Earlier this year, a former CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) case officer pleaded guilty to conspiring to communicate, deliver and transmit national defence information to the People’s Republic of China.
According to documents released by the court, in 2007 Jerry Shing Lee, aged 54, left the CIA and moved to Hong Kong. After living in Hong Kong for a few years, Lee was approached by two Chinese intelligence officers who offered him a gift of $100,000 in return for information that he had gained regarding national defence from his time as a case officer at the CIA.
Over the course of several months spanning across 2010 and 2011, the former case officer received various requests from the Chinese intelligence officers to carry out tasks or reveal sensitive information. Most of the requests received by Lee were to divulge information about the CIA, including information regarding national defence. Throughout 2010 until 2013, hundreds of thousands of US dollars were deposited into Lee’s bank account.
Both the CIA and the FBI conducted interviews with Lee, in which he denied any allegations that were made against him and failed to disclose that he had been contacted by Chinese intelligence officers. It wasn’t until 2013 that Lee admitted during an interview with the FBI that he had been in contact with the foreign intelligence officers.
During the FBI’s investigation they searched a hotel room in Hawaii that was registered in Jerry Shing Lee’s name. In the search they found a USB stick within his luggage. When the storage device was later forensically analysed, a document was discovered in the USB sticks unallocated space, meaning that the document had been deleted. The document contained US information classified as Secret. When confronted with the document, Lee denied that he had possessed it or deleted it. Approximately a week later, Lee changed his tune and admitted to having possessed the document and explained he had created it for the intelligence officers but never gave it to them.
Jerry Shing Lee pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver national defence information to aid a foreign government and will be sentenced later this year.