Spies, Lies & Portable Tapes

The feds were already suspicious of scientist Wen Ho Lee. Then they discovered hed downloaded every secret in the nuclear arsenal.

Lee: "Uh, mmm."

Agent: "And then in 1994, they come to the laboratory and they embrace you like an old friend. And people witness that, and things are, are observed, and you're telling us that you didn't say anything, you didn't talk to them, and everything points to different than that."

Lee: "Well..." (sighs).

The spy next door? Wen Ho Lee heading into court last December.
The spy next door? Wen Ho Lee heading into court last December.
The spy next door? Wen Ho Lee heading into court last December.
The spy next door? Wen Ho Lee heading into court last December.

Agent: "So, you know, I mean, it's, it's, it's, it's an awkward situation that I, I can understand, you know, where, where these things could happen. I mean, you were treated very nicely in 1986 when you went to China."

Lee: "Uh, hum."

Agent: "I mean they were good to you. They took care of your family. They took you to the Great Wall. They had dinners for you. Then in 1988 you go back and they do the same thing and, you know, you feel some sort of obligation to people, to talk to them and answer their questions...You gotta understand this is the way it is ...You're being looked at as a spy!"

Lee: "Yes, I know, I know what you think, but all I'm saying is, uh, I have never say anything classified. I have never say anything."

Agent: "It might not be that, Wen Ho. It might not be even a classified issue. It might just be something that was said, but Washington is under the impression that you're a spy. And this newspaper article is doing everything but coming out with your name."

Lee: "Let me ask you this. OK? If you want me to swear with the God or whatever, OK? I can swear if that's what you believe. I never tell them anything classified. I never told them anything about nuclear weapons..."

Agent: "What happened, Wen Ho, something else had to have happened in that motel room. Something had to have happened when they came to your room. Because it's, it's just logical...We know how the Chinese operate...we know..."

Lee: "What do you mean, what do you mean?"

Agent: "Something happened in that room that you're not telling us?"

Lee: "This is what I'm saying, OK? You know, we may chat something social, OK? I don't remember what we have said in that room in the hotel, OK?...All I can remember is when they asked me this question [material deleted]. I told them I don't know and I, I am not interested to discuss. And then we switched to different conversation. I don't even remember what we said before or what we said after. I mean it's such a long time, but I know it's nothing to do with the technical. OK?"

Agent: "You are a scientist, a nuclear scientist. You are going to be an unemployed nuclear scientist. You are going to be a nuclear scientist without a clearance. Where is a nuclear scientist without a clearance going to get a job?"

Lee: "I cannot get any job."

Agent: "You can't! Wen Ho, you gotta tell us what went on in that room. You got to tell us why you're failing these polygraphs! Washington is not going to let you work in a laboratory or have a clearance!"

Lee: "I can retire...I'm 59 and something..."

Agent: "Do you really think you're going to be able to collect anything?"

Lee: "No, no, but look, look, look..."

Agent: "They're going to garnish your wages...They're not going to give you anything other than your advice of rights and a pair of handcuffs!"

Lee: "But, but..."

Agent: "And now, what are you going to tell your friends? What are you going to tell your family? What are you going to tell your wife and son? What's going to happen to your son in college?"

Lee: "I never give any classified information to Chinese people. I never tell them anything relating to nuclear weapons, uh, data or design or whatever, I have never done anything like that."

Agent: "Pretty soon you're going to have reporters knocking on your door. They're going to be knocking on the door of your friends. They're going to find your son and they are going to say, you know, your father is a spy?"

Lee: "But I, I'm not a spy."

Agent: "But Wen Ho, something else must have happened for you not to be able to pass these polygraphs."

Lee: "I don't know, I don't know what to explain. I did not tell them anything about [deleted]. I told them, I say, I...let's see. I don't know and I'm not interested to discuss this question. That's exactly what I told them."

Agent: "You know what I believe? I believe that you're not telling me the truth. I believe something else happened in that room and that's why you're failing the polygraph. And unless you can come up with what happened in that room, part of a conversation that's causing you problems, you're never going to pass a polygraph. And you're never going to have a clearance. And you're not going to have a job. And if you get arrested, you're not going to have a retirement."

Lee: "Well, OK, let's, let's stop here cause I'm very tired, OK, I'm, I'm..."

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