Vastavam web: A Honolulu resident who spent years working for the Central Intelligence Agency and as a contractor for the Federal Bureau of Investigation was charged Monday with spying on the U.S. and selling state secrets to China. While working for the CIA, according to court documents unsealed Monday, Ma held top secret clearance while assigned, for at least part of the time, to the East Asia and Pacific regions.
The designation was important, prosecutors say, because it allowed Ma to become intimately familiar with matters relating to CIA training procedures, communications protocols and the “details of clandestine tradecraft” that the agency employs to avoid detection by other government intelligence services. In March 2001, Ma is alleged to have conducted a series of at least five meetings with Chinese intelligence officials in Hong Kong ― meetings which, according to court documents, were recorded and later reviewed by the FBI.
During those meetings, Ma is believed to have ‘voluntarily and knowingly’ conveyed to Chinese intelligence agents a variety of material information about CIA protocols, including information about human assets and CIA officer identities. Ma’s alleged espionage continued after he was hired as a Chinese linguist contractor for the FBI in 2004, court documents claim.
Among other crimes during his tenure with the FBI, Ma is accused of using an FBI computer to burn documents about a guided missile system onto a CD and using a digital camera to photograph classified documents. Early last year, the FBI conducted an operation against Ma in which an undercover agent posed as a Chinese intelligence agent during a meeting at Ma’s Honolulu business office.