By Dan Stober
No espionage case in fresh many years 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 that could by no means have happened resulted in a countrywide shame. A weapons-code scientist at Los Alamos nationwide Laboratory, Lee was once hunted as a undercover agent for China, indicted on fifty-nine counts, and held in detention for 9 months as a danger to the complete 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 protection easily evaporated. but Lee's causes 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 file, Lee's lies and his unexplained connections to overseas scientists spanned eighteen years. He used to be 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 companies for years. The FBI's belated discovery that he had additionally positioned the codes on moveable cassette tapes introduced a frenzied all over 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 came across. In 1995, Lee used to be simply one other American, a Taiwanese immigrant striving to help 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 international of nuclear-weapons intelligence tested purloinedChinese records, studied undercover agent stories, and questioned: Had China stolen the secrets and techniques of the W88, America's such a lot complicated nuclear weapon? medical hunches swiftly developed right into a felony research aimed toward Lee. He were overheard through the FBI whereas telephoning a secret agent suspect, and he was once warmly embraced by way of a high-ranking chinese language nuclear-weapons legitimate whom he wasn't alleged to be aware of. The FBI famous that he was once "ethnic Chinese." And during this doubtful interval after the chilly struggle, many politicians performed up China as a threatening new enemy. power Secretary and vice presidential hopeful invoice Richardson used to be wanting to fireplace Lee and seem decisive in maintaining nationwide defense. during this stormy confluence of intelligence and politics, Lee turned a handy secret agent. yet was once he responsible? Dan Stober and Ian Hoffman inform the tale of the Wen Ho Lee fiasco dramatically and authoritatively, delivering an goal account that no partisan model of the tale can fit.
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Additional resources for A Convenient Spy: Wen Ho Lee and the politics of nuclear espionage
An institute in Denver coins the term Lone Eagles to describe the phone-and-fax entrepreneurs who can now make fortunes anywhere and so rush to places like Abiquiu, Emigrant, Crestone, Cora. ) Page 21 Ordinary people whose lives are torn apart by these rapid-fire changes are understandably sore. Where are the alternatives? Where is that next hopeful horizon, that beloved mainstay of western mythology? This time there is no new boomtown in the interior West to move to. Denver is exploding, but its growth is feeding on, not nurturing, the inter-mountain interstices.
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The concept of limits is completely alien to our political culture, even when we see the egregious scars of overdevelopment. The plight of Idahos wild salmon is the best recent example I can think of. They are nearly gone, and no one knows for sure how to restore them. Meanwhile, Idaho lawmakers clamor for less wilderness and more logging. There seems to be no evidence of a widespread understanding of these three realities among the electorate. In the West, much of the political leadership blindly adheres to antique notions of development, the world economy, and the relationship of public capitalsubsidiesin the continuing (if suppressed) exploitation of natural resources.
A Convenient Spy: Wen Ho Lee and the politics of nuclear espionage by Dan Stober