By Dan Stober
No espionage case in contemporary 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 a criminal offense which may 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 risk to the full state. yet after pleading in charge 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 defense easily evaporated. but Lee's factors have by no means been satisfactorily defined, and his often-repeated excuse that he used to be simply backing up his paintings documents 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 liable to hackers and international intelligence prone for years. The FBI's belated discovery that he had additionally positioned the codes on moveable 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 stumbled on. In 1995, Lee was once simply one other American, a Taiwanese immigrant striving to help a family members he adored and to make a reputation for himself in clinical circles. Unknown to him, even though, scientists operating within the mystery global of nuclear-weapons intelligence tested purloinedChinese records, studied undercover agent reviews, and questioned: Had China stolen the secrets and techniques of the W88, America's such a lot complicated nuclear weapon? medical hunches quickly developed right into a legal research geared toward Lee. He were overheard via the FBI whereas telephoning a undercover agent suspect, and he was once warmly embraced through a high-ranking chinese language nuclear-weapons legitimate whom he wasn't imagined to be aware of. The FBI famous that he used to be "ethnic Chinese." And during this doubtful interval after the chilly warfare, many politicians performed up China as a threatening new enemy. strength Secretary and vice presidential hopeful invoice Richardson used to be wanting to fireplace Lee and seem decisive in keeping nationwide defense. during this stormy confluence of intelligence and politics, Lee turned 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, delivering an aim 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