WASHINGTON -- CIA China specialist Larry Wu-Tai Chin made more than $1 million selling intelligence secrets to the Communist Chinese over a 40 year period and was decorated by Peking for his work, it was reported today.
Chin, 63, was arrested by FBI agents in Washington Nov. 22 on charges of espionage for the Peking government. The Justice Department, in its indictment and pre-trial court appearances, said Chin confessed to his spying to FBI agents in interrogations before his arrest.
The Washington Post said that investigators believe Chin was given intelligence training by the communist Chinese in the early 1940s before he started working for the U.S. government and was later 'planted' in the CIA.
Chin began working for the U.S. Army as a translator in its Liaison Office in China in 1943 when the Nationalist Chinese governmnent, with American support, was fighting the Japanese. The Communist Chinese government was formed in 1949 after Nationalists retreated to Taiwan. Chin joined the CIA in 1952.
The CIA said Chin retired from the CIA in 1981 but continued to work for the agency as a consultant until his arrest. CIA spokesmen declined to comment on any aspect of the case case on grounds it is now in the judicial process.
According to FBI documents, Chin was decorated by the Peking government and also received a CIA intelligence medal.
The FBI said Chin was guest of honor at a 1982 banquet in Peking attended by the head of China's intelligence service and its former chief. 'Investigators believe Chin, who was born in Peking and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, was given intelligence training while he was a college student in China during the early 1940s,' The Washington Post said.
The FBI has said Chin received $140,000 from Peking for his espionage work but the Post reported that the alleged double agent 'is believed to have received more than $1 million from the Chinese' for information, including the interrogation of Communist Chinese 'volunteers' who were captured by U.S. forces during the Korean war.