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Former CIA officer arrested at JFK for allegedly retaining classified information

He had notebooks containing CIA covert officers' real names, prosecutors say.

by Alexa Liautaud
Jan 16 2018, 11:14pm

A former Central Intelligence Agency officer was arrested at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport Monday night on charges that he allegedly retained classified information about covert operatives and locations, the U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday.

According to court documents, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, a U.S. citizen now living in Hong Kong, began working for the CIA in 1994 and used to have a top secret security clearance.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Lee was at the center of an FBI investigation that looked into a widespread CIA intelligence failure in China. Lee was suspected of assisting the Chinese in uncovering CIA informants.

In 2012, Lee and his family moved back to the U.S., during which they stayed in hotels in Virginia and Hawaii. The FBI began searching those hotel rooms in August, 2012, where they found two notebooks that included the true names of CIA agents, the locations of covert CIA facilities, and meeting notes.

The complaint alleges that in at least one instance, Lee had possession of “Top Secret information, the disclosure of which could cause exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United States.”

Lee was charged in federal court in Northern Virginia.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Hong Kong
Top Secret
US Justice Department
security clearance