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Government Releases Wen Ho Lee; Judge Blasts Justice's Handling of Case

Aired September 13, 2000 - 3:00 p.m. ET



NORMAN BAY, U.S. ATTORNEY: What did he do with them? Does anybody else have them now?

This agreement gives us the best opportunity to answer each one of those critical questions. For the first time, Dr. Lee has agreed to tell us what he did with the tapes and to cooperate fully with us; something that he had refused to do for approximately the past 18 months.

Under the agreement, we will have the opportunity to fully debrief Dr. Lee under oath and to ask him about the downloaded information and the missing tapes. We will also be able to polygraph him.

If he lies -- if he lies, the government can move to set aside the plea agreement. It can also prosecute him for perjury, obstruction of justice and false statements.

And if the court finds that Dr. Lee lied, then every count in the indictment springs back into life, it's reinstated; and in that event, if that were to happen, the government's prosecution of Dr. Lee would be swift and sure.

Had we gone to trial and convicted Dr. Lee of multiple counts in the indictment, he would have faced a longer sentence. But this case has been about national security. Not about the longest possible sentence that could be imposed upon Dr. Lee.

Had we gone to trial, Dr. Lee would have been under no obligation whatsoever to talk to us afterwards. We would not have had the opportunity to debrief Dr. Lee fully and to learn what happened to the tapes.

Under the agreement, we also minimize harm -- potential harm to national security. For if we had proceeded, there was a strong possibility, if not a certainty, that to preserve certain counts in the indictment we would have had to declassify highly sensitive nuclear weapons secrets.

I am proud, let me tell you this, I am proud of the Department of Justice, and I'm particularly proud of the members of the trial team in this case. They worked long, long hours on this case. I admire and appreciate their dedication and their commitment to this case and their commitment to national security and protecting national security.

Let me introduce you, now, to members of the trial team. First, the lead counsel, George Stamboulidis. George was a supervisory -- and is a supervisory assistant United States attorney on detail from the eastern district of New York.

Next, I'd like to introduce you to Paula Burnett (ph). Paula, would you please step forward? Paula is the first assistant United States attorney here in the district of New Mexico, one of the many outstanding lawyers that Judge Parker referred to in his comments.

Next, I'd like to introduce you to Laura Fashion (ph). Laura, would you please step forward? Laura is also an assistant United States attorney here in the district of New Mexico.

And I'd like to introduce you to Mike Leeman (ph). Mike, would you please step forward? Mike is a trial attorney with the Department of Justice Criminal Division.

There are so many other people that I have to thank. I'd like to thank the Department of Energy for its support of the government in this case. I'd also like to thank Los Alamos National Labs; dedicated scientists at Los Alamos spent long hours tracing, forensically, the footsteps that Dr. Lee left behind when he downloaded classified information and transferred it onto magnetic tapes.

I'd also like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the special agent in charge Tom Kruger (ph), Tom.

And I'd also like to thank the agents for the FBI who spent countless hours -- dedicated, hard-working agents doing the investigation in this case and preparing this case for trial.

What I'd like to do at this time is to let Tom Kruger say a few words. Tom.

TOM KRUGER, SPECIAL AGENT, FBI: Thank you, Norman. This case has always been about the missing tapes...

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we've had a breakdown in our satellite transmission from the U.S. Courthouse in Albuquerque.

You heard the government, Norman Bay, the assistant U.S. attorney on the case of Wen Ho Lee who, incidentally, has walked free. He has left the courthouse, we apparently will not be hearing from him, but we will be hearing from the attorneys in the case.

Pierre Thomas, our justice correspondent is with me in Washington.

It sounds like the government had a grand victory today, Pierre, when, in fact, it was a crumbling of a case that whittled down to a plea bargain. PIERRE THOMAS, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the government, as you saw, just came out and tried to put the best face on this case for them. They tried to make clear that the government -- for the government, this was about finding out what happened to those tapes.

But again, clearly a lot of people will have questions about, how could a man go from facing life in prison to walking free today?

WATERS: All right, we're going to -- we restored our satellite to Albuquerque. They're doing Q&A, let's see what's happening there.

BAY: ... the district of New Mexico, and is one already. But I could not disagree more with what Judge Parker said.

Mr. Lee was not prosecuted because of his race. He was not prosecuted because of his race, he was prosecuted because of what he did.

You have to understand that he compiled his own personal library of information, of nuclear secrets. He transferred those secrets from the secure side of the computer system at Los Alamos and moved them from the secure side to the unsecure (sic) side.

He then downloaded all of that information onto 10 tapes. Three of those tapes were recovered as a result of the investigation in this case. Seven were never recovered at all.

This case does not have anything to do with race. And let me say something on that point as well. I am proud -- I am proud to have been, and to be a career federal prosecutor. I've been a federal prosecutor for more than 10 years.

And I am especially proud, I am deeply proud, of the fact that I am the United States attorney, and have been an assistant United States attorney, under the leadership of Janet Reno and Eric Holder. The department of justice -- the department of justice, under their leadership has done more in the area of civil rights, more in the area of combating hate crimes, perhaps, than any other Department of Justice in recent memory, and perhaps as much, if not more, than any other Department of Justice in the history of the United States.

This case was not about race. It was about the actions of a man who mishandled huge amounts of classified data and who got caught doing it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Bay, the judge didn't mention race in what he said, he mentioned the fact that Dr. Lee had been held in solitary confinement all this time, and that maybe that was unnecessary, and that the government misled him. And that he was misled.

He talked about being misled, he talked about leaving, confined under demeaning circumstances. He didn't talk about race.

How about those issues?

GEORGE STAMBOULIDIS, PROSECUTOR: I, too, have the utmost respect for Judge Parker as a jurist and as a gentleman.

It is not his responsibility, as he pointed out, as he was explaining the three branches of government, to be responsible for our national security. He's not charged with that enormous task and all that it implies.

The heads of the executive branch agencies are charged with that. They have information that allows them to make those decisions. Some of which he became privy to this case, and much of which he did not become privy to, nor should he have, since that was not his jurisdiction and not his role.

Every judge and every person in this wonderful country is entitled to their opinions. The judge made clear to you he thought the sentence was fair, Dr. Lee had committed a crime, deserved to be punished for it, and there are consequences.

Which American would want us to ignore somebody making their own private, personal library of nuclear weapons designs, including raw data from live test shots integrated into those tapes, that would be valuable to anyone who wanted to be a proliferant and escalate the threats of nuclear weapons, or to other people who have interests, whether they be state-sponsored terrorist groups or other nations.

Which Americana among us would want us to turn our back to that? To say, let's forget that? You would want us to pounce, and be aggressive to any threats to our national security, and we did just that.

And until this man, Dr. Lee, agreed to cooperate and come forward and give a no-holds-barred proffer under oath, debriefing sessions, the way cooperating individuals and witnesses and defendants do, under the strict rigors of the plea agreement and cooperation agreement, where he will be -- he's pledged his cooperation to us, he's already made sworn declarations to us in the debriefing process, he'll continue to do so, giving us assurances, allowing us to test the veracity of his assurances, that our nation could sleep well because he never passed these tapes, or any copies thereof, and never compromised them in any other way.

We're in the best position with this disposition, as United States Attorney Bay pointed out, to verify that. What you've got here today was a favorable disposition for the government and a fair disposition for Dr. Lee. Unlike most criminal prosecutions, Dr. Lee did not just get his sentence and go home and part ways. We will be meeting with him over the course of the next year. He will be continuing to cooperate with us. And the nation can take comfort in knowing that the national security interests were vindicated here.

QUESTION: Does it appear to you now that he never passed the tapes and never intended to?

STAMBOULIDIS: We are not going to comment on the status of his sworn statements and debriefing, as of this time. It will be an ongoing process. And we won't be coming out to give press conferences on how they are going. QUESTION: Why couldn't his cooperation have been secured earlier with the offer of a polygraph?

STAMBOULIDIS: As even Judge Parker was quick to point out, when I took issue with his reference to that, he said the offer of the polygraph and the letters that went back and forth, he viewed as posturing for the media -- with all due respect to you guys. And there was no sincere offer for cooperation agreement in a mode that we could test his veracity with no holds barred, all questions asked proffer -- which is the only way to be able to ask someone what went on.

In addition, we can polygraph him. He pledges his cooperation. And there are other incentives for him to be nothing less than absolutely truthful, as Mr. Bay pointed out. So we couldn't do it before, Mr. Hoffman (ph), because he wasn't willing to. And wasn't until he was willing in this latest round to fully pledge his cooperation with no restrictions.

QUESTION: Would you say that the conditions of his -- the conditions of his confinement were not demeaning and onerous, as the judge characterized them?

STAMBOULIDIS: Unfortunately the purpose of the detention was to limit his communication. There were limited settings that we can do that in. You can't put him in a regular prison and limit his communications. And in fairness to him, the sole purpose of detention -- or the major purpose, aside from a lesser purpose of flight risk -- was limit his communication. As time went on and we kept imploring the facility to improve the conditions, with their cooperation, the conditions improved.

And Judge Parker took note of those improvements over the course of the last several months.

QUESTION: Do you -- excuse me -- do you agree with the judge that he deserves an apology from the U.S. government for the conditions under which he was kept?

STAMBOULIDIS: I really have to apologize. I didn't hear that question. But I didn't finish answering the last one. We go to that in a moment.


STAMBOULIDIS: You have to keep in mind, there's been -- because since I came to town here and got involved in this case on June 5, I've been reading the papers. I'm been going up to Los Alamos. I've been looking at some of the reports and poster charts that people have created. There has been -- and it is not your guy's fault -- but sometimes mistake happens -- a misreporting on the conditions of Dr. Lee's incarceration.

You should know that he was in this building four days a week, six-and-a-half-hours a day. He was not in a prison cell under horrendous conditions. He was here meeting in a spacious area with his attorneys preparing for his case. He also was traveling to Los Alamos on occasion. He also, as time went on, had recreation at all times. There was a point when he had more restrictive recreation.

We got him additional recreation: seven days a week. And we were willing to continue to work with him.

QUESTION: Now, specifically, what the judge seemed to think he deserved an apology for from the U.S. government, was the conditions under which he was kept back there -- he was kept in solitary confinement -- do you think he deserves an apology from the U.S. government?

STAMBOULIDIS: Absolutely not. When you steal our nuclear secrets, we are not going to let you communicate with anyone. And no American should expect that we would. And until you come forward and account for those -- that which you took and had no right and did unlawfully, as you admitted today and are remorseful -- until you account for those, how can we let you communicate with others about this?

QUESTION: ... the prosecution should have mounted a larger investigation?

QUESTION: The FBI has been severely criticized by several congressional committees, and simply the Cox report, about his handling of this investigation. Would you address the congressional concerns about how the FBI handled itself during the Lee investigation?

STAMBOULIDIS: I think that the FBI worked very hard and very well on this case. And they put together a case based on the charges in this indictment that we could have proven beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no question. And a grand jury found as much. But there's no question that Dr. Lee assembled this private library of classified information: more than 800 megabytes. It's 400,000 pages of paper: classified information.

He took it from secure side of the computer, moved it to the unsecure side, and then downloaded it on to tapes. And the government had the evidence through the investigation of the FBI, with the assistance of Los Alamos and the Department of Energy, to prove that at trial.

QUESTION: You didn't answer the question. There has been severe criticism from Congress about the FBI handling this case. Would you respond to that criticism, please?

STAMBOULIDIS: Well, you have to get specific.

QUESTION: Have you read the Cox report? Mr. Kruger (ph)?



QUESTION: Agent Messemer has specified that he retracted that. STAMBOULIDIS: What about it?

QUESTION: Are you happy about what?

STAMBOULIDIS: Happy about what?

QUESTION: About the fact that he had to retract statements: say that Lee was kept in jail in part because of his inaccurate testimony.

STAMBOULIDIS: I'm proud that an FBI agent corrected himself.

QUESTION: Only after it was pointed out by the defense, though.

STAMBOULIDIS: That's not correct. He was asked: Are there any other inaccuracies in your testimony?

QUESTION: Oh, the second one. But the resume...

STAMBOULIDIS: And if I can finish. And he came forward and sent -- and then testified that: I concluded, from compelling circumstantial evidence, that Dr. Lee had sent letters abroad seeking employment.

And how did he conclude that? Well, there was seven letters that he was referred on different dates addressed to different locations that all had dates -- different dates in '93 and '94. It was a compelling conclusion to conclude that they were sent. Indeed, we had recovered an additional letter where Dr. Lee himself admitted that he sent letters to some of these very institutions overseas.

So while that was not introduced at this detention hearing, Dr. Lee wasn't objecting when the agent Messemer testified because he knew it was so. He had sent the letters. But to the Agent Messemer's credit, he stood up and corrected the record. Sue (ph) will spot me on that point. On the other point, he clarified the record as well. And the judge found no purposeful intent to deceit.

QUESTION: Was there an obligation by the U.S. Attorney's office to review the 302s, so it would make sure that that testimony was not incorrect to start with. And also the trip reports in 1986 and '88, there was incorrect testimony...

STAMBOULIDIS: You are wrong about the trip reports, because the trip reports failed to properly account for Dr. Lee's travel. He was debriefed, and in the front end, told that he might confront -- be confronted by certain counterintelligence measures. When he left, he was confronted with those in a hotel room meeting, away from the delegation, away from Mrs. Lee, asked a classified question and never reported it: came back, was debriefed, never reported it and never reported in his trip report, other than to list -- blandly and benignly -- which is not the purpose of a trip report.

The purpose of a trip report is to report anything unusual like: Did they try and pick your pocket or ask you classified questions? He failed to report that. QUESTION: And the earlier question about the 302s: whether it was a USA -- or USA's responsibility to review those before and agent based his testimony upon them.

STAMBOULIDIS: You review as much paper as you can. In this case, there were over 16,500 pages. And I'm still getting through them. And I came to town June 5.


QUESTION: ... but in this particular case, you've been criticized now by a federal district judge that you have work before every day. Are you concerned now that your credibility has been jeopardized in this courthouse?

STAMBOULIDIS: I don't think the credibility of the Department of Justice or the United States' Attorney Office, or that my credibility has been damaged in any way. As you recall, Mr. White (ph), one of the things that Judge Parker said was that he specifically complimented my office and the many dedicated lawyers in the office, as well as the lawyers for the Department of Justice, or other offices, who were here participating on this case.

So to answer your question, I don't see anything like that at all. And I'm not by biased, so I can respond. I don't -- I'm not from this district. This is one of the finest United States Attorney's Offices that I have seen. I've practice in the district of New Jersey. And I've been in the district of Pennsylvania, the and Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Eastern District of New York.

And I was -- it was a pleasure to be associated with every member on this team and everyone in this United States Attorney's Office. And I have met with judges here. And I understand, from the judges themselves, that this office has the utmost respect on the bench, as Judge Parker pointed out.

We are also very proud of the support we got in this case from the highest levels of the Department of Justice, FBI , Department of Energy, and the other agencies who assisted.

WATERS: Reporters holding trial attorneys' feet to the fire in the Wen Ho Lee case, outside the U.S. courthouse, where just about an hour and 20 minutes ago, a deal was struck -- plea bargain -- in an investigation that began as an offshoot of a fizzled Chinese espionage case with government attorneys at the time making dire accusations that Wen Ho Lee downloaded what they called the crown jewels of U.S. nuclear science and that he might be ready to hand those documents over to a foreign power.

CNN justice correspondent Pierre Thomas has been listening to all of this. Although the plea bargain has been struck, Pierre, and Wen Ho Lee -- and I might take this opportunity to correct the information we received earlier that Wen Ho Lee had left the courthouse and was on his way to an undisclosed location. He has left the courtroom, but is still in the courthouse. We may hear a statement from him yet. But although the plea bargain has been struck and he's been sentenced to time served, one day less than the time served, he's not out of the woods yet.

THOMAS: Well, clearly, what you saw the government do was make a very vigorous case that there was a reason why they, as the prosecutor said, pounced on the Wen Ho Lee case, that national security was at risk, they needed to know where these tapes were, what the purpose of Wen Ho Lee downloading them was.

So the government found -- I found their arguments very vigorous. They were not backing down at all about that. So it's clear that the government is going to stake that claim, although they know, based on the questions you saw from the media there, that they're going to come under a lot of scrutiny here.

WATERS: They seem to be implying, Pierre, that Wen Ho Lee, who will be testifying under oath and who will be administered one or more lie tests, could be caught in a lie and could be back in court before he knows it.

THOMAS: The prosecutor clearly was emphasizing that point, that the government wants proof that the proffers, the information that Wen Ho Lee gave over the weekend in terms of that he did not give these tapes to anyone, that he did not pass on this information to anyone, they want proof that that is the case, and over the course of a year, a full year, the government will essentially be debriefing Wen Ho Lee.

He is clearly under the government's sights and will continue to be, but his defense, I'm sure, will argue that Wen Ho Lee walks out today a free man.

WATERS: Now, when you say these tapes, there were 10 tapes total. We heard the U.S. attorney say that three tapes were recovered. The crux is what happened to those other seven tapes, what was on them.

THOMAS: Absolutely. There were a total of 10 tapes; three were recovered. Wen Ho Lee said that seven were missing. Clearly, the government wants to know what happened.

I'm told by sources that he has proffered that those tapes were destroyed. The government, one source told me this morning that they now have enough information to begin to connect the dots, but it's up to Wen Ho Lee to complete the picture.

WATERS: Reporters apparently trying to pin the U.S. attorneys down on the sympathy factors involving Wen Ho Lee, asked him about the confinement procedures. No apologies from the government there.

THOMAS: Again, the government sought to make clear that if you don't know what happened to these secrets you have to take steps to block them from being given to anyone. That was the government's argument. But clearly, they are going to be people that ask the question how, if you did not have evidence that he gave it to anyone, can you keep a man under those kinds of conditions. WATERS: And there is Wen Ho Lee now with a broad smile, wearing a suit and tie, about to make a statement, we understand. He is a free man as the government has settled with the defense attorneys over the specific language in the plea bargain.

Let's listen to what Dr. Lee has to say to reporters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On behalf of Dr. Lee and his family, I would like to thank the people who supported him. There's nothing we could say today that Judge Parker did not say in his eloquent order.

Dr. Lee is free today. It may have been too long coming, but is a sweet day indeed.

And again, we'd like to thank those in the community who supported Dr. Lee in the dark days when he was falsely accused of not being a loyal American. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Dr. Lee, your comments?

WEN HO LEE, FORMER SCIENTIST, LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY: I'm very happy to go home with my wife and my children today. And I want to say thank you to all the people who support me. I really appreciate very, very much, and the next few days I'm going fishing.



WATERS: Dr. Lee not going to Disneyland; he's going fishing.

ALBERTA LEE, DAUGHTER OF WEN HO LEE: We want to say that Judge Parker said it better that we could have ever said and made all my full fare air tickets worth it. And I really do want to sincerely thank everyone who's made this effort so worthwhile to help our cause, from the scientist groups to all the civil rights groups, our neighbors, people who came out of the woodwork that we didn't know, the thousands of people who signed petitions, people like Bill Sullivan back there waving the flag. You guys are just marvelous.

Thank you to everybody, and each and every one of you.

QUESTION: Alberta, the prosecution just came out and claimed victory for justice. Do you feel the same way?

CHUNG LEE, SON OF WEN HO LEE: That's probably an answer better left for our lawyers. But when you think about it and you look back on the past year when exactly a year ago he was a spy, he was an alleged spy, and even two weeks ago they were still threatening, talking about the dangers of releasing my dad, and today he's a free man, he's walking. I mean, I think that answer is pretty obvious.

QUESTION: Do you...

A. LEE: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: What went through your mind when you first, when you saw your father?

QUESTION: Were you pleased with the judge's admonition of the federal government? Were you pleased with the judge's admonition of the federal government (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

C. LEE: Yes, yes, we were.


C. LEE: It was thrilling. It was thrilling. At the same time, it was very -- I became very sad because I thought about the past year, about my dad being shackled and in solitary confinement. It was very -- very rewarding to hear Judge Parker say that. Thank you.

QUESTION: When you saw your dad walk out of the courtroom, what went through your mind, your heart?

C. LEE: No words for that.

A. LEE: Thank you, guys.

QUESTION: Trevor -- Trevor, how old are you?

A. LEE: It's Chung.

WATERS: Reaction from family, the Lee family. That was Alberta Lee, Dr. Wen Ho Lee's daughter, and his son, Chung Lee, commenting on the release of their father. Wen Ho Lee, who is now free to go fishing. He says that's exactly what he wants to do, but he's happy to go home with his wife, Sylvia, and his children, Alberta Lee and Chung Lee, who you saw there.

His attorney said he is free. It's been too long in coming. This is a sweet day. That chapter in Wen Ho Lee's life is over.

Still much more to come, and Pierre Thomas, what's next and when does it start?

THOMAS: Well, we don't know the exact date when the debriefing will begin, but the government will be pursuing, talking to Wen Ho Lee, trying to find out the answers to the questions of why the tapes were downloaded, why was he after this information, why -- happened to it did, did he give it to anyone. His answers to that are no. But clearly, the government will be following up on this, trying to find out what happened.

But for Wen Ho Lee, as you can see, freedom.

WATERS: What about the government's handling of the case. I understand there are some law professors who are interested in checking rather microscopically into what happened, why it happened, when it happened.

THOMAS: Well, Lou, I don't know really what the attorneys, law professors have in mind. The thing to look for is whether Congress will hold any hearings to see what would happen with this case, although I can tell you law enforcement officials will argue strenuously that they do not pursue that line of investigation because of the national security implications, the nuclear secrets. So I'm sure the government will fight against any sort of hearings like that.

I'm sure, however, there will be private briefings between the government and members of Congress.

WATERS: I know you don't know all the details of the plea bargain, but it was reported that Dr. Lee was expected to drop the allegations that he was targeted because he is Chinese. Is that significant to the case? That was a civil action in addition to what we are talking about criminally.

THOMAS: Well, Lou, we have not officially seen the entire plea agreement, so I can't really comment on whether that was included or not, although earlier today we heard Roger Cossack, who is our legal analyst, say that that would be very unusual to attach a civil proceeding to a criminal proceeding. So we have to wait and see if that was actually included in the document.

WATERS: All right. We have our national correspondent, Tony Clark, who's been closely covering this story down there in Albuquerque. And Tony, Wen Ho Lee's attorney said a moment that he agrees with what the judge so eloquently said in the courtroom. You were there. What was that eloquence all about?

TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The judge really took the Justice Department to task in this case. He said that he felt he was led astray last December by Justice Department admonitions that Wen Ho Lee was a very severe security risk. He said, "I am sad for you and your family," because of the nine months that Wen Ho Lee spent in solitary confinement at the Santa Fe Correctional Facility.

The judge went on to say that top Department of Justice and Department of Energy officials have caused embarrassment not only to him, but embarrassment to the nation because of the handling of this case. He -- he really went after the Justice Department in this. And interestingly, though, Lou, when asked about it, the prosecutor said that they didn't feel like it was either the judge's position or that they had done nothing wrong in this case.

WATERS: Was there anything said by Wen Ho Lee in the courtroom to give us a better understanding of what happened with the handling of this material?

CLARK: Well, the statement that Wen Ho Lee made in the courtroom was one of admitting guilt to count 57, that he had possession of materials in an area that he was not authorized to have them. He kept them and he did not turn them over to authorities. And so, he simply admitted that he had done something wrong.

But you know, you could see in the atmosphere in the courtroom an excitement, a sense of victory there. Wen Ho Lee smiled broadly, even though there were two delays today. When he was asked by the judge whether he was nervous, he shook his head no. And then in the end, as the judge finished his statements and called the hearing to an end, applause erupted in the courtroom.

Many of his supporters there, his family, his wife, his son and daughter in the courtroom -- people were just ecstatic as he was being let out there. In fact, I asked Chung Lee, his son just a moment ago how he felt as he saw his father being led out a free man and he said that words simply -- there are no words to describe it, and that's simply the feeling in there.

WATERS: Well, have you heard the U.S. attorney say there are no apologies for the confinement procedures? Wen Ho Lee was in solitary confinement and prevented from communicating with any outside people. Are -- have all of those concerns vanished, are there any restrictions on Wen Ho Lee's release in that regard?

CLARK: No, there aren't. In fact, you know, that was one of the things that Judge Parker asked the prosecutors. He said, you know, you all -- the prosecution were before the judge two weeks ago and just last week before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals saying that Wen Ho Lee was a danger to national security, and now he's being allowed to go free. What's changed? And the prosecution responded that simply they had Wen Ho Lee's assurances now that he never intended to disclose materials to other individuals, other parties. He never intended to do harm to the nation, and that assurance and the threat of perjury conviction if he were found to be untrue was simply enough now for prosecutors.

WATERS: And my thanks to Pierre Thomas and national correspondent Tony Clark. The Wen Ho Lee breaking news story is over for now. Here is the good doctor.


WEN HO LEE: Very happy to go home with my wife and my children today, and I want to say thank you to all the people who support me, I really appreciate very, very much. And the next few days I'm going to go fishing.



WATERS: I'm Lou Waters at CNN Center. "TALKBACK LIVE" after a break.



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