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CBS Radio News
The Osgood File
August 30, 2000

Wen Ho Lee, Nuclear Scientist, Still Behind Bars

Prosecutors to Appeal Decision to Let Lee Stay at Home

by Charles Osgood

THE OSGOOD FILE. Charles Osgood on the CBS Radio network.

Wen Ho Lee, the fired Los Alamos scientist, is still behind bars this morning. The government has been given until Friday at noon to show why the man the US Energy Department has called a nuclear spy, should not be allowed to go home. Then, unless they can convince the judge otherwise, Wen Ho Lee will be permitted to post bail and wait for the proceedings in his own home, rather than in jail. Some murderers get better treatment than he has to date. The story in a moment.


OSGOOD: Government prosecutors have pleaded with the judge to keep nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee in jail for the sake of national security, but unless they can come up with some more specific argument than that, he will be allowed to be confined at home. Dr. Lee's lawyer, Mark Holscher:

Mr. MARK HOLSCHER: We look forward to him rejoining his family this Friday.

OSGOOD: He will have to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, he won't be allowed to communicate with anyone other than his family, his lawyers and court-appointed monitors, and his telephone will be tapped. This arrangement is being allowed because FBI agents had told the court last year that Lee had failed his first polygraph test. Now, they admit that he had passed it easily, and it has not been demonstrated that he gave any nuclear secrets to anybody.

Mr. HOLSCHER: If Judge Parker had been provided a complete record in December, we believe that Dr. Lee would not have spent the last eight months in solitary confinement and shackled.

OSGOOD: And besides, the charge against him is that he downloaded sensitive data from computer systems. Mishandling data is not the same thing as espionage, says Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists.

Dr. STEVEN AFTERGOOD: It turns out he's not a superspy, and these are not supersecrets.

OSGOOD: Nevertheless, a trial is scheduled for November, and prosecutors are appealing to a higher court the decision to let him stay at home until then, instead of behind bars.

THE OSGOOD FILE. I'm Charles Osgood on the CBS Radio network.

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