Thursday, April 25, 2013

Indictment in Ana Montes case (Updated)

When Defense Intelligence Agency official Ana Belen Montes pleaded guilty to spying for Cuba in 2002, she spared the government a trial that could have disclosed details about her spying career.  Good for the government, bad for those curious about her case.

One mystery is closer to being solved: how she was recruited.  A 2004 indictment, unsealed today (AFP), accuses former USAID employee Marta Rita Velazquez of introducing Montes to a Cuban official in New York in 1984 when both were graduate students in Washington.  Along the Malecon has the Justice Department statement.

Other new details on the case came in this article from the Washington Post Magazine, where reporter Jim Popkin succeeded in getting Montes’ sister and former boyfriend to go on the record for the first time.  He also got access to what seems to be the CIA’s post mortem on the case, and to a letter Montes wrote from prison, where she continues to display the defiance that characterized her statement in court.

Popkin also recounts the investigation that led to her capture, led by DIA counterintelligence officer Scott Carmichael.  Carmichael wrote a book about the experience, reviewed here.  Found posted at her desk, Carmichael reported, is this couplet from Henry V:

The king hath note of all that they intend
By interceptions which they dream not of.

Update: Why would Velasquez flee to Sweden?  Because its extradition agreement with the United States does not cover crimes related to espionage, according to a Justice Department spokesman quoted in today’s Washington Post.  The agreement is here.  Also, the Swedish foreign ministry says that she is married to a Swedish diplomat, that her husband "is not guilty of criminal activity," that there has been no U.S. request for extradition, and that such a request would be turned down.

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