Memory Issues Used as Defense  by Former CIA Officer Accused of Espionage for China

Former CIA Officer and contract linguist for the FBI facing a life sentence after he was arrested in August 2020 on espionage charges, decided to use mental health card in his defense, asking for a mental competency evaluation, The Hill writes.

Alexander Yuk Ching Ma told his court-appointed lawyer Birney Bervar he is having trouble remembering things and believes he has early Alzheimer’s disease that impairs his ability to assist properly in his defense, compelling him to file a motion for a mental competency evaluation for his client.

Ching Ma, who worked for the CIA from 1982 to 1989, is accused for conspiracy with his older brother to communicate national defense information to aid a foreign government, China in this case, after he unknowingly revealed his actions to the FBI.

Ma, naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Hong Kong, reportedly accepted $2,000 in cash for a classified info from an undercover FBI agent who was posing as Beijing intelligence official, telling him in a later meeting  two days before his arrest that he wants “the motherland” to succeed.

Prosecutors did not charge his brother, who is completely disabled by the disease.

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