(Mirror Daily, United States) – A former CIA agent was arrested Monday at the JFK airport in connection to a years-long FBI investigation into a failed spy mission in China in which 20 CIA informants had been either assassinated or imprisoned.
Mr. Jerry Chun Shing Lee is believed to have compromised the said operation by giving U.S. classified information to the Chinese government from 1994 to 2007. The CIA operation was deemed one of the most disastrous intelligence missions in recent years.
The U.S. intelligence community has long suspected either a hack or a mole for the disaster. FBI investigators now believe the mole was Mr. Lee who acted under the name of Zhen Cheng Li.
He served in the U.S, army for four years before joining the CIA in 1994. He was born in China, but he’s a naturalized U.S. citizen. His first assignments at the CIA included secret communications, recruiting, and counter espionage. He was also in charge of payments to spies and informants.
Mr. Lee Arrested in the U.S. This Week
He had top secret clearance. When he left the agency in 2007 to return to Hong Kong, his colleagues said he was displeased that his career was not advancing further. He stayed in China five years, but returned to Virginia after reading a false job offer.
Meanwhile the FBI searched the hotel rooms he used and found his notes of real names and phone numbers of covert CIA agents and informants. Mr. Lee had left the country following a series of FBI interviews. He never told the bureau about the existence of those notes or that he carelessly carried them around at the hotel rooms he stayed.
At the time of his arrest Monday, it was not clear if he was aware that he was a prime suspect. The DOJ has charged him with illegal retention of classified information. He could spend 10 years in jail, if he is found guilty.
Image Source: Pixabay