Jerry Chun Shing Lee: Ex-CIA Officer Pleads Guilty to Spying for China
May 2, 2019 | Brainwave Science
Jerry Chun Shing Lee
A former CIA case officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiring to deliver top-secret national defense information to China’s intelligence agencies in exchange for money and unlawful retention of classified information.
Jerry Chun Shing Lee said, “I conspired to gather and send secret level defense information to PRC, the government of China.” Lee worked as a CIA officer in China and elsewhere from 1994 to 2007. After resigning from the agency, he settled in Hong Kong and became a private businessman.
Some intelligence officers blame Jerry Chun Shing Lee, the US Army veteran and Hong Kong native, for compromising CIA network in China, leading to both the rising level of Chinese espionage in the United States and a significant collapse of the CIA’s network of assets in China. Several CIA agents stationed in China were imprisoned and executed as China forced the agency out of the country.
Zachary Terwilliger, US Attorney said, “Jerry Chun Shing Lee sold out his country, conspired to become a spy for a foreign government, and then repeatedly lied to investigators about his conduct.”
According to the Department of Justice report, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a 54-year-old, retired from CIA in 2007 after 13 years of service. Later, he was approached by agents of China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), the CIA’s counterpart, in 2010 while living in Hong Kong. He was offered $100,000 for the exchange of sensitive national defense information he gained while working for the CIA. The Chinese intelligence officers also claimed they would take care of him “for life”. Between May 2010 and December 2013, MSS agents transferred Jerry Chun Shing Lee hundreds of thousands of dollars into his bank account for the information he shared during that time. Jerry Chun Shing Lee had unauthorized possession of the true names, location, phone numbers of CIA assets and employees located in China.
The FBI became suspicious of the act after receiving information from an informant in China. Federal agents got him to return to the US in 2012 by offering him the chance to re-join the CIA. Jerry Chun Shing Lee was interviewed multiple times by the CIA officials, where he neither disclosed he was contacted by Chinese intelligence officers nor he was an espionage agent working for the government of China.
John Brown, Assistant Director for Counterintelligence for FBI said, “By knowingly aiding a foreign government, Mr. Lee put our country’s national security at serious risk and also threatened the safety and personal security of innocent people, namely his former intelligence colleagues.”
US National Security officials have warned the White House about an ever-intensifying intelligence campaign by China to steal American technology, collect sensitive information about the government and recruit Americans to spy against their own country. National security officials say such cases point to widespread Chinese espionage operations directed at U.S. target. Beijing has stepped up its own efforts to build a spy network in the United States and at the same time, has worked to destroy America’s spy network in China.
Just to brush our memories, latest Chinese espionage cases are: last year, Chinese National caught red-handed stealing US aviation trade secrets, Chinese Nationals charged for Cyber Espionage, and many more which have turned into nightmares for United States authority and national security agencies. Currently, the US is confronting a significant threat in such events from all corners- Russia, China, and Iran.
Frequent cases of Chinese espionage in the United States and withdrawal of CIA’s assets in China has become a serious threat to National Security and the biggest challenge for counterintelligence officials. National Security officials have long been divided over the reason for both causes. According to the CIA, this situation is considered as the biggest security breach for the United States. Some experts believe that Chinese hackers have hacked the covert system that the CIA used to communicate with its foreign sources. Others believe a mole was at work. However, with the arrest of Jerry Chun Shing Lee, there is still confusion among the national security personnel as was Jerry the only prime suspect involved in this case?
Author of “To Catch a Spy”, Mr. Olson said, “We were wiped out in Russia, and something very similar happened in our China operations.”
Jerry Chun Shing Lee is the third instance in less than a year in which a former US intelligence officer has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to conspiring to pass sensitive information to Chinese intelligence services. Earlier, former CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officer Kevin Mallory and former DIA officer Ron Hansen were arrested for same charges. According to experts, the breach in the national security is linked to several failures at hand such as poor surveillance over the retired intelligence officers, delay in identifying the bad apples in the CIA, no accurate method to identify whether or not agents are telling the truth. If there was a technology that could provide nearly accurate results and reveal whether specific information is stored in the agent’s brain or not then Jerry Lee who was interviewed by CIA officers in 2012 could have been identified as a mole, resulting in protection of CIA’s assets in China, identify the information shared and compromised former intelligence agents in United States and China.
“No country poses a broader, more severe intelligence-collection threat than China,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said last week. “They’re doing it through Chinese intelligence services, through state-owned enterprises, through ostensibly private companies, through graduate students and researchers, through a variety of actors all working on behalf of China.”
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan claimed that countering the threat posed by China is one of the Pentagon’s highest priorities. Beijing’s aggressive buildup, systematic theft of technology, subversion of the rules-based international order and coercive global activities are key worries for the United States. The espionage act where ex-US intelligence officers committing espionage for China is a serious internal breach and monitoring each one is a difficult to process especially without proper and reliable tools.
Intelligence officers are trained to deceive the existing conventional interrogation tools like Lie-detectors/polygraph and interviews which are opted by the national security agencies as primary intelligence-gathering tools. Every country which is defending their interests from the same and significant threat i.e. growing espionage practice is suffering from the same problem. Time has come to reach for something that is non-traditional and unprecedented means to achieve goals of national security. Technologies that contribute to classic areas of intelligence in collection and analysis such as electronic transmissions, photo and imagery intelligence, and telemetry intelligence are valuable in externally identifying suspects, building a large database of history, tracking, and surveillance information. One major loophole in this overall intelligence architecture is the ability for personnel to connect and validate specific accounts of information. The closest technology that can accurately identify trusted insiders who harbor malicious plans and aims to deceive and compromise information is iCognative.
What is needed by the US government and other countries is an advanced automated intelligence-gathering tool which without any verbal conversation between the subject and investigator can provide accurate information stored inside the agent’s brain and cannot be tricked by any intelligence agents? The same tool was needed when Jerry Chun Shing Lee was interviewed by CIA in 2012 which could have saved the lives of thousands of agents stationed in China.
To fill this gap Brainwave Science has introduced its disruptive iCognative technology- the most advanced intelligence gathering and screening tools that help national security personnel to identify whether a suspect possesses specific crime-related information or not by measuring brainwaves of the suspect. iCognative technology is not only applicable when a crime or suspicion occurs to identify the mole from innocents but can also be used on a frequent basis to monitor the activities of agents. The system is rooted in advancements made in cognitive psychophysiology, where specific brainwave patterns are analyzed to reveal with over 99% statistical confidence whether a suspect is concealing privileged information. Brainwave Science, a metro-Boston based company has designed and developed iCognative technology with the primary objective to support national security agencies to identify the double agent or enemy spy in any law enforcement agencies. This technology delivers much needed accurate and reliable intelligence from a suspect’s brain to support law enforcement personnel retrieve what information was shared, how it was shared, how they were contacted and mend the errors before the enemy could act.
Till now, national security agencies feel crippled in protecting the nation from frequent espionage activities. However, with Brainwave Science’s introduction of iCognative in the security market, national security agencies have virtually infallible option for a game-changing approach where identification of double agent is guaranteed through the recognition of a specific P300 electrical signal emitted from an individual’s brain approximately after he or she is confronted with a stimulus in form of pictures, phrases, and words. The US and its allies can utilize iCognative technology to protect themselves from future threats through espionage. In this case, if Jerry Chun Shing Lee and other suspected retired CIA and DIA agents are made to undergo the 45-minutes to an hour test, then iCognative can support national security personnel to determine with over 99% accuracy, what crime-related information related to Chinese intelligence services’ request they possess and what information they have already shared with China. Such small but crucial details are essential ingredients for national security personnel to defend the nation from future espionage and eliminate the Chinese spy network within the country. Information such as which is known and unknown intelligence agents involved in this espionage act, information about any Chinese handlers or spies located in US who were helping or ordering Jerry Chun Shing Lee to gain illegal information, how he acquired top secret information, how was the information transfer to Chinese intelligence services occurred, how the Chinese spy network is maintained in the US, any foreign business organization helping Chinese intelligence agencies, etc., would be available for national security personnel through 45-minutes to an hour iCognative test. Probability of any error including subject deception during the test is next to impossible as all the information is gained from brainwaves. Brainwave Science’s iCognative is a must-have in the arsenal and strategy for national security personnel to identify the double agents and enemy spies, eliminate the Chinese spy network and protect the top-secret information without shedding any blood or using invasive methods. If national security personnel want to win these strategy battles, then iCognative is at their disposal.