- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 30, 2001

A top FBI official accused by the General Accounting Office of misleading Congress in the investigation of former Los Alamos nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee yesterday denied that his testimony was false.
"To the degree that your report suggests that I personally misled Congress, that is simply not accurate," said FBI Assistant Director Neil J. Gallagher in a letter to General Accounting Office (GAO) Managing Director Robert H. Hast.
"While I would have preferred to have had known all available information at the time of my testimony, the fact remains that I did not a conclusion supported by both witness statements and documents," Mr. Gallagher said.
Mr. Hast, in a report, called Mr. Gallagher's June 1999 testimony before a Senate committee inaccurate and misleading when he said he had full confidence in an early Energy Department inquiry at Los Alamos. Mr. Hast challenged a statement by Mr. Gallagher that the Energy Department had made a "compelling case for focusing the espionage investigation at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to include Wen Ho Lee."
According to the GAO report, the FBI's Albuquerque field office had written to FBI headquarters in January 1999 saying they had serious concerns about the probe, giving Mr. Gallagher what the report said was ample opportunity to know about the FBI's concerns.
Mr. Gallagher has acknowledged not reading all of the briefing books in the probe, but said they along with the available testimony did not focus extensively on either the accuracy of the Energy Department investigation or the conduct of the polygraphs in the case in late 1998 and early 1999.
"I agree that this testimony may not have been complete given that there was an aspect [of the investigation] which I was unaware of and did not testify concerning," Mr. Gallagher said.
Mr. Hast, in the report, said that while Mr. Gallagher's testimony was inaccurate, investigators were "unable to determine whether he intentionally misled the committee."
Lee, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was indicted on 59 felony counts for transferring nuclear weapons information to portable computer tapes. Eventually pleading guilty to one felony count of downloading sensitive information, Lee has since sued the government for leaking information portraying him as a Chinese spy.

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