New: Book Report: My Country Versus Me

A scientist suspected of mailing out Anthrax commits suicide. Which brought up a newslet, a reminder of a recent lawsuit: Hatfill, another scientist sued the FBI after they leaked footage to the media, footage which revealed that they suspected him of mailing anthrax--destroying his reputation. That was sad, since he turned out to be innocent. Does the FBI do that, try suspects in the press before trying them in court? Sure; you can read a similar story in My Country Versus Me.

Wen Ho Lee is a computer programmer, just like me. He made the mistake of being born in Taiwan. Then he came to the USA. He worked at LANL on scary simulator programs. Either the LANL computer programmers' revision control system is crappy or else he didn't understand how to use it well--instead he made his own backups of some source code he'd worked on. This was dumb--but plenty of clever computer programmers have done dumber things when they couldn't figure out how to get their revision control system to do the right thing. Heck, I have done dumber things than that.

I have done things dumber than that, but I never combined them with the mistake of having been born in Taiwan. Being born in Taiwan and then coming to the USA means that occasionally some USA politician, hoping to show how tough they are, will accuse you of being a Chinese spy. To really show how tough they are, they'll leak accusations to the press without waiting to see if those accusations are true. As any Chinese politician will tell you, the USA politicians then risk losing "face" when their accusations turn out to be false. So they repeat the accusations louder, say that investigators aren't trying hard enough to prove the case, and you go to jail.

My Country Versus Me is Wen Ho Lee's autobiography.

Some names worth remembering: Robert Messemer, FBI agent who perservered in investigating Lee, very ready to ignore much evidence of innocence. One wonders why he was so eager.

Notra Trulock, Director of Intelligence at the DOE leaked accusations to the press. When I poke around the web a bit right now, I get the impression Trulock's been a walking disaster area since then, but you should do your own investigation and draw your own conclusions.

Bill Richardson, then the director of DOE, was quick to fire Wen Ho Lee, and quick to tell the press he'd done so.

I guess I shouldn't be so quick to accuse these people. I should read a few other sources first.

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Posted 2008-08-02