SPY CASES - UNITED STATES

Wen Ho Lee

Books

Lee, Wen Ho, with Helen Zia. My Country Versus Me: The First-Hand Account by the Los Alamos Scientist Who Was Falsely Accused of Being a Spy. New York: Hyperion, 2001.

Marston, Baltimore Sun, 19 Jan. 2002, calls Lee's book a "lively account," and notes that "Lee describes himself as a patriotic American scientist, who enjoyed the gentle pursuits of gardening, fishing and cooking, and devoted his life to helping the U.S. improve defense capabilities." Bamford, Washington Post, 20 Jan. 2002, finds this a "very personal book on the affair." He notes that "Lee claims that he downloaded ... [onto an unclassified system complex computerized codes, some of which were classified,] to use as back-up in case of serious computer problems."

To Panofsky, American Scientist, Jul.-Aug. 2002, Lee provides "self-serving explanations of his conduct," and "strives greatly (but with only limited success) to justify his mishandling of classified information.... His account emphasizes the anti-Chinese racial bias of many of the government investigators." In the end, this book "does not convey a good understanding of all the circumstances but is interesting nonetheless for its illumination of Lee's personality and character."

Stober, Dan, and Ian Hoffman. A Convenient Spy: Wen Ho Lee and the Politics of Nuclear Espionage. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.

Epstein, Wall Street Journal, 16 Jan. 2002, says that Stober and Hoffman "brilliantly unravel" this "curious case." However, the question of why Wen Ho Lee copied what he did onto his computer is not answered, although the authors "find implausible [his] claim that he wanted to protect the data from computer failure." To Marston, Baltimore Sun, 19 Jan. 2002, this book, "like the Lee probe itself, struggles -- and mostly succeeds -- in making immensely complex scientific concepts understandable to a lay reader. Despite the collapse of the government's case, however, the authors are unconvinced of Lee's innocence."

For Panofsky, American Scientist, Jul.-Aug. 2002, the authors "offer an excellent sequential account of [a] complex series of events. They also cover facets of China's nuclear weapons program, emphasizing in particular that the Chinese have been much more forthcoming than they are given credit for.... [This] excellent, sober and factual account is well worth reading for the light it sheds on murky events." Bamford, Washington Post, 20 Jan. 2002, sees A Convenient Spy as "a well-written cautionary tale that dissects what can happen when race, ambition and politics mix with espionage, criminal law and foreign policy."

Trulock, Notra. Code Name Kindred Spirit: Inside the Chinese Nuclear Espionage Scandals. New York: Encounter Books, 2002

Gertz, Washington Times, 17 Jan. 2003, notes that the author was the Energy Department's Director of Intelligence from 1994 to 1998. In his book, Trulock charges "that fired Los Alamos nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee provided sensitive weapons data to China during unreported meetings with nuclear-weapons scientists. The FBI, however, mishandled the counterespionage investigation" because Lee "and his wife worked as FBI informants" from 1985 to 1991.

For Peake, Studies 47.3, "[t]he press leaks; the bungled investigations by the FBI, DOE, and the independent commissions; and the coverups by DOE and the White House are all well documented" in this book.  "It is a messy, unpleasant story of what happens when politics outweighs security and a whistle blower tries to set things right and loses."

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