SPY CASES - UNITED STATES

Peter Lee

Materials arranged chronologically.

Washington Times. "Physicist Admits Spying for China." 10 Dec. 1997, A9.

See also, William Claiborne, "Taiwan-born Scientist Passed Defense Data," Washington Post, 12 Dec. 1997, A23.

Counterintelligence News and Developments. "US Nuclear Physicist Sentenced." Jun. 1998. [http://www.nacic.gov]

On 26 March 1998, Peter Lee, a former nuclear physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was sentenced to one year in a community corrections facility, three years of probation, 3,000 hours of community service, and a $20,000 fine. He had pleaded guilty to "willfully passing national defense information to Chinese scientists during a 1985 visit to China" and to "providing false information in 1997 to his then-employer, TRW, Inc., regarding his contact with Chinese officials."

Brooke, James. "An Earlier China Spy Case Points Up Post-Cold War Ambiguities." New York Times, 13 Mar. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Within two weeks, Peter H. Lee, a Taiwan-born physicist who once worked at the nuclear weapons laboratory [at Los Alamos], will complete a one-year sentence to a halfway house in California." Lee "pleaded guilty to passing classified national defense information to Chinese scientists on a visit to Beijing in 1985. He also pleaded guilty to lying to a government agency after he described on a security form a May 1997 visit to China as a pleasure trip. In reality, Dr. Lee, then a researcher for an American military contractor, met extensively with Chinese scientists."

Gerth, Jeff, and James Risen. "Reports Show Scientist Gave U.S. Radar Secrets to China." New York Times, 10 May 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Peter Lee, "[a] scientist working on a classified Pentagon project in 1997[,] provided China with secrets about advanced radar technology being developed to track submarines, according to court records and government documents."

Fenton, Ben. "Nuclear Spy Worked on Secret Trials of British Submarines." Telegraph (London), 15 May 1999. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

Peter Lee, "an American scientist convicted of spying for China[,] worked closely with British military and visited Scotland as part of a secret team working on a method of tracking nuclear missile submarines. The information available to ... Lee as a prominent member of the UK/US Radar Ocean Imaging Programme (ROIP) is almost certain to have compromised the security of Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent."

Pincus, Walter, and Vernon Loeb. "Was It Spying of Not? The FBI Says Secrets Were Leaked to China, But the Defense Says They Were Declassified Data." Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 17 May 1999, 29.

Peter H. Lee's story "illustrates how classical Chinese espionage efforts use Chinese scientists who gather pieces of technical information from U.S. colleagues, rather than relying on intelligence agents. It is a subtle system that emphasizes collegiality and exchange and explains why it is time-consuming and difficult for U.S. counterintelligence investigators to catch American scientists who may have acted illegally."

Loeb, Vernon. "Justice Accused of Laxity in Spy Case." Washington Post, 27 Oct. 1999, A7.

On 26 October 1999, "Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) ... faulted the Justice Department's 1997 prosecution of physicist Peter H. Lee for passing nuclear secrets to China, saying government attorneys accepted a lenient plea bargain in an espionage case that could have merited the death penalty."

U.S. Congress. Senate. Subcommittee on Department of Justice Oversight. Committee on the Judiciary. Report on the Investigation of Peter Lee. Intro., Senator Arlen Specter. Congressional Record, 20 Dec. 2001. Available at: http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2001_rpt/peterlee.html.

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