Ex-CIA Officer Suspected of Aiding China Arrested at JFK Airport

Former CIA officer arrested accused of stashing top secret info

A former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer was arrested Monday night at JFK International Airport in NY and charged with unlawful retention of national defense information. O'Brien was the FBI counterspy who wrote the criminal complaint filed in federal court January 13 and unsealed Tuesday.

In Aug. 2012, Lee and his family left Hong Kong to return to the U.S.to live in northern Virginia. Law enforcement searched his hotel rooms in both places and say they found two small books in his luggage containing handwritten notes that included notes from meetings with Central Intelligence Agency assets, meeting locations, operational phone numbers, true names of assets, and the addresses of Central Intelligence Agency facilities.

Lee maintained contact with his former CIA colleagues after he left the agency and was interviewed by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents "on five separate occasions in or about May and June 2013 and never suggested that he possessed these books", the affidavit said.

Current and former intelligence officials believe that Lee was passing the top-secret information to China in an effort to help the Chinese government identify CIA informants and employees operating in that counry, at least 20 of whom were killed or thrown in jail. Numerous informants were killed in a systematic dismantling of the C.I.A.'s spy network in China starting in 2010 that was one of the American government's worst intelligence failures in recent years, several former intelligence officials have said. "One official said the man had access to the identities of C.I.A. informants and fit all the indicators on a matrix used to identify espionage threats". He was charged with unlawful retention of national defense information.

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Lee, a naturalized USA citizen, faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a naturalised United States citizen, was held after arriving at New York's JFK airport on Monday.

Hammerstrom prosecuted the case of Pentagon official James Fondren who worked at the Pacific Command.


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