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Mystery hangs over arrest of top brain scientist

Harvard scientist Charles Lieber, an expert in nanotechnologies, had been doing work in China

By Stephen  Bryen

Harvard scientist Charles Lieber was arrested last week and charged with one count of giving “materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the United States government and the FBI.

What marks the case as unusual is that a prestigious specialist at one of America’s top universities was criminally charged for what appears to be a less-than-candid response to questions about government contracts.

Typically, “paperwork” problems would be dealt with administratively, as the US would be reluctant to lose the services of a distinguished scientist. Instead, Lieber’s case was lumped together with two China-related cases of spying and smuggling.