January 15, 2021

Former CIA officer charged with giving China categorized data – world information

A former CIA officer and contract linguist for the FBI has been charged with spying for China, together with by disclosing tradecraft and data on sources to Chinese language intelligence officers who had co-opted him, in accordance with paperwork unsealed Monday.

Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, 67, was arrested final week after an undercover operation during which prosecutors say he accepted an envelope with $2,000 in trade for his previous espionage actions. He advised a regulation enforcement officer who was posing as a Chinese language intelligence officer that he wished to see the “motherland” succeed, prosecutors mentioned.

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“The path of Chinese language espionage is lengthy and, sadly, strewn with former American intelligence officers who betrayed their colleagues, their nation and its liberal democratic values to assist an authoritarian communist regime,” Assistant Legal professional John Demers, the Justice Division’s prime nationwide safety official, mentioned in a press release.

An FBI affidavit accuses Ma, who labored for the CIA from 1982 to 1989, of showing authorities secrets and techniques to at the very least 5 Chinese language intelligence officers in a Hong Kong resort room over a three-day interval in March 2001. These secrets and techniques included details about CIA sources, worldwide operations, staffing practices and operational tradecraft.

Prosecutors say Ma’s assembly with the Chinese language officers included a relative and fellow CIA worker who was not named in courtroom paperwork and who isn’t being charged as a result of, officers say, the now 85-year-old suffers from superior and debilitating cognitive illnesses.

A video recording of the resort assembly exhibits the lads receiving funds of $50,000 for the knowledge they supplied, the authorities mentioned.

By that time, the FBI says, Ma had develop into a compromised asset of China’s Ministry of State Safety, which collects intelligence data of worth and curiosity to the Chinese language authorities — a relationship that endured for years and carried over into Ma’s subsequent job.

Ma remained in contact with the Chinese language intelligence officers after he joined the FBI as a contract linguist in 2004, at which level he used his work pc to repeat photographs of paperwork associated to missiles and weapon system know-how analysis. Over the following a number of years, he introduced a digital digital camera right into a safe FBI work space and photographed translation paperwork, and likewise stole secret data that he took with him to Asia, it was alleged.

A few of Ma’s journey drew scrutiny, prosecutors mentioned. In 2006, he returned house from Honolulu after a visit to Shanghai and was discovered to be carrying $20,000 and a set of golf golf equipment that he didn’t beforehand personal.

The Justice Division alleges that Ma and his co-conspirator additionally helped Chinese language intelligence officers determine suspected human sources. At one level, in accordance with an FBI affidavit, Ma obtained an electronic mail message from a Chinese language intelligence contact that had as an attachment {a photograph} of 5 puppies sitting on a park bench. The FBI believes the picture was meant to immediate Ma to rearrange for his former CIA colleague to supply data on 5 individuals who have been suspected of being informants.

The FBI undercover investigation took form in January 2019 when an official posing as a Chinese language intelligence officer met with Ma in his Honolulu workplace and confirmed him a video recording of the 2001 assembly in Hong Kong and requested for assist figuring out individuals who have been current.

Ma, apparently satisfied that the undercover officer was an precise intelligence officer, supplied the assistance and met once more with the officer two months later, when he accepted $2,000 for his work on China’s behalf, in accordance with courtroom papers.

He provided to do extra work for China, prosecutors mentioned, and met once more final week with the undercover officer, accepting a crimson envelope with $2,000 and saying that he wished “the motherland” to succeed.

A naturalized U.S. citizen born in Hong Kong, Ma was charged in federal courtroom in Honolulu with conspiring to collect and talk nationwide protection data for a international nation. He faces as much as life in jail if convicted, and is because of make his first courtroom look Tuesday.

A cellphone message left for a lawyer listed as Ma’s federal defender was not instantly returned Monday.

One other former CIA officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, was sentenced to 19 years in jail final November for an espionage conspiracy during which prosecutors say he obtained greater than $840,000 from China to reveal the names of human sources and his data of spycraft.