YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM . . .
answer can be summed up in one word: politics. It didn't matter
that there was virtually no evidence: it didn't matter that
the "secrets" Dr. Lee was charged with passing to China were
known to thousands of others, nor that these alleged "secrets"
were of very
questionable value to the Chinese government. What mattered
was that the Republicans were on the warpath about lax security
procedures at our nuclear weapons laboratories, and, with
the release of the Cox
Report, were intent on making political hay. What mattered
was that the Clintonians had been caught with their pants
down around their ankles, with Johnnie
Chung exposing the lurid picture of an administration
for sale to the highest bidder before a congressional investigating
committee. The only way to beat them was to . . . join them.
the government is trying to cover its tracks in a bumbling
effort that is almost embarrassing. According to the New
York Times [12 September 2000], in an
article which purports to reveal "how the case was viewed
from inside the government as it evolved over the last several
months," we are supposed to believe that the unwinnable nature
of this case was only recently discovered by Reno's Justice
Department. The piece cites anonymous officials who "said
that the turning point that led them to agree to the plea
bargain was the realization that they would never fully know
Mr. Lee's motives in downloading the information." If alarm
bells aren't going off by now, causing your B*ll*h*t barometer
to go ballistic, then you had better check your wiring. .
in the name of all that is holy, can anyone know anything
for certain about anybody's motivations? Justice Department
prosecutors, unless they claim to be mind-readers, can never
have access to this kind of information it is unknowable.
But such is their contempt for the intelligence of the general
population and their all-around brazenness that
they do not even bother themselves with this seeming anomaly,
but merely go on to confess their complete indifference to
the whole concept of objective proof. The Times continues:
investigators had worked on the theory that he might have
been aiding China, where he had visited and where he had made
contacts with scientists. Others argued that because he was
a native of Taiwan, he might have been helping that government."
So the government couldn't even get the identity of the enemy
straight! While the whole area of Chinese penetration of our
defense establishment had been raised by the sudden escalation
of technological developments on the Chinese mainland, at
least some of Reno's Keystone Kops were prepared to abandon
the whole basis of the case and pursue a new and politically
more palatable angle. I hasten to add that both
angles have zero basis in fact other than being
tangentially related to Dr. Lee's ethnicity. He was born on
Taiwan, and traveled to the mainland under US government auspices
when he was employed at Los Alamos and this fact, alone,
nominated him as the ideal candidate for the perfect scapegoat.
case against Lee really came undone when a senior FBI agent
assigned to the case confessed in open court that he had lied
about alleged comments Lee had made to a colleague regarding
his motives for downloading the "secret" files. With that
admission, the whole pattern of government fabrications and
tenuous connections began to fall apart. Incredibly, Reno
and her minions had insisted that Dr. Lee was such a danger
to national security that he needed to be jailed in
solitary confinement prior to and during the course
of his trial. This, too, was a political move, designed to
keep him from making his case in the court of public opinion
where, it turns out, he has been winning. Indeed, government
officials concede that, as the Times reports, the legal
setbacks suffered by the Justice Department were of equal
importance to the fact that "public opinion about the case
had begun to shift toward Mr. Lee." As more detailed information
about this dubious case came out for example, did you
know that Sylvia Lee, Wen Ho Lee's wife, worked
for the CIA during the years he is accused of spying?
not even the dumbed-down American public was willing
to accept such a transparent hoax.
POLITICS OF PERSONAL DESTRUCTION
administration, which has spent the last few years bemoaning
politics of personal destruction," had no compunctions
about destroying Wen Ho Lee's life, his work, and his family.
They had no qualms about setting up a man they doubtless knew
was innocent of the charges, and sacrificing him on the altar
of political expediency: nor did they hesitate to lie to the
American public, when the truth began to come out, and try
to cover their tracks. CBS
News revealed that, in
spite of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's assertion
on 60 Minutes that Lee had failed two lie detector
tests, the accused scientist had in fact passed the
tests. CBS found that "Lee did so well on his polygraph that
lab management apologized to him and approved his return to
the lab's top secret X-Division. The field office sent a memo
saying Lee was not their man, but back in Washington, there
was extraordinary pressure on the FBI and the Energy Department
to catch a spy." The CBS report also revealed that "weeks
after Lee got passing scores on his lie detector test, the
FBI stepped in and reversed the findings. Sources say that
stunned the three experienced polygraphers on the case. All
three had concluded that Lee was truthful in his responses."
Secretary Richardson, like other members of the Clinton administration,
seems unacquainted with the concept of truth. The truth is
whatever these people say it is, and it changes from one moment
to the next "it depends," as one of them once put it,
"on what you mean by 'is' . . ."
from the get-go, apparently in full confidence that they
would get away with it. After all, with most of the media
in their pocket, they had gotten away with so much already.
And they might have gotten away with it, if not for
the efforts of Alberta
Lee, Dr. Lee's daughter, who worked tirelessly to expose
the phony charges, and, together with a
growing network of supporters succeeded in reversing to
a large extent the initial public impression of her father's
guilt. The tide of public opinion began to turn. Jack Kemp,
Gordon Prather, a nuclear weapons expert, and Jude
Wanniski spoke out against the witch-hunt, and even conservative
Republicans such as Rep. Chris Cox began to call this show
trial into question. When the government tried to deny Dr.
Lee bail, and argued that he must be kept in solitary confinement
23 hours a day and shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles
during one or two hours of exercise a week, as he had been
since his arrest last December, newspaper editorialists around
the country began to ask inconvenient questions. The Chicago
Tribune wanted to know: "Is Lee guilty until proven innocent?"
A San Francisco Chronicle editorial
argued that the government's case against Dr. Lee had little
to do with the facts and everything to do with developments
on the foreign policy front: "The rush to judgment almost
always proceeds faster when the nation feels threatened by
a foreign enemy."
is gratifying to see, for once, that the good guys have won.
Isn't that a refreshing development? Antiwar.com followed
this case, and we posted everything we could find to shed
light on the railroading of this shy and much-demonized scientist:
I wrote about it often, and Antiwar.com publicized the defense
committee's rallies and news releases. The complete discrediting
of the government's case, not only in a court of law but in
the court of public opinion, is a victory for all of us. It
shows that justice is possible, that exposure works
on our duplicitous government the way a strong disinfectant
works on germs: it shows that truth matters, that we
can win and we needed to know that.
ONE, COME ALL!
October 6-7, the
11th annual meeting of the legendary John Randolph Club
an association of the most politically incorrect conservative
writers, editors, publicists, and hangers-on will be
held in Chicago. I'll be speaking on the 7th, and
if that isn't enough to get you to attend then perhaps this
will: here is your chance to meet and mingle with the stars
of the Isolationist Right, not only Chronicles editor
Fleming, but also Stephen
Presser, radio commentator and Chicago Sun-Times
First! Bill Kauffman,
and Old West scholar and TV star Roger McGrath. A completely
rested and ready-to-rumble Pat Buchanan will also be there,
I am told, and if I weren't speaking this alone would be incentive
enough to show up.
registration for non-JRC members (i.e. practically everyone
in the world) is a bargain at $225. For VISA/MC registrations,
call (815) 964-5053. For snail mail: make checks payable
to the John Randolph Club and mail with your name and address
to JRC, The Rockford Institute, 928 N. Main St., Rockford,
room rates at the posh Chicago Athletic Association are $150
per night until September 13. For room reservations, call
312-236-7500 and mention the John Randolph Club to get your