Confessed Spy Alexander Yuk Ching Ma Evidently Did Not Beat the Polygraph

Alexander Yuk Ching Ma
Alexander Yuk Ching Ma (LinkedIn profile picture)

On 18 August 2020, reported that Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, a former CIA officer and FBI contract linguist charged with espionage, had evidently beaten the polygraph to penetrate the FBI. It now seems clear that this was not the case.

On Friday, 24 May 2024, Ma pled guilty to “Conspiracy to Gather and Communicate National Defense Information of the United States to a Foreign Nation.” The Department of Justice’s “Memorandum of Plea Agreement” indicates that at the time Ma was hired by the FBI as a contract linguist, the FBI was already aware of Ma’s now admitted earlier espionage activity on behalf of China. The memorandum states in relevant part:

On or about March 21, 2003, the defendant applied for employment with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a contract linguist. The FBI, aware by this point of the defendant’s ties with [People’s Republic of China intelligence officers], made the determination to notionally hire the defendant to work at an FBI off-site location in Honolulu. This ruse, part-time hiring was for the purpose of monitoring and investigating the defendant’s activities and contacts with [People’s Republic of China intelligence officers]. The defendant began his contract employment with FBI in August of 2004 and was terminated from the position in October of 2012.

According to the plea agreement, “[t]he government and the defendant agree that the defendant shall serve a period of imprisonment of ten (10) years.” Sentencing has been scheduled for 11 September 2024.

Among other things, the plea agreement also includes an agreement by Ma to be polygraphed:

The defendant agrees that, upon request by the United States, the defendant will voluntarily submit to polygraph examinations to be conducted by a polygrap examiner of the United States’ choice. The defendant stipulates to the admissibility of the results of polygraph examinations if later offered in a proceeding to determine the defendant’s compliance with this plea agreement.

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