Indictment Details Spy Accusations
By Tracey Eaton, Along the Malecon
Friday, April 26, 2013
The U.S. government’s case against Marta Rita Velázquez is a tale of intrigue and clandestine travel, false passports and secret meetings.
Prosecutors say Velázquez introduced Ana Belén Montes to Cuban agents in 1984 and later helped Montes land a job with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. Montes went on to become one of the most damaging spies in U.S. history, authorities say. She was arrested in 2001, convicted in 2002 and sent to prison.
In 2003, a grand jury charged Velázquez with one count of conspiracy to commit espionage. The indictment was filed on Feb. 5, 2004, but remained under court seal until Thursday. It’s unclear why U.S. authorities unsealed it now, more than nine years after the indictment. Velázquez is thought to be living in Stockholm, Sweden. I called what I believe to be her mobile phone number. I heard a message in a language I do not understand, and left a message.
A Swedish reporter also called Velázquez‘s number and said that a woman answered, irritated, and said, “What? Who is it? Oh, OK,” and then hung up. The Swedish TT news agency reported that Velázquez is now a Swedish citizen.
The Washington Post reported that U.S. authorities in December 2011 told Velázquez “she was under suspicion.” The U.S. extradition treaty with Sweden does not include espionage in crimes requiring extradition.
The Local, an English-language newspaper in Sweden, reported Friday that Velázquez‘s husband was an official in Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The paper did not name the husband, but said: The acts of espionage were carried out while the two were married.
Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Charlotta Ozaki Macías confirmed that the ministry had been aware of the case for years. “The Foreign Ministry official with a connection to the case is not guilty of criminal activity,” she told the TT news agency. The Swedish man remains in service at the ministry. Sweden has not received any requests to extradite the woman to the US, according to Per Claréus, press secretary to Justice Minister Beatrice Ask. He told TT that if the US was to send an extradition request, it would be refused.
The indictment alleges that Velázquez carried out the following overt acts:
• September 1983: Traveled secretly to Mexico City, intending to meet Cuban agents, but they evidently did not show up.
• Spring of 1984: Took Montes to dinner and told her she “had friends who could help Montes in Montes‘ expressed wish to assist the people of Nicaragua.”
• July 31, 1984: Wrote Montes a letter stating, “It has been a great satisfaction for me to have had you as a friend and comrade (compañera) during this time we’ve spent as students. I hope our relationship continues outside the academic sphere.”
• Fall of 1984: Invited Montes to travel with her from Washington, D.C., to New York “ostensibly to meet a friend who could provide Montes with an opportunity to assist the Nicaraguan people.”
• Dec. 16, 1984: Went with Montes by train to New York and met with a Cuban intelligence official who worked at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations and was identified in the indictment only as “M.” Velázquez later told Montes that “M” told Velázquez that Montes “would be one of the best.”
• Early 1985: Gave Montes and (sic) typewriter and instructed her to write a detailed biography, including a description of the Justice Department job she had at the time. The two again traveled to New York to meet with “M.”
Story continues here: Indictment Details Spy Accusations