Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Epic Fail School of Espionage

March 31st, 2009 · No Comments

The full story’s yet to be told on why David Yen Lee, a longtime employee of Valspar Paint and Coatings, allegedly decided to betray a whole bunch of trade secrets to a Chinese competitor. Perhaps he’s suffering through a messy divorce, or he’s saddled with gambling debts. Or perhaps he’s just a greedy so-and-so who couldn’t help himself when a heaping pile ‘o lucre was laid on the table.

Whatever Lee’s explanation, we know this: They won’t be teaching his techniques to future corporate spies. It was bad enough that Lee used a data-copy program on a corporate laptop, and then stored the swiped files on a thumb drive at his home. (Where did you think the cops might look, Mr. Lee?) And it certainly wasn’t wise to buy a one-way ticket to China, after Lee told a pal that he was going to start a new life in the Far East. But Lee’s biggest bumble involved his apparent obliviousness to the fact that social networks are publicly viewable:

In addition to the thumb drive found, authorities said, Lee’s profile on LinkedIn, a professional networking site, proclaimed that he had quit Valspar and was now employed at “a major paint company in Asia.”

Mind you, this was apparently posted before Lee had even quit Valspar. Something tells me this guy would never have attained Putin-like prominence in the KGB.


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