Friday, May 10, 2013

Underestimating the Castro Brothers: The Ana Belen Montes Affair

The Washington Post Magazine artwork on Ana Belen Montes
Over the past five years when discussing the intelligence threat the dictatorship in Cuba presents to the United States on this blog one name time and time again emerges and that is Ana Belen Montes. She worked in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and spied for the Castro dictatorship from 1984 until her arrest in September of 2001. Nevertheless, when the average well informed person is asked about her nine times out of ten no one has heard of her. She is not the only one, another was Walter Kendall Myers, who had an important post in the State Department. There is also an ongoing case of amnesia with regards to the Castro regime's history of terrorism.

Hopefully that will now change. Two events took place over the past two weeks. First, the Washington Post published an extensive article on her and highlight the impact she had on U.S. security:

Like Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen before her, Ana Montes blindsided the intelligence community with brazen acts of treason. By day, she was a buttoned-down GS-14 in a Defense Intelligence Agency cubicle. By night, she was on the clock for Fidel Castro, listening to coded messages over shortwave radio, passing encrypted files to handlers in crowded restaurants and slipping undetected into Cuba wearing a wig and clutching a phony passport.
Montes spied for 17 years, patiently, methodically. She passed along so many secrets about her colleagues — and the advanced eavesdropping platforms that American spooks had covertly installed in Cuba — that intelligence experts consider her among the most harmful spies in recent memory. 

Secondly who and how Ana Belen Montes was recruited finally became public. She was recruited by Marta Rita Velazquez, once a legal officer at the Agency for International Development (AID). Rita Velazquez fled to Sweden, a neutral country, where she married a Swedish Foreign Ministry insider.

Kendall Myers spied for Castro at State Department
Montes at the DIA, Rita Velazquez at AID, Kendall Myers at the State Department and lets not forget that the Cubans also had CIA defector Philip Agee also working for them. Agee defected and died in Cuba of old age. Some experts have come to understand how deep and comprehensive the Cuban infiltration of the United States government has been and are justifiably alarmed.

Philip Agee spied for Castro at the CIA
This should not have been a surprise. The Cuban dictatorship beginning in 1959 invited the most effective intelligence agency of the Warsaw Pact, the East German Stasi to train and structure its intelligence service. The Stasi also effectively infiltrated the West German government and assassinated defectors in West Germany.

Underestimating the Castro brothers can have catastrophic consequences for the United States. Lets not forget that at least one American soldier has been identified who was killed thanks to the intelligence provided by Ana Belen Montes to the Castro regime.

Montes received a certificate of distinction from CIA Director George Tenet in 1997. (Defense Intelligence Agency)

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