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2000 - MARIANO FAGET, a high-ranking Immigration and Naturalization Service official in Miami, Florida, was arrested on 17 February 2000 for providing classified information to the Cuban intelligence service. Faget is a naturalized citizen who had migrated to the US in 1959. At the time of his arrest he held a Secret security clearance and had access to sensitive INS files. He first became a suspect in 1999 when technical and physical surveillance indicated that he was making unauthorized contacts with known Cuban agents. His arrest the following year was based on an FBI sting operation in which Faget was shown (bogus) information that a Cuban diplomat was about to defect. A few minutes later, the INS official was recorded passing this information by phone to a business contact with ties to Cuban intelligence. A member of the Cuban mission, who had been a contact for Faget, was declared persona non grata and expelled. It is not known how much information Faget may have provided the Cuban intelligence service during his years with the INS. Following his arraignment on 3 March 2000, he pleaded not guilty to charges of disclosing classified information, converting it for his own gain, lying to the FBI about contact with a Cuban official, and failing to disclose foreign business ties on his security clearance application. On 30 May 2000, Faget was convicted on all four counts. Prosecutors stated that Faget’s motives were financial gain rather than political. He had expectations of engaging in a lucrative trading business with Cuba once the US embargo is lifted. The former INS official was sentenced on 29 June 2001 to five years in prison including the 16 months in custody at the time of sentencing. His 35 years of otherwise exemplary service to the INS were noted by the judge.
Miami Herald 12 Mar 2000, “Faget: ‘Spy’ Talk Was Only Business”
New York Times 31 May 2000, “I.N.S. Official Is Convicted on Charges of Espionage”
Miami Herald 30 Jun 2001, “INS Official Gets 5 Years in Spy Sting”
1997 - PETER H. LEE, a nuclear physicist who worked at key research facilities for more than 30 years, turned himself in to authorities and pleaded guilty on 8 December 1997 to two felony counts, one for passing national defense information and the other for providing false statements to the government. Dr. Lee admitted that in 1985, while working as a research physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, he traveled to the People’s Republic of China. During this visit Lee discussed with a group of approximately 30 Chinese scientists the construction of hohlraums, diagnostic devices used in conjunction with lasers to create microscopic nuclear detonations. Prosecutors stated Lee acknowledged that he knew the information was classified. The second charge against Lee concerned disclosures he failed to make in 1997 while he was working on classified research projects for TRW. Before he traveled to China on vacation, Lee was required to fill out a security form in which he stated he would not be giving lectures on his work. Upon his return, he had to fill out a second form in which he confirmed that he did not give any lectures of a technical nature. However, as Lee later confessed to the FBI, he lied on both forms because he intended to and did, in fact, deliver lectures to Chinese scientists that discussed his work on microwave backscattering from the sea surface. Dr. Lee told the FBI that he disclosed the information because he wanted to help his Chinese counterparts and he wanted to enhance his reputation in China. According to US government sources, Lee did receive compensation for the information he provided to the Chinese in the form of travel and hotel accommodations. The case resulted from an investigation by agents from the FBI's Foreign Counterintelligence Squad. On 26 March 1998, Dr. Lee was sentenced to one year in a community corrections facility, three years’ probation, and ordered to perform 3,000 hours of community service and pay $20,000 in fines.
Los Angeles Times 9 Dec 1997, "Physicist Admits Passing Laser Secrets to Chinese Scientists”
Washington Post 12 Dec 1997, "Taiwan Born Scientist Passes Defense Information"
Counterintelligence News Digest Mar 1998, “US Physicist Pleads Guilty”