The department alleges that Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a 53-year-old former CIA case officer and USA citizen, was asked to trade information for money by two Chinese intelligence officers in 2010 and 2011 while he lived in Hong Kong. He has been held in Alexandria's jail without bond since January.
In 2012, Lee and his family moved from Hong Kong to northern Virginia.
The indictment alleges that Lee made 'numerous unexplained cash deposits, and repeatedly lied to the USA government during voluntary interviews when asked about travel to China and his actions overseas'.
"Lee was in unauthorized possession of materials relating to the national defense", the DOJ said.
Lee was arrested in January after arriving at New York's JFK airport. While moving, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided hotel rooms where Lee was staying in Hawaii and Virginia.
The indictment alleges that in April 2010, while Lee was living in Hong Kong, he was approached by two Chinese intelligence officers who offered to pay him for information.
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Lee then allegedly "prepared documents responsive to the taskings, made numerous unexplained cash deposits, and repeatedly lied to the USA government during voluntary interviews", according to the release.
Agents also found a thumb drive on which was stored a document later determined to contain information classified at the Secret level, the indictment says. According to prosecutors, Lee admitted in interviews that he had prepared that document at the Chinese intelligence officials' directive. Between 2010 and 2012, more than a dozen USA sources in China were killed or imprisoned, the New York Times reported previous year. While he was in the United States, FBI agents searched his hotel rooms and found in his luggage a pair of small notebooks containing handwritten notes, including the real names and phone numbers of Central Intelligence Agency assets and covert employees, as well as notes from meetings with those assets and the locations of covert facilities in China, according to court documents. The crippling of its Chinese intelligence operating had baffled the Federal Bureau of Investigation and CIAfor years, according to the The New York Times.
If convicted, Lee could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Lee is a USA citizen who speaks fluent Chinese.
Demers, Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI's Washington Field Office announced the charges.