- WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Jailed
nuclear physicist Wen Ho Lee was misled by federal investigators who told
him he had failed a Department of Energy lie-detector test, CNN has learned.
- During a lengthy interrogation, FBI agents pressured
Lee to admit to passing nuclear weapons secrets to China. Lee said he
had not and insisted he was telling the truth. His interrogators, however,
never told him that DOE polygraph operators had actually given him a
high score for honesty.
- "I don't know why I fail," Lee told the FBI,
according to a transcript of the interrogation obtained by "CNN
- "But I do know I have not done anything. ... I never
give any classified information to Chinese people," he said during
the March 7 questioning.
- Agents mentioned Rosenbergs
- The transcript indicates that the questioning by the
federal agents was highly adversarial and ended only after Lee asked
repeatedly to leave. Lee's family and supporters say the transcript reveals
that the FBI was unfair and devious.
- Agents reminded Lee that Ethel and Julius Rosenberg,
convicted of passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union during the 1950s,
died in the electric chair, according to the transcripts.
- Daughter: 'I'm infuriated'
- In an exclusive interview with "CNN & TIME,"
Lee's children said they were outraged by the tactics of the FBI.
- "I can't believe the techniques they used in this
interrogation, to try to get my father to confess to something he did
not do," daughter Alberta Lee said.
- "I'm infuriated," she said. "I understand
why he feels hopeless; he cooperated with them to begin with, and this
is what happened."
- Her father, a 60-year-old Taiwan-born researcher, is
being held without bail for allegedly copying classified nuclear data
to computer tapes, seven of which are missing.
- Federal prosecutors deny their investigation was biased
or unfair. They say the FBI's skepticism about Lee's statements was justified
because he had lied in the past. Former prosecutors told CNN that such
interrogation tactics are standard law enforcement procedure.
- The March interrogation took place one day before Lee
was fired from his job at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos,
- Lee has pleaded innocent to 59 counts under the Atomic
Energy and Espionage Acts for allegedly mishandling classified information.
He was not charged with sharing the information with a non-U.S. government
or other espionage offenses.
- If convicted, he could face life in prison. An FBI spokesman
said he could not comment on the indictment.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.