By Dan Stober
No espionage case in fresh many years has been whatever 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 that 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 secret agent for China, indicted on fifty-nine counts, and held in detention for 9 months as a probability to the full country. yet after pleading to blame to simply 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 protection 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 records doesn't withstand 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 selection of the pc courses used to layout America's nuclear guns, then left them susceptible to hackers and overseas intelligence providers for years. The FBI's belated discovery that he had additionally positioned the codes on transportable cassette tapes introduced a frenzied around the globe seek that finally 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 help a kin he adored and to make a reputation for himself in medical circles. Unknown to him, despite the fact that, scientists operating within the mystery international of nuclear-weapons intelligence tested purloinedChinese files, studied undercover agent reviews, and puzzled: Had China stolen the secrets and techniques of the W88, America's such a lot complex nuclear weapon? medical hunches quickly advanced right into a legal research aimed toward Lee. He were overheard by way of the FBI whereas telephoning a undercover agent suspect, and he used to be warmly embraced by means of a high-ranking chinese language nuclear-weapons authentic whom he wasn't imagined 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 fireplace Lee and seem decisive in conserving nationwide safeguard. during this stormy confluence of intelligence and politics, Lee grew to become a handy undercover agent. yet used to be he in charge? 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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A Convenient Spy: Wen Ho Lee and the politics of nuclear espionage by Dan Stober