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Wen Ho Lee


Born: 1939
Birthplace: Nantou, Taiwan
Best known as: U.S. scientist falsely accused of being a Chinese spy
After growing up in Taiwan, Wen Ho Lee moved to the United States in 1965 to continue studying engineering. He became a U.S. citizen in 1974, and in 1978 he took a job as a scientist in weapons design at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Shortly after a news story that implied he had given military secrets to China, he was arrested and accused of being a spy. Wen Ho Lee spent nine months in prison while the U.S. Department of Justice tried to prove a case against him. Eventually a plea bargain was reached and Lee was charged with one count of mishandling sensitive materials and released from prison. In May of 2006 he settled an invasion of privacy lawsuit against the U.S. government for $1.65 million. Lee accused the government of violating privacy laws by leaking personal information to the press. The settlement included $750,000 from five news organizations (The New York Times, ABC, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and the Associated Press).
Extra credit: Lee's wife, Sylvia, was an "informational asset" to the F.B.I. from 1985 to 1991.

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