Former CIA Officer Sentenced For Attempted Espionage

A former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) case officer was sentenced today to 19 years in prison for conspiring to communicate, deliver and transmit national defense information to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

“In just over a year, we have convicted three Americans for committing espionage offenses on behalf of the Chinese government.  Each has now received a sentence of at least a decade,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.  “Sadly, all three of them are former members of the U.S. Intelligence Community.  These convictions and sentences should send a strong message to current and former security clearance holders: be aware that the Chinese government targets you — and if you betray us, be aware that the Department of Justice will hold you accountable.”

“As I stated at the time of the defendant’s admission of guilt, those Americans entrusted with our government’s most closely held secrets have a tremendous responsibility to safeguard that information,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.  “Instead of embracing that responsibility and honoring his commitment to not disclose national defense information, Lee sold out his country, conspired to become a spy for a foreign government, and then repeatedly lied to investigators about his conduct.  This prosecution and sentence should serve as a clear warning to others who are contemplating selling out to the highest bidder and capitalizing on their position of trust.  My thanks to the prosecutors, agents and our intelligence community partners for their terrific work on this important case.”

According to court documents, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 55, left the CIA in 2007 and began residing in Hong Kong.  In April 2010, two Chinese intelligence officers (IOs) approached Lee and offered to pay him for national defense information he had acquired as a CIA case officer.  The IOs also told Lee they had prepared for him a gift of $100,000 cash, and they offered to take care of him “for life” in exchange for his cooperation.

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