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On Monday, representatives of Asian-American groups met with the President and demanded a full review of the FBI and Justice department's investigation and prosecution of Wen Ho Lee, a Chinese-American scientist held for nine months without bail under suspicion of spying at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Last week, the government abruptly dropped 58 of 59 charges against Lee and released him in accord with a plea agreement in which Lee admitted to removing classified materials from the Laboratory, one of the lesser charges in an indictment that had originally sought to establish Lee as someone stealing US nuclear weapons secrets for the Chinese government. The presiding federal judge, James A. Parker, expressed criticism last Wednesday of the government's handling of the case and of the harsh treatment of Lee, who had been denied bail and kept in solitary confinement for the preceding nine months. In particular, Parker noted with concern the coincidence of the government abruptly resolving the case just two days before Justice Department attorneys would have been forced to turn over documents to the Judge detailing the FBI's process of selecting Lee for investigation and its subsequent interrogations. Henry Tang, a Asian-American advocate for Lee, echoes the desire of many Asian-Americans to have the issue of possible racial profiling at the Nuclear Weapons Labs investigated. But in spite of a rising chorus of criticism that includes the President, much of the press, and members from both parties in Congress, both Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI director Louis Freeh have pointedly declined to follow Judge Parker's recommendations and apologize to Lee for his treatment.
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