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Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, a former CIA officer, pleaded guilty to providing national defense information to China in exchange for money. He worked with an unnamed co-conspirator in 2001 to provide classified U.S. national defense information to Chinese intelligence officers. Ma later worked as a linguist with the FBI’s Honolulu Field Office from 2004 to 2012. The FBI, aware of Ma’s ties to Chinese intelligence, hired him to work at an off-site location where his activities could be monitored and his contacts with China investigated. During his employment with the FBI, Ma allegedly took photos of sensitive documents to share with Chinese handlers.

Ma confessed that he knew the information he provided to Chinese intelligence officers would be used to harm the United States or benefit China. As part of his plea agreement, Ma must cooperate with U.S. government agencies, including submitting to debriefings. If the court accepts his plea, he faces a sentence of 10 years in federal prison at a hearing scheduled for September 11. Ma’s guilty plea highlights the seriousness of espionage and providing classified information to foreign governments. The case underscores the risks associated with working for U.S. intelligence agencies and the consequences of betraying national security interests.

The Justice Department’s release on Ma’s guilty plea did not disclose the identity of his co-conspirator or the specifics of the classified information he provided to China. Ma’s actions raise concerns about the potential damage caused by individuals within U.S. intelligence agencies who betray their country for personal gain. The FBI’s decision to hire Ma as part of an investigative plan demonstrates the agency’s efforts to monitor and investigate individuals suspected of working with foreign intelligence services. Ma’s case serves as a cautionary tale for anyone considering engaging in espionage or providing classified information to foreign governments.

The plea agreement requires Ma to fully cooperate with U.S. government agencies, suggesting that he may provide valuable information to help prevent similar incidents in the future. The DOJ’s emphasis on the potential harm caused by Ma’s actions underscores the seriousness of national security threats posed by insiders working within U.S. intelligence agencies. Ma’s guilty plea serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by law enforcement and intelligence agencies in detecting and preventing espionage activities. The court’s acceptance of Ma’s plea and the subsequent sentencing will send a strong message about the consequences of betraying national security interests.

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