Former CIA Officer Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Espionage: Conspired With Chinese Intelligence

Alexander Yuk Ching Ma

Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, a 71-year-old former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer from Honolulu, admitted to conspiring to gather and deliver national defense information to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), according to court documents revealed on Thursday, May 24, 2024.

The plea agreement disclosed that Ma and a blood relative, identified as co-conspirator #1, were naturalized U.S. citizens originally from Hong Kong and Shanghai, respectively.

Both individuals served as CIA officers with access to top-secret information and were bound by non-disclosure agreements.

After leaving the CIA, Ma collaborated with intelligence officers from the PRC’s Shanghai State Security Bureau (SSSB) in March 2001.

He persuaded CC #1 to meet with SSSB officers in Hong Kong, where they shared classified U.S. national defense information over three days. In return, the SSSB provided CC #1 with $50,000 in cash.

In March 2003, Ma applied for a position as a contract linguist at the FBI Honolulu Field Office. Aware of his ties to PRC intelligence, the FBI hired Ma to monitor his activities and investigate his connections with the PRC.

During his employment with the FBI, Ma persuaded CC #1 to provide classified information to SSSB officers in February 2006.

As part of the plea agreement, Ma agreed to cooperate with U.S. government agencies and faces a sentence of 10 years in prison. The sentencing is scheduled for September 11.

The FBI Honolulu and Los Angeles Field Offices conducted the investigation.