A former CIA officer accused of spying for China

On Monday, a 15-year CIA veteran was accused of selling American secrets to China and then inadvertently confessing to spying for the FBI.

Prosecutors said they used to get him to reveal the nature of his espionage was worth a spy novel in its own right.

Court documents said 67-year-old Alexander Yuk Ching Ma from Honolulu is accused of violating US espionage laws. Prosecutors said he joined the CIA in 1967 and then served as a CIA officer until his retirement in 1989. For a time, he was assigned to overseas duty in the East Asia and Pacific region.

Twelve years after his retirement, prosecutors said Monday that he met at least five officers from the Chinese Ministry of State Security in a Hong Kong hotel room, where he "revealed a great deal of top-secret national defense information," including facts about the agency. Central Intelligence. Internal organization, covert communication methods, CIA officer identities, and human origins.

"The impact of Chinese espionage is long, unfortunately, filled with former US intelligence officers who betrayed their colleagues, their country and its liberal democratic values ​​in support of an authoritarian communist regime," said John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security affairs. "As for the Chinese intelligence services, these individuals are expendable. For us, they are sad but urgent reminders of the need to remain vigilant."

Investigators said that after leaving the CIA, Ma got a job as a Chinese linguist in the Honolulu field office of the FBI. Court documents said he used his new job and security clearance to copy or photograph classified documents related to guided missiles, weapon systems and other US secrets and pass the information on to his Chinese handlers.

Prosecutors said that when the FBI learned of activities, a secret FBI agent arranged a meeting, at which point he formed a representative of the Chinese government. The court documents said that the undercover agent alleged that he was conducting an investigation into "the way Ma was treated, including the amount that was compensated."

A video recording of what was counted as $ 2,000 in cash provided by the undercover agent, who he said was a tribute to his work on behalf of China. Investigators said that Ma, who was born in Hong Kong, made it clear that he "wanted the" motherland "to succeed and admitted that he provided classified information to the Ministry of State Security and continued to work with some of the same representatives who were at the 2001 meeting.

Prosecutors said that an 85-year-old relative of Ma also worked for the CIA and then spied for China. However, he was not charged because he suffers from "debilitating advanced cognitive disease".

The charges against what are the latest in a string of setbacks against the United States' efforts to conduct espionage targeting China.

Another former CIA officer, Jerry Chun-shing Lee, was sentenced to 19 years in prison last year after pleading guilty to conspiring with Chinese intelligence agents starting in 2010 after he left the agency. NBC News reported that the information he provided helped China and other countries compromise the CIA's way of secretly communicating with its foreign agents, resulting in the killing of Chinese informants.

In 2015, the US government revealed that Chinese intelligence hackers had stolen packages of sensitive personnel files from the Office of Personnel Management, including security clearance applications for intelligence officers and other national security agents. US officials said they feared that data and other personal information about US citizens that the Chinese stole from private companies allowed China to better get to know American customers spying abroad.

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