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Former CIA Officer Arrested for Allegedly Spying for China
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Photo courtesy of the BBC.

Summary: A former CIA officer has been accused of giving intelligence secrets to China. 

A former CIA officer was arrested on Monday for allegedly sharing national defense information with China. Multiple sources spoke with CNN, and they said that the information Jerry Chun Shing Lee gave away may have led to the death of numerous U.S. spies and informants.

  
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Lee was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday. He was charged with unlawful retention of national defense information, and if convicted, he could serve up to a decade in prison.

The BBC said that the government chose to not charge him with espionage in order to keep more information confidential.

“[Lee] has not been charged with espionage, which can carry the death penalty – with some reports suggesting the U.S. may not want to reveal secret information in court or that the FBI has struggled to gather the quality of evidence required to make a case for such a charge,” the BBC stated.

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According to the New York Times, Lee’s arrest sprung from an investigation that started in 2012. The CIA had been losing its informants in China beginning in 2010, with over a dozen killed or imprisoned. Confounded by the loss, the CIA opened a probe that led to Lee.

Lee allegedly kept a datebook and an address book, where he had handwritten names, phone numbers, and addresses of CIA assets and undercover agents. According to the federal government, “the disclosure of [such information] could cause exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United States.”



Investigators had searched Lee’s hotel rooms on August 13, 2012 and August 15, 2012 and found his datebook and address book.

“The datebook contained handwritten information pertaining to, but not limited to, operational notes from asset meetings, operational meeting locations, operational phone numbers, true names of assets, and covert facilities,” the arrest affidavit obtained by NBC News stated. “The address book contained approximately twenty-one pages. The address book contained true names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees, as well as the addresses of CIA facilities.”

On Tuesday, Lee, 53, appeared in court in Brooklyn, but he has yet to enter a plea. The CIA case officer, who worked for the agency from 1994 through 2007, is being represented by a public defender.

Lee was living in Hong Kong since 2013, and Monday was his first time back in the United States since his relocation.

According to NBC News, investigators believed that the Chinese may have also hacked the electronic communications of some CIA operatives.

What do you think of Lee’s arrest? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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