U.S. Rules Out Swap of Jailed Cuban Spy Ana Belen Montes 3

Mugshot_of_DIA_s_Ana_5_1_IH64TF61_L166332774By NORA GÁMEZ TORRES, ngameztorres@elnuevoherald.com

The Obama administration “has no intention” of releasing or swapping jailed Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes, according to a letter sent by the U.S. Department of State to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The Aug. 19 letter, obtained by el Nuevo Herald, followed a number of news reports pointing to the possibility of freeing Montes — a top Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst on Cuban affairs who is serving a 25-year prison sentence — in exchange for Cuba handing over American fugitive Assata Shakur, formerly known as Joanne Chesimard.

The letter, addressed to committee chairman U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., says the State Department “want(s) to assure you that the United States government has no intention of releasing or exchanging Montes.”

Nunes had written to Obama on July 12 urging the president not to release or swap Montes, calling her “one of the most brazen traitors in U.S. history.” The State Department wrote that it was “responding on the president’s behalf.”

Montes, one of the top foreign spies captured in recent years, authored some of the key U.S. intelligence assessments on Cuba. She was arrested in 2001 and was sentenced in 2002 after she pleaded guilty to spying for Cuba throughout her 16 years at the DIA.

Montes was — and remains — unrepentant. She betrayed the public trust, the security of the United States and her oath to support and defend the constitution while remaining loyal to the Castro brothers in Havana,” Nunes wrote. “Ana Belen Montes richly deserved her 25-year prison sentence, and must serve every day of it.”

“She betrayed the public trust, the security of the United States and her oath to support and defend the constitution while remaining loyal to the Castro brothers in Havana” — U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

Montes, who is of Puerto Rican descent, declared in a 2015 interview with the blog Cayo Hueso, which supports the Cuban government, that she has not changed. “I will not be silenced. My commitment to the island cannot be ignored,” she was quoted as saying.

Nunes’ letter noted that because of her senior post at DIA, Montes has compromised every single U.S. intelligence collection program that targeted Cuba, revealed the identity of four covert U.S. intelligence agents who traveled to Cuba and provided Havana with information that could have wound up in the hands of other U.S. enemies.

“In short, Montes was one of the most damaging spies in the annals of American intelligence,” the committee chairman wrote.

Article continues here:  No Deal For Montes


Iran, Cuba seek closer ties 1

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) shakes hands with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez on arrival at the Foreign Ministry building in the Cuban capital of Havana, August 22, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) shakes hands with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez on arrival at the Foreign Ministry building in the Cuban capital of Havana, August 22, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has met with Cuba’s President Raul Castro while on the first leg of a six-nation tour of Latin American countries.

The meeting took place on Monday in the Cuban capital of Havana, where the top Iranian diplomat arrived on Sunday night at the head of a high-ranking politico-economic delegation.

The two statesmen discussed the development of bilateral ties, international and Middle East affairs, as well as the upcoming summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which is to be held in Venezuela later in the year.

Zarif earlier met with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez and the country’s Minister of Economy and Vice-President Ricardo Cabrisas.

In his meeting with Rodriguez, Zarif said he sought to “open a new chapter in bilateral relations with Cuba.”

The top Cuban diplomat, for his part, hailed “the Iranian foreign policy’s victory” in reaching a landmark nuclear agreement with world powers and the deal’s subsequent implementation.

Cabrisas visited Iran earlier in August, when he handed over a written message by President Castro to President Hassan Rouhani. He said Havana sought the promotion of all-out relations with Tehran.

Zarif leads a group of 120 businessmen and financial executives from government and private sectors. He has now arrived in Nicaragua on the second leg of his Latin American trip, which will also take him to Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, and Venezuela.  (Source:  Spy News Agency)

Editor’s Note: Directorate General of Intelligence (DGI) officer Ricardo Belen Cabrisas Ruiz served as the Commercial Counselor in Ontario from approximately January 1967 through at least October 1970. According to a declassified Defense Department intelligence report, known DGI officer Ricardo Belen Cabrisas Ruiz then served as Ambassador to Japan. He subsequently became Cuba’s Foreign Trade Minister sometime prior to October 1983. In the mid-2000s, he served as Minister of Government within the Office of the President.

In the late 1980s, the DGI was reorganized and renamed the Directorate of Intelligence (DI).

Expelled Spy (& Cuba’s Current Director of US Relations) Condemns U.S. For Its “Hostile Policies” 6

Josefina Vidal, Director General of the U.S. division at Cuba's Foreign Ministry, gestures as she speaks with the media at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. The United States and Cuba claimed progress Friday toward ending a half-century diplomatic freeze, suggesting they could clear some of the biggest obstacles to their new relationship within weeks. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Josefina Vidal, Director General of the U.S. division at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Cuban leader: ‘It’s up to US to dismantle its hostile policies’

By Emma Johnson, The Militant, Vol 80/No. 30, August 15, 2016

“Relations between Cuba and the U.S. have been asymmetric; therefore it is up to the U.S. to dismantle hostile unilateral policies,” said Josefina Vidal, who leads Cuba’s negotiating team with Washington. “Cuba doesn’t have any comparable policies.”

Vidal, director general for U.S. affairs at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations, spoke to the Cuban Communist Party’s daily Granma on the anniversary of the reopening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington on July 20 last year, some 54 years after the U.S. government unilaterally severed diplomatic relations with Havana.

Since the 1959 deep-going social revolution in Cuba, which brought a workers and farmers government to power, Washington has used sabotage, an attempted invasion, diplomatic isolation and an unprecedented economic embargo to try to overturn the rule of the working class and its allies.

Recognizing that more than 50 years of this course had failed to accomplish its aims, President Barack Obama—and a substantial majority in the ruling class he represents—decided it was time to try something else. Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced Dec. 17, 2014, the beginning of talks to restore diplomatic relations. Simultaneously, the last of the Cuban Five, revolutionaries imprisoned by Washington for over 16 years, were released and returned home to Cuba.

Vidal said achievements of talks since then include the removal of Cuba from the State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism and the creatio

n of the Cuba-U.S. Bilateral Commission. “It was important to have a mechanism of this type to address unresolved issues, cooperation in areas of mutual interest and talks on bilateral and multilateral matters,” she said. Ten such agreements have been signed and others are currently being negotiated related to drug trafficking, search and rescue, ocean oil-spill response and meteorology.

Embargo remains in force

But the bulk of Washington’s economic embargo still remains in force, she said. Imports from the U.S. to Cuba are severely restricted, exports from Cuba to the U.S. virtually impossible and banking relations have not been normalized. Cuba can still not make financial transfers, and the U.S. government continues to impose heavy fines on banks and foreign financial entities that do business there.

The Obama administration has imposed penalties totaling more than $14 billion, “a record amount in the history of the application of the blockade against our country,” Vidal said, “on U.S. and foreign entities for their legitimate associations with Cuba.” This continues to have “an intimidating effect on U.S. and international banks. Thus far, the U.S. government has failed to issue a political statement or legal document explaining to world banks that operations with Cuba are legitimate, and that they won’t be sanctioned.”

Article continues here:  Victim Vidal

Editor’s Note:  Vidal was thrown out of the United States in May 2003 as part of a mass expulsion of 16 Cuban spies serving under diplomatic cover.



Will St Pete Become Havana’s Newest Spy Base? 6

 The Cuban consular general and his second in command were in town Saturday to tour St. Petersburg, shown here from just south of downtown with Fourth Street running north.

The Cuban consular general and his second in command were in town Saturday to tour St. Petersburg, shown here from just south of downtown with Fourth Street running north.

Cuban Officials Touring St. Petersburg This Weekend as They Eye Consulate Location

By Paul Guzzo, Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer

Tampa has the historic and cultural link to Cuba, but it might be St. Petersburg that lands the first Cuban Consulate in the United States in more than five decades.

Alejandro Padrón, Cuba’s consular general from its embassy in Washington, D.C., and his second in command, Armando Bencomo, were in St. Petersburg on Saturday and took a tour of its real estate assets that was led by Dave Goodwin, the city’s director of planning and economic development.

Such a tour did not take place in Tampa.

“They have some interest in our city and they want to get to know more about it,” said Joni James, CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, which along with the University of South Florida’s Patel College of Global Sustainability sponsored the delegation’s trip.

“We are happy to help them learn what a great place it would be to have a consulate.”

Kanika Tomalin, the deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, described the tour as “pretty comprehensive” but did not provide specifics on where they visited.

“They will understand what the city can offer their goals,” she said.

There is competition between Tampa and St. Petersburg to host the Cuban Consulate.

The Tampa City Council, Hills- borough County Commission and Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce have voted in favor of bringing the consulate to their community.

The chamber also sent a delegation to Cuba in May 2015.

Each has heavily promoted that Tampa and Cuba share a connection dating to the founding of Ybor City in the late 1800s by immigrants from the island nation.

Later, Tampa was a staging ground for Cuba’s War of Independence against colonialist Spain. And with Cuban tobacco, Tampa would go on to become Cigar City.

But the St. Petersburg City Council voted for a consulate to open in that city as well.

The St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership also sent two delegations to Cuba in the past year and welcomed one from the island nation to its city in December.

Feature continues here:  Will St Pete Become Havana’s Newest Spy Base?

Editor’s Note:  When the United States ended diplomatic relations with Cuba in the early 1960s, the Castro regime had been conducting its espionage operations from a network of over two dozen consulates and Prensa Latina (news agency) sites from coast to coast. Since the theft of US economic, political and military secrets provides one of the largest revenue streams flowing the regime, Havana dearly wants its “diplomatic” spy network back to further increase its espionage effectiveness and drive down costs.  



Is Clinton responsible for NJ cop-killer’s Chesimard’s freedom? The facts and history Reply

By Louis C. Hochman, New Jersey 101.5

Above: Joanne Chesimard was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted List in 2013.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took the stage at the Republican National Convention Tuesday prepared to attack.

He presented a seething indictment of former Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton — holding her to account for everything from Boko Haram’s abduction of more than 200 girls to the bloody civil war in Syria that’s cost more then 400,000 lives.

Fact-checkers have been giving the allegations a mixed rating — the consensus is most of Christie’s statements had at least some truth, but some were missing important context.

For instance: Clinton’s State Department did hold off on naming Boko Haram a terrorist organization, but as part of a strategy it hoped would more successfully curb the group’s activities without lending it credibility in the region, and while putting many of its leaders on terror lists. The State Department eventually named Boko Haram a terrorist organization in late 2013, several months after Clinton’s tenure as secretary ended.

But perhaps the most striking allegation for New Jersey residents — that Clinton, in effect, “rewarded” the convicted murderer of a New Jersey State Trooper with safety in Cuba.

Read More: Is Clinton responsible for NJ cop-killer’s Chesimard’s freedom? The facts and history

This Traitor Belongs in Jail, Not Free in Cuba 2

Ana Montes in 1997 receives a commendation from then-CIA Director George Tenet. She was later revealed as spy for Cuba. Photo: Courtesy of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Montes spied on her own country for Castro, doing much damage, yet Obama may soon liberate her.

By Devin Nunes, Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration is reportedly in secret negotiations with Cuba that would result in the release from federal prison of one of the most damaging American spies in U.S. history. Such an extraordinary gesture would be preposterous for many reasons.

Ana Belén Montes, who is serving a 25-year sentence as part of a 2002 plea deal, was a U.S. Justice Department official with a top-secret security clearance when she was approached by Cuban intelligence agents in 1984. At the time the Cuban regime ran a pervasive spying program against the U.S., as it still does today, though then it often acted in conjunction with the Soviet Union. A devoted sympathizer of radical Latin American regimes, Ms. Montes quickly agreed to spy for Havana, thus beginning a 16-year-long betrayal of the U.S.

As prosecutors later showed, Ms. Montes took a secret trip to Cuba to meet with her new spymasters, then sought government positions with greater access to classified information that would be useful to the Castro regime. In 1985 she began working for the Defense Intelligence Agency, which specializes in military intelligence. Ms. Montes quickly rose through DIA ranks, eventually becoming the agency’s leading Cuba analyst. She was granted access to top-secret classified information that she would memorize at work and type up at home, later passing the information to her Cuban handlers.

As I conveyed in a July 12 letter to President Obama, it is difficult to overstate the damage caused by Ms. Montes’s treachery. In May 2012, Michelle Van Cleave, the former head of U.S. counterintelligence who oversaw completion of the damage assessment on Ms. Montes, told Congress that her activities likely “contributed to the death and injury of American and pro-American forces in Latin America,” and that she compromised other, broader intelligence programs.

Nevertheless, press reports indicate that the Obama administration is considering releasing Ms. Montes to the Castro regime as part of a prisoner swap for American fugitives from justice now sheltered in Cuba.

Feature continues here:  Traitor




Ignoring Science After Cuban Spy Ana Belen Montes Beat the Polygraph, DoD IG Recommended More Polygraphs 1

dod-ig-seal-officialby AntiPolygraph.org

On Friday, 21 September 2001, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s senior analyst for Cuban affairs, 16-year veteran Ana Belen Montes, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit espionage for Cuba. News that Montes had beaten the polygraph while spying for Cuba was first reported here on AntiPolygraph.org by one of our forum members. That Montes beat the polygraph is confirmed by retired DIA counterintelligence investigator Scott W. Carmichael, who writes “She had successfully completed DIA’s counterintelligence scope polygraph examination in March 1994, seemingly with flying colors.”

More recently, it has been revealed that Montes and a friend, Marta Rita Velázquez, received training in polygraph countermeasures in Cuba before Montes started working for the DIA in 1985. Montes is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence.

The Department of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General conducted a review of the Montes case and on 16 June 2005 produced a top secret report titled, “Review of the Actions Taken to Deter, Detect and Investigate the Espionage Activities of Ana Belen Montes.” An unclassified version of the report (15 MB PDF) with major redactions has been publicly released.

The DoD IG reviewed over 250,000 pages of documentation but evidently failed to review the National Academy of Science’s (NAS) 2003 landmark report, The Polygraph and Lie Detection, which concluded, among other things, that “[polygraph testing’s] accuracy in distinguishing actual or potential security violators from innocent test takers is insufficient to justify reliance on its use in employee security screening in federal agencies.” The NAS report is nowhere mentioned in the Montes review.

The 180-page report devotes just a single page — half of which is redacted — to Montes’ having beaten the polygraph.

The Montes review makes several recommendations with respect to polygraph policy. In short, it calls for more research into polygraph countermeasures, retention of polygraph charts for 35 years, and requiring polygraph screening for everyone at DIA.

Faced with a Cuban spy who beat the polygraph, DoD consulted not the scientific literature on polygraphy, but rather turned to those with the most to hide — the federal polygraph community — and decided that more polygraphs is the answer.

Retired DIA counterintelligence officer Scott W. Carmichael notes that Montes was hardly the first Cuban spy to beat the polygraph:

Feature continues here:  Counter-Poly Ploys

Rubio: CNN’s Cuban Spy Documentary A Reminder That Ana Belen Montes Belongs In U.S. Prison 2

Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Marco Rubio

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued the following statement after last night’s airing of CNN’s Original Series “Declassified” documentary on convicted Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes, who reports earlier this year indicated has been discussed by the U.S. government and Cuban regime as part of a potential prisoner exchange:‎

“In recent months, there have been reports about a potential prisoner exchange between the U.S. and the Castro regime involving convicted Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes. After watching last night’s CNN documentary on Ana Belen Montes, I hope those who are contemplating making the mistake of releasing her, including anyone in the White House, realize how absurd an idea it is because of how her espionage against the U.S. endangered American lives, and that they drop this altogether.”

Last month, Rubio announced his opposition to the possibility of releasing Montes in exchange for Joanne Chesimard, who killed a New Jersey police officer and has been harbored by Cuba for decades.

The Most Dangerous U.S. Spy You’ve Never Heard Of 4

Ana Montes with then-Deputy DCI George Tenet, after receiving an award.

Ana Montes with then-Deputy DCI George Tenet, after receiving an award.

By Thom Patterson, CNN

Programming note: Explore untold stories of American spies: CNN Original Series “Declassified” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT only on CNN.

(CNN) — She put American combat troops in harm’s way, betrayed her own people and handed over so many secrets that experts say the U.S. may never know the full extent of the damage.

Ana Montes was the Queen of Cuba, an American who from 1985 to the September 11, 2001 attacks handed over U.S. military secrets to Havana while working as a top analyst for the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency.

But despite her crimes, Montes remains largely unknown.

You might not think Cuba could do much harm to a superpower like the U.S., said retired DIA official Chris Simmons, appearing on CNN’s “Declassified.”

But you’d be wrong.

The threat increases, he said, when Havana goes on to sell those U.S. military secrets to nations like China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and North Korea.

Montes’ anger about U.S. foreign policy complicated her relationships and drew the attention of Cubans who enticed her to turn her back on friends, family and her own country.

The fascinating spycraft that surfaced from her case offers a rare glimpse into the invisible world of espionage, where some experts believe there could be as many as 100,000 foreign agents working inside the U.S.

The two Anas

Montes grew up like millions of other girls during the Cold War, in a large, middle-class family, the oldest of four children.

Born to Puerto Rican parents on a U.S. Army base in Germany in 1957, Montes‘ father served his country as an Army doctor. By the time Montes entered high school, her father had left the military and settled the family about an hour north of Washington, D.C., in Towson, Maryland.

She attended the University of Virginia, and in 1977 and 1978, she spent a liberating year studying in Spain. There, she met a Puerto Rican student named Ana Colon.

The two Anas quickly became friends — bonding through their Puerto Rican roots — not politics. “I had no political awareness whatsoever,” said Colon, now a Washington-area elementary school teacher.

Feature continues here:  Ana Montes