Damage Done by Alleged CIA Mole May Be Even Worse

Jerry Chun Shing Lee could be responsible for disappearance of US spies in Russia
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2018 10:50 AM CST
The floor of the main lobby of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Va., Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – The damage reportedly done by an alleged CIA mole could extend beyond China, where at least 20 CIA informants were arrested and executed between 2010 and 2012, current and former officials tell NBC News. China wiped out the CIA's spy network in that country after cracking the covert communications system—or "covcom"—the CIA used to communicate with its informants. Sources say American officials now suspect China shared that information with Russia. One former official says Russians left a joint training session with China "saying we got good info on covcom." An unknown number of CIA informants in Russia have disappeared, and sources say American officials suspect Russia used the information from China to arrest and possibly execute American spies.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a naturalized US citizen who left the CIA in 2007, was arrested last week. He's suspected of providing classified information to China and, in theory, being responsible for helping China crack the CIA's covcom. Authorities arrested Lee after luring him back to the US via a bogus job offer. The CIA has changed its communications methods since the destruction of its spy network in China. Read the full NBC report here. (Read more CIA stories.)

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