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Wen Ho Lee was among a dozen Los Alamos National Laboratory employees, many of them ethnic Chinese, who were investigated on allegations they mishandled classified nuclear weapons research, his lawyers said in newly unsealed court documents. Lee’s attorneys questioned why those employees were singled out when more than 500 people who had access to the same data were not investigated, according to documents released this month. The government has denied any racial profiling. The documents detail defense attorneys’ arguments that Lee — a Taiwanese-born naturalized citizen imprisoned for nine months on charges of breaching national security — was a victim of racial profiling. Lee, 61, was freed in September 2000 after pleading guilty to one count of using an unsecured computer to download a defense document. The government dropped 58 other counts. U.S. District Judge James Parker unsealed 20 documents in the case last week. The papers, many partially censored, were made public Friday after a government security review. San Francisco-based Chinese for Affirmative Action and other civil rights groups had requested the documents so they could look for evidence of racial profiling. Lee’s attorneys detailed four incidents in the late 1990s that they said showed other lab employees mishandled secret information but were not prosecuted. “To our knowledge, none of the employees is ethnic Chinese,” Lee’s attorneys said in the court documents. One incident was censored. The others were: – An employee unintentionally saved information on a 1998 report on safeguarding nuclear weapons for several months on an unclassified hard drive. The employee was suspended for 90 days without pay. – An employee kept classified data on an insecure interoffice computer network for 15 days. The information could have been accessed via the Internet. The documents did not say whether she was disciplined. – An employee failed to properly classify a graph, which was seen by a foreign citizen who did not have clearance. The employee’s clearance was suspended and he was reassigned so he would not have access to classified information. Prosecutors said three of the cases were not like Lee’s because those involved created the documents they were working on, according to a transcript of an August 2000 session. The other, they said, involved someone who did not know the computer was not secure and who told supervisors upon discovering it. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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