A former CIA officer was arrested Monday on charges of unlawful retention of national defense information, the Justice Department said.
Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, also known as Zhen Cheng, was arrested after arriving at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. A naturalized U.S. citizen, he began working for the CIA as a case officer in 1994 and maintained a top-secret clearance, according to a Justice Department announcement.
The department alleges that Mr. Lee and his family left Hong Kong to return to the U.S. While traveling back to the United States, Mr. Lee’s family stayed in hotels in Hawaii and Virginia, where FBI agents conducted court-authorized searches of Lee’s room and luggage, the Justice Department said.
During those searches, agents found he was in unauthorized possession of materials relating to national defense. The materials were said to include two small books that contained handwritten notes with classified information such the true names and phone numbers of covert CIA employees, operational notes from asset meetings and locations of covert facilities.
Mr. Lee faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Hammerstrom of the Eastern District of Virginia and Deputy Chief Elizabeth Cannon of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.