Can the US Use Its Long Arm to Stop a Technology Hemorrhage?

Published by Lawfare


In 2014, U.S. officials described Chinese national, Karl Lee, as the “principal supplier” to Iran’s ballistic missile program. Pursued for nearly two decades by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement, Lee’s network was responsible for illicitly shipping high-end materials from his factories in China to Iran. The scale of his activities was second only to famed nuclear proliferator, A.Q. Khan— the “father” of Pakistan's nuclear bomb and responsible for selling nuclear enrichment technology to Iran, North Korea, Libya, and perhaps others. A recent documentary, however, suggests that Karl Lee was imprisoned in China in 2019, likely as part of a secret Sino-American deal. Yet, despite the apparent end of Karl Lee’s network, recent information suggests that the network may still be operating, further highlighting the difficulties of implementing and enforcing strategic trade controls....