WASHINGTON — Face to face with a former C.I.A. officer in 2013, federal agents took a calculated risk. They did not confront him about the classified information they had found in his luggage. And they did not ask what they most wanted to know: whether he was a spy for China.
华盛顿——2013年,面对着一名中情局(CIA)前雇员,联邦特工在深思熟虑后冒了个险。他们并未就那份在他行李箱中发现的机密情报向他质询,也没有问出他们最想知道的问题:他是不是一个中国间谍。
It was a life-or-death call. The Chinese government had been systematically picking off American spies in China, dismantling a network that had taken the C.I.A. years to build. A mole hunt was underway, and the former officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, was the prime suspect.
这是一个生死攸关的决定。中国政府此前在中国境内有条不紊地清除美国间谍,捣毁了中情局花费多年时间搭建的间谍网络。寻找内奸的狩猎开始了,而这名前雇员——李振成(Jerry Chun Shing Lee),是头号嫌疑人。
The F.B.I. could have arrested him on the spot for possessing classified information. But inside a secretive government task force, investigators argued against it, former American officials recalled. If Mr. Lee were a turncoat, arresting him on an unrelated charge would tip off the Chinese and allow them to cover their tracks. If he was not the mole — and some argued strenuously that he was not — an arrest might allow the real traitor to escape.
联邦调查局(FBI)本可以凭他持有机密情报而将其当场逮捕。但根据前美国官员的回忆,在政府的秘密专案组内,调查人员对该做法表示反对。如果李振成是个叛徒,那么以一个不相干的罪名将其逮捕则会在中国面前暴露自己,还能让中国趁机掩盖其行径。如果李振成不是内奸——有部分人坚称这一点——将其逮捕则可能会让真正的叛徒溜走。
So the F.B.I. allowed Mr. Lee to return to Hong Kong, court papers show, where he hastily resettled with his family. The agents, working out of an office in Northern Virginia, gambled that by watching patiently, they might piece together how China had decimated the United States’ spy network, and determine whether Mr. Lee had helped.
于是联邦调查局允许李振成返回香港,法庭文件显示,他在香港匆匆与家人安顿了下来。调查工作在弗吉尼亚州北部的一个办公室进行,特工们冒险决定通过耐心观察,希望能还原中国捣毁美国间谍网络的过程,并最终确定李振成是否曾提供帮助。
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Nearly five years later, when Mr. Lee made a surprise return to the United States this week, the F.B.I. made its move. He stepped off a Cathay Pacific flight at Kennedy International Airport on Monday and was waved through customs. A waiting F.B.I. agent, Kellie O’Brien, called out his name, according to court records. Mr. Lee answered, and was arrested.
在将近五年后,李振成本周突然重返美国,FBI采取了行动。周一,他刚刚迈出降落在肯尼迪国际机场(Kennedy International Airport)的国泰航空(Cathay Pacific)飞机,有人在海关内向他招手。等待着他的联邦调查局特工凯利·奥布莱恩(Kellie O’Brien)叫了他的名字,根据法庭记录,李振成作了回应,随即被逮捕。
His apprehension, on the same single charge that could have been brought years ago, is the latest development in one of the most damaging affairs in modern C.I.A. history. But it does nothing to settle the question of how or whether Mr. Lee was involved. For years, he was the prime suspect in a mole hunt, but officials disagreed over whether he was actually to blame.
本可在几年前因相同的一项罪名而进行的逮捕,是中情局现代史上损失最惨重的一次事件的最新进展。但这对于解决李振成如何或是否牵扯其中的问题毫无帮助。多年来,他都是狩猎内奸行动里的头号嫌疑人,但官员们对是否真的应怪罪于他意见不一。
One government official said there was no plan at the moment to charge Mr. Lee with espionage, handing over American secrets to the Chinese or anything beyond the one felony count of illegally possessing classified information. That would leave open the mystery of how China managed to unravel the C.I.A.’s web of informants.
一位政府官员表示,目前暂时没有以从事间谍活动、将美国机密交给中国这项罪名,或以其他非法持有机密情报之外的重罪来指控李振成的计划。这么做就会使中国如何破解了中情局线人网络成为不解谜题。
Neither the F.B.I. nor the Justice Department would discuss this high-stakes back story on Wednesday. “This is an example of the system working,” said Ian Prior, a Justice Department spokesman. “The defendant arrived in this country, we apprehended him and he has been charged with an extremely serious offense.”
联邦调查局和司法部周三时都不愿讨论这个干系重大的幕后故事。“这是制度在发挥作用的表现,”司法部发言人伊恩·普赖尔(Ian Prior)表示。“被告进入了这个国家,我们将其逮捕,并指控他犯下了一个极其严重的罪行。”
In an email, Mr. Lee’s college-age daughter declined to discuss the case and said that no lawyer or family member was available to speak on his behalf.
在一封邮件中,李振成正在读大学的女儿拒绝讨论此事,并表示没有哪位律师或家人可以成为他的代理人。
The New York Times revealed the decimation of the C.I.A.’s network last year, citing 10 current and former government officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation. Several of them identified Mr. Lee as the key suspect at the time.
《纽约时报》去年援引了10位均不允许公开讨论该次调查的现任或前任政府官员,披露了中情局间谍网络被毁事件。其中有几人认定李振成是当时的关键嫌疑人。
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Mr. Lee, 53, took an unremarkable path through the C.I.A. He became a United States citizen and, after four years in the Army, studied international business management at Hawaii Pacific University. He graduated in 1992 and received a master’s degree in human resource management the next year.
53岁的李振成在中情局的经历很平凡。他先是加入美国国籍,而后在军队服役四年,之后在夏威夷太平洋大学(Hawaii Pacific University)学习国际商务管理。他于1992年毕业,次年获得了人力资源管理硕士学位。
From there, he joined the C.I.A., posing as an American diplomat while serving as a clandestine case officer. From old address records, he appears to have served in Tokyo from about 1999 to 2002. Officials say he also worked at the East Asia Division at C.I.A. Headquarters and the agency’s Beijing station before he left in 2007 and took a job in Hong Kong.
在那之后,他加入了中情局,表面上是一名美国外交官,实际上是秘密案件专员。从旧地址记录来看,他似乎曾于1999年左右至2002年在东京工作。官员们表示,他还曾在中情局总部的东亚部和该局的北京分站任职,2007年,他离开中情局,在香港找了一份工作。
When the C.I.A. noticed in late 2010 that its spies were disappearing, suspicion did not immediately turn to Mr. Lee, according to current and former officials. But as fears of a mole grew, the government set up a secret task force of C.I.A. officers and F.B.I. agents. A veteran F.B.I. counterintelligence agent, Charles McGonigal, was assigned to run it, former American law enforcement officials said.
据现任和前任官员们称,中情局在2010年底注意到自己的多名间谍正在失踪时,并没有立即怀疑李振成。但随着对内奸的恐惧与日俱增,政府成立了一个由中情局官员和联邦调查局特工组成的秘密任务小组。几名前美国执法官员表示,联邦调查局的资深反间谍特工查尔斯·麦戈尼格尔(Charles McGonigal)被派去领导这个小组。
As the disappearances continued, analysts concluded that Mr. Lee, even though he had been out of the C.I.A. for years, had known the identities of many of the those who had been killed or imprisoned. He showed all the indicators on a government matrix used to identify potential espionage threats, one former official recalled.
随着失踪事件继续增多,分析人士得出结论称,尽管李振成已离开中情局多年,但他知道许多被杀害或被监禁的间谍的身份。一位前官员回忆称,在政府建立的一个用来识别潜在间谍威胁的模型中,李振成符合所有的指标。
But warning signs can be wrong. At the C.I.A., top officials ruefully remembered the treatment of Brian J. Kelly, an agency officer who in the 1990s was wrongly suspected by the F.B.I. of being a Russian spy. More recently, the Justice Department’s efforts to unearth Chinese spies have suffered embarrassing setbacks, including dropped charges against prominent Chinese-Americans.
不过,警告信号可能是错误的。中情局的高级官员们依然会懊丧地想起布赖恩·J·凯利(Brian J. Kelly)特工的遭遇。上世纪90年代,凯利曾被联邦调查局误认为俄罗斯间谍。而且近期,美国司法部挖出中国间谍的努力遭遇了难堪的挫折,包括放弃了对一些著名华裔美国人的指控。
In Mr. Lee’s case, other possible explanations existed. Some investigators believed that China had cracked the C.I.A.’s system for communicating with its informants. The spy agency had encountered similar problems in other countries, and some investigators believed the technology was too clunky to stand up to China’s sophisticated computer specialists.
在李振成的案件中,也存在着其他可能的解释。有些调查人员认为,中国破解了中情局与线人们的沟通系统。中情局在其他国家也遇到过类似的问题,有些调查人员认为它的技术太过落后,无法抵挡中国高明的电脑专家。
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Another group accused C.I.A. officials in Beijing of being sloppy and allowing themselves to be identified when meeting with their informants. It was an acrimonious dispute, and some officials conceded that a combination of factors could account for the damage.
也有些人指责北京的中情局官员粗心大意,在与线人会面时被认出来了。这是一场激烈的争论,有些官员承认,人员损失是由多种因素造成的。
Some former officials who reviewed the evidence described the case against Mr. Lee as strong but circumstantial, not bulletproof. Some at the C.I.A. argued that officials were too quick to suspect a mole — especially a Chinese-American — when there were other explanations.
审查过证据的一些前官员认为,对李振成的指控很有力,但都是间接的,并非无懈可击。中情局的一些人员认为,在目前依然存在其他解释的情况下,官员们对内奸的怀疑过于仓促——尤其是怀疑一名华裔美国人。
The F.B.I. was watching in August 2012 when Mr. Lee returned to the United States with his family. Agents secretly entered his hotel rooms in Hawaii and Virginia and discovered two small books with handwritten notes that contained classified information, including the identities of undercover C.I.A. officials, court papers show.
2012年8月,李振成与家人返回美国时,遭到了联邦调查局监视。法庭文件显示,特工们悄悄进入了他在夏威夷和弗吉尼亚的酒店房间,发现了两本带有手写笔记的小册子,里面包含机密信息,包括一些中情局卧底的身份。
The information the books contained, including details about meetings between C.I.A. informants and undercover agents, as well as their real names and phone numbers, matched documents that Mr. Lee had written while at the C.I.A., according to court documents. It was not clear whether any of the people identified in his documents were part of the Chinese roundup of C.I.A. sources.
法庭文件显示,小册子中包含的信息包括中情局线人与卧底特工的会面细节,以及他们的真实姓名和电话号码,这些都与李振成在中情局时书写过的文件相一致。目前尚不清楚,他文件中提到的人是否包括中国逮捕的那些中情局线人。
Agents spoke with him repeatedly in the following months. Both the attorney general at the time, Eric H. Holder Jr., and Robert S. Mueller III, then the F.B.I. director, were personally briefed on the investigation and pledged whatever resources were necessary. But senior government officials said they cannot recall any serious push to arrest Mr. Lee at the time or to try to charge him with espionage in connection with the lost Chinese informants.
在之后的几个月里,特工们多次与他交谈。时任司法部长小埃里克·H·霍尔德(Eric H. Holder Jr.)和时任FBI局长罗伯特·S·穆勒三世(Robert S. Mueller III)亲自听取了调查结果,并承诺可以调用所需的任何资源。不过,政府高级官员们表示,他们不记得当时有任何人强烈要求逮捕李振成,或试图指控他参与了导致中国线人失踪的间谍活动。
So in June 2013, the agents let Mr. Lee leave. Current and former officials have said that the C.I.A.’s losses had ended by late 2012, so there is no evidence that the decision allowed more informants to be captured or killed.
因此,2013年6月,特工们让李振成离开了。现任和前任官员们都曾表示,中情局的线人损失到2012年底停止了,因此没有证据表明该决定导致更多线人被捕或被杀。
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At least once in recent years, according to a government official, Mr. Lee returned to the United States without attracting the F.B.I.’s attention. It was not clear how or why he did so.
据一名政府官员称,近年来,李振成至少有一次回到了美国,却没有引起FBI的注意。目前尚不清楚他是如何做到的,以及为什么要这样做。
At some point the Justice Department decided that if it had the chance, it would charge Mr. Lee. Officials suspected that opportunity might come later this year when Mr. Lee’s daughter graduated from college, an occasion that might draw him back to the United States.
在某个时候,司法部决定,如果有机会,就会起诉李振成。官员们猜测,机会可能会在今年晚些时候出现,届时,李振成的女儿将要大学毕业,这可能会吸引他回到美国。
When Mr. Lee surprised the government recently by booking a trip to New York, prosecutors hurried to file the charge that they had kept waiting for years.
令政府惊讶的是,前不久,李振成预订了前往纽约的行程,检察官们匆忙提出了已等待数年的指控。