A former CIA officer was arrested Monday night on charges that he illegally retained classified information, including notebooks with the names and addresses of covert CIA assets.
The Justice Department says that the former officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, was found with a notebook and address book that contained Secret and Top Secret information about CIA activities.
Lee, who resides in Hong Kong and worked as a CIA case officer from 1994 to 2007, was arrested at JFK International Airport in New York City on Monday.
According to a sworn affidavit unsealed on Tuesday, FBI agents conducted searches of hotel rooms where Lee and his family were staying in Aug. 2012.
Agents, who searched Lee’s hotel rooms in Hawaii and Virginia, discovered a 49-page notebook and 21-page address book containing highly classified CIA information, according to an affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Kellie O’Brien.
“The datebook contained handwritten information pertaining to, but not limited to, operational notes from asset meetings, operational meeting locations, operational phone numbers, true names of assets, and covert facilities,” wrote O’Brien.
The address book “contained true names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees, as well as the addresses of CIA facilities.”
The affidavit does not say whether there is any evidence that Lee disseminated the classified information to the Chinese government or any other foreign agents. There is also no explanation for why Lee is being charged so many years after he was found in possession of classified documents.
While at the CIA, Lee held several overseas positions and was trained in “methods of covert communications, surveillance detection, recruitment of assets, handling of assets, payment of assets, operational security, and documenting, handling and securing classified information.”
O’Brien stated in the affidavit that FBI agents interviewed Lee five separate times in May and June 2013 but that he did not mention having the classified documents. He also did not mention the documents during encounters with former CIA colleagues.
Lee, a naturalized U.S. citizen, faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.