Former CIA Officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, aka Zhen Cheng Li, 53, was arrested Monday on charges of unlawful retention of national defense information, according to officials.
Lee was arrested after arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York.
Lee is a naturalized U.S. citizen, currently residing in Hong Kong, China.
According to court documents, Lee began working for the CIA as a case officer in 1994, maintained a Top Secret clearance and signed numerous non-disclosure agreements during his tenure at CIA.
Click here to read the federal government’s arrest warrant: Department of Justice
According to court documents, in August 2012, Lee and his family left Hong Kong to return to the United States to live in northern Virginia.
While traveling back to the United States, Lee and his family had hotel stays in Hawaii and Virginia.
During each of the hotel stays, FBI agents conducted court-authorized searches of Lee’s room and luggage, and found that Lee was in unauthorized possession of materials relating to the national defense.
Specifically, agents found two small books containing handwritten notes that contained classified information, including but not limited to, true names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees, operational notes from asset meetings, operational meeting locations and locations of covert facilities.
Lee made his initial appearance this afternoon in New York. He is charged with unlawful retention of national defense information. If convicted, he is facing up to 10 years in prison, according to authorities.
Lee is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
“More than a dozen C.I.A. informants were killed or imprisoned by the Chinese government. The extent to which the informant network was unraveled,” reported last year by The New York Times, was a devastating setback for the C.I.A.