A former CIA officer is accused of selling classified information to Chinese intelligence officials. The espionage charge was unsealed Monday against Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, 67, who is alleged to have provided Chinese officials with information about CIA personnel, operations and the agency’s methods for concealing communications.
Federal prosecutors allege that Ma conspired with an 85-year-old relative who also served as a former CIA officer. The relative, who was unnamed and uncharged in the indictment due to his age, 85, and advanced cognitive disease, who also worked for the agency from 1967 to 1983.
The indictment says that at least as early as 2001, the two were already providing information to agents of Beijing’s Ministry of State Security.
“The trail of Chinese espionage is long and, sadly, strewn with former American intelligence officers who betrayed their colleagues, their country and its liberal democratic values to support an authoritarian communist regime,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said Thursday. “This betrayal is never worth it. To the Chinese intelligence services, these individuals are expendable. To us, they are sad but urgent reminders of the need to stay vigilant.”
Ma is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday in Hawaii. He is charged with conspiracy to communicate national defense information to aid a foreign government. If convicted, he faces a maximum punishment of life in prison.