Notra Trulock III
Former Energy Department counterintelligence chief. Used racial profiling to target Dr. Lee.
In motion for bail, Dr. Lee’s attorneys produced affidavits from top intelligence officials charging that Trulock’s pursuit of Lee was racially motivated.
Robert Vrooman, chief of security at Los Alamos, stated in his affidavit: “It is my opinion that the failure to look at the rest of the population”–people with access to the same secret data as Lee–“is because Lee is ethnic Chinese.” Vrooman added that although there was a list of non-Chinese people with access, “Mr. Trulock made clear that Dr. Lee was his primary suspect.”
In another affidavit, Charles E. Washington, former acting director of counterintelligence at the Energy Department, stated, “Based on my experience and my personal knowledge, I believe that Mr. Trulock improperly targeted Dr. Lee due to Dr. Lee’s race and national origin.” After reading the full Energy Department record on the case, Washington concluded that “the inquiry was wholly lacking in any support to identify Dr. Lee as a suspect.”
Washington, a decorated Vietnam veteran with extensive military intelligence experience, attempted unsuccessfully to communicate his concerns to Trulock and concludes in the sworn affidavit: “Based upon my personal experience with Mr. Trulock, I strongly believe that he acts vindictively and opportunistically, that he improperly uses security issues to punish and discredit others, and that he has racist views toward minority groups. I am a black man of African American origin, and I personally experienced his misconduct, and I know of other minorities who were victimized by Mr. Trulock.”
In a telephone interview, Washington said that he once was forced to call outside police to the Energy Department headquarters “due to Mr. Trulock’s abusive behavior” during an argument. “He spat on me,” he said.
In sworn testimony, Washington said he brought a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Energy Department based on Trulock’s misconduct and “other improper conduct”. The Energy Department settled the case in 1999, giving Washington a pay raise, a cash award, restoration of leave and other compensation.
Based on these two affidavits, Judge Parker ordered the government to produce documents showing why it targeted Dr. Lee.
Trulock quit the Energy Department in 1999 after complaining that the Clinton administration was trying to whitewash Chinese espionage. Ironically, the FBI investigated Trulock for attempting to sell an article on the Lee case that allegedly contained classified information.
Above facts from: “Trulock Is Source of Botched Lee Case,” by Robert Scheer (Times Contributing Editor), 9/5/00 Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/news/comment/20000905/t000083362.html
and “How FBI’s Flawed Case Against Lee Unraveled,” 9/13/00 Los Angeles Times.
After Dr. Lee was freed, Trulock and Judicial Watch, a conservative group based in D.C., filed a defamation lawsuit against Dr. Lee, alleging he and others had “scapegoated” Trulock to divert attention from security lapses at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Trulock denies that he is a vindictive racist.
The New York Times, Times reporters Jeff Gerth and James Risen, and innumerable reporters who referred to Dr. Lee as the “Chinese spy”.
Without adequate investigation, March 6, 1999 article (“Breach at Los Alamos: A Special Report; China Stole Nuclear Secrets For Bombs, U.S. Aides Say.”) gave credence to Notra Trulock III and reported that the FBI investigation was focusing on an unnamed Chinese-American scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The source of this claim, according to the Times, was Trulock: “In personal terms, the handling of this case is very much the story of the Energy Department intelligence official who first raised questions about the Los Alamos case, Notra Trulock.”
Two days later, Los Alamos fired Dr. Lee. The Times story sparked a political witch hunt led by those named below. (Evidently the liberal media, aka bigots for the left, believed Dr. Lee was guilty until proven innocent.)
Facts from “Trulock Is Source of Botched Lee Case,” by Robert Scheer (Times Contributing Editor), 9/5/00 Los Angeles Times
The Cox Committee (The Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the Peoples Republic of China)
Christopher Cox (R-CA)
Norm Dicks (D-WA)
Porter Goss (R-FL)
Doug Bereuter (R-NE)
James Hansen (R-UT)
John Spratt (D-SC)
Curt Weldon (R-PA)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Without adequate investigation, the Cox Committee gave credence to Notra Trulock III. (Those inside the Beltway believe anything The New York Times and The Washington Post publish.). Trulock was the key witness before the Cox committee. The basis of Trulock’s testimony was an accusation that China had stolen the secrets for the advanced W-88 warhead, a claim based on a document turned over to the U.S. by a suspected double agent. But errors in the design indicated it came from two other labs, not Los Alamos or Dr. Lee.
Above facts from “Trulock Is Source of Botched Lee Case,” by Robert Scheer (Times Contributing Editor), 9/5/00 Los Angeles Times
On its website, the Republican Party used Dr. Lee’s case to attack Vice President Gore, President Clinton and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson for security breaches at national weapons labs. It called Lee — who was not charged with espionage — a “suspected Los Alamos spy” and blamed him for helping China steal designs for the neutron bomb in the 1980s and W-88 miniaturized warheads in the 1990s. The Republican timeline, posted under “The Gore Files: Anything to get elected,” runs from 1978, when Dr. Lee joined Los Alamos, to May 12, 1999. RNC spokesman Cliff May said the timeline did not impugn Lee. “I have no idea if Wen Ho Lee is guilty or not,” he said. “All that timeline does is quote from reputable news sources … There’s no language of our own in there.”
Democratic National Committee spokesman Rick Hess said the timeline bordered on racism. “Republicans have been playing political games a long time with Chinese Americans and Asian Americans and they have not let facts get in the way of a hyperventilating story.” Hess said Republican charges of improper campaign contributions to Democrats by a Chinese lobbyist carried a racist tone as early as 1997. “You had different members of Congress saying things like, ‘This is just the tip of the egg roll,'” he said. “You had senators using pigeon English just to slur Chinese Americans, saying, ‘No raise money, no get bonus.'”
May pointed out that Chinese-American Maria Hsia, who helped raise funds for Al Gore at a Buddhist temple in California, has been convicted of five felonies.
Former Lee colleague Chris Mechels, who recently retired from Los Alamos, said Cox’s hearings on Chinese satellite launches for U.S. firms got no attention until former Energy Department intelligence chief Notra Trulock testified on Chinese espionage. A Cox spokesman said the Cox committee’s now-declassified report did not identify Lee or include Trulock’s testimony. He said Lee was identified in March 1999 by Richardson, a former Democratic congressman from the Los Alamos district.
Above facts from 9/13/00 Agence France-Presse news service: “Lee remains in jail as Republicans use case to attack Democrats”
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA)
In 1999, Senator Specter accused Attorney General Reno of being almost criminally lax in pressing the case of Dr. Lee. Senator Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) declared that the President might have to fire Reno because of her failure to vigorously investigate Dr. Lee’s alleged role as a Chinese spy. Now that Judge Parker has apologized to Dr. Lee and a plea bargain was entered, Senator Specter wanted to investigate Reno and said the Justice Department had in fact been too harsh in its pursuit of Dr. Lee. 11/19/00 Parade Magazine, p. 6.
Janet Reno (Democrat)
Bill Richardson (Democrat)
Secretary of Energy
In early 1999, Robert Vrooman, head of counter-intelligence at Los Alamos until 1998, and several colleagues repeatedly testified in closed-door sessions before the House and Senate Intelligence committees and several investigative review boards. Their message: No espionage had occurred and Dr. Lee had been unfairly targeted because he is Chinese American. “I was trying to do it within the system,” Vrooman said.
But the Energy Department clamped down. On Aug. 12, 1999, after Vrooman had retired from Los Alamos, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson issued reprimands to Vrooman and two colleagues at the lab for allegedly failing to assist the FBI in its pursuit of Chinese espionage.
Vrooman was barred from being a consultant for the department for five years. Another counterintelligence official at the lab, who also was disciplined, quit.
Angry at what he viewed as a cover-up, Vrooman went public. His complaints about racial profiling and what he called a complete lack of evidence against Dr. Lee were the first indications that the case was seriously amiss.
Above facts from 9/13/00 Los Angeles Times: “How FBI’s Flawed Case Against Lee Unraveled”
Louis Freeh (Democrat)
Director of the FBI
John J. Kelly (Democrat)
Former U.S. Attorney (N.M.) defeated in run for Congress.
Reno, Richardson, Freeh, and Kelly decided to prosecute Dr. Lee with little evidence and to trump up charges to keep him in solitary confinement and shackles in order to railroad him into pleading guilty to something, anything. In violation of their oaths of office, they denied a defendant his constitutional right to bail.
John Kelly, as U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, sought to secure an indictment before he resigned to run for Congress. He was defeated.
Judge Parker criticized the above officials for a questionable indictment, for misleading him about Dr. Lee’s supposedly deceptive behavior and then for ignoring his urgings that the government ease the “demeaning, unnecessarily punitive conditions” under which Dr. Lee was being held. [Transcript, Page A25.]
The judge added that he felt he had improperly denied bail to Dr. Lee. “I tell you with great sadness that I feel I was led astray last December by the executive branch of our government through its Department of Justice, by its Federal Bureau of Investigation and by its United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, who held office at that time.”
Judge Parker said the “top decision makers” handling the case “have not embarrassed me alone. They have embarrassed our entire nation.”
According to Dr. Lee’s plea bargain, he will cooperate fully to disclose what he did with the tapes. In accepting the plea bargain, Judge Parker commented that Dr. Lee had made this offer of full cooperation in December 1999 before he was indicted, but the government rejected it. The government gained nothing, but Dr. Lee was held in shackles and solitary confinement for nine months. Conspiracy to deny a citizen his constitutional rights is an impeachable offense.
This isn’t the first time the FBI has embarrassed itself by chasing the wrong suspect. A leak identified Richard Jewell as the FBI’s prime suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing case, but he was later cleared.
Bill Clinton (Democrat)
Former President of the United States
(In a 1995 Sacramento Bee interview, Clinton pointed out that excessive reliance on academic qualifications in the admissions process could have dire consequences, warning “there are universities in California that could fill their entire freshman classes with nothing but Asians.”)
Albert Gore (Democrat)
Former Vice-President of the United States
Tacitly approved indictment of Dr. Lee in order to deflect Republican criticism that administration was soft on Communist China. This was a high profile case with political repercussions, so important decisions were cleared with the White House. Judge Parker commented that the decision to prosecute was made at the White House. In violation of their oaths of office, Clinton and Gore denied a defendant his right to bail. Conspiracy to deny a citizen his constitutional rights is an impeachable offense.
Carol Covert and John Podenko
When interrogating Dr. Lee, threatened him with the death penalty.
In the spring of 1999, just before Lee was fired from his job at Los Alamos, these FBI agents were asked to conduct a confrontational interview of Dr. Lee in hopes of obtaining a confession from him.
At one point the agents falsely told Dr. Lee that he had failed a polygraph test and urged him to confess by saying that the only two spies who ever had refused to confess were Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were put to death by electrocution. They angrily warned him that, unless he cooperated, he might never see his children again and could be “electrocuted.” Dr. Lee was never charged with spying.
The two agents pulled out a piece of paper and demanded that Dr. Lee sign a full confession of espionage – a crime that carries the death penalty – without a lawyer present. Dr. Lee had not even retained a lawyer at the time.
Federal courts have ruled that law enforcement agents are allowed to deceive suspects in interviews.
Facts from “Freeh to Defend Government Lee Case,” 9/26/00 Los Angeles Times and “How FBI’s Flawed Case Against Lee Unraveled,” 9/13/00 Los Angeles Times..
Committed perjury to deny Dr. Lee his constitutional right to bail. U.S. District Judge James A. Parker had cited Messemer’s claims when he denied Dr. Lee bail in December 1999.
In initial bail hearing, Messemer testified that Dr. Lee had lied and tried to conceal his actions. In August 2000 bail hearing, Messemer admitted that he had repeatedly provided false testimony. He admitted he had been wrong when he claimed Dr. Lee lied to a colleague to gain access to his computer for the downloading.
Kuok-Mee Ling, one of Dr. Lee’s colleagues, told the FBI that Dr. Lee had asked for password access to his computer to download some files or data. Messemer interviewed Dr. Ling at least six times and reviewed transcripts of his other statements. Messemer nonetheless testified falsely to two judges on three occasions that Dr. Lee had lied to Ling by saying that he wanted to download a “resume.”
The prosecution had claimed that Dr. Lee downloaded nuclear secrets to enhance his prospects of getting a job at foreign scientific institutes.
Messemer admitted that the letters Dr. Lee had written to those institutes had never been sent. Messemer acknowledged that, despite his testimony in December 1999 and despite a prosecution document filed with the court in June 2000, the FBI had no evidence to show that Dr. Lee had applied for jobs at six academic or nuclear institutes overseas.
Lastly, it was not true that Dr Lee had failed to report his contacts
with Chinese scientists he met on an official visit to Beijing in 1996.
Messemer’s perjury left the government with no hard evidence of a motive for Dr. Lee’s action.
Facts from “The Spy Who Never Was,” 8/31/00, The Independent (UK) and 9/13/00 Los Angeles Times: “How FBI’s Flawed Case Against Lee Unraveled”.
In violation of his oath of office, Messemer denied a defendant his constitutional right to bail. He still has his job, which means that he lied with FBI Director Louis Freeh’s approval.
President Clinton appointed about 200 Asian-Americans to patronage positions. Dr. Lee’s legal expenses exceeded $1.5 million. How many of these appointees contributed to the Wen Ho Lee Legal Defense Fund?