Questions linger about Wen Ho Lee

By , Susie Ballmer, Jocelyn Green, Robin L. Smith, and Fred Bauer

I am troubled by recent media coverage of Dr. Wen Ho Lee's spy case ("Blame abounds in 'botched' spy case" Sept. 28).

It seems that the media admits that its coverage of Dr. Lee went wrong and even qualifies as so-called "racial profiling." The New York Times editors' note said, "We never prepared a full-scale profile of Dr. Lee, which might have humanized him and provided some balance."

This message leads us, especially Chinese-Americans, to believe that Lee's case is just an example of the United States government targeting Chinese-Americans.

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The real story may not be that simple. This case could be a serious breach of national security, not a "botched" case. The nuclear secrets lost could be "crown jewels." It is known that the Chinese government did target ethnic Chinese-Americans working in sensitive areas for information. It is also possible that Chinese-Americans who work for the Chinese government do not ask for money.

Some Asian-American political organizations play the race card to support a petition for President Clinton to grant Lee a full pardon. This action will hurt our nation and the integration of Chinese-Americans with other Americans.

I believe the media coverage of Lee's case had errors. The media should learn a lesson from this case, and it should find a way to report these types of cases in the future.

Francis Kai Cupertino, Calif

Regarding your article "Blame abounds in 'botched' spy case": I would like to know if Dr. Wen Ho Lee was doing anything "wrong"?

For what purpose could he possibly need to download secret files? No news report on TV or in print addressed this simple question. What have I missed here?

Susie Ballmer Pasadena, Calif.

Two sides to Latvia language troubles

Christopher Walker's Sept. 19 opinion piece "Latvia's language tremors," seems one-sided. My husband and I have had the privilege of visiting Latvia, and staying with a Latvian family for a week on two separate occasions, while filming a travelogue on the Baltic countries.

True, the Latvian-born Russians are now required to speak Latvian. But Mr. Walker did not point out that the Latvian-born Latvians were required to speak Russian for many years during Russian control.

Walker said nothing about the fact that all the government papers have had to be translated from Russian back to Latvian, a very time-consuming ordeal. The same is true for Estonia and Lithuania. The words "Supreme Soviet" have had to be removed from each document and be replaced with appropriate national phrases.

Jocelyn Green Dekalb, Ill.

Private places of worship?

In your Sept. 21 article about clashes between places of worship and local communities ("Uneasy neighbors"), I read that some congregations have been denied a "permit" to hold worship services or Bible studies, in private homes.

Please explain what gives any government entity in the United States the right to ask for a permit for such activity in a private home. I have never heard of such a thing in this country. This is clearly unconstitutional.

Robin L. Smith Brattleboro, Vt.

Olympics coverage

Your coverage throughout the Olympics seems to capture many of the human interest stories that other press coverage missed. Your reporting was always interesting, not sensational, and certainly worth reading.

Fred Bauer Laconia, N.H.

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(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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