Who is Ana Belen Montes? Wiki, Bio, Age, family, “one of the most damaging” espionage cases in U.S. history, released from prison

Ana Belen Montes

Advertisement

Ana Belen Montes Wiki- Ana Montes Biography

Ana Belen Montes, a former analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency, the spy arm of the US military, walked free from a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday after more than 20 years behind bars.

Montes spied for Cuba for 17 years, revealing the identities of undercover U.S. intelligence officers and their highly sensitive gathering capabilities, until her arrest in 2001. By day, she was the Intelligence Agency’s top Cuba analyst. defense. At night, she would type pages and pages of government secrets that she had memorized and pass them on to Cuban intelligence.

Michelle Van Cleave, who was the chief of US counterintelligence under President George W. Bush, told Congress in 2012 that Montes was “one of the most damaging spies the United States has ever encountered.”

Advertisement

Also Read

“She compromised everything, practically everything, that we knew about Cuba and how we operate in Cuba and against Cuba,” Van Cleave said. “So the Cubans were very aware of everything we knew about them and they could use that to her advantage. In addition, she was able to influence estimates about Cuba in her conversations with her colleagues, and she also found the opportunity to provide information that she acquired. to other powers”.

Spying on her took place around the same time that Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames were spying for the Soviet and Russian intelligence services while working for the FBI and CIA, respectively. (Both are serving life in prison.) But the case of Montes was something different. Hanssen and Ames took large sums of money spying on her and physically removed classified materials from their agencies.

Montes, on the other hand, was motivated by ideology. Her decision to spy on her was based in part on her hostility toward President Ronald Reagan’s policies in Latin America, especially US support for the Nicaraguan Contras, according to a heavily redacted report by the Department’s inspector general. defense.

Advertisement

Montes was recruited by Cuban intelligence in 1984, when a fellow student at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies approached her after she expressed outrage over US actions in Nicaragua.

The student was an access agent—someone who recruits spies—and she introduced her to a Cuban intelligence officer under the pretense that they needed Spanish-language news articles on Nicaragua translated into English. At dinner in New York City, Montes “unhesitatingly agreed to work through the Cubans to ‘help’ Nicaragua,” the inspector general’s report says.

She then began her espionage career with a secret trip to Cuba, where she received Cuban intelligence training. In late 1985, she was working at the United States Defense Intelligence Agency, possibly under the direction of the Cubans, where she had access to top-secret information.

Advertisement

In subsequent years, Montes met with her Cuban contacts every few weeks in restaurants in Washington, D.C. She would visit public phones to send coded messages to pagers used by the Cubans. She received her orders from numerical messages transmitted by shortwave radio. She also risked traveling to Cuba to meet people there.

As Montes was climbing the career ladder and receiving a series of accolades for his work, the FBI received a tip about a US government employee who appeared to be spying for Cubans, prompting the bureau to begin investigating. to Montes, according to a 2013 Washington Post story.

She was arrested days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 when the Defense Intelligence Agency shifted its focus to Afghanistan and the director did not want to risk Montes broadcasting the Pentagon’s war plans.

Advertisement

Pete Lapp, one of the FBI agents who investigated and arrested Montes, said she was stoic during her arrest.

“I think she had planned that day, if it happened, for 17 years,” Lapp told CBS News.

The arrest was humiliating for the Montes family, some of whom worked for the FBI. In a statement, they said she “committed treason” against the United States and neither of them was aware of spying on her at the time or supported her position.

Advertisement

“We continue to deny what she did and any statement she has made or may make,” the family said before her release.

Lapp, who is writing a book about Montes, declined to say where she will go after her release “out of respect for the family.” But he doesn’t expect her to jeopardize her newfound freedom by trying to contact the Cubans.

“That part of her life is over,” Lapp said. “She’s done what she’s done for them. I can’t imagine her risking her freedom.”Read More….

Advertisement

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *