By Dan Stober
No espionage case in contemporary 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 a criminal offense which can by no means have happened resulted in a countrywide shame. A weapons-code scientist at Los Alamos nationwide Laboratory, Lee used to be hunted as a secret agent for China, indicted on fifty-nine counts, and held in detention for 9 months as a probability to the full state. yet after pleading responsible 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 reasons have by no means been satisfactorily defined, and his often-repeated excuse that he was once simply backing up his paintings documents doesn't face up to scrutiny. As Stober and Hoffman document, Lee's lies and his unexplained connections to international scientists spanned eighteen years. He was once a safety nightmare. Tapping at his keyboard, he assembled a personal choice of the pc courses used to layout America's nuclear guns, then left them susceptible to hackers and international intelligence providers for years. The FBI's belated discovery that he had additionally positioned the codes on moveable cassette tapes introduced a frenzied around the world seek that at last carried brokers to the Los Alamos landfill. And but at the present time, the tapes have by no means been discovered. In 1995, Lee was once simply one other American, a Taiwanese immigrant striving to aid a relatives he adored and to make a reputation for himself in clinical circles. Unknown to him, in spite of the fact that, scientists operating within the mystery global of nuclear-weapons intelligence tested purloinedChinese records, studied secret agent reviews, and questioned: Had China stolen the secrets and techniques of the W88, America's so much complicated nuclear weapon? medical hunches swiftly developed right into a legal research geared toward Lee. He have been overheard through the FBI whereas telephoning a secret agent suspect, and he used to be warmly embraced via a high-ranking chinese language nuclear-weapons professional whom he wasn't presupposed to be aware of. The FBI famous that he was once "ethnic Chinese." And during this doubtful interval after the chilly battle, many politicians performed up China as a threatening new enemy. power Secretary and vice presidential hopeful invoice Richardson was once desirous to hearth Lee and seem decisive in keeping nationwide safeguard. during this stormy confluence of intelligence and politics, Lee grew to become a handy undercover agent. yet used to be he responsible? Dan Stober and Ian Hoffman inform the tale of the Wen Ho Lee fiasco dramatically and authoritatively, supplying an goal account that no partisan model of the tale can fit.
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Extra info for A Convenient Spy: Wen Ho Lee and the politics of nuclear espionage
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