Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, of Hong Kong, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to cater or deliver national defense information to aid a foreign government and two counts of unlawfully retaining documents related to the national defense.
Mr. Lee, who is naturalized U.S. citizen, was found to be in possession of two notebooks containing the true names and phone of undercover CIA assets and the addresses of covert facilities, the Justice Department said. A 2012 search of hotels in Hawaii and Virginia where Mr. Lee stayed revealed that he had possessed the notebooks, court records disclosed.
During an interview with the FBI, Mr. Lee admitted that he was preparing the notebooks to give to Chinese intelligence officers.
“The allegations in this case are troubling,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick in a statement. “Conspiring with foreign agents poses a real and serious threat toward our national security. The United States will hold accountable those who conspire to compromise our national security.”
Mr. Lee, a CIA case officer since 1994, was allegedly approached in April 2010 by two Chinese intelligence officers who offered to pay him for the information, according to court documents. The indictment alleges that Mr. Lee worked with the intelligence officers until at least 2011.
The information Mr. Lee funneled to China is suspected to have caused the death or imprisonment of roughly 20 American agents, according to February NBC News report. That report follows a 2017 story in The New York Times claiming that the Chinese government systemically dismantled the CIA operations in the country, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen agents. The crippling of its Chinese intelligence operating had baffled the FBI and CIA for years, according to the The New York Times.
According to The New York Times, the agencies were focused on a former CIA case officer now living in an Asian country. Mr. Lee had lived in Hong Kong after he left the CIA in 2007, court documents revealed.
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