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China has been killing CIA informants - now the FBI has caught the mole responsible

The FBI has caught a former CIA agent they believe was passing top secret information to the Chinese that led to a "systematic dismantling" of the U.S. intelligence network in China. (Image Source: YouTube screenshot)

According to a Department of Justice release Tuesday, the FBI has captured a mole that they believe had been revealing top secret identities of CIA informants to the Chinese.

"A systematic dismantling"

The New York Times reports that China began killing informants to the CIA in 2012 in what is considered one of the intelligence community's greatest failures.

After a "mole hunt" to capture who might have been spilling secrets, the FBI arrested a former CIA employee who was caught with top secret information.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee was a naturalized American citizen and had been living in Hong Kong. According to the release by the DOJ, Lee's hotel room and luggage were searched by the FBI when he visited the United States with his family in 2012.

They discovered "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 had been employed at the CIA from 1994 to 2007 and had maintained a top secret clearance. Some believe that the Chinese had also gained information by hacking into the CIA's lines of communication.

What kind of punishment does he face?

Lee was charged with unlawful retention of national defense information and appeared in a courtroom of the Eastern District of New York. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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