By Dan Stober
No espionage case in fresh a long time has been something just like the Wen Ho Lee affair. As Dan Stober and Ian Hoffman describe in "A handy Spy," an astonishingly inept research of against the law which can by no means have happened led to a countrywide shame. A weapons-code scientist at Los Alamos nationwide Laboratory, Lee used to be hunted as a undercover agent for China, indicted on fifty-nine counts, and held in detention for 9 months as a hazard to the whole kingdom. yet after pleading in charge to only one count number, he went domestic -- with an strange and emotional apology from a federal pass judgement on. Prosecutors' claims that Lee had stolen America's "crown jewels" of nuclear safety easily evaporated. but Lee's explanations have by no means been satisfactorily defined, and his often-repeated excuse that he used to be simply backing up his paintings records doesn't face up to scrutiny. As Stober and Hoffman record, Lee's lies and his unexplained connections to overseas scientists spanned eighteen years. He was once a safety nightmare. Tapping at his keyboard, he assembled a personal number of the pc courses used to layout America's nuclear guns, then left them liable to hackers and international intelligence companies for years. The FBI's belated discovery that he had additionally placed the codes on transportable cassette tapes introduced a frenzied world wide seek that at last carried brokers to the Los Alamos landfill. And but this present day, the tapes have by no means been stumbled on. In 1995, Lee was once simply one other American, a Taiwanese immigrant striving to aid a relatives he loved and to make a reputation for himself in medical circles. Unknown to him, even if, scientists operating within the mystery global of nuclear-weapons intelligence tested purloinedChinese records, studied undercover agent studies, and puzzled: Had China stolen the secrets and techniques of the W88, America's so much complex nuclear weapon? clinical hunches speedily advanced right into a legal research geared toward Lee. He were overheard through the FBI whereas telephoning a secret agent suspect, and he was once warmly embraced through a high-ranking chinese language nuclear-weapons reliable whom he wasn't alleged to be aware of. The FBI famous that he used to be "ethnic Chinese." And during this doubtful interval after the chilly conflict, many politicians performed up China as a threatening new enemy. strength Secretary and vice presidential hopeful invoice Richardson was once wanting to fireplace Lee and seem decisive in maintaining nationwide safety. during this stormy confluence of intelligence and politics, Lee turned a handy secret agent. yet was once he in charge? Dan Stober and Ian Hoffman inform the tale of the Wen Ho Lee fiasco dramatically and authoritatively, offering an target account that no partisan model of the tale can fit.
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Extra resources for A Convenient Spy: Wen Ho Lee and the politics of nuclear espionage
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