Lee pled down to fairly light charges, with 50 or so completely dismissed. Lee was awarded a $1.6 million settlement from the U.S. federal government and several news organizations for privacy violations. I guess the government just passes out money to suspected Chinese spies?
It wasn't so much the government that settled as it was the four news organizations.
It appears to me that the lawsuit the Wen Ho Lee brought was a revenge suit to try to find out who had ratted him out by giving his name to the press.
The people at LANL closed ranks and refused to tell. After all, they had been filing complaints about his violating security measures long before the FBI was investigating Lee.
So Lee sues the news organizations to make them reveal the sources. Historically, the media would have an easy win on First Amendment rights and centuries of case law. The judge, Thomas Penfield Jackson, ignores all this and finds the reporters in contempt and gives them a $500 a day fine.
If you remember the DOJ vs Microsoft case, you'll know why Judge Jackson has a grudge against the media.
The settlement is really bad news for the rest of us.
It's going to make it easy for politicians to shut up the press when something they don't like is reported.
Also, note that the government's condition was that Wen Ho Lee gets none of the government's money - it goes only to pay lawyer's expenses.
Whether or not he was actively spying, I can't say. I find it very difficult to think that a Taiwanese would do anything to help China.
But I'm real sure he was up to no good.
You really need to read this of you want to talk about the Wen Ho Lee case.
If nothing else, he should have been imprisoned for this felony:
"They did discover that Dr. Lee had given his password to his children so they could connect to the Internet and play computer games through his Los Alamos computer while they were at college. "
Of course the main reason for dropping the charges was that they had no smoking gun. That is, Lee copied all these documents, but they didn't catch him transferring them. The tapes just disappeared. Part of the settlement was that Lee would reveal the location of the missing tapes, and the big reveal was "I threw them in the trash". That in itself is a felony.
Also the government settled for a plea bargain in the original spy case was to a large extent due to the defense lawyers filing to get security clearance to get access to the 400,000 documents Lee downloaded, and secondly to put them into the court records.
Once again, I maintain that the Wen Ho Lee case is nothing like the Xi Xiaoxing case.