Associated PressALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The judge in the case of a Taiwanese-born scientist accused of breaching security at a nuclear weapons lab has ordered the government to produce evidence of ethnic profiling.
August 29, 2000
Judge Orders Government to Produce Evidence of Ethnic ProfilingBy Richard Benke
Associated Press Writer
U.S. District Judge James Parker ordered the documents, which were sought by the Wen Ho Lee defense, produced for his review by Sept. 15. The documents represent a huge volume of materials, ranging from congressional transcripts to a classified State Department report to counterintelligence training tapes and more.
The defense has alleged Lee, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was singled out for prosecution because he is ethnic Chinese while other suspects were ignored. The government has denied selective prosecution and opposed disclosure, saying it was irrelevant.
Parker said the material is for his own information, not necessarily the defense's, as he considers the defense motion for disclosure.
"We think he is focusing on the kind of documents that will bolster the defense's allegation of selective prosecution and racial profiling," said Diane Chin, executive director of San Francisco-based Chinese for Affirmative Action. "And that, we think, we hope, will prove what we've been saying all along - that Dr. Lee's race and ethnicity have been inappropriately intertwined with the case they've brought against him," Chin said.
Among other things, Parker ordered the government to turn over a classified report by Jacqueline Williams-Bridger, inspector general of the State Department, on computer security violations there.
"There has been a pattern of computer security violations that have gone unprosecuted by the Justice Department," said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists. "Wen Ho Lee is not the first person to have improperly handled sensitive information in electronic form."
Parker also ordered the government to produce:
Lee's case, although it grew out of the W-88 probe, is unrelated. Lee is not accused of espionage. He is charged with 59 counts alleging he transferred restricted data to unsecure computers and tape at the laboratory. He could face life in prison if convicted.
- The U.S. Department of Energy's Task Force on Racial Profiling report of last January and any memoranda on which it is based.
- An unedited version of a training videotape on counterintelligence created by the DOE. A version of the tape was shown to DOE employees until last year, the defense says.
- The full classified transcript of any testimony given by the attorney general and any other Justice Department, FBI or Energy Department official before any congressional committee relating to investigations in the Lee case.
- FBI documents relating to the number of individuals who had access to information about the W-88, a sophisticated U.S. nuclear warhead.
- The reports of all administrative inquiries conducted by DOE or Los Alamos lab officials regarding improper handling of restricted data since the beginning of 1987.
- Energy or Justice department records of statements by former DOE counterintelligence chief Notra Trulock suggesting that any investigation of Chinese espionage should focus on ethnic Chinese.
- A list of suspects created by Trulock's team as part of the "Kindred Spirit" investigation into the suspected theft by China of the W-88 warhead.
Defense attorney Mark Holscher said: "We presented the court with the sworn declarations of Mr. (Charles) Washington and Mr. (Robert) Vrooman, two high-ranking Department of Energy counterintelligence officials. Both of their affidavits stated they personally observed that Dr. Lee was profiled, based on his race."
Washington was Trulock's predecessor as acting head of counterintelligence for the DOE, and Vrooman was head of counterintelligence at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
"These sworn declaratons raise serious questions as to the propriety of the W-88 investigation, which led to all the hysteria in the last year," Holscher said.