Lee, Wen Ho 1940-
LEE, Wen Ho 1940-
PERSONAL: Born 1940, in Taiwan; married. Hobbies and other interests: Fishing, cooking, gardening.
CAREER: Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, former computer scientist.
(With Helen Zia) My Country versus Me: The First-Hand Account by the Los Alamos Scientist Who Was Falsely Accused of Being a Spy, Hyperion (New York NY), 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: Lee Wen Ho is a former computer scientist for the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which helps develop U.S. defense strategies and helps protect defense secrets. In 1999, Lee was accused of espionage. The U.S. government believed he was giving classified information about the U.S. nuclear program to China, specifically the design information for the W-88 nuclear warhead. In total Lee was accused of fifty-nine different charges, and spent 277 days in jail, a majority of the time shackled and in solitary confinement, while on trial for the charges. In truth, the U.S. government did not have solid evidence to convict Lee of his charges. On September 13, 2000, Lee bargained with prosecutors and agreed to plead guilty to one of the fifty-nine charges, which was misuse of classified materials, in order to be set free from jail.
In My Country versus Me: The First-Hand Account by the Los Alamos Scientist Who Was Falsely Accused of Being a Spy, Lee and Helen Zia tell his story about being accused of espionage, his work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, his time in jail, how the FBI invaded his and his family's privacy, how the media played into his arrest, his innocence, and how his life has changed because of the experience. "The story of Wen Ho Lee is really about how a bureaucracy run amok can steamroll the average citizen," noted a Conservative Monitor contributor. Book Loons contributor Marian Powell claimed, "This is a very frightening book, showing how easily someone can become a target."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Scientist, July-August, 2002, Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky, "A Spy or Not a Spy, That Was the Question," p. 371.
Business Week, February 4, 2002, "The Making of a Scapegoat," p. 17.
Economist, February 9, 2002, "Trade Secrets; Nuclear Espionage."
Entertainment Weekly, December 1, 2000, p. 90.
Nation, October 23, 2000, Robert Scheer, "No Defense," p. 11; April 15, 2002, Dusanka Miscevic and Peter Kwong, "The China Syndrome," p. 25.
New York Times Book Review, February 17, 2002, Joseph E. Persico, "Life under Suspicion."
Publishers Weekly, November 20, 2000, John F. Baker, "Dr. Lee of Los Alamos to Tell All," p. 14; March 4, 2002, review of My Country versus Me: The First-Hand Account by the Los Alamos Scientist Who Was Falsely Accused of Being a Spy, p. 42.
Times Literary Supplement, April 26, 2002, Ernest R. May, "Was Vanity the Spur?" p. 8.
Asian Reporter Online,http://www.asianreporter.com/ (September 5, 2002), Jeff Wenger, "Wen Ho Lee and America."
Book Loons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (September 5, 2002), Marian Powell, review of My Country versus Me.
Conservative Monitor,http://www.conservativemonitor.com/ (September 5, 2002), review of My Country versus Me.
FindLaw's Legal Commentary,http://writ.news.findlaw.com/ (September 5, 2002), Mark S. Zaid, "A Tale of Espionage or a Government Witch Hunt?"
Hyperion Books Web site,http://www.hyperionbooks.com/ (September 5, 2002).
People's Daily Onlne,http://english.peopledaily.com/ (September 5, 2002), "Wen Ho Lee Says US Targets Him Due to Race."
Race Relations,http://racerelations.about.com/ (September 5, 2002), review of My Country versus Me.
Salon.com,http://www.salon.com/ (September 5, 2002), Eric Boehlert, "The Spy Who Wasn't."*