Ex-CIA Officer Suspected of Spying for China

Ex-CIA Officer Suspected of Spying for China

A trained CIA case officer, Lee maintained a top secret security clearance from 1994 through 2007, when he left the agency, court documents say. O'Brien was the FBI counterspy who wrote the criminal complaint filed in federal court January 13 and unsealed Tuesday.

While Lee has been charged with the retention of classified USA intelligence information, sources near to his case have told both the New York Times and NBC News that he may be the so-called mole at the center of a mysterious intelligence breach that allowed Chinese counterintelligence agents with the Chinese Ministry of State Security to systematically kill a wide range of sources-"more than a dozen", according to a New York Times investigation published a year ago. He served in the Army from 1982 to 1986 and graduated from Hawaii Pacific University in 1992. During his time there, the DOJ says he had a top-secret security clearance and access to highly sensitive information. Law enforcement searched his hotel rooms in both places and say they found two small books, a datebook and an address book, filled with handwritten classified information: meetings with CIA assets, meeting locations, operational phone numbers, true names of assets and undercover CIA employees, and the addresses of CIA facilities, including covert ones. They discovered he had two small books containing handwritten information on details such as the true names and numbers of spy recruits and covert Central Intelligence Agency employees.

The 49-page datebook and the address book, according to the affidavit, were in a small clear plastic travel pack in Lee's luggage.

According to NBC News sources, it was one of the worst intelligence breaches since two former CIA and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents leaked classified information to the Russian government in the 90's. Many of those listed on the documents found in his possession were reportedly killed by the Chinese and Mr Lee is alleged to be behind one of the most calamitous U.S. intelligence failures in recent times. The man could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Officials familiar with the case say it is unlikely that Lee will be charged with espionage, which can carry the death penalty.

The case is being prosecuted by the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The CIA believes the classified information [VIDEO] was given to the Chinese government by Lee, leading to arrests and deaths of several active CIA agents stationed in China in 2010.