June 14, 2004


GOP thwarts ceremony for Wen Ho Lee (The buzz, June 14, 2004, Sacramento Bee)

Controversy erupted last week over plans by the six-member caucus to honor the former Los Alamos scientist with a resolution on the Assembly floor.

Lee once was the target of an intense investigation into alleged spying on behalf of the Chinese government. The case largely disintegrated, however, and he never was charged with espionage. Lee pleaded guilty in September 2000 to a lesser charge of mishandling nuclear secrets and received a rare apology from a federal judge.

"The man lost his job, he was maligned for two years, people assumed he was a spy, he was shackled in leg chains, and he was put in solitary confinement for nine months," said Assemblywoman Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, caucus chairwoman.

But Assembly Republicans forced cancellation of the Capitol ceremony. "I just didn't think it was right for us to honor someone convicted of a felony," said Assemblyman Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark.

Honored? He should be hanged.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 14, 2004 6:16 PM

I love how "pleaded guilty in September 2000 to a lesser charge of mishandling nuclear secrets" somehow makes him a hero! I'm with you - bring on the noose.

Posted by: Kay at June 14, 2004 8:52 PM

The judge's ~apology~ was another example of the judiciary claiming executive privileges it was never intended to have.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 14, 2004 10:21 PM

Based on what he was convicted of, he was either a spy or an idiot, and idiots never become nuclear scientists.

Posted by: PapayaSF at June 14, 2004 11:47 PM


I have met many strange characters in the nuclear world. Idiots - maybe not. But weird - definitely, including some future naval officers who used to duck and hide behind walls during lab experiments in college. Our professor was not amused (there was over 20 feet of water between the reactor and our little group already).

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 15, 2004 12:36 AM

Papaya -

Ditto Jim Hamlen's recollections in my nuclear world travels.

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at June 15, 2004 8:10 AM

Many Democrats still think the Rosenbergs innocent.

Posted by: Genecis at June 15, 2004 12:21 PM

Lee is sticking to his story (see his book "My Country Versus Me"), but then so did Alger Hiss.

You probably can count on one hand the nations where Lee wouldn't have been hanged.

Posted by: George at June 15, 2004 4:00 PM