A former CIA case agent was sentenced to 19 years in prison on Friday, Nov. 22, for conspiring to provide American intelligence secrets to the Chinese regime.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 55, served 13 years as a CIA case officer, pleaded guilty to conspiring with China to commit espionage in May but prosecutors and defense lawyers disagreed about the extent of the crime.

While prosecutors had sought a prison term of over 20 years for Lee, defense lawyers had asked for a 10-year sentence, The Associated Press News reported.

Prosecutors said Lee likely gave Chinese intelligence officers all the information he had from his career in exchange for $ 840,000.

However, defense lawyers contended that there was no proof all of the money was given to Lee by the Chinese or that Lee ever carried out any plans to deliver government secrets. Simultaneously, Lee never admitted that he actually divulged any secrets.

Lee was never able to come up with a good explanation for where he got the cash, prosecutors said, he ran a tobacco business in Hong Kong, but it was essentially a failure.

Defense lawyer Nina Ginsberg, though, said there’s no evidence that any of the sources who were identified in his notebook were harmed or compromised in any way.

Prosecutor Adam Small said the government believes Lee turned over information that was found in a notebook and a thumb drive that was found in his possession as part of the government’s investigation. That included the names of eight CIA clandestine human sources people that Lee himself recruited and handled in his years as a CIA case agent from 1994 to 2007.

Small also said the Chinese intelligence officers gave Lee over 20 “taskings” in which they sought details of CIA spycraft, like how they communicate with sources and maintain their cover.

“Everything he knew would have been highly valuable to the PRC,” Small said.

“I dare to say the government would certainly know if their agents had been exposed,” Ginsberg said.

However, Small also countered that the risk of harm from Lee’s conduct is grave, even if no actual harm occurred.

“Whether something has or has not occurred is in some ways irrelevant,” Small said.

Lee, apologized for his actions and added that he “takes responsibility” for his actions and that he “let his country down.”

Lee is the third American convicted of committing espionage for the Chinese regime in just a year, ABC News reported.

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