FAS Note: The following FBI affidavit was filed in support of an application for a search warrant to search the home of Wen Ho Lee. The application was filed on April 9, 1999. The affidavit when filed was classified Secret (Restricted Data) and was declassified a year later with deletions as indicated. HTML by FAS from hardcopy.


I, MICHAEL W. LOWE, being duly sworn, depose and say:

(1) I, MICHAEL W. LOWE, am a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Department of Justice, assigned to the Albuquerque Division, Santa Fe Resident Agency, and have been a Special Agent for approximately 12 years. The information set forth in this affidavit is the result of my own investigation or has been communicated to me by others involved in this investigation. Among these other individuals is a Supervisory Special Agent of the FBI who specializes in counterintelligence investigations regarding the People's Republic of China (PRC). This investigator has been a Special Agent for 19 years; he has worked on counterintelligence investigations for over ten of these years, and has supervised from FBI headquarters PRC counterintelligence investigations for the past five years.

(2) I believe that probable cause exists to issue a search warrant for the residence of LEE WEN HO (hereafter known as LEE), 80 Barcelona Avenue, White Rock, New Mexico, 87544, for evidence of violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1924 (Unauthorized Removal and Retention of Classified Documents or Materials), Title 18 United States Code, Section 793 (Gathering, Transmitting or Losing Defense Information), and Title 18 United States Code, Section 1001 (False Statements). The basis for my belief is set forth below.

(3) LEE, who lives at 80 Barcelona Avenue (described fully in Attachment A), is a hydro-dynamicist/mathematician who was formerly assigned to the X-Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), which is managed by the Department of Energy (DOE). LEE is a naturalized United States citizen born on December 21, 1939, in Nantow, Taiwan. Sylvia Lee, his wife, is also a naturalized United States citizen born December 6, 1943, in Hunan Province, China. Sylvia Lee worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory from November 1980 to June 1995, where the last position held was "Computer Technician." She had a Top Secret clearance from March 12, 1991, until her departure from LANL on June 9, 1995.

(4) The FBI expert described in paragraph (1) has explained that PRC intelligence operations virtually always target overseas ethnic Chinese with access to intelligence information sought by the PRC. Travel to China is an integral element of the Chinese intelligence collection tradecraft, particularly when it involves overseas ethnic Chinese. FBI analysis of previous Chinese counterintelligence investigations indicates that the PRC uses travel to China as a means to assess closely and evaluate potential intelligence sources and agents, as a way to establish and reinforce cultural and ethnic bonds with China, and as a safehaven in which to recruit, task, and debrief established intelligence agents.

(5) Based on information supplied by DOE, the FBI began an investigation of LEE and Sylvia Lee on May 30, 1996. A review of FBI records disclosed that LEE had previously been the subject of an FBI foreign counterintelligence investigation during approximately 1982-1984, when he was in contact with a suspected PRC intelligence agent. LEE was overheard on court-authorized electronic surveillance contacting a former employee of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who had been suspected of passing classified weapons information to the PRC. On December 3, 1982, court-authorized telephone surveillance of the employee intercepted a call from LEE. LEE introduced himself, explained that he was a weapons designer at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and commented that he had heard about the employee's "matter." LEE wanted to meet the employee and stated that he thought he could find out who had "squealed" on the employee.

(6) On November 9, 1983, the FBI interviewed LEE in Los Alamos, New Mexico. LEE was not told that the FBI had intercepted his call to the Lawrence Livermore employee on December 3, 1982. Lee stated that he had never attempted to contact the employee, did not know the employee, and had not initiated any telephone calls to him. LEE stated that the employee was no longer at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and that he had no way of contacting him at his home. In a subsequent interview with the FBI, LEE admitted that he had called the Lawrence Livermore employee and had previously misled the FBI about the contact.

(7) On January 24, 1984, LEE passed a polygraph examination which included questions concerning whether he had ever passed classified information to any foreign government. The FBI's foreign counterintelligence investigation of LEE was closed on March 12, 1984.

(8) The X-Division of LANL, where LEE worked from 1982 through December 23, 1998, has the highest level of security of any division at LANL. It is LANL's research and development division responsible for the design of thermonuclear weapons. LEE was part of a team responsible for developing thermonuclear weapons for the United States. LEE has explained (during a February 9, 1999, interview with Special Agents of the FBI) that, while at LANL, he worked on five Lagrangian mathematical codes, also known as "source codes." LEE explained that two of these codes are classified because they are used to develop nuclear weapons. Charles Neil, Technical Staff member and Team Leader in the X-Division has informed the FBI that the mathematical codes with which LEE worked were used to develop various nuclear weapons, including a weapon known as the W-88.

(9) According to Neil, both of the classified source codes and other materials with which LEE worked represent decades of nuclear weapons testing and design. In essence, the information is more valuable to a weapons designer than an actual bomb blueprint. With source codes and other identifying information a bomb designer does not have to do any actual testing. By plugging variables (such as different materials or different dimensions) into various equations and computer programs and viewing the results a designer could build the most sophisticated nuclear weapons.

[Paragraph deleted]

(11) LEE said during his December 23, 1998 pre-polygraph interview that he had social contact with PRC visitors to LANL, including visits to his residence. Following the interview on December 23, 1998, DOE polygraphers administered a polygraph examination of LEE. The examiner's initial opinion was that LEE was not deceptive. However, subsequent quality control reviews of the results, by both DOE and by FBI Headquarters (HQ) resulted in an agreed finding that LEE was inconclusive, if not deceptive, when denying he ever committed espionage against the United States.

(12) Following LEE's 1988 trip to China he was debriefed by LANL Internal Security officer ROBERT VROOMAN. VROOMAN asked LEE if he had been asked any inappropriate questions during his trip. LEE responded in the negative. VROOMAN retained his notes from that debriefing and in February 1999 prepared a report containing his recollections based an his notes. LEE was confronted with that report during his interview by the FBI on March 5, 1999. He offered no explanation for why he did not remember to tell VROOMAN about the incident in his hotel room. He said that the only reason he remembered the incident prior to his DOE polygraph was because he had been asked a direct question regarding espionage which for some reason prompted him to remember the question posed to him by ZHENG.

(13) On January 17, 1999, LEE was interviewed at his residence by FBI Special Agents. During this interview, LEE stated that in 1984 or 1985, he was at a conference in Hilton Head, South Carolina, where he met LI DE YUAN from the PRC's Institute of Applied Physics and Computational Math (IAPCM). (IAPCM is the PRC's Nuclear Weapons Design Institute, and is part of the Chinese Academv of Engineering Physics (CAEP), the home of the PRC's overall Nuclear Weapons Program). LEE said LI was a mathematician familiar with Lagrangian mathematics, which LEE said is one of LEE's areas of expertise. LEE also said that it was as a result of his meeting, and "developing a relationship with LI, that he was invited to the IAPCM in both 1986 and 1988.

(14) LEE further stated that when he went to the IAPCM in 1986, he was invited to speak on computational mathematics. He said he was excited and was treated very well by his PRC counterparts. LEE said he met various people during this trip, two of whom were LI WEI SHUN and WANG ZHI SHEU. LEE said WANG worked in "the same project areas" as he did, and they spent a lot of time together at the conference. LEE stated that following the 1986 trip to the IAPCM, he began to receive cards and letters from these scientists.

(15) LEE furthermore stated that he was invited to attend a second conference in the PRC in 1988,2 where he again met PRC scientists, including one named ZHENG SHAO TONG. LEE stated that one evening after dinner he received a phone call from ZHENG asking if they could meet. LEE agreed, and shortly thereafter, ZHENG arrived at his hotel room with HU SIDE. LEE acknowledged that he knew that ZHENG was an administrator with the IAPCM. LEE stated that he thought HU SIDE was an explosives expert. LEE reaffirmed what he had said during the December 23, 1998 pre-polygraph examination that when asked a question which involved a classified response he told them he did not know the answer and did not wish to discuss this matter.

(16) LEE's contact with ZHENG and HU SIDE in 1988 should have been reported to LANL security officials pursuant to DOE regulations. A review of all the documentation that LEE provided DOE security in 1988 reveals no report of this approach to LEE by ZHENG and HU SIDE. On July 12, 1988, LEE did submit a Foreign Trip Report, as was required by LANL. In his report, LEE described the business trip that he made to Beijing in June 1988. While LEE specified ten different people with whom he met during this trip, he failed to include HU SIDE. LEE also did not disclose that anyone from the PRC had asked him about any classified matters.

(17) On February 10, 1999, the FBI conducted a polygraph examination of LEE. During this examination, the FBI asked LEE whether he had provided two classified codes (discussed in paragraph 8) to any unauthorized person and whether he deliberately obtained any W-88 documents. It was the examiner's opinion that the polygraph results were inconclusive as to those questions. The second question was rephrased to cover a broader range of activities. LEE was then asked the follow two questions:

The polygraph examiner concluded that LEE's answers to these questions were deceptive.

(18) The polygraph examiner then gave LEE an opportunity to discuss his answers further. During the discussion, LEE volunteered the following new information that he had not revealed in the prior interviews with the FBI or DOE. LEE said that during his trip to the PRC in 1986, he was approached by WEI SHEN LI, who LEE knew to be involved in the PRC's Nuclear Program. LI came to see LEE, and asked if LEE could assist him in solving a problem he (LI) was having. LEE agreed. LEE illustrated what he had provided to LI in the form of an equation to assist LI in solving his problem. The polygrapher's report states that LEE said that this equation was the same used in two classified codes. LEE admitted that his assistance to Ll could have been used easily for nuclear weapons development.

(19) In the Foreign Trip Report that LEE submitted to LANL security officials following his 1986 trip, LEE failed to reveal that he had been asked to assist LI in solving a mathematical problem. LEE also did not divulge that he had helped LI solve the problem, and that the help he provided could have been used easily for nuclear weapons development.

(20) Following the polygraph examination, LEE also provided information about the trip he made to Beijing in 1988 that he had not revealed in the earlier interviews. LEE said that he was approached by ZHI SHIU WANG, a PRC scientist, following a conference he attended in China in 1988. According to LEE, WANG asked LEE to help him solve a mathematical problem. LEE admitted that his answer to WANG contained portions of equations similar to those in the classified codes referred to in paragraph 8. LEE drew notes to illustrate WANG's problem. LEE said that this information could be used in weapons development; however, he stated that he never discussed nuclear weapons with WANG. LEE acknowledged that he had fully assisted WANG with his mathematical problem even though he had assumed WANG was part of the PRC's Nuclear Weapons Program. LEE was confident that his assistance to WANG had solved or improved WANG's problem. LEE stated he assumed that WANG knew that he (LEE) worked on nuclear weapons because of LEE's association with LANL.

(21) According to NEIL, LEE, as a mathematician in the X-Division, had a "Z" number and password which enabled him to access the X-Division's most highly classified information by computer. A "Z" number is a unique identifier given to every individual at LANL who requires access to LANL's Common File System (CFS). The CFS is LANL's file storage system. It is comprised of two separate parts: the closed part of the system, on which classified information is stored; and the open part of the system, which stores only unclassified information. The open part of the system is accessible from anywhere in the world to any Internet user. The closed part of the system is accessible only to those working at LANL with the security clearances authorized by LANL. As an X-Division employee, LEE had access to both parts of the CFS.

(22) CHARLES NEIL, LEE's most recent supervisor in the X-Division, advised that there is no direct communication allowed between the closed and open parts of the CFS. Under LANL rules, unclassified information can be on the closed side of the system; however, employees are prohibited from placing classified information on the open side of the CFS. Occasionally there is a need to transfer unclassified files between the closed and open parts of the CFS. From 1980 to 1994, there were two methods of transferring files between the two parts of the CFS. One method was to use a piece of equipment with appropriate software, called "Machine C." The second transfer method involved downloading files from one part of the CFS directly onto either a 3-1/2-inch floppy disk or a larger capacity storage cartridge. The use of "Machine C" for this purpose was discontinued in 1994. In 1996 the use of a piece of equipment called "Mercury" was implemented to transfer files from the closed to the open part of the CFS. This method, which is still used, maintains a record of the names of the files that have been. transferred. Between 1994 and 1996 the downloading method utilizing floppy discs or storage cartridges was the only method available to transfer files from the closed to the open part of the CFS. This transfer method can still be used in addition to "Mercury".

(23) LANL commonly uses 3M DC 6150 cartridges to download files for transfer between the open and closed parts of the CFS. Once files have been downloaded from one part, they can be uploaded easily into any other computer that has a compatible operating system. On March 5, 1999, LEE consented to a search of his offices at LANL by the FBI.3 In LEE's X-Division office, investigators found a notebook with a LANL supply order form, dated December 20, 1995. This order form indicated that LEE special-ordered a box of five 3M DC 6150 cartridges in 1995. Neil stated that this was unusual because the cartridges are readily available at X-Division's supply room and do not normally have to be special ordered. In LEE's T-Division office, where he was assigned following suspension of his security authorization, investigators found six 3M DC 6150 cartridges. A preliminary examination of those cartridges by LANL personnel determined that they do not contain classified information. These 3M DC 6150 cartridges are also available from office supply stores and are not unique to LANL.

(24) As an X-Division employee, LEE was permitted to create directories in the CFS and to name those directories himself. Upon its creation, every directory created by each X-Division employee is recorded in the CFS. LEE named one of the directories that he created his "KF1" directory. The KF1 directory was located in the open part of the CFS. LANL computer experts have analyzed the KF1 list, as well as two other directories that LEE created. These experts have determined that LEE's three directories listed approximately 300 files. Some of these files are library files, which contain or contained additional files. In total, the LANL experts estimate that the directories LEE created contained as many as 1600 files. Preliminary examination of the KF1 list reveals that the names of many of the files listed were the names of files known to be classified at the Secret level. The LANL experts are in the process of retrieving and reviewing the files themselves. So far, this review has revealed that 21 of the files listed in LEE's KF1 directory are indeed Secret documents. Among these 21 Secret files is one of the classified codes (described above in paragraph 8) and design contours for two additional nuclear weapons. The LANL experts have determined that LEE began transferring classified files from the CFS closed system to the open system on his KF1 directory from [several words deleted] According to CHARLES NEIL, there is no legitimate work related purpose for storing classified files on the open side of the CFS.

(25) CHARLES NEIL told me that only the LANL employee given the "Z" number and password and LANL's system administrator can access or delete files in directories created by LANL employees. Both "Z" numbers and passwords are closely guarded, non-shared pieces of information which LANL employees are required to keep confidential. LEE, or anyone with Lee's "Z" number and password could access his KF1 directory on the open CFS from anywhere in the world. In an interview conducted by the FBI on March 5, 1999, LEE refused to provide his password to allow FBI Special Agents access to his laptop computer.

(26) On April 5, 1999, during the continuing examination of papers and notes from LEE's office, investigators located instructions in a notebook on how to copy the classified code (referred to in paragraph 8) onto a floppy disk. These instructions were handwritten in LEE's notebook. At the top of the notation were Chinese characters which have been translated as "method to print entire directory onto disk."

(27) As a LANL employee in the X-Division, LEE was permitted to use LANL computers at home. LEE had two computers assigned to him, and recorded on his personal properyy log. These two computers were a MacIntosh laptop and a MacIntosh desk top.

(28) During the January 17, 1999, interview of LEE at his residence, an interviewing Special Agent observed a desktop computer located in the living room. The Agent observed that the computer was the focal point of a work area that contained documents and other items. During a later interview of' LEE, conducted on March 5, 1999, LEE stated to FBI Special Agents that he kept at his residence a MacIntosh desktop computer which belonged to LANL. LEE admitted that he used this computer "because I sometimes work at home." LEE also stated that he used this desktop computer to connect to the LANL computer in his office. LEE also stated that he used the computer in his residence to check E-mail and to do word processing. On March 5, 1999, LEE turned over to FBI investigators the LANL-owned MacIntosh desktop computer that had been in his house. LEE's LANL-owned MacIntosh laptop computer was seized on March 5, 1999 during a consent search of LEE's T-Division office. Although not specifically asked, LEE did not produce any computer discs or storage cassettes that he utilized at home on his LANL-owned computers. According to LANL experts, LEE's LANL-owned MacIntosh laptop and desktop computer utilized removable cartridges in lieu of a hard drive. LANL experts have determined that no classified information was contained on the cartridges within either computer at the time they were seized or produced.

(29) Shortly after the polygraph that DOE conducted on December 23, 1998, DOE suspended LEE's access to all classified information. LANL also reassigned LEE from the X-Division to the T-Division, which does not handle classified information. Between that time and March 5, 1999, LEE tried to gain physical access to the X-Division on two separate occasions. On at least one occasion during this time, LEE obtained unescorted access to X-Division.

(30) During the March search of LEE's X-Division office, investigators found a notebook. This notebook contained a one-page computer-generated document which listed all of the files in the KF1 directory that LEE had created in the CFS. During the search, Charles Neil, examined this list and explained that the files named in LEE's KF1 directory were contained in the open part of the CFS. The files contained highly classified information. Neil tried to access the files listed in LEE's KF1 directory. He discovered that the majority of the files had been deleted. Neil sought assistance from Thomas Stup, CFS administrator for the X-Division. Stup examined LEE's KF1 directory files and determined that the files had been deleted between February 9, 1999 and February 11, 1999, the day after the FBI polygraphed LEE.

(31) During the March search of Lee's X-Division office, FBI and DOE investigators located three multi-page documents that did not bear classification markings as required by regulation despite the fact that those documents contained classified information. The classification stamps or marks had been removed in several ways. In the first classified document, the classified stamp had been covered up while the document had been copied on a copying machine. In a second classified document, the classification markings had been physically cut from the top and bottom of each pace. In the third classified document, the classification marking had been deleted by computer command before the document was printed. According to CHARLES NEIL, there is no bona fide LANL-related employment purpose in deleting classification designations or markings from a classified document. In fact, such deletions would constitute a LANL security violation. Based on my training and experience, removing classification designations or markings is a way to minimize risk of detection or apprehension when gathering, removing, or retaining classified materials in an unauthorized fashion. Additionally, the removal of classification markings as described above from classified documents would facilitate LEE's ability to remove classified documents from LANL in an unauthorized fashion.

(32) On April 7, 1999, employees at LANL's Computer Help Desk stated that their logs reveal that LEE had made the following four requests for assistance. First, on March 2, 1998, LEE asked how to access his closed file X-Division CFS from overseas. This was just before a personal trip that LEE made to Taiwan which began on March 15, 1998. This trip lasted for 45 days. The Help Desk informed LEE that it was not possible to access the closed CFS from overseas. Second, on January 21, 1999, (which was four days after the FBI interviewed him at home), LEE asked how to hook up a laptop into GAMMA, which is a LANL processing computer used to make calculations rather than store information. Third, also on January 21, 1999, LEE sought help in deleting files. During his request for help, LEE stated that, despite his deletion efforts, the files were "not going away." The Help Desk surmised that he needed to take one last step to delete the files and told him how to complete the process. Fourth, on February 1, 1999, LEE said that he was dialing in from his LANL-owned MacIntosh computer (which was at his residence) and was getting in (obtaining access to LANL's computer system) but was getting disconnected.

(33) LEE was fired from LANL on March 8, 1999. DOE revoked LEE's security clearance that same day. Additionally, LEE certified on or about March 8, 1999 that he had returned all LANL property. Although LEE has been residing with family in the Los Angeles, California area between on or about March 9, 1999 until on or about April 7, 1999, he is not known to have any office or other location other than his residence out of which to work or which provided him computer access.

(34) Based on the foregoing information, there is probable cause to believe that there is evidence in LEE's residence that reveals violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, 1001, and 1924.

(35) The affiant requests that a search warrant be issued for LEE's residence, as described in Attachment A.

(36) I believe that there is probable cause to believe that evidence of the above-described criminal activities will be found in LEE's residence. These conclusions are based on my experience and training relating to the types of records and items that persons engaged in the activities described above typically keep at their residence as well as on the facts recited above.

(37) Items to be seized are described in Attachment B of this Affidavit, and include but are not limited to computer disk or other computer memory storage devices, records, documents and materials including those used to facilitate communications, electronic data, and computer equipment and peripherals.


80 Barcelona Avenue
White Rock, New Mexico 87544

80 Barcelona Avenue is a one story, brown brick, maroon framed, ranch-style house with a two car garage. The brick covers only the front portion of the house, the sides of which are brown stucco and the roof is a maroon color. Directly in front of the house and adjacent to Barcelona Avenue are five evergreen trees and a white mailbox. Beneath the mailbox is a receptacle for the "Monitor," a local Los Alamos, New Mexico, newspaper. Barcelona Avenue runs roughly east and west. The house is on the north side of the street in approximately the center of the block, facing south.

The house has been verified to be the personal residence of LEE and his wife by other persons living in the area as well as by two Special Agents of the FBI who interviewed LEE at this location.


Items to be seized:

Computer hardware is described as any and all computer equipment, including any electronic devices which are capable of collecting, analyzing, creating, displaying, converting, storing, concealing, or transmitting electronic, magnetic, optical, or similar computer impulses or data. These devices include but are not limited to any data processing hardware (such as central processing units and self-contained "laptop" or "notebook" computers); internal and peripheral storage devices (such as fixed disks, external hard disks, floppy disk drives and diskettes, tape drives and tapes, optical and compact disk storage devices, and other memory storage devices) ; peripheral input/output devices (such as keyboards, printers, scanners, plotters, video display monitors, and optical readers); and related communications devices (such as modems, cables and connections, recording equipment, RAM or ROM units, acoustic couplers, automatic dialers, speed dialers, programmable telephone dialing or signaling devices, and electronic tone-generating devices); as well as any devices, mechanisms, or parts that can be used to restrict access to such hardware (such as physical keys and locks).

Computer software is described as any and all information, including any instructions, programs or program code stored in the form of electronic, magnetic, optical or other media which are capable of being interpreted by a computer or its related components. Computer software may also include certain data, data fragments or control characters integral to the operation of computer software. These items include, but are not limited to operating system software, applications software, utility programs, compilers, interpreters, communications software and other programming used or intended to be used to communicate with other computer components.

Computer related documentation is described as any written, recorded, printed or electronically stored material which explains or illustrates the configuration or use of any seized hardware, software or related item.

Also included as items to be seized are any computer generated document or hard copy related to LANL, source codes, input decks, FORTRAN codes and other mathematical calculations.

Computer passwords and data security devices are described as all of the devices, programs, or data - whether themselves in the nature of hardware or software - that can be used or are designed to be used to restrict access to or facilitate concealment of any computer hardware, software, computer related documentation, electronic data, records, documents or materials within the scope of this application. These items include but are not limited to any data security hardware (such as encryption devices, chips and circuit boards) passwords, and similar information that is required to access computer programs or data or to otherwise render programs or data into a useable form.

In addition to computers and computer related hardware and software as described above, items to be seized include any books, records, receipts, notes, e-mail, ledgers, documents, agreements, worksheets, correspondence or information relating to or describing work involving the Los Alamos National Laboratory and work projects therein. These items may include classified as well as unclassified documents.

Any and all documents or records relating to travel to or correspondence with any PRC official, scientist or resident.

Due to the use of computers, this data may be in the form of paper documents or may be stored in the form of electronic, magnetic, optical or other media capable of being read by a computer or computer related equipment. This media includes but is not limited to any fixed disks, external disks, removable hard disk cartridges, floppy disk drives and diskettes, tape devices and tapes or other memory storage devices not in paper form which may have been used as a means of committing, or constitute evidence of the commission of, violations of Title 18, United States Code, Sections, 1924 and 793.

Other items to be seized include notebooks, diaries, calendars, evidence of transactions, telephone records, and credit card records.

The phrase "records, documents and materials," including those used to facilitate communications includes but is not limited to records of personal and business activities relating to Los Alamos National Laboratory, such as business documents, associate names and addresses, correspondence, e-mail, log books, diaries, telephone records, bank records, reference materials and photographs.