The following is an excerpt from the new book, Spyfail: Foreign Spies, Moles, Saboteurs, and the Collapse of America’s Counterintelligence by James Bamford:
The FBI’s website carries a stark warning.
“The counterintelligence and economic espionage efforts emanating from the government of China,” it says, “are a grave threat to the economic well-being and democratic values of the United States. Confronting this threat is the FBI’s top counterintelligence priority.”
Perhaps far worse is the threat to the lives of scores of courageous Chinese agents who have volunteered to spy for the US within their own country. Over the past decade, more than a dozen agents recruited by the CIA have been killed or imprisoned.
It now turns out that it was a Chinese spying suspect within the FBI’s counterintelligence division who may have been largely responsible. This person is said to have gone undetected with his activities for upward of two decades, until his quiet arrest in 2020. In a Hawaiian jail, he has a little-known case wrapped in layers of secrecy as he awaits trail.
In James Bamford’s new book, “Spyfail: Foreign Spies, Moles, Saboteurs, and the Collapse of America’s Counterintelligence,” he peels back many of those hidden layers.
In the spring of 2001, Chinese intelligence was on a very big roll. On April 1, a Navy EP-3 electronic spy plane, operated by the National Security Agency and on patrol along the Chinese coast, was forced to make an emergency landing on China’s Hainan Island.
After evacuating the crew, Chinese intelligence agents went to work extracting some of the agency’s most secret espionage and cryptologic equipment, along with piles of documents classified above top secret. An enormous windfall, the hardware, software, and documents gave Chinese intelligence critical insight into the NSA’s targets in their country, and the methods used to spy on them.
And less than a week earlier, Chinese intelligence came upon another intelligence bonanza when two former CIA clandestine officers, one born in Shanghai and the other in Hong Kong, agreed to change sides. . . . .(read more on Business Insider)
Typical Bureau headline:
Former CIA Officer Arrested and Charged with Espionage
Ma worked for the CIA from 1982 to 1989. He worked for the FBI from 2004 to 2020.