ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The lawyer for a former CIA officer accused of illegally retaining classified records is defending his client against accusations he was a Chinese spy.

Fifty-three-year-old Jerry Chun Shing Lee made an initial appearance Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, after his arrest last month at JFK International Airport.

He is charged with illegally retaining classified documents, including names and numbers of covert CIA employees and locations of covert facilities. But some news reports, citing anonymous sources, have suggested Lee was a mole responsible for exposing a network of U.S. assets working in China.

After Tuesday's hearing, Lee's lawyer, Edward MacMahon, said his client is a loyal American who is being unfairly maligned by anonymous critics.

Lee, a Hong Kong resident, served in the CIA from 1994 to 2007 as a case officer.