Ana Montes: Civil Servant, Cuban Spy
June 4, 2013 5:45 PM Subscribe
posted by Kadin2048 (14 comments total)
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In the days following 9/11, knowing they would soon have time for little other than anti-terrorism activities, FBI agents arrested Ana Montes, a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst later convicted of espionage for spying on behalf of the Cuban government
. Over the course of her "meteoric career" she became the agency's lead analyst for Cuban military affairs, despite having been recruited as an agent before even applying for the DIA post.
Unlike well-known modern day spies Robert Hanssen
and Aldrich Ames
, who offered their services to the USSR in exchange for cash and began spying only after obtaining sensitive positions within the FBI and CIA respectively, Montes was politically motivated, obtaining her position at the DIA after and apparently as a result of being recruited by Cuban intelligence in graduate school.
Her methods were basic: she received her orders from Cuba via shortwave radio "numbers stations
" and water-soluble decryption pads, and passed information that she painstakingly memorized at work and typed out at home to handlers via meetings at DC-area Chinese restaurants. But they were effective: despite numerous security clearance screenings, suspicious coworkers, and at least one polygraph test, she received both a certificate of commendation
from CIA Director George Tenet and a medal of commendation from the Cuban government.
Although the FBI was attempting to build a case for treason against her prior to 9/11, which could have carried the death penalty (and, if convicted, would have made her only the third woman
to be so convicted in US history), she pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of espionage in exchange for a 25-year sentence. She is due to be released in 2023.