TRAITOR: FBI nabs former CIA agent for informing China on covert operations

In the high tech world of espionage, sometimes the best way to steal information may still be old-school spycraft – like writing things down on paper. Of course, it can also be an old-school way to get caught. That's exactly what happened to former CIA agent Jerry Chun Shing Lee. But it hasn't been easy to catch him.

The 53-year-old Lee is a naturalized U.S. citizen who joined the CIA in 1994 and left in 2007. His main job was recruiting “clandestine human intelligence sources" from his base in Hong Kong.

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Lee is suspected of giving the Chinese information that caused the death or imprisonment of 20 American agents. Starting in 2010, the CIA was shocked as their best agents in China began disappearing. The CIA suspected a traitor and the FBI investigated.

By 2012, the FBI suspected Lee, so they lured him with a phony job offer, to get him to fly to the U.S. from his home in Hong Kong. During the trip, they searched his hotel rooms in Hawaii and Virginia and found two notebooks containing handwritten lists of names and phone numbers of covert CIA agents and informants. The notebooks also had notes from asset meetings, meeting locations, and locations of covert facilities in China.

After building their case for several more years, the FBI finally got their chance to arrest Lee in January when he took a commercial flight from Hong Kong to New York City. Yesterday, a federal grand jury charged Lee with illegally possessing classified information.

Make no mistake about it, we are deep into a new Cold War, but this time China has eclipsed Russia as our chief rival.

Prosecutors say Chinese agents offered Lee “a gift of $100,000 in exchange for his cooperation and that they would take care of him for life." They wanted Lee to give them details about the CIA's operations in China. Prosecutors say Lee prepared written reports for the Chinese, deposited hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in his personal accounts, and lied to the FBI about his activity overseas.

This kind of betrayal is devastating for intelligence agencies, foremost because of the executed agents. But also because of the massive amount of time it takes to groom sources and informants. This is not something the CIA can get over quickly.

If it's confirmed that Lee's information was the cause of the death or imprisonment of those 20 agents in China, it would be the worst intelligence breach since Robert Hanssen was caught passing secrets to Russia in the 1990s.

So far, Lee has only been charged with possessing classified information, but he could still get a life sentence if convicted.

Make no mistake about it, we are deep into a new Cold War, but this time China has eclipsed Russia as our chief rival.

This article originally appeared on Glenn Beck

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