Lee was first publicly identified as a suspect of alleged Chinese espionage in a March 8, 1999, Associated Press news story, which cited an anonymous government source.
Two days later, Richardson told the Journal that "there are very strong suspicions of (Lee's) participation" and that Lee had failed a second polygraph test in February 1999, administered on his insistence.
Richardson later said he did not recall conducting the phone interview with the Journal and has said that he doesn't recall other interviews with the New York Times.
Richardson did appear on a March 1999 episode of CNN's "Crossfire" in which he made similar statements, upsetting then-FBI director Louis Freeh, who said he was concerned Richardson's disclosures could have violated privacy laws.
Freeh, who said in a deposition for Lee's lawsuit that both the FBI and DOE were likely sources of the leaks, also said he was so upset about the leaks that "I would have loved to put the handcuffs on the person responsible for these leaks personally."
In his 2000 testimony to Congress, after Lee was exonerated of all but one charge, Freeh said that the press leaks "effectively eliminated any possibility of the normal, structured counterintelligence interview" when FBI agents sought information from Lee in March 1999.
Instead, he said, "the interview was rushed, an inappropriate level of aggressiveness was applied, and the interview was unsuccessful.
I'll watch this, I guess. For all I know, Lee was a spy, but the whole thing was a mess.