CIA Agent Who Allegedly Spied For China Claims “Memory” Issues

( Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, a former CIA officer arrested last August for allegedly spying for China is arguing in court that he has memory issues – claiming that he believes he is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

On Wednesday, Birney Bervar, court-appointed attorney for Ma filed a request for a competency evaluation and subsequent hearing to determine whether Ma is competent to stand trial. Bervar said that Ma’s condition makes it hard for him to remember things which is affecting his ability to properly assist in his own defense.

Ma, a naturalized US citizen who was born in Hong Kong, worked at the Central Intelligence Agency from 1982 to 1989. He was arrested in mid-August 2020 and charged with violating espionage laws after having several meetings with Chinese intelligence officials where he allegedly shared information about the CIA.

At one meeting Ma is seen on video taking $50,000 in cash for the information he provided.

Ma then confirmed his actions during a 2019 meeting with an undercover FBI agent posing as an official from Chinese intelligence. At this second meeting, Ma accepted $2,000 in cash for information.

In a third meeting just two days before his arrest, Ma allegedly stated that he wanted “the motherland” to succeed.

According to Wednesday’s court filing, his attorney said that Ma told him in one of their previous meetings that he thought he was experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s. A sentiment Ma repeated again last week. Bervar points out that Ma has an older brother who developed Alzheimer’s disease ten years ago which has now completely disabled him.

His brother, who also worked for the CIA, was referenced in Ma’s indictment as a co-conspirator, however the government chose not to charge him because he was dealing with “an advanced and debilitating cognitive disease.”

Alexander Yuk Ching Ma is the latest former CIA agent to be charged with espionage. Two years ago, another former CIA officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, was sentenced to 19 years after pleading guilty to working with Chinese intelligence officials after leaving the CIA.