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Spy Case Repercussions Continue Despite Prosecution Quandary


FBI agents shadow Wen Ho Lee constantly these days, watching and trailing the former nuclear weapons expert so closely that the Feds call it “bumper-lock surveillance.”

Lee, who was fired six months ago from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and publicly identified as a possible spy, has been the subject of a three-year FBI investigation into whether he gave secrets to China about America’s most advanced nuclear warhead. Yet, he has been neither arrested nor cleared.

The debate is whether Lee can be convicted of breaking the law when he downloaded highly classified computer programs and data files from more than 1,000 nuclear weapons tests into an insecure computer at Los Alamos. Lee has said he protected the files with three passwords and has denied that he passed the “legacy codes” to China or anyone else.

If Lee is charged, his lawyers are expected to demand classified documents from the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and other government agencies to buttress their claim that others who mishandle classified information are not prosecuted. They also may seek to show that thousands of people in hundreds of places, have had access to nuclear warhead secrets, not just a handful of scientists at Los Alamos.


On Monday, as the nation’s Jews converge on synagogues to reflect on their sins, the children of Sycamore Community School District in southwest Ohio will get a day off from school -- no thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.

The ACLU, an organization long devoted to defending the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, has sued the Sycamore district and its elected school board over their decision to declare two High Holy Days school vacation days, including Yom Kippur on Monday.

The decision came last year, when a newly elected school board, prodded by a vocal group of Jewish parents and a supportive superintendent, narrowly voted to make the change. Muslim and Hindu parents responded by asking the school board to designate their religious holidays as vacation days as well.

So far, those pleas have gone unheeded by district officials, who have insisted that the school calendar was changed not in deference to the Jewish religion but because absenteeism had become a significant problem on those days.


Raisa Gorbachev, 67, whose stylish, forceful and glamorous performance as the wife of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, made her a lightning rod for attacks on her husband’s programs of economic and political reform, died yesterday of leukemia at University Hospital in Muenster, Germany.

Upon learning of Raisa Gorbachev’s death, President Clinton, in a statement issued by the White House, said, “The example she set, through her help for child victims of leukemia and through her own courageous struggle against this terrible disease, was an inspiration to people everywhere.”

Former first lady Nancy Reagan released a statement saying she and former president Ronald Reagan were “shocked and deeply saddened.”