Former CIA officer faces accusation of spying for China

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CIA officer Alexander Yuk Ching Ma has joined a list of former intelligence officials accused by the US federal prosecutors of spying on behalf of China.

Mr Ma is accused of spying for China in a case involving selling of US sensitive defence secrets to the Chinese government.

Court documents in Hawaii on Monday August 17, 2020, showed an espionage case, detailing how Mr Ma allegedly handed over defence secret information about CIA’s personnel and tradecraft to Chinese intelligence.

Mr Ma received tens of thousands of dollars in return of the sales for over a 10-year period, according to the court documents.

Further information revealed that Mr Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, who is a naturalised US citizen but born in Hong Kong, told an undercover FBI agent posing as a Chinese intelligence officer earlier this month that he wanted “the motherland” to succeed.

Senior officers accused the 67-year of espionage, calling him a traitor.

Assistant attorney general to national security John Deere said in a statement that “The trail of Chinese espionage is long and, sadly, strewn with former American intelligence officers who betrayed colleagues, and its liberal democratic values to support an authoritarian communist regime.”

Tension between the two countries is peaking as the Trump administration has increasingly shamed Beijing for its alleged attempts to steal national security and trade secrets.

Mr Ma was arrested on Friday for conspiracy to communicate national defence information to aid a foreign government.

He served in the CIA from 1982 to 1989 and began selling secrets in 2001 amid three days of meetings in a Hong Kong hotel room with five officials from Chinese intelligence services.

The prosecutors said there is evidence of Mr Ma’s alleged espionage, including a meeting scene captured on video in which he is seen receiving and counting $70,000 in cash.

The Justice Department has brought at least three other counterintelligence cases against former US intelligence officials in the past three years.

Some of the accusations include selling secrets to the Chinese, marking some of the more brazen examples of what officials call a broad Chinese espionage campaign.

“The greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality, is the counterintelligence and economic espionage threat from China,” FBI director Christopher Wray said in July.

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