‘Very deadly’ female spy who revealed identities of four US agents is freed from jail

US News

A former American defence intelligence analyst, who became a Cold War-era double agent and spied for Cuba, has been freed from jail.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons website shows 65-year-old Ana Montes was released after 20 years of a quarter-of-a century sentence.

During her time as an analyst, she admitted revealing the identities of four American undercover agents to Cuban authorities – and disclosed some secrets so sensitive they could not be described publicly.

Court records also said she provided documents that revealed details about US surveillance of Cuban weapons.

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The now 65-year-old spent almost two decades spying for Cuba.

She was arrested in September 2001 and pleaded guilty a year later to conspiring to commit espionage.

Former DIA investigator Chris Simmons who helped investigate Montes said she was prolific and effective at giving the Cubans damaging intelligence, who are suspected of selling that information on to other enemies of the US.

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“A lot of spies historically have given up information, but she repeatedly tried to get Americans killed in combat,” Mr Simmons was quoted by NBC as saying.

“A very deadly woman, a very dangerous woman.”

An undated handout image from a U.S. Department of Defense report dating back to 2005 shows Ana Belen Montes receiving a national intelligence certificate of distinction from George Tenet, who served as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) for the United States Central Intelligence Agency. U.S. Department of Defense/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY
Image:
Montes receiving a national intelligence certificate of distinction from George Tenet, at the time Director of Central Intelligence for the CIA

Officials at the time said 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, and was asked to seek work at an agency that would provide more useful information to Cuba.

Secret coded messages

She therefore moved to working for the Defense Intelligence Agency in 1985, and was considered a top analyst on the Cuban military – even being rewarded for her work.

Prosecutors said during this time, Montes received regular coded messages from Havana over a short-wave radio as strings of numbers, which she would type onto a decryption-equipped laptop to translate to text.

At her sentencing, Montes argued she had obeyed her conscience and that US policy to Cuba was cruel and
unfair. “I felt morally obligated to help the island defend itself from our efforts to impose our values and our political
system on it,” she said.

Under President Joe Biden, the US has eased some sanctions on Cuba but maintained its Cold War-era embargo on the island and stepped up restrictions on illegal migrants, arriving in record levels amid raging inflation and medicine shortages.

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