The Department of Justice has acknowledged there is no evidence Lee gave secrets to the Chinese — merely that he conspired to do so.
Lee worked for the CIA for 13 years in a variety of locations, including China in 2007.
Lee has admitted that in 2010 he was recruited by Chinese intelligence agents, promising financial rewards in exchange for secret information. Prosecutors say between May 2010 and December 2013 Lee deposited $840,000 cash into his Hong Kong bank account, though he was operating an unsuccessful consulting business at the time.
“For this amount of money, the [Chinese] must have been getting really top drawer, high quality national defense information,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Hammerstrom argued. “We put all the pieces together … He sold out his country for money.”
An August 2012, the FBI raided a Honolulu, Hawaii, hotel room registered to Lee and found a thumb drive with a document Lee had created that included information about the CIA’s activities.
They also found a day planner and address book that included notes of intelligence provided by CIA agent, as well as information about their identities, operational meeting locations and covert facilities.
Lee, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is the third former U.S. intelligence officer to be convicted of conspiring to give secrets to the Chinese.