SANTA FE, N.M. – A former Los Alamos National Laboratory (search) scientist who was held in solitary confinement for nine months was "badly treated," Gov. Bill Richardson (search) acknowledges in his new autobiography.
Richardson was former President Clinton's energy secretary when Wen Ho Lee (search) was indicted in 1999 on 59 counts alleging he mishandled nuclear information.
Lee was released in September 2000 after pleading guilty to a single felony count and received an apology from the judge who released him.
"As for Lee, he committed a crime, but he also was badly treated," Richardson wrote in "Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life," due out Nov. 3.
"Here was the government putting this skinny 60-year-old guy into solitary confinement for nearly a year. I have come to realize that it was wrong and I should have spoken out more, although I did try to influence the Justice Department on their incarceration of Lee."
The Taiwanese-born Lee acknowledged downloading data to computer tape but said he made copies to protect data from being erased. Lee, a U.S. citizen, was never charged with espionage and said he never passed any sensitive or classified material to anyone.