In 1959, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had suspicions of the People’s Action Party (PAP)’s close ties with what they saw as pro-communist elements, and launched an intelligence operation in Singapore to find out. In 1960, Lee discovered their covert operation and the CIA responded with a US$3.3 million bribe so that Lee would keep mum.
Lee refused and asked for US$33 million in economic-development aid to Singapore and Malaysia instead.
He was haggling when he could have simply accepted the bribe and been US$3.3 million richer. What he did instead was to use his advantageous position for the betterment of the nation.
The United States instead gave Malaysia US$3.5 million in 1963 and US$1 million in 1964. Singapore was still part of Malaysia then.
When Lee recounted the incident, CIA immediately denied all of the bribery allegations until Lee, in a fit of anger at their denial, produced top secret letters from the CIA addressed to him and threatened to produce tape recordings of the bribery act.
The CIA retracted their denials, and Lee was sent a formal letter of apology written by then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk.
What a boss.