US government prosecutors confirm CIA officer passed information to China

CIAA case officer in the United States Central Intelligence Agency, who was arrested in January of this year for violating the Espionage Act, shared classified information with China, according to an official indictment. The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, on January 15, accusing him of possessing classified information that included lists of real names of foreign assets and addresses of CIA safe houses. Lee, 53, was reportedly arrested after a lengthy FBI sting operation, which included creating a fictional job in the US in order to entice Lee to travel to New York from Hong Kong, where he had been living after leaving the CIA in 2007. However, the initial FBI complaint did not indict Lee for passing the top-secret information to anyone. There was speculation at the time that this was because the FBI had not been able to conclusively prove that Lee carried out espionage.

On Tuesday, however, Lee was formally indicted on conspiracy to gather and deliver national defense information to aid a foreign government. That charge came in addition to a previously stated charge of unlawfully retaining material related to American national defense. The indictment repeats earlier allegations that Lee was found to be in possession of classified documents that included the real names of CIA assets (foreign citizens who are recruited by CIA case officers to spy for the United States abroad) and the locations of “covert facilities” –safe houses that are typically used by CIA personnel to meet with assets in privacy. In what can be described as the most descriptive allegations that have surfaced against Lee, the indictment proceeds to claim that he was approached by two Chinese intelligence officers in 2010, three years after he left the CIA. The officers allegedly offered to give Lee a substantial amount of money in exchange for access to classified information. Additionally, according to the court documents, Lee was provided by his Chinese handlers with email addresses that he could use to communicate with them covertly, and did as instructed “until at least 2011”.

The documents further state that Lee made “numerous […] cash deposits”, which he struggled to explain when questioned by American counterintelligence officials. On several instances, Lee lied during questioning in order to cover up his financial activities, according to the indictment. Lee’s defense lawyer, Edward MacMahon, told the court on Tuesday that his client was “not a Chinese spy”, but “a loyal American who loves his country”. He also pointed out that Lee served in the US military and the CIA. The Chinese government has made no comment about the case.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 10 May 2018 | Permalink

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5 Responses to US government prosecutors confirm CIA officer passed information to China

  1. Mike S Goodmann says:

    How did he get through the polygraph, and the supposedly “foolproof” CIA vetting process?

  2. L says:

    Dear Sir,

    You write : “A case officer in the United States Central Intelligence Agency, who was arrested in January of this year for violating the Espionage Act, shared classified information with China, according to an official indictment.”

    But this is simply not true! That is what makes this case so strange. Lee is charged with conspiracy to deliver secret docs to Chinese intel officers. He is NOT charged of having passed that information.

    In other words, there is nothing in this case — so far — that links Lee to the ‘CIA troubles’ in China.

    Warmest Regards,

    Intel Today

  3. naNeTte says:

    Rhetorical question: Why did the FBI/CIA not consider the obvious possibility that YES, he did or was going to pass those docs on?!

    Dennis Hastert & Ken Adelman did the same thing with Turkey, and Sibel Edmonds told the FBI about it straight away.

    Ken Adelman happened to be in the audience heckling soon-to-be President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, (RIP) about condoning violence regarding Israel.

    I believe the venue was in Harlem.

  4. Pete says:

    @Mike S Goodmann. Re your question “How did he get through the polygraph, and the supposedly “foolproof” CIA vetting process?”

    A systemic problem may be, even if a CIA officer recruit gets through initial vetting (including “lie detectors” polygraphs) he/she might be SUBSEQUENTLY coerced into working for (say) Chinese intelligence several years later.

    According to the “Berlin Station” TV series [1] once in the CIA case officers are taught how to beat polygraphing through slow breathing, lowering heart rate techniques. This has the unintended result of helping serving CIA officers (maybe Lee?) beat regular CIA security polygraphs.

    [1] See “Hector” beating the polygraph in “Berlin Station” Season 1, Episode 8 http://meandrichard.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/berlin-station-episode-8-first-impressions-spoilers/

  5. intelNews says:

    @L: You are wrong. Jerry Chun has been charged with one count of conspiracy “to deliver national defense information” according to court documents. [JF]

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