Former CIA Officer Arrested for Chinese Espionage

He was caught in an FBI undercover sting operation.

A criminal complaint unsealed Monday said Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, age 67, was arrested in Hawaii last week and charged with conspiring with a relative of his—also a former CIA officer—to provide Chinese intelligence with top-secret classified information. The two “conspired with each other and multiple PRC intelligence officials to communicate classified national defense information over the course of a decade,” according to court documents.

Ma was born in Hong Kong, became a naturalized citizen of the U.S., and worked for the CIA from1982 to 1989 in the East Asian and Pacific region, and then lived in Shanghai until moving to Hawaii in 2001. The FBI’s Honolulu Field Office hired Ma as a Chinese linguist and translator in 2001, and the Justice Department says that for six years, he copied, photographed, and stole classified documents, and even took some of the stolen documents with him on his frequent trips to China to provide to his handlers with China’s Ministry of State Security. Ma would then come back to the U.S. with thousands of dollars in cash and expensive gifts.

His scheme was unraveled by an investigation in the FBI field offices of Honolulu and Los Angeles. Court records show that in the spring 2019, Ma confirmed his espionage activities to an FBI undercover employee whom Ma believed was a representative of the PRC intelligence service.

The Justice Department has increased its scrutiny of China’s illegal activities recently, and has begun prosecuting Chinese nationals in espionage cases. In June, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau had more than 2,000 active investigations connected to the Chinese Communist Party.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For agents with the FBI working undercover or openly to find and arrest operatives in the U.S. who are working on behalf of the Chinese government.
  • For the president’s administration as they endeavor to protect the nation’s security.
  • About the escalating tensions between the U.S. and China, including allegations of Chinese interference and influence in the coming election.

Sources: Reuters, Washington Examiner


Back to top