Lawyers for former government scientist Wen Ho Lee argued in federal court yesterday that they are having such a tough time getting government officials to acknowledge releasing information about Lee to the news media that they need to question reporters who published the information, according to the Washington Post.
“They either deny it or say they don’t recall,” Brian Sun, Lee’s attorney, said of 21 Justice Department, FBI and Department of Energy officials his team has deposed. “In this town, apparently, that ‘I don’t recall’ language is quite popular.”
Lee, a former Las Alamos National Laboratory scientist once accused of passing nuclear secrets to China, has sued the Justice Department, alleging it violated his privacy by releasing his name as a suspected spy to reporters and providing other personal information. His attorneys have subpoenaed reporters from the New York Times, the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and other organizations to question them to learn which agencies employed the government officials anonymously quoted.
Lawyers for several news organizations and individual reporters, trying to quash the subpoenas, insisted in U.S. District Court in Washington yesterday that Lee’s failure to ascertain who leaked information is not a justification to force reporters to submit to court-ordered questioning about their reporting