US authorities have arrested Jerry Chun Shing Lee a former CIA agent in China accused of “unauthorized possession” of confidential information after he left the intelligence agency in 2007.
That is the judicial accusation but the suspicion of Washington is much older: He collaborated with Beijing to uncover the CIA informants in that country between 2010 and 2012, Up to 20 CIA sources in China were murdered or imprisoned, according to The New York Times.
Lee 53, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Your case is full of unknowns, It resembles that of a novel of intrigue that measures the loyalty of spies, the fear of moles, and evidence of the fierce competition between the great powers.
It is unknown, for example, why this naturalized American living in Hong Kong decided to travel to the United States. When he landed Monday night in New York, he was arrested.
Lee, who worked 13 years for the CIA, knew perfectly well that he was being investigated, so it is surprising that he ventured to step on US soil a spokesman for the CIA declined to comment on the case.
Another mystery is what happened in 2013 when the FBI interrogated the ex-spy in the US but was released and was able to return to China. In August 2012, Lee and his family moved from Hong Kong to the US to live in northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, where the CIA headquarters are located.
Alerted by the mysterious offensive against the informants of the agency in China, the FBI followed him and, according to the Times, set a trap for him to return to the US.
On their trip, the family made a four-day stop in Hawaii. “Surveillance teams observed Lee staying at a hotel in Honolulu,” reads the Justice Department indictment document.
The FBI obtained a court order to inspect Lee’s room. Photographs were taken. The same practice was repeated a few days later when the family stayed at another hotel in Virginia.
The find was huge. Investigators discovered that Lee conspicuously carried in his suitcase “two small notebooks” with handwritten notes, which included classified information and at least one item under the Top Secret category, the disclosure of which could cause “serious damage to national security”.
The notes revealed the “true names and phone numbers of assets and undercover CIA workers, as well as addresses of CIA headquarters.” Much of that information about the agency’s contacts in China had been written by Lee on his cables classified as an intelligence officer why these notebooks were brought to the US is another enigma.
After the inspection of his rooms, which is not known if he was informed, Lee kept the two notebooks during the 10 months he lived in Virginia at no time did he return them to the US Government as he should have done by law and by the lifelong confidentiality agreement he signed nor did he report on those notes in his contacts with former CIA colleagues.
In May and June 2013, FBI agents interrogated Lee five times and he “never suggested that he possess” the notebooks. On June 6 of that year, According to the court document, the ex-spy stopped living in Virginia and was presumably returned to China. Until his return on Monday to the USA.