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.)