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Spy Case: Stalled. Blame: Spreading.

The FBI's case against suspected Chinese spy Wen Ho Lee may have hit another snag. Frustrated by their inability to build an espionage case against the former Los Alamos scientist, the Feds had hoped to charge him with the lesser offense of mishandling classified information. Lee is said to have shifted sensitive nuclear "legacy codes" from secured government computers onto the lab's unsecured computer system. But even bringing that charge might be awkward. Last week the Feds acknowledged that at least two other Los Alamos scientists committed similar alleged computer breaches that the FBI is investigating. An Energy Department spokesman said the security clearances of the two have been suspended. But officials tell NEWSWEEK they have ruled out the possibility that the scientists were involved in espionage. Last year security experts warned Energy and Defense brass that computer security was routinely violated by lab personnel.

Energy was slow to react, and the delay may have complicated the investigation into Lee's purported activities. The FBI asked to examine his computer when questions about him first surfaced, but Energy officials twice told agents Lee hadn't signed the necessary consent form. In fact, he had.

Though the case against Lee may be crumbling, the Feds appear determined to get him on something. "I think the case will just linger and keep spiraling down," says one top FBI official. "Then we'll find that he spit on a sidewalk, and we'll charge him with that."

SUPREMESThe New Order in the Court?

Whoever captures the White House in 2000 could have the added bonus of three Supreme Court appointments. Court-watchers are already speculating that Chief Justice William Rehnquist, 74, and Justices John Paul Stevens, 79, and Sandra Day O'Connor, 69, may retire during the next president's term. But O'Connor, who had surgery and chemotherapy to treat breast cancer in 1988, is telling friends she has no intention of stepping down if her health remains good. "She thinks she has a shot at being chief justice if a Republican is elected," says a longtime friend. O'Connor and Rehnquist were law-school classmates at Stanford. Rehnquist graduated No. 1, O'Connor No. 3.

KOSOVO'I Think This War Is Slowly Coming to an End'

Bogoljub Karic, a multimillionaire businessman and government minister, has emerged in recent weeks as one of Slobodan Milosevic's most trusted envoys and a back channel to talks on both sides of the Atlantic. He was invited to travel to Washington this week for meetings with members of Congress--a trip he calls "popular diplomacy" and not an official visit. He spoke with NEWSWEEK's Mark Dennis last week in Belgrade. Excerpts:

On direct negotiations:
We want to have decision makers from four countries sit down: Russia, Yugoslavia, Germany and the United States. (Moderate Albanians like Ibrahim Rugova must also take part.) We must have the key men who make these decisions on every side, such as Al Gore and Mr. Milosevic. If they can get together, it can be done in seven days. But we don't want to negotiate while there's bombing.

On Viktor Chernomyrdin's initiative to end the war:
I think this war is slowly coming to an end. NATO will persist in its action for perhaps another 10 days. Then Chernomyrdin's initiative will gain momentum.

On peacekeepers:
Bombing should be stopped, then the U.N. should put troops on the borders. It would be good to have a mixed police force in the villages: U.N., Serbs and Albanians. They should have only light weapons, because there are already too many weapons in Kosovo.

On reports of Serb atrocities:
When NATO bombed, the Yugoslav Army was also attacked on the ground by the KLA. It was chaos, and in those situations there are always people who do some unacceptable things. But you should keep in mind that there are 400 people from Kosovo so far who have been sentenced to prison because of illegal actions. So be assured our government does everything it can so that everyone who stands against the law will be punished.

BILLBOARDPray for Beauty

The message of Berlin's Memorial Church is still "Never Again," but now there's a subtext: "Because I'm Worth It." Views of the bombed-out spire, a reminder of WWII, have been tarted up by a mammoth ad that L'Oreal erected on a newer, neighboring clock tower. Critics are crying sacrilege, but the Lutheran bishop says the models appear for a good cause: L'Oreal gave $130,000 to restore the 1961 clock tower.

TRENDSFlying Pies

A recent upsurge in pie-flinging has prompted the British supermarket chain Tesco to carry out ballistics tests on its pastries. A publicity stunt? Not so, insists a spokesman. Some tips: defrost before chucking; low-fat cakes leave fewer stains.

LIE DETECTOR... Also, His Pants Are on Fire

Moms are great at it. Cops, so-so. To help fellow psychiatrists and lawmen spot liars, Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell and Taste Research Foundation, has gathered 23 giveaway signs of "mendacious speech." At the American Psychiatric Association meeting this week, he'll present his research by analyzing Bill Clinton's grand-jury testimony, showing when the president was being truthful and when he was being "legally accurate." Key signs: