.S. Congress. Senate. Subcommittee on Department of Justice Oversight. Committee on the Judiciary. Report on the Government's Handling of the Investigation and Prosecution of Dr. Wen Ho Lee. Intro., Senator Arlen Specter. Congressional Record, 20 Dec. 2001. Available at: http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2001_rpt/whl.html.

"The government's investigation of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) nuclear weapons scientist Dr. Wen Ho Lee was so inept that despite scrutiny spanning nearly two decades, both the FBI and the Department of Energy missed repeated opportunities to discover and stop his illegal computer activities."

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