Say What?! Ex-CIA Officer Admits to Spying for China

Paopano /
Paopano /

A former CIA officer, Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, has pleaded guilty to conspiring with his relative, also a former CIA officer, to provide classified U.S. defense information to China. This disturbing revelation came to light in a federal court in Honolulu over the past few days, as the Department of Justice announced.

Ma, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was arrested in 2020. He had worked for the CIA from 1982 to 1989, during which he held top-secret clearance and signed multiple non-disclosure agreements. His betrayal didn’t end with his departure from the agency. Ma and his relative, who also had access to top-secret information, conspired to share sensitive national defense details with Chinese intelligence.

This conspiracy dates back to 2001, beginning with meetings in Hong Kong hotel rooms. Ma and his relative met with officers from China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), the regime’s top intelligence agency. Over three days, they handed over critical information about CIA personnel, internal operations, and communication methods. Some of these exchanges were videotaped, capturing Ma counting $50,000 in cash received for his treasonous actions.

But Ma’s ambitions didn’t stop there. In 2003, he sought employment with the FBI to regain access to classified information. The FBI, aware of his connections to Chinese intelligence, hired him as a contract linguist in Honolulu. From 2004 to 2012, Ma had access to sensitive documents, which he regularly copied, photographed, and stole. He then delivered these stolen documents to Chinese handlers during his frequent trips to China, returning with substantial cash payments and expensive gifts, such as new golf clubs.

In a shocking confession, Ma admitted to convincing his CIA relative to identify individuals in photographs provided by Chinese spies. He was fully aware that this information could be used to harm the United States, yet he proceeded without hesitation.

Court documents reveal that in 2019, Ma met with an FBI undercover agent posing as a Chinese intelligence officer. Ma confirmed his work for Chinese intelligence and accepted $2,000 in cash as a token of appreciation. He even offered to resume his spying activities. In a final meeting in August 2020, Ma accepted more money and expressed his ongoing loyalty to the Chinese regime, stating his desire for “the motherland” to succeed.

If the court accepts the plea agreement, Ma will face a 10-year prison sentence and must cooperate with U.S. authorities, including debriefings by government agencies.

This case is a vivid reminder of the ongoing espionage efforts by the Chinese regime targeting U.S. military and intelligence personnel. It’s not an isolated incident. In 2019, former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee received a 19-year prison sentence for conspiring to provide classified information to Chinese intelligence. Earlier this year, a retired U.S. Navy sailor was sentenced to 27 months in prison for selling military secrets to China. In 2021, another former Navy sailor was sentenced to 30 months and fined $20,000 for attempting to send sensitive military equipment to China.

FBI Director Christopher Wray stated in 2020 that the bureau opened a new Chinese counterintelligence case every 10 hours and that over 2,000 China-related investigations were ongoing.

We need to wake up to the reality of these threats. This isn’t just a series of isolated incidents. It’s a systematic campaign by the Chinese regime to erode our national security from within. The United States must take a firm stand against these espionage activities. More robust security measures and vigilant enforcement are critical to protect our nation’s secrets and safeguard our future. It’s time to send a clear message: espionage against the United States will not be tolerated, and those who betray our country will face the full force of justice.