A former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) case officer who pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring with Chinese intelligence agents earlier this year, was sentenced to 19 years in prison on Friday.
55-year-old Jerry Chun Shing Lee served as a CIA case officer from 1994 to 2007, and was arrested two years ago after FBI agents searched his hotel room and found a notebook that included intelligence from CIA assets, assets' true names, as well as some locations and numbers.
Prosecutors have been unable to prove that Lee gave classified information to the Chinese but argued it was the only explanation for over USD 840,000 he received while getting requests for CIA names, methods and locations, the Washington Post reported.
"For this amount of money, the [Chinese] must have been getting really top drawer, high-quality national defence information," Assistant US Attorney Neil Hammerstrom argued. "We put all the pieces together ... He sold out his country for money."
While Lee has admitted receiving 21 separate requests from Chinese intelligence operatives for intelligence secrets, as well as keeping a notebook that included names and numbers for at least eight CIA sources, he has maintained that he never handed over the secrets he collected to his Chinese handlers.
"I could only say I'm sorry," Lee said in Alexandria federal court Friday. "I let my country down. I let many people down."
( With inputs from ANI )