A former CIA officer has been arrested on charges of unlawful retention of classified information, the US justice department says.
Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a naturalised US citizen, was held after arriving at New York’s JFK airport on Monday.
He worked for the CIA between 1994 and 2007, when he left for Hong Kong.
When he returned to America in 2012, FBI agents searched his hotel rooms in Hawaii and Virginia and found finding two small books with secret records.
The US justice department says in a statement that the books contained handwritten notes on details such as “true names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees”.
The statement says that Mr Lee, 53, has been charged “with unlawful retention of national defence information and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, if convicted”.
Mr Lee, also known as Zhen Cheng Li, began his CIA career as a case officer, maintained a top secret clearance and signed non-disclosure agreements.
He has made no public comments on the issue.