The Forgotten Spy: Ana Belen Montes 1

Convicted spy Ana Belen Montes

Convicted spy Ana Belen Montes

By Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), THE HILL

In the 12 months since President Obama publically announced his normalization effort with the communist Castro regime, the White House should have learned two painful lessons. First, the Castro brothers have not and will not change their oppressive ways. Second, the regime’s role as “intelligence trafficker to the world” ensures it will continue seeking opportunities to undermine U.S. national security.

The Cuban military and intelligence service will use this rapprochement as a pretext to expand Cuba’s espionage efforts within our borders.

One year ago, as a concession to the Castro regime, Obama made the grave mistake of releasing the last three of five incarcerated Cuban spies known as the “Cuban Five.” These five Cuban intelligence agents were arrested by federal authorities in 1998 and subsequently convicted on several counts, including failing to register as a foreign agents, using false identities, and conspiracy to commit espionage. The network’s leader, Gerardo Hernandez, was also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder for his involvement in the shoot down of two U.S. search and rescue aircraft operated by Brothers to the Rescue, which led to the murder of three U.S. citizens and one U.S. legal permanent resident.

Cuban Military Intelligence officer Hernandez, head of the espionage ring known as the Wasp Network, was convicted in 2001. Soon thereafter, the Cubans aggressively aided the San Francisco-based National Committee to Free the Cuban Five. Now, the Cuban regime and their sympathizers are taking similar actions on behalf of Ana Belen Montes. Press reports suggest Washington and Havana are thinking about another spy trade, but this time for Montes, the highest-ranking American ever convicted of spying for Fidel Castro in our history.

A senior analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, Montes was arrested on September 21, 2001, just ten days after September 11. She later pled guilty to spying and was sentenced to a 25-year prison term. The timing of her arrest was based on the fact that the U.S. government did not want a spy in the Pentagon to endanger American combatants headed to Afghanistan.

Montes had learned of military plans for our operations in Afghanistan and we did not want her to pass along that information to our adversaries. For several years during the latter half of the 1980s, she routinely provided Cuba with information on El Salvador’s Armed Forces and its embedded U.S. advisors. In a notorious March 1987 incident, a major Salvadoran base was attacked mere weeks after Montes visited it. Sixty-eight Salvadoran soldiers and their Green Beret adviser were killed during the battle. Simply put, Montes probably has the blood of one American on her hands and the U.S. didn’t want to risk the lives of untold Americans, including American service men and women.

Feature continues here: Montes – Forgotten Spy

 

 

Advertisements

Cuba Intensifying Campaign To Free Jailed Spy Ana Belen Montes 7

Convicted spy Ana Belén Montes -- formerly the Defense Intelligence Agency's lead analyst on Cuban affairs.

Convicted spy Ana Belén Montes — formerly the Defense Intelligence Agency’s lead analyst on Cuban affairs.

14 years of complete isolation in a US prison. Why did Ana Belén Montes cooperate with Cuba?

Solidarity with Cuba and Cuban solidarity with the peoples of the world is one of the core values ​​against which the enemies of the Cuban Revolution are shattered. It is one of our main strengths.

By Néstor García Iturbe

Many people living in countries with vast wealth and high technological advancement, would want their government to lead their nation’s foreign policy differently, not as an instrument of the wealthy to increase their own profits, but to use all those resources for the benefit and improvement of the living conditions of those who have less money, both in their own country and in the world.

They want their country, rather than being feared, to be loved. That war is not the main feature of its foreign policy, it is the peaceful resolution of differences. That the billions intended to cause death, are instead intended to avoid it and improve living conditions. That instead of organizing actions to wipe out the industry and agriculture of other nations, they were dedicated to promote industry and increase agricultural production as a way of fighting hunger suffered by many countries.

They want to feel proud to be citizens of that country, instead of feeling embarrassed. That their flags will be respected, not burned. And instead of listening “go home” they hear “you are home.”

These surely are the reflections of millions of Americans. That fifty percent of the population who do not attend the polls to vote, not to give legitimacy to a system on which they do not have confidence or hope. Among this mass of people, we can include comrade Ana Belén Montes.

Ana Belen’s attitude in the trial to which she was subjected can be described as honest. She expressed her criteria for how the government should conduct US foreign policy.

Ana Belen said: “There is an Italian proverb which is perhaps the best way to describe what I think: ‘The whole world is one country.’ In this ‘country world,’the principle of loving your neighbor as much as you love yourself is an essential rule for harmonious relations among all of our neighboring countries.

“This principle implies tolerance and understanding towards the different ways of doing things of others. It states that we should treat other nations in the way we want to be treated —with respect and consideration. It is a principle which, unfortunately, I think we have never applied to Cuba.”

Feature continues here: “Free Montes” Campaign Intensifying

Editor’s Note: Retired Directorate of Intelligence (DI) Colonel Néstor García Iturbe is one of the regime’s top experts in the targeting of Americans. He culminated his official espionage career as the Director of the Superior Institute of Intelligence (ISI), where Havana’s civilian intelligence officers are trained.

Retired Directorate of Intelligence (DI) Colonel Néstor García Iturbe

Retired Directorate of Intelligence (DI) Colonel Néstor García Iturbe

Crean en La Habana el Comité Cubano Pro Libertad de Ana Belén Montes 3

Sus promotores piden que EEUU indulte a la espía, encarcelada desde 2001.

Sus promotores piden que EEUU indulte a la espía, encarcelada desde 2001.

Por diariodecuba.com

El Comité Cubano Pro Libertad de Ana Belén Montes, la espía del régimen que fue detenida en 2001, ha sido creado recientemente en La Habana, según informó el portal procastrista Cubainformación.

El grupo, que anuncia la creación de comités similares en todo el mundo, reclama el “indulto presidencial” para la agente, que fue funcionaria de la Agencia de Inteligencia para la Defensa (DIA) de Estados Unidos.

Montes fue arrestada el 20 de septiembre de 2001, en Washington, por agentes del FBI, acusada de conspiración para cometer espionaje a favor del régimen castrista

Actualmente se encuentra encarcelada en el Federal Medical Center (FMC) en Carswell, dentro de las instalaciones militares de la Estación Aérea de la Marina estadounidense en Fort Worth, en Texas.

Los promotores del indulto afirman que Montes no recibió dinero del Gobierno cubano y que no fue reclutada “por medio de sórdidos chantajes”.

Aseguran que Montes afrontó los riesgos de su acción “por amor a la justicia, y por honrada solidaridad” con la dictadura castrista.

“Ella merece ahora más que nunca el indulto presidencial ya que hoy Estados Unidos habla de una relación ‘normal’ respecto a Cuba”, dicen los organizadores del nuevo comité.

A Cold Case With Connections to Cuba? 4

 A Cuban man, Slain in 1995, Was Preparing to Testify About Cuba’s Bioweapons Capabilities to Congress, el Nuevo Herald has Learned

FILE--Cuban exiles Liliam Rosa Morales , shown here, and husband Manuel Ramirez were murdered in an execution-style shooting in Coral Gables shortly after midnight on Feb. 2, 1995. CM GUERRERO / EL NUEVO HERALD STAFF

FILE–Cuban exiles Liliam Rosa Morales , shown here, and husband Manuel Ramirez were murdered in an execution-style shooting in Coral Gables shortly after midnight on Feb. 2, 1995. CM GUERRERO / EL NUEVO HERALD STAFF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Juan O. Tamayo, JTamayo@elNuevoHerald.com

When Cuban exiles Lilian Rosa Morales and husband Manuel Ramirez were murdered in an execution-style shooting in Coral Gables shortly after midnight on Feb. 2, 1995, most news reports on the case focused on Morales.

After all, Morales, 25, was known as the host of a radio program on astrology and a flashy dresser who favored big hats in vivid colors. The reports noted that her recent New Year’s prediction that Fidel Castro would survive 1995 might have angered a listener.

Ramirez, 57, was mentioned in the reports only as her husband. They said he had died at Jackson Memorial Hospital soon after Morales was pronounced dead at the scene, around the corner from the WCMQ radio station on Ponce de Leon Boulevard.

Few people, in fact, knew at the time that Ramirez was a very important man. He had led the construction of Cuba’s top-security biological laboratories in the 1980s and was preparing to testify about the island’s bioweapons capabilities to the U.S. Congress when the couple was murdered, el Nuevo Herald has learned.

Ramirez also had directed the construction of some of Cuban ruler Fidel Castro’s offices and several military bunkers, and had received a U.S. visa under a semi-secret “national interest” program for top island defectors managed by exiles in Miami.

A former Cuban government official has now told the newspaper that the killer was a petty Havana thief living in Miami who was ordered by Havana officials, perhaps Castro himself, to murder Ramirez for allegedly stealing $2 million from the government.

The killer was nicknamed “Indio” and was rewarded afterward with permission to traffic narcotics from the island to South Florida, said the former government official, who asked to remain anonymous because of fear of retaliation.

No one was ever charged with the murders. The former official’s tale could not be confirmed independently, but some of his key assertions matched details of the case. The Miami-Dade Police Department declined to comment because the case remains active.

Role of Ramirez

Ramirez was clearly the star manager of Cuba’s key construction projects in the 1980s, including the Russian Embassy, the Convention Palace and eavesdropping-proof offices for Castro, which he listed in a nine-page résumé written shortly after he arrived in Miami in 1991.

Read more here: Cuban-Ordered Assasination

Cuban Spy Marta Rita Velázquez Revisited: Repost of a Great Summary by Tracey Eaton 1

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

Deadly Serious, the Cuban Spy Game Lives on in the Americas 2

By Jerry Brewer

If rhetoric alone was the official doctrine of world political institutions, both of the Cuban brothers that have dominated Cuban misery with iron fisted rule for 54 years, with influence and persuasion, would be kings.

As well, besides the deception and the smoke and mirrors, their spy network is the more sinister and most powerful tool in their ill-conceived repertoire and bag of tricks.

There are those who continue to insist and argue that Cuba is old news, a benign cold war relic that poses no threat to anyone. Yet the oppressed people that continue to suffer ever increasing human rights violations, by beatings, incarceration and other atrocities, valiantly try to get the word out daily to those that will pay attention.

Cuba’s authoritarian regime, and its vicious state security services, severely and perpetually restrict fundamental freedoms, repress political opponents, and aggressively violate human rights in this tired and archaic one-party communist system.

So today, one must ask, why not free the citizens of Cuba in this modern era and allow a quality of life, liberty and happiness to which they have a fundamental right?

Pressure by the world media, and never ending questions posed to Cuba’s government calling for immediate attention to human rights issues, always seem to get their attention – and the unleashing of the usual diatribes.

Marino Murillo, vice president of the Cuban Council of Ministers, an economist and former military officer, is a Politburo member and known as a reform czar. He recently stepped up to the world microphone and spewed, that during “the rest of this year and through the next the state would enact and carry through the next phase of its privatization and austerity measures, creating the most profound transformations.”

As the well informed and astute focus their eyes and ears on and through the nebulous screen of polluted political dialogue of this totalitarian dictatorship, the physical power behind the throne must be exposed once again.

Cuba’s intelligence and spy apparatus has been described as a “contingency of very well-trained, organized and financed agents.” Even the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, adopted the previous Soviet-styled Cuban intelligence service (DGI) as his model for Venezuela’s security service, known as SEBIN and G2.

Through Fidel Castro, his much admired mentor, Chavez closely relied on Cuban intelligence counterparts and advisors of the Cuban security service. The decaying and failing Cuban Revolution became Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution, and he imported the misery, violence, and human rights violations to Venezuela while holding on for dear life until death overcame him — in Cuba, as many believe.

Cuba has consistently maintained a well-organized and callous intelligence presence in Mexico, as have the Russians. Much of their activities have involved U.S. interests, including the recruiting of disloyal U.S. military, government, and private sector “specialists.” They continue this enthusiastically, on U.S. soil as well, evidenced in the Ana Belen Montes case — along with her recruiter, Marta Rita Velazquez, a graduate of Princeton University and Georgetown in Washington, D.C.

Montes would go on to lead a distinguished career at the Defense Intelligence Agency as a top Cuban analyst, winning awards, briefing the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and helping to soften U.S. policy toward Cuba until her capture.

Up until the end of 2012 there were an estimated 210,000 Cubans in Venezuela “as part of an alliance established by Hugo Chavez.” A number of agreements enabled Cubans to take part in a wide range of government plans that included national intelligence and security.

Retired Venezuelan army Major General Antonio Rivero, who was once a close advisor to Hugo Chavez, disclosed the in-depth meddling of Cuban advisors in security and defense matters in Venezuela.

In an interview with the daily newspaper El Universal, shortly before his detention, Rivero explained that he retrieved the entirety of information about Cuban meddling in Venezuela from garrisons throughout the country until 2010, when he was discharged.

And what does Cuban meddling continue to mean within this hemisphere, in itself besides the anti-democratic values?

Vociferous critics of the U.S., such as presidents Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, are a concern as they offer little to no support to their neighbors or the United States in drug and terrorism interdiction efforts.

This author has frequently spoken with Pedro Riera Escalante, who served the Castro regime in Mexico City (under the guise of a diplomat from 1986-1991), when then at least it was a major hub for espionage against the U.S. Riera was the Group Chief of Section Q-1, in charge of operations against the CIA.*

However, he eventually denounced the Fidel Castro dictatorship and was imprisoned. He called for a shift towards respect for human rights and democracy, before, during and after his sentence to prison in Cuba. His revelations of his orders from Cuba, and his actions in the secret war that has pitted Cuba versus the U.S. for decades in intelligence and espionage tradecraft, reveal a continuing process of Cuban subversion in this hemisphere.

* MexiData.info note: Pedro Riera Escalante, who had fallen under suspicion by Cuban officials, returned to Mexico using false papers. Forcibly deported by Mexican authorities in 2000, he was subsequently tried and convicted in Cuba on the false papers charges. Released after serving a three-year prison sentence, yet confined to the island, Riera was finally able to leave Cuba for Spain in December 2011.

Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia. His website is located at http://www.cjiausa.org/.

Edward Snowden May Be Cuba or Latin America Bound … Cuba Keeps Earning its Place on the State Sponsors of Terror List 2

By Jason Poblete, DC Dispatches

There are news reports this morning that NSA leaker Edward Snowden may be headed to Havana, Cuba to hide from U.S. authorities. If Snowden is going to Cuba, it is because he knows he will find safe-haven from U.S. law for doing things that have been extremely detrimental to our global war against radical Islam. If true, it further reinforces that the State Department’s recent report keeping Cuba on the state sponsors of terror list was the correct one.

Under U.S. law, the designation of placing a country on the list a legal and political decision by the Executive Branch. The legal justification is found in numerous laws including Sec. 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, Sec. 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and Sec. 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Cuba earned its spot on the state sponsors of terrorism list since 1982. Please note that the release of the report does not constitute that there was a review by the U.S. government.

Why has Cuba and the Cuban Communist Party earned the designation? Here is a small and partial list based solely on what is in the public domain:

1. Cuba has a large number of individual and entities listed on the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals List (based on numerous legal authorities);
2. The harboring of an FBI fugitive in Cuba since 1984: cop killer Joanne Chesimard. Chesimard was a member of the radical left-wing terrorist group, the Black Liberation Army and is wanted for her role in the first-degree murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. Trooper Foerster was shot and killed with his own weapon in the name of “black power”. There is a petition to have Chesimard extradited to the United States;
3. Cuba’s harboring of Chilean terrorists linked to the assassination of Senator Jaime Guzman, founder of one of Chile’s conservative political parties, the Independent Democratic Union (The death of a conservative leader does not rank very high with Cuban regime supporters in the United States;
4. The false peace process the Cuba claims to be brokering the past few years with the Colombian FARC terrorist group and Colombia’s government;
5. The harboring of FARC terrorists;
6. The Cuban regime’s support of Venezuela and vice-versa. I could write several articles on this gem. Venezuela should have been added to the state sponsors list years ago. But that is a subject for another post;
7. Harboring of Spain ETA terrorists;
8. Cuba’s close and ongoing relationship with state sponsor of terror Iran and others state sponsors of terrorism;
9. Cuba has engaged, and likely still engages in a biological weapons program. If it does not, then why does the regime refuse to allow inspectors at sensitive sites throughout the island;
10. The Ana Belen Montes espionage case, among others including Kendall Myers and the Cuban Five;
11. And, the most important reason, it is in the U.S. national interest to do so.

A few weeks ago a Washington, DC think tank, CSIS, hosted a conference titled, “The Case to Remove Cuba from the Terrorist List.” You can listen to the panel here. Here are some of the reasons the panelists believe that Cuba should be removed from the terrorist list:

1. Calls from leaders in the Western Hemisphere to remove Cuba from the list (Note: with few exceptions, there are no leaders in the Western Hemisphere that are truly allies of the United States. Moreover, this is not a factor for putting Cuba on the list);
2. Strategic move by the United States by removing Cuba from the list would help people-to-people contacts (Note: this is not an element of any of the state sponsors terrorism designation criteria. And, what about prong 1 of U.S. policy, pressure on the Cuba regime?);
3. See #2 in the prior section of this post. The panelist argue it is not a factor, and if it were, they argued the “political exception” to extradition treaties and, at times, seemed to question the logic of calling Chesimard a terrorist;
4. They glossed over #7, supra, by saying Spain has asked Cuba to keep them in Cuba by granting them Cuban citizenship (Note: This is absolutely false and I have confirmed it with Spanish government colleagues currently serving);
5. Listing Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism is an “arbitrary and capricious” act (Note: for national security law purposes, this legal standard is a weak one to use and, at times, practically completely inapplicable to the Cuba question);
6. Judgements piling up in U.S. federal court because people are using the designation to file claims against Cuba (Note: I’d argue this is consistent with U.S. law and policy of pressuring the regime);
7. There are countries that should be on the list but are not on the list;
8. It serves no useful purpose (Note: if that is the case, why spend so much time talking about it?);
9. The Cuban government is a good at “spinning things” so they have used the designation for propaganda purposes in Cuba;
10. It is an extreme position to have Cuba on this list.

Interestingly, not once throughout the CSIS panel did any of the speakers discuss that U.S. law toward Cuba requires a two-prong approach: (1) helping the Cuban people and (2) isolating the Cuban regime. They focused only on prong (1). We could go on and on. Reach your own conclusions. Folks who support removing Cuba from the list are mainly people who oppose current U.S. policy. It is that simple. They are trying to make it political because it advances, in their minds, a path forward to ease sanctions on the regime.

The reality is that the political ball is in Cuba’s court, not the United States. The regime knows what it has to do and it choses not to change its ways. For now, a “small sector in Miami and DC” (as people said several times during the CSIS conference) will continue to advance efforts to isolate the Cuban regime as well as support the people of Cuba. That is a good thing. If we want to reach agreement on outstanding questions such as U.S. property claims against Cuba, Cuba’s debt, and much more (see my list as to why Cuba should stay on the terrorism list), we need to maintain a firm hand.

Study the history of modern, and not so modern dictatorships, and one thing stands out: they crumble sooner or later. The Castro brothers have lasted longer than most because Cuba is an island. Literally, an island in the middle of the Caribbean. In prior times, Cuba was important for Western Hemisphere geo-strategic purposes, but the U.S. can make due with the status quo. Just look at the last five decades. The U.S. has managed just fine without Cuba and, as a bonus, we even maintain a military base there.

We can argue ad nauseam who was right and what policy was not, but we won. That is all that matters. It is now up to the regime to decide how it wants to spend its waning days. Why do some people insist on handing over to Cuban one propaganda victory over another over another? That is what we do every time the U.S. weakens some component of U.S. policy. The have been trying to do so since the Bush Administration.

If Edward Snowden is headed to Cuba, he will become yet another token of the regime’s resistance to the U.S. The thing is, the Cuban people on the island are growing very impatient and the regime is running out of political tricks. We should take advantage of this political pressure cooker and increase economic sanctions once and for all. Then and only then will the Cubans regime come to its senses. And, if Snowden is not going to Cuba but to some other country in the Western Hemisphere, I can all but guarantee that Cuba is somehow lending a hand to make it so.

U.S. Seeks Extradition of Alleged Cuban Spy Living in Sweden 1

WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) — U.S. officials say they are stepping up efforts to extradite an alleged Cuban spy they charge convinced a federal clerk to give up national secrets for decades. Justice Department officials want to arrest Marta Rita Velasquez, 55, an American born in Puerto Rico who they say recruited Ana Belen Montes to give U.S. secrets to Cuba, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.
Velasquez, who was indicted in 2004 for conspiracy to commit espionage, has been living in Sweden since 2002. Her indictment was sealed until recently after U.S. officials learned Velasquez knew of the charges.

Under a treaty with Sweden, espionage is considered a “political offense,” so the U.S. cannot ask Stockholm to extradite her. By publicizing the indictment, Washington hopes the Swedes will feel pressure to return her to the United States. Montes is serving a 25-year sentence for espionage. At the time of her arrest, she worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency. The women met in the early 1980s, officials say, while Montes was a clerk at the Justice Department. Velasquez allegedly used her political connections to get Montes a position at DIA in 1985.

Unsealed Indictment Charges Former U.S. Federal Employee with Conspiracy to Commit Espionage for Cuba 1

Defendant Allegedly Helped Cuban Intelligence Service Recuit and Insert Spy into U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency

U.S. Department of Justice April 25, 2013 • Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007/ (202) 514-1888

WASHINGTON—A one-count indictment was unsealed today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charging Marta Rita Velazquez, 55, with conspiracy to commit espionage, announced John Carlin, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Ronald C. Machen, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

The charges against Velazquez stem from, among other things, her alleged role in introducing Ana Belen Montes, now 55, to the Cuban Intelligence Service (CuIS) in 1984; in facilitating Montes’s recruitment by the CuIS; and in helping Montes later gain employment at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Montes served as an intelligence analyst at DIA from September 1985 until she was arrested for espionage by FBI agents on September 21, 2001. On March 19, 2002, Montes pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of Cuba. Montes is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence.

The indictment against Velazquez, who is also known as “Marta Rita Kviele” and as “Barbara,” was originally returned by a grand jury in the District of Columbia on February 5, 2004. It has remained under court seal until today. Velazquez has continuously remained outside the United States since 2002. She is currently living in Stockholm, Sweden. If convicted of the charges against her, Velazquez faces a potential sentence of up to life in prison.

According to the indictment, Velazquez was born in Puerto Rico in 1957. She graduated from Princeton University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and Latin American studies. Velazquez later obtained a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1982 and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., in 1984.

Velazquez later served as an attorney advisor at the U.S. Department of Transportation, and, in 1989, she joined the State Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a legal officer with responsibilities encompassing Central America. During her tenure at USAID, Velazquez held a top secret security clearance and was posted to the U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua and Guatemala. In June 2002, Velazquez resigned from USAID following press reports that Montes had pleaded guilty to espionage and was cooperating with the U.S. government. Velazquez has remained outside the United States since 2002.

The indictment alleges that, beginning in or about 1983, Velazquez conspired with others to transmit to the Cuban government and its agents documents and information relating to the U.S. national defense, with the intent that they would be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of the Cuban government.

As part of the conspiracy, Velazquez allegedly helped the CuIS spot, assess, and recruit U.S. citizens who occupied sensitive national security positions or had the potential of occupying such positions in the future to serve as Cuban agents. For example, the indictment alleges that, while Velazquez was a student with Montes at SAIS in Washington, D.C., in the early 1980s, Velazquez fostered a strong, personal friendship with Montes, with both sharing similar views of U.S. policies in Nicaragua at the time.

In December 1984, the indictment alleges, Velazquez introduced Montes in New York City to a Cuban intelligence officer who identified himself as an official of the Cuban Mission to the United States. The intelligence officer then recruited Montes. In 1985, after Montes’ recruitment, Velazquez personally accompanied Montes on a clandestine trip to Cuba for Montes to receive spy craft training from CuIS.

Later in 1985, Velazquez allegedly helped Montes obtain employment as an intelligence analyst at the DIA, where Montes had access to classified national defense information and served as an agent of the CuIS until her arrest in 2001. During her tenure at the DIA, Montes disclosed the identities of U.S. intelligence officers and provided other classified national defense information to the CuIS.
During this timeframe, Velazquez allegedly continued to serve the CuIS, receiving instructions from the CuIS through encrypted, high-frequency broadcasts from her handlers and through meetings with handlers outside the United States.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the DIA. It is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Clifford Rones of the Counterespionage Section in the Justice Department’s National Security Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Michael Harvey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

The charges contained in an indictment are merely allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.