Cuba’s “friends”

Why do Iran, Libya, Syria, and North Korea want to be friends with Cuba? Hint: It’s not because they like sugar and cigars.

From an interview with Scott W. Carmichael, author of True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba’s Master Spy:

Spies working for Cuba pose one of the most serious threats facing the United States, according to Mr. Carmichael.

The 56-year-old describes himself as a “mole hunter” in the Defense Intelligence Agency, an agent assigned to ferret out spies operating inside our government.

“I’m just a chunky, Joe-average white guy with a pleasantly round face,” he wrote of himself in his book, “True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba’s Master Spy,” published earlier this year by Annapolis-based Naval Institute Press. “I am not at all threatening in my appearance. I’m not intimidating.”

In another part of the book, he described the joy his job gives him:

“I ride into work every morning with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. I feel, and sometimes act, like a kid of eighteen or twenty.”

During an interview last week, Mr. Carmichael said his wife, Jennifer, works for the Transportation Security Administration, and they have three sons, ages 20, 13 and 11. Other than that, he didn’t discuss himself very much.

But he was glad to talk about the dangers posed by Cuba, the small island nation with a land mass and population roughly the size of Ohio.

Cuba poses little danger to the United States militarily, but its leaders have long courted countries that hate the U.S., such as Libya, Iran, Syria and North Korea, Mr. Carmichael said.

“Cuba is more capable of penetrating us than anybody else. That wouldn’t be a big deal at all, except they can share that information,” he said.

“I believe Cuba has us thoroughly wired,” he said of the infiltration of U.S. agencies. “There is a reason a lot of countries have closely allied with Cuba, and people ought to ask themselves, is it they want to buy sugar? Do they want to get their hands on Cuban cigars?”

Mr. Carmichael said he wrote the book to make the public aware of the threat.

After pleading guilty to espionage, Montes told the court at her sentencing in October 2002: “I engaged in the activity that brought me before you because I obeyed my conscience rather than the law.”

“I believe our government’s policy towards Cuba is cruel and unfair, profoundly unneighborly, and I felt morally obligated to help the island defend itself from our efforts to impose our values and our political system on it,” Montes said, as reported in The Miami Herald.

Relying on information that could have come from Montes, Mr. Carmichael said, Communist insurgents launched a well-planned attack on a training base in El Salvador in 1987. Killed was 27-year-old Green Beret Sgt. Gregory A. Fronius, who was serving as an advisor. (Profits from Mr. Carmichael’s book are going to a fund set up for Sgt. Fronius’ family.)

It’s an excellent book, if you haven’t yet read it, it’s available at Amazon and the U.S. Naval Institute.

11 thoughts on “Cuba’s “friends””

  1. Here is my review of the book:

    On March 20, 2002, Ana Belen Montes, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) primary political/military analyst on Cuba since 1992, pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage. Montes admitted that for sixteen years she had passed top-secret information to the Castro regime on computer disks twice a month. At the clandestine meetings in the Washington, D.C. area, she gave verbal briefings to her Cuban handlers and also received instructions via encrypted short-wave radio transmissions. In consequence, Fidel Castro, through Montes, formulated the intelligence assessment of Cuba for use by U.S. war strategists. Montes received a 25-year prison sentence in exchange for divulging to the FBI all she knew of Cuban intelligence activities.

    Scott Carmichael is the DIA counterintelligence investigator who pursued this case for more than five years. This book is his own story on dealing with the frustrating and slow-moving Federal bureaucratic procedures needed to develop a criminal case against Montes. The “FBI’s elephantine bureaucracy,” which had to be coaxed to obtain funds, manpower, and the capability for making an arrest, initially turned down Carmichael’s investigative request.

    The Montes investigation, initially stalled in November 1996, was renewed in September 2000 after the CIA encountered persistent difficulty in running Cuban agents and technical intelligence operations. The FBI had developed information, probably from a defector, of an unknown U.S. government employee spying for Cuba, who Carmichael quickly identified as Montes. Three months later, the FBI began a full field investigation that led to her arrest on September 21, 2001.

    When detained, Montes was a forty-four-year-old who had never married, although “She had a number of boyfriends throughout her life” (58). She is a Puerto Rican who regularly attended Mass and “was raised in a family that advocated achieving the political independence of Puerto Rico from the United States by peaceful means” (147). This has been a major tenet of Fidel Castro’s foreign policy which made him her hero. Montes’s treason was motivated by ideology, especially her opposition to U.S. policy toward Cuba and Nicaragua and her affinity for Central American Marxist guerrillas.

    Montes was recruited by the Cuban Directorate General of Intelligence (DGI) while working for the Department of Justice and attending graduate courses at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University during 1982-84. The author omits mentioning that in 1978, SAIS launched their Cuba Exchange Program, presently headed by Wayne S. Smith, which has served as a breeding ground for espionage recruitment and academic apologists of the Cuban dictatorship.

    Montes was hired by the DIA in 1985, even after admitting to prior “use of marijuana and cocaine” during 1979 and 1982 (154). During the four years before her arrest, Montes was afflicted with anxiety and sleeplessness and was regularly treated with psychiatric counseling and prescription medication (72, 85). Yet, she continued shaping perceptions and influencing White House policy and even drafting the remarks of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he testified before Congress on Cuban issues. The DIA, the CIA, and the U.S. Army rewarded her with certificates of distinction and special achievement awards for her work.

    As the principal analyst for El Salvador and Nicaragua in the late 1980s, Montes knew all aspects of Salvadoran military strength and the U.S. efforts to support them and the Contra forces in Nicaragua. This led to the death of an American Green Beret trainer in El Salvador. Montes also gave her spy masters the names of four American intelligence officers working in Cuba, who were subjected to counter-intelligence operations. She also revealed a U.S. “Special Access Program” in which she had worked since 1997 and indicated the location of various Cuban military installations and certain military weapons uncovered by American intelligence.

    This book leaves many questions unanswered because the author claims that some investigative details “are far too sensitive for public consumption” and he also does not want to “reveal sensitive details” to Cuban intelligence agents reading his work (ix). Montes was one of the longest running and most dangerous spies in U.S. history and Castro’s best known asset in the intelligence community. Her information was probably shared by Cuba with U.S. enemy nations. Yet, the Cuban government has not publicly awarded her the hero status or advocacy given to their five other spies jailed in America since 1998. Carmichel concludes that it was so easy for the DGI to plant Montes in the DIA, that they have probably also penetrated other government agencies.

  2. Also, Montes mounted an influence operation that defused attention to the 1996 shoot down of the BTTR aircarft, this she did while attending after–the-fact meetings in the Pentagon where she received a call directly from her Cuban handlers.

  3. Ana Belen Montes had never been married by the age of 44, in spite of many boyfriends and doing cocaine and marihuana. Sounds to me like a bitter, frustrated woman that was only used for recreational sex on the weekends. Always the bridesmaid but never the bride. No wonder she found a cause by faithfully serving Fidel Castro.

  4. I’m sorry, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Not enough is done to expose the depravity and reach of the cuban misgovernment. The general American population,is oblivious to the extent of the problem of cuban infiltration.

  5. You people need to stop picking on Ana Belen Montes, especially about her personal life. So what if she did drugs and had many boyfriends who she decided not to marry. I did not marry Jesus Diaz and preferred to stay single all my life. I am going to tell Oscar Corral’s wife that when she divorces that philanderer, she can come stay with me for a while.

  6. Hsilio, I know this is just the tip of the iceberg. The U.S. Department of State has been infiltrated with fidel friendly communists for decades; they in fact helped him oust Batista. Every murdering terrorist organization for the past 45 years has castro involvement. You can find castro’s thumbprint on every evil political event of the past 45+ years. He has indoctrinated, bribed and black mailed the rich, famous, and powerful, including ex-presidents into being his emissaries. I believe that fidel castro is responsible for the hippie movement, where my generation betrayed their parents, “the greatest generatiom,” and their country, by becoming the enemy. Thankfully, not all of us. Why didn’t I post about all that? Because I was posting about this particular article I could link, which hopefully will inform a few who don’t know the story. If you browse Babalu’s archives, you will find many posts about the evils of fidel castro and company, and no doubt there will be more in the future. When his death is announced, it will be harder to keep a lid on the truth. However, the bottom line is this: how do we make people care? Look at the state of this country, we’ve got millions of Islamo-facists threatening us and people are more interested in Britney Speares. You mention the threat from Cuba and they smile, or yawn. So if you have an idea how we can change that please let me know.

  7. Ziva, I have personal knowledge of the Montes case, and I’m sorry to say that Hsilio is correct – there are many more like her in our government. What’s scary is that many are entrenched in the intelligence community. They may not all be spying for our enemies, but they are certainly providing them support by misleading our leaders. There are many imbedded liberals and leftists who daily provide politicized assessments that paint a false image of our adversaries, Cuba being one of them. Read Rowan Scarbourogh’s new book on the CIA and you’ll see how scary it is. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do unless we actually catch them working for the other side. We can’t fire a government employee simply because he has liberal or leftist views. They remain in the system spewing their treasonous view of our enemies and content with undermining any conservative administration that may be in power. It’s a scary thought, but we have to keep speaking out til our faces turn blue – that’s about the only thing we can do right now. Oh yea, I forgot – we also need to ensure a Democrat doesn’t get elected; in a post-9/11 world, it’ll be our downfall.

  8. A good point you raise Ziva, if we can’t get the majority of the American population slightly aware of the other tangible threats, what makes us think that they would certainly care about a free and democratic Cuba.
    In a day and age when most mainstream television in the US shows people of spanish descent in a few repetitive roles, housekeeping, gardening, criminals, drug dealers or a cigar smoking cantakerous old men getting shoved back to Cuba, I can’t help but not put any faith in more awareness of the cause, and shake my head in disbelief every time a Montes or FIU Professor or William Smith or Max Lesnick raise their ugly heads.
    I shake it in disbelief that this goes on undetected or apparently so. Hell, we might even have a mole here!
    There are a few things that are FOR CERTAIN, one of the two main political parties of the US does get the wool pulled over their eyes more consistently by the man in the addidas suit than the other party……
    And education dispels myths…

  9. Hsilio/Ziva, I’m with you on this. You should hear the ignorant comments blurted out at my work place – by supposedly educated people. Anything an exile says has to be taken with a grain of salt, they think we’re all liars and exagerrators. But then, JFK and his sycophants felt the same way back in 1962 when Cuban exiles were reporting that there were missles on the island – “can’t believe those exiles, they have an agenda.” Yea, and that agenda is called FREEDOM. That’s something that the great deal of Americans take for granted and thus have little appreciation for. I thank GOD every day that he placed me on that beautiful, yet tortured island and had me live the life of an exile, even though I arrived here at a young age. I learned how precious our freedoms are and how lucky we are to be in this great nation – I wouldn’t have had it any other way. That’s why I love this blog, because it speaks out and has an “in your face” personality that is necessary to confront the idiots that surround us. We just need to keep on speaking out.

  10. Hsilio, I am convinced without doubt that the arm of castro inc. is long indeed. If you want to know where the moles are, just follow the signs and ask yourself who would benefit and who else is saying it. If if looks like a duck, acts like a duck….

    There are a few things that are FOR CERTAIN, one of the two main political parties of the US does get the wool pulled over their eyes more consistently by the man in the addidas suit than the other party……
    And education dispels myths…


    Exactly!

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