by J. Krishna Moorthi:
The Justice Department said on Tuesday, a former CIA officer suspected of giving vital information to China dismantle U.S. spying operations and identify informants has been arrested.
The arrest of the former officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, capped an intense FBI Inquiry that began around 2012, two years after the CIA began losing its informants in China. The collapse of the spy net work was one of U.S. government’s worst intelligence failures in recent years.
Investigators confronted an enduring mystery. How did the names of so many CAI sources, among the agency’s most dearly held secret, end up in Chinese hands? Lee, who left the CIA in 2007, has been living in Hong Kong and working for a well known auction house.
He was apprehended at Kennedy Airport in New York on Monday and charged in federal court in Northern Virginia with the unlawful retention of national defense information.He appeared in Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday and he is being held there while awaiting transfer to Virginia.
The FBI apparently learned that Lee was traveling to the U.S. and scrambled to charge him on Saturday.
Lee had previously traveled to the U.S. in 2012 to live with his family in Virginia.
It was during that trip that FBI agents searched his luggage during hotel stays in Hawaii and Virginia and found two small books with notes that contained classified information. He later made his way back to Hong Kong after being questioned by FBI in 2013.
It is unclear why Lee decided to risk arrest by coming to US this month.Lee had written down details about meetings between CIA informants and undercover agents, as well as their real names and phone numbers, according to court papers.