A Wen Ho Lee Mess Before the Trial

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After a half-year of investigations, the federal government earlier this month ended up accusing Wen Ho Lee of negligently exposing American military secrets, but not of espionage. But it seems nobody told the prosecutors, who spent the first day of Lee's bail hearing Tuesday painting him as public enemy number Wen. First Lee's former boss, Richard Krajcek, testified that Lee admitted to failing an FBI polygraph on which he said he never spied for China. Krajcek went on to describe documents Lee is known to have placed on an insecure computer mainframe as the "crown jewels" of American military secrets. Then a FBI agent said that Lee had a clandestine meeting with Chinese officials in a Beijing hotel room on an Energy Department trip to China in 1998. The stinging blow, however, came when Krajcek told the judge that if awarded bail, Lee could easily jeopardize national security further. The judge then posited that Lee might be released on house arrest as long as he didn't communicate with anyone in Chinese, so his communications could be more easily monitored.

None of this is sitting very well with Asian-American advocacy groups who argue that Lee's prosecution is ethnically-motivated — namely, the feds want an Asian scapegoat for an embarrassing lapse in national security. So far, though, this hasn't caused the government to pull any punches. If this is just the bail hearing, just imagine how ugly the trial will get.