“Lee, a former CIA case officer, allegedly conspired to provide information to the Chinese government about the national defense of the United States. Lee’s alleged actions betrayed the American people and his former colleagues at the CIA. We will not tolerate such threats to our country or its national security.”
Assistant Attorney General Demers — May 8, 2018
Former CIA officer Jerry Lee is charged with “Conspiracy to gather or deliver Defense Information to aid a Foreign Government.” But several media have reported that Lee has been charged for passing classified information which helped the Chinese government dismantle a US spy network. This is simply disinformation. But ask yourself a simple question: Why the lies? What is the CIA trying to hide here? Whatever it is, I promise you that the hidden story is big and ugly. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
Several media have reported that former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee has been charged for allegedly helping the Chinese government dismantle a US spy network. This information is simply not correct.
The ‘Independent’ reported that:
“Jerry Chun Shing Lee has been charged for allegedly helping the Chinese government dismantle a US spy network after being asked by two Chinese intelligence officers in 2010 and 2011 to trade information for money. He lived in Hong Kong at the time.
Mr Lee’s actions allegedly led to the imprisonment or killing of more than a dozen Chinese nationals who were helping the US, which the New York Times reported in January was one of the most devastating intelligence setbacks for the agency in recent decades”.
The website ‘IntelNews’ claims that US government prosecutors confirm CIA officer passed information to China.
“A case officer in the United States Central Intelligence Agency, who was arrested in January of this year for violating the Espionage Act, shared classified information with China, according to an official indictment.”
This information is incorrect. The indictment does not charge Mr Lee with such crime. The US prosecutors do not accuse Mr Lee of passing classified information to Chinese Intelligence officers. Instead, they say he had the intention to do so. That is a big difference. In fact, the indictment does not address at all any effects of Mr Lee’s alleged espionage.
Intel Today reached a former FBI agent and a retired CIA officer. Both agree with our analysis. As the former FBI agent explains:
“The indictment never explicitly says that Lee passed the materials. He is charged with possessing and conspiracy to pass these documents.
I did not see an overt act [in the indictment] of passing the document only in keeping, preparing and “conspiring” to pass the data.”
Whether or not, Lee passed such information to the Chinese Intel officers is of course a different question. We do not know the answer. Why not? Perhaps because Lee did not commit that crime. Perhaps because the FBI has no evidence against him for this transfer of documents. We simply do not know.
What is however certain is that Lee is NOT charged with such a crime. FULL STOP.
You can read the indictment and see for yourself! For those who may not be familiar with the legal terms, I have written this short example as a primer.
Conspiracy, attempt and ‘overt acts’ – a simple example
Night after night John and Jane Doe are woken up by the barking of BIGUGLY, their neighbor’s dog. Last night, John decided to kill the dog. “I am going to throw him a piece of meat laced with a deadly poison.” Jane agrees. “Yes, let us kill this SOB.”
Right there, John and Jane have entered into a conspiracy to kill their neighbor’s ugly pet! Theoretically, they could be prosecuted for such conspiracy. But, as you may imagine, the FBI would be very busy if they had to prosecute every person who screamS “I am going to kill this SOB” while watching their favorite villain on TV. Moreover, a jury may want to see some evidence that John and Jane actually intended to kill BIGUGLY. Sometimes, the law requires evidence of ‘overt acts’ that demonstrates the intention to commit the crime.
Now suppose that in the morning, John goes shopping for a juicy piece of meat and Jane acquires some deadly poison. These ‘overt acts’ could be used as evidence that John and Jane conspired to kill the dog. Now, they could be charged with conspiracy to kill the dog.
If John throws the meat over the fence but the chain prevents BIGUGLY reaching it, then John and Jane will also be guilty of having attempted to kill BIGUGLY. They could be charged with both conspiracy and attempt.
Of course, if the dog eats the poisoned meat and dies, they are guilty of having killed BIGUGLY.
I hope this helps to read the indictment against former CIA officer Jerry Lee.
And by the way, according to the DoJ press release: “If convicted, Lee faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.”
Again, if Lee had been charged for passing classified information to the Chinese government which led to the death of several CIA assets, then the maximum sentence would be the death penalty.
The Law — 18 U.S. Code § 794 – Gathering or delivering defense information to aid foreign government
(a) Whoever, with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation, communicates, delivers, or transmits, or attempts to communicate, deliver, or transmit, to any foreign government, or to any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, or to any representative, officer, agent, employee, subject, or citizen thereof, either directly or indirectly, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, note, instrument, appliance, or information relating to the national defense, shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life, except that the sentence of death shall not be imposed unless the jury or, if there is no jury, the court, further finds that the offense resulted in the identification by a foreign power (as defined in section 101(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) of an individual acting as an agent of the United States and consequently in the death of that individual, or directly concerned nuclear weaponry, military spacecraft or satellites, early warning systems, or other means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack; war plans; communications intelligence or cryptographic information; or any other major weapons system or major element of defense strategy.
(c) If two or more persons conspire to violate this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.
So, why the disinformation?
So far, the stories of former CIA officers Jeffrey Sterling and Jerry Lee have been told as if they were disconnected events. And we do not know what is the exact content of John Reidy’s allegations against the CIA. But the timeline and the context certainly suggest that there may be a connection between these stories. If true, the CIA is trying to hide the biggest scandal in US history since IranGate.
In 2010, John Reidy submitted a complaint to the CIA’s internal watchdog, the Inspector General’s Office. One issue involved what Reidy alleged was fraud between elements within the CIA and contractors. Another issue involved what he called a “massive” and “catastrophic” intelligence failure due to a bungled foreign operation. Question: What failed CIA op is Reidy alleging to? It would seem that Reidy discovered that the communication system used by the CIA assets was not secured. Stay tuned…
United States of America v. Jerry Chun Shing Lee — Indictment
18 U.S. Code § 794 – Gathering or delivering defense information to aid foreign government
Former CIA Jerry Lee Case — Why the Disinformation?