While this doesn't wholly clear Lee (and doesn't do anything to allay CIA suspicion that the document in question just might be a plant by the Chinese government), if true, it's further evidence that perhaps dozens of others, including Sandia National Laboratories, Lockheed Martin Corp. or even the Navy, could be responsible. None of this comes as any surprise to critics of the FBI's handling of the case. "Those of us who've covered this have always known that information about the W-88 warhead was available in many corners and to many contractors," says TIME Justice Department correspondent Elaine Shannon. "It remains to be seen if the investigators can narrow the trail of that document enough to do anything useful."
The rehabilitation of Wen Ho Lee continues. According to Friday's Washington Post, investigators say an analysis of a document turned over to the CIA by a former Chinese government official shows that, much like the Nile, the leaks of plans for the top-secret W-88 warhead could have a number of possible sources. The reason: The plans the Chinese drew up from them were too inaccurate to have come from the lab where the warhead was designed.