This is a feature story from the August issue of our Insider Signal Plus Newsletter in which iThreat and Michael Gips share our insights on important stories about insider threat incidents and how organizations can prevent, reduce, and respond to similar insider threat incidents. Would you like to make sure you are aware of insider and other threats facing your organization? Need to figure out who is behind the aliases, groups, websites, and communities targeting your executives, key staff, intellectual property, sensitive information, facilities, business reputation, brands, and business continuity? SignalAlert Monitoring and Investigations Programs help our clients address these problems and more.
Feature image via US Justice Department via South China Morning Post (scmp.com); A screen grab from a video made in August 2019 shows Alexander Yuk Ching Ma allegedly counting money given to him by an undercover FBI agent.
The FBI arrested Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, 67, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, for allegedly conspiring with a relative who also was a former CIA officer to leak Top Secret classified information to Chinese intelligence officials. A naturalized U.S. citizen born in Hong Kong, Ma worked for the CIA from 1982 to 1989, after which he moved to Shanghai. He moved to Hawaii in 2001, where he got a job as a contract linguist at the FBI’s Honolulu Field Office, translating classified Chinese documents. That position gave him the opportunity to provide valuable information to Chinese authorities.
- According to court documents, beginning with a meeting in Hong Kong in March 2001 and lasting a decade, Ma and his relative conspired with each other and Chinese intelligence officials to convey classified national defense information.
- At the Hong Kong meeting, Ma and his colleague provided information to the foreign intelligence service about the CIA’s personnel, operations, and methods of concealing communications.
- Part of the Hong meeting was caught on video, including a scene where Ma receives $50,000 in cash in exchange for intelligence.
- Over the following six years, Ma regularly copied, photographed, and stole documents that displayed U.S. classification markings such as “SECRET.”
- Ma provided documents and images to his Chinese handlers during his trips to that country.
- Ma would return from China with thousands of dollars in cash and expensive gifts, such as golf clubs.
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