This Month in History: CIA Recruited Wife of Cuban Spy 1

December 1964:  The CIA recruited Maria del Carmen y Ruiz to serve as an intelligence agent. The Agency selected her, in part, because she was married to Alfredo Ruiz, a senior Cuban Intelligence Officer.  He entertained frequently, which provided her with excellent placement and access to key officials — a requirement for her CIA mission. However, in January 1969, she was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison following a two-hour trial. She was released less than nine years into her sentence after Senator Frank Church personally intervened on her behalf.


One comment

  1. She was arrested by G-2 agents in a Havana park while trying to relay a secret radio message to the CIA.

    Following her release she sued the CIA for 1 million dollars, claiming she had not been properly trained in detecting surveillance during the month that preceded her return to Cuba. This may be true but countersurveillance is one of the most difficult espionage tradecrafts and even professional officers do not master it satisfactorily. And the G-2 agents were working on their home ground.

    María del Carmen´s suit reminds us of Alan Gross who also claimed that USAID din not warn him about the dangers of working in Cuba. Government agencies can sometimes be sloppy in their work and staffed with inept operatives that endanger the lives of their human sources and land them in jail. It would be interesting to know to what extent such government operatives pay the price of their mistakes.

    Sergio Klein
    Dec. 11, 2012

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