The FBI arrests of Russian spies, one with known Cuban connections, is a reminder of the importance nations place on intelligence gathering and placing sleepers in enemy countries. Several related stories by Humberto Fontova reminded me of the warnings from another Cuban exile who attained high government appointments as a U.S. citizen.
Fontova mentions the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency’s former Latin American head, now a federal prisoner, Ana Belen Montes who had been working for Fidel Castro since the 80s. He reveals the undisclosed connections of one U.S. media outlet’s Cuban correspondent that is more disingenuous than it is a national security issue.
Fontova’s observations on the numbers of foreign agents in the U.S. parallel those of former Department of Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez. Serving under President George W. Bush, Gutierrez also served as co-chair of the U.S. Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba and involved in U.S.-Cuba policy with Co-Chair Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Fontova also writes about arrested spy Vicky Pelaez, weekly columnist for New York’s largest circulation Spanish-language paper, La Prensa/El Diario, which endorsed Barack Obama for president. There is an established connection with Mexican human smuggling cartels and the movement of Cuban-assisted Somalis through Arizona’s Mexican border.
The quotes are my transcription from a tape of Guiterrez speaking with Human Events editors John Gizzi and Allan H. Ryskind on April 6, 2009. Like Gutierrez, Fontova came to the U.S. as a child when Castro seized power.
Speaking about the numbers of Cuban operatives in the U.S. Gutierrez said, “My understanding is that he sells intelligence, so intelligence is one of his exports and he’s got one of the best intelligence outfits in the world. He sells intelligence to Iran. He sells intelligence to whoever is willing to buy intelligence, which is part of the disadvantage. I’ll tell you, for as long as I’ve been in government, I found my meetings with our intelligence community to be very unproductive, because we don’t have people there. I sometimes wonder if 5000, 10,000 or 15,000 Cubans were here.
Gizzi mentioned claims of more than 500 Cuban counterintelligence agents having a network right here in the United States reporting back to Cuba.
Gutierrez: “Oh God! Yes. Look, even when I was up there on that stage at the Heritage event and those places I think to myself, “Who is the Castro plant in this room? Is it that guy right there?” After the Mariel Boat lift there have been some people who have been identified. There was a couple working for the Florida National University who had been in the faculty for I think it was 25 years, so, even early on, some of the migration of Havana people had been working for him. Ana Belen Montes in the State Department and the Defense Department, she ran Cuban intelligence out of the State Department, the Cuba Desk for 16 years. She was working for Castro! For free! So, 500? Certainly. Why wouldn’t it be 5000?”
With a Congressional panel considering opening travel restrictions to Cuba and Obama’s promises to ease economic sanctions, Gutierrez’s warned that every president since John Kennedy has been duped by Castro’s duplicity. He predicted the same fate awaits Obama.
Guttierrez: I think he would do whatever he could to hurt us. We know he sells intelligence. Keep in mind that this guy (Castro) is our enemy. An enemy, in my mind, means someone who would like to destroy us. There are people who don’t like us, there are people who are our antagonists, but then there are enemies. Hitler was an enemy, Al Qaeda is an enemy.
Our enemies must be watched closely, for they most certainly are watching us.
A quickly concluded spy swap with Russia resulted from the FBI arrests of 10 illegal agents. Over on Andrew Breitbart’s BigJournalism.com, Kent Clizbe writes about the history of foreign agents infiltrating under the guise of journalism. It is a lesson that should not be ignored.