Ex-CIA Agent Pleads Guilty to Spying On Behalf of China

According to an announcement by the DOJ, a former American CIA clandestine spy, originally from Hong Kong, has pled guilty to espionage for China. 

Alexander Yuk Ching Ma (71) and a relative he collaborated with were both CIA agents.

Ma immigrated to Honolulu in 1968 from British Hong Kong, where he was born in 1952.  He became an American citizen in 1975.

Ma worked for the CIA from 1982 to 1989, and his unidentified blood relative, who is only known as CC #1 (co-conspirator), was an employee from 1967 to 1983.

The person listed as CC#1 is reportedly David, Ma’s elder brother. During a three-day debrief in Hong Kong in 2001, Chinese intelligence operatives recorded them and obtained $50,000 in exchange for confidential information.

Both individuals had top-secret clearances, which meant they could access secret CIA material.  They were also required to sign non-disclosure agreements so they could keep information secret.

As part of his plea deal, Ma confessed that in 2001, he and CC #1 met at a hotel in Hong Kong with intelligence officials from the Shanghai State Security Bureau (SSSB). During their meeting, Ma gave the Chinese officers a trove of secret material on American national security.

After three days, the Chinese intelligence agents presented Ma and CC #1 with a cash payment of $50,000, and both made a pact to keep helping the SSSB.

In March 2003, while living in Hawaii, Ma sought employment with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Honolulu Field Office as a linguist. 

Ma was employed by the FBI to surveil his dealings with the (PRC) from 2004 until 2012.

Ma stated in his plea deal that he had influenced CC #1 to reveal the names of two people seen in photos brought to him by intelligence operatives from the SSSB. He admittedly participated in the criminal conspiracy with the knowledge that the information may be used to hurt the United States and help the People’s Republic of China.

As part of his plea deal, Ma has agreed to cooperate and undergo debriefings by several government agencies. The sentencing date is September 11, and the punishment is likely to be a ten-year prison term.