Recent developments have government officials questioning the intelligence of one of the UC’s nuclear laboratories.
William Cleveland Jr. resigned from his position as the head of counterintelligence at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on April 10. Soon afterward, it was announced that a lab official matching Cleveland’s description had been in a relationship with Katrina Leung, an FBI agent recently accused of acting as a double agent for the Chinese government.
Cleveland, a former FBI special agent, has headed counterintelligence efforts at Lawrence Livermore for 10 years. His primary responsibilities at the lab consisted of debriefing lab scientists who had traveled to sensitive countries and training lab researchers about the manner in which spies might attempt to attain national secrets by establishing close personal friendships with lab employees.
Cleveland has not been charged with any offense. He is currently barred from the Lawrence Livermore campus and his office equipment has been impounded pending further investigation.
Leung, a prominent Chinese-American community leader and a fund-raiser for the Republican Party, was arrested on April 9. She remains in prison, awaiting trial. Most of the allegations surrounding her involve her relationship with a colleague, FBI agent James Smith. Whether Leung passed on information concerning Livermore to China is not presently clear. Among her personal belongings FBI agents found a list of telephone numbers belonging to Peter Lee, a Lawrence Livermore scientist who in 1997 confessed to leaking sensitive information concerning nuclear submarines and nuclear weapons to China.
The University of California is currently dealing with allegations of poor management after a series of scandals at its other nuclear laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Laboratory officials contend that Leung’s alleged relationship with Cleveland was a personal one and that there is nothing to indicate that any national secrets had been compromised.
“It’s a matter in the FBI’s hands. There’s not much we can discuss,” said Rick Malaspina, a spokesman for the UC national labs.