Wen Ho Lee - his own country versus him.
January 15, 2002 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Wen Ho Lee - his own country versus him. On the Today show on NBC, Wen Ho Lee made his first public appearence along with the release of his new book My Country vs. Me. It was such a sad and disturbing moment in seeing how a person's life can be shattered in such a brief moment. On the show, he remarks how "your freedom can be so capricious. It can be taken away at any moment" (not an exact quote). My heart really sank to see how the government, the media, and the general US public quickly jumped the gun in villifying this one person, who by the way, was originally from Taiwan, NOT China. What's sad is that Wen Ho Lee's coworkers, who were mostly Caucasian, would also download files to take home and as for the one Asian in the lab, he goes home with FBI on his trail. Here's one more kicker, even the federal judge, James Parker, apologizes for the erroneous witchhunt...
posted by dkhong (26 comments total)
I wonder how many more horror stories like this will come out after the current hoopla of detaining of people of Arab descent comes to an end.
posted by mariko at 8:39 AM on January 15, 2002

This is disturbing. I'm glad this story is comming out.
posted by jeblis at 8:57 AM on January 15, 2002

besides being a posting idiot, what is your point to the story, that wen has a book?
posted by clavdivs at 9:19 AM on January 15, 2002

I watched Dr. Lee's interview on the Today show this morning. I'm glad he has written a book because it gives the press an opportunity to revisit the whole sorry debacle of his mistreatment by the government and the press.

Two of the leading figures, former energy secretary Bill Richardson and former attorney general Janet Reno, are running for governor. Their refusal to apologize makes me glad the issue is likely to dog them in the upcoming campaigns (even though I'm an Anybody-But-Jeb voter in Florida.)

Here's a particularly odious quote from Reno: "Dr. Lee is no hero. He is not an absent-minded professor. He is a felon. He’s committed a very serious, calculated crime, and he plead guilty to it. He abused the trust of the American people by putting at risk some of our core national security secrets."
posted by rcade at 9:26 AM on January 15, 2002

thanks clavidivs...

not so much about the book, but I'm just trying to pass the story around...seems like there a lot of people out there who haven't heard the story or rather, what scares me the most is the fact there are people out there like Janet Reno...
posted by dkhong at 9:33 AM on January 15, 2002

Hey, does Wen Ho Lee have a book coming out, or something? I can't tell.
posted by dong_resin at 9:35 AM on January 15, 2002

ummm...yeah. If you're in the LA area on the 23rd, he's having a book signing at Barnes and Nobles in the Westside Pavilion mall.
posted by dkhong at 9:36 AM on January 15, 2002

welcome to the 2nd era of McCarthyism...all Americans of non-Caucasian descent please step foward...
posted by dkhong at 10:04 AM on January 15, 2002

wow, when my book is done i'm gonna have to get me an agent that posts ads to metafilter for me too.
posted by badstone at 10:10 AM on January 15, 2002

dkhong, as for your post appearing over and over, I suspect the Cold Fusion server has the hippcoughs, probably due to so much traffic.
posted by Modem Ovary at 10:17 AM on January 15, 2002

..and in your defense, your profile does indicate that you posted just one link.
posted by Modem Ovary at 10:22 AM on January 15, 2002

Thanks Modem Ovary....

Hey badstone, tell me when it comes out...
posted by dkhong at 10:27 AM on January 15, 2002

This case points to why I'm surprised to see people I otherwise respect say that Asian-Americans are on their way to becoming white.
posted by sudama at 10:38 AM on January 15, 2002

We are? Is that like when they're out of seats in coach and you get bumped up to first class?
posted by anildash at 11:44 AM on January 15, 2002

No no anil, it's wipe till you are white...lol
posted by bittennails at 12:01 PM on January 15, 2002

Right, sudama, I try to draw conclusions from a single statistical outlier as well.
posted by dhartung at 12:51 PM on January 15, 2002

The circumstances of this man's persecution indicate systemic institutional anti-Asian racism at work, Dan.
posted by sudama at 1:13 PM on January 15, 2002

sudama: of only about one or two people in the defense department. Not the whole of american industy.
posted by delmoi at 2:03 PM on January 15, 2002

I havn't heard janet reno apologize for Waco or Ruby Ridge, either. I also havn't heard Gil Garcetti/Marsha Clark apologize to OJ. Go figure.
posted by Mack Twain at 2:17 PM on January 15, 2002

It's pathetic that a few MeFi'ers criticize this post for the sake of being jerks and throwing around their BS. I'd have posted the link myself after watching the Today Show piece.

It's easy to comfort yourself with the fantasy that the terrible wrongs our government did 200, 100 or 50 years ago are things of the past. Wen Ho Lee's case is just another example of what our government is capable of today.
posted by fleener at 2:19 PM on January 15, 2002

delmoi, I think you've mistaken what I'm saying. I don't think it was any number of overtly bigoted people, but an overwhelming societal prejudice and xenophobia (reflected in the media, the FBI, the justice system, etc.) that kept this innocent man in jail and under suspicion for an unforgivable length of time.
posted by sudama at 2:31 PM on January 15, 2002

I don't know if your remark was aimed at me or not fleener, but I was having fun with the fact that this post appeared six times, overtaking the front page with what appeared to be an ad for Wen's book for a good stretch this morning.
The merits of Wen Ho Lee's book are fairly obvious to most of us, I'm sure.
posted by dong_resin at 3:13 PM on January 15, 2002

let me clear things up...I am not advertising Wen Ho Lee's book...

fleener and delmoi, right on (well, no pun intended). America has put the notion of race on the backburner and covered it up. In light of current events, the recent fervor against Arab-Americans seems to test the limits of the delicate position of being an American citizen, which can easily be undermined and questioned by a more "worthy" and upright American (a.k.a. blonde and blue-eyed).
posted by dkhong at 4:37 PM on January 15, 2002

also, I am not trying to make a bigoted comment...just trying to point out that being Caucasian carries certain privileges that Americans of non-Caucasian descent do not have...
posted by dkhong at 4:41 PM on January 15, 2002

The coolest part about this is are the republican senators & congressmen who:

1. at the beginning of the witchhunt, called for Reno's head for letting these "spies" infiltrate and harassed the FBI into digging deeper even though there was no evidence.

2. Later called for Reno's head and harassed the FBI for doing exactly what those same repub congressmen begged them to do. (investigate and harass an innocent man with no evidence)

Republican or Democrat, you must admit: Politicians are a bunch of hypocrites.
posted by benh57 at 1:02 AM on January 16, 2002

posted by dkhong at 8:34 AM on January 16, 2002

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