The former CIA officer has been arrested on the charge of conspiring with a relative, providing classified information to Chinese intelligent officials. According to The New York Times, The ex CIA officer was charged with giving classified info to the Chinese government.
Thus, the justice department announced on Monday, the latest in a string of former intelligence officers accused of spying for Beijing- Washington.
The 67-year-old suspect, Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, worked as CIA officer in the 1980s. And then as a contract translator for the FBI in the 2000s. He was arrested on Friday.
However, according to a criminal complaint, Mr. Ma,67, and an older relative, now 87 and suffering from the debilitating cognitive disease. He first provided information to Chinese intelligence officials in March 2001 about CIA personnel, foreign informants, classified operations, cryptography, and other methods of concealing communications, secrets for which they were paid.
Former CIA Officer Charged With Spying For China
Alexander Yuk Ching Ma was accused of giving classified national defense information to Chinese intelligence officials. According to BBC it is the latest espionage arrest at a time of growing tension between Beijing and Washington. “ Mr. Ma is due to appear in court on Tuesday and faces a maximum penalty of life improvement if convicted.
About Alexander Yuk Ching Ma
Mr. Ma is a naturalist US citizen born in Hong Kong. He started working for the CIA in 1982. According to the prosecutor “, he left the CIA seven years later and worked in the Chinese city of Shanghai before moving to Hawaii in 2001”. Mr. Ma and his relative was accused of spying for China for a decade in a scheme that began with meetings in Hong Kong in March 2001.
The former CIA officers were accused of sharing vital info “about the CIA’s personnel, operations and methods of concealing communications” with Chinese officials.
They were paid $50,000 for the secret they revealed to the Chinese officials.
The court documents say “ while living in Hawaii, he then sought work with the FBI to gain access to classified US government info, to pass on to China once again.
Furthermore, in 2004, he was hired by the FBI’s Honolulu office, as a contract linguist and is accused of stealing documents marked secret. Why it took so long to arrest Mr. Ma, still remains unclear.
His relative who’s name was not given, was said to have conspired with Mr. Ma, is now 85 years old. He was born in Shanghai and also a naturalist US citizen. The court documents say “ prosecutors are not seeking an arrest warrant for him at this time, because he’s suffering from an advanced and debilitating cognitive disease”.
Other Related Cases
The charge against Mr. Ma is the most recent in a series against intelligence officers. As of November a former CIA officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for conspiring to spy for China. The secret information shared with China is said to have helped China bring down a network of informants between 2010 and 2012.
About 20 spies were jailed or killed during that period in one of the most disastrous failures of US intelligence in recent years. In May 2019, Kevin Mallory, an ex- CIA agent was sentenced to 20 years in prison for spying for China.
The ex-US intelligence officer Ron Rockwell Hasen was also sentenced to 10 years in prison, on September.
Furthermore, John C. Demers, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said on Monday “ the trial of Chinese espionage is long and sadly strewn with former American intelligence officers who betrayed their colleagues, their country and it’s liberal democratic values to support an authoritarian communist regime”.