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spy for Cuba defends her actions

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  • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
    The following story appeared on page A7 of the thursday 17 October 2002 edition of The Arizona Republic and is credited to Ted Bridis of the Associated Press:
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 20, 2002
      The following story appeared on page A7 of the thursday 17 October 2002
      edition of The Arizona Republic and is credited to Ted Bridis of the
      Associated Press:

      SPY BLAMES ESPIONAGE ON U.S. POLICIES ON CUBA

      Washington--A senior U.S. intelligence analyst, who confessed to spying
      for Cuba over 16 years, defiantly rebuked American politices toward
      Fidel Castro as "cruel and unfair" as she was sentenced Wednesday to
      25 years in prison for espionage charges.

      Ana Belen Montes, 45, refused to formally apologize for her actions,
      leaving prosecutors disappointed. Montes worked at the Defense Intelligence
      Agency as one of the Pentagon's most senior experts on Cuba's military.

      "I felt morally obligated to help the island defend itself from our
      efforts to impose our values and our political system on it," Montes
      told the judge, explaining the motivation behind her actions.

      "We have displayed intolerance and contempt toward Cuba for most of the
      last four decades. We have never respected Cuba's right to make its
      own journey toward its own ideals of equality and justice," she said,
      reading from a statement.

      Prosecutors, who accepted the sentence under a plea agreement, accused
      Montes of disclosing to Cuba secrets so sensitive they cannot be described
      publicly. Court records said she provided documents that revealed the
      identity of four undercover agents, details about U.S. surveilance of
      Cuban weapons, and information about a December 1996 war games exercise
      in the Atlantic.

      "What we were all looking for is the recognition of the crime, the
      gravity of what she has done and the harm she has caused a lot of
      people," U.S. Attorney Roscoe C. Howard Jr. said. "She seemed not
      really to appreciate that."

      Montes acknowledged that her actions "may have been morally wrong,"
      but maintained her actions were justified in light of U.S. foreign
      policies toward Cuba.

      U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina described Montes' actions as a
      "betrayal." But he complied with a plea agreement between Montes
      and prosecutors and sentenced her to 25 years in prison, in exchange
      for her explaining to investigators how Cuban spies operate.

      "If you can't love your country, then at the very least you should
      do it no wront," Urbina told Montes. He wished her "good luck"
      after sending her to prison.

      Montes could be released after 20 years with time off for good behavior,
      according to her lawyer, Plato Cacheris.

      Montes pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit espionage,
      admitting that she revealed to Cuba the identities of four agents.
      The four are said to be alive and not in prison, but little more is
      publicly known about them.

      Montes was believed to have been recruited by Cuban intelligence
      when she worked in the Freedom of Information Office at the Justice
      Department between 1979 and 1985. She later moved to the Defense
      Intelligence Agency, where by 1992 she was among the DIA's top
      analysts on Cuba's military.

      The government has not said what led them to suspect Montes. Court
      records indicate the investigation began around May 2001, shortly after
      the government broke a ring of Cuban agents in Miami known as the
      "Wasp Network." Like the Miami agents, Montes used shortwave radio
      and similar encryption techniques to communicate with Havana,
      according to an FBI affidavit.

      Last year, Montes left some messages from Cuban handlers on her
      laptop computer. The FBI found the files during a secret search
      of her apartment in May 2001. She was arrested September 21, 2001.
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