Though this may not be a popular time for a book containing this type of content, My Country Versus Me documents the charges brought against Chinese scientist Wen Ho Lee by the government and how they changed his life forever. In a time when racial profiling is in the forefront of the collective national consciousness, this autobiographical account shows what can happen when racial profiling goes wrong.
The first part of the book deals with the time Lee spent working as a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where he was initially brought under investigation by the FBI for copying some files at work for use at home. It details his cooperation with the FBI without the advice of a lawyer. The second part of the book deals with what happened once Lee hired legal representation in response to being accused of being a spy for China, and how he and his family dealt with the media whirlwind that followed his firing from LANL as a result of the investigation. The third part of the book deals with Lee’s imprisonment and the end of the trial that subsequently saw him a free man who was apologized to by the presiding judge.
section of the book gives the reader a basic understanding of the workings of LANL and makes Lee’s perspective on the incident known. Lee also makes known some things that may not have been allowed into the court hearing, including results from earlier polygraph tests that Lee passed, pieces of dialogue shared between Lee and the person who administered the tests, and Lee’s state of mind at the time. Also peppered throughout the book are transcripts of interrogations by the FBI and other investigative techniques they used to try and find hard evidence that Lee was a spy.
The next portion of the book goes over how Lee’s lawyer prepared his defense, filed countersuits and the circumstances surrounding Lee’s loss of his job at LANL. This section also delves into Lee’s family life a bit more, explaining the strain put on Lee, his wife, daughter and son. Lee also details how the media made his family’s lives even more difficult, though he praises certain members of the media for their fair handling of the case.
Anyone who enjoys learning the innards of a court case, details of a historical moment, or techniques used by law enforcement will enjoy My Country Versus Me.