Each spy retains secrets and techniques, however Ana Montes hid a surprising one.

She was a traitor.

For almost 20 years, the U.S. intelligence analyst compiled info on Cuba, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. She combed by way of information, interviewed specialists, and drew up lists of undercover brokers.

Then she shared every little thing along with her actual bosses – in Havana.

“Montes leaked info that doubtless led to the loss of life of an American Inexperienced Beret killed in motion in El Salvador,” Jim Popkin writes in “Code Title Blue Wren: The True Story of America’s Most Harmful Feminine Spy – and the Sister She Betrayed.”

“She freely shared the identities of tons of of People engaged on Cuban intelligence issues across the globe,” Popkin writes. “She revealed the existence of a stealth satellite tv for pc so expensive and extremely categorized that U.S. authorities officers nonetheless gained’t utter its title.”

Making the betrayal particularly bitter? Her household’s devotion to the navy and regulation enforcement. As Montes was passing secrets and techniques to Fidel Castro’s brokers in Washington, her youthful sister, Lucy, was an FBI agent catching Cuban spies in Miami.

Ana Montes’ treason shocked everybody who knew her. Born right into a conservative household, her Puerto Rican father had come to the mainland to review drugs and have become a psychiatrist within the U.S. Military. He and his household – spouse, two women, and two boys – settled in suburban Maryland.

He insisted on strict self-discipline, and enforced it with beatings.

“No one ever knew what was going to set him off,” his daughter, Lucy, mentioned. “He had a foul mood and a foul marriage with my mom. He was a violent man.”

Ana Montes graduated from Loch Raven High School in Towson, Md., with a 3.9 GPA and went to UVA. (Courtesy Montes Family)

As she grew up, Montes more and more defied him – together with politically. Nonetheless, her leanings appeared extra progressive than radical. After faculty, she joined the U.S. Justice Division’s Workplace of Privateness and Data Appeals. It was an entry-level authorities job, dealing with the rising deluge of Freedom Of Data requests.

Montes handed the routine background investigation and was awarded a prime safety clearance. “Loyal, very ethical, extraordinarily impartial with a flawless popularity,” the report concluded. She rose shortly in authorities whereas pursuing a graduate diploma on the Johns Hopkins College of Superior Worldwide Research.

Ana Montes in April, 1977. (Courtesy Montes Family)

On the time, the campus offered a protected house for Castro sympathizers. One leftist professor, Walter Kendall Myers, was already spying for Cuba. He was convicted in 2009 and obtained a life sentence. Grad pupil Marta Velazquez additionally on Castro’s payroll, was charged with recruiting different keen younger People.

Velazquez zeroed in on Montes, who had made no secret of her authorities job or her disgust with American overseas coverage.

“At a restaurant in Washington, (Velazquez) made a mushy pitch,” Popkin writes. “‘Ana, I’ve buddies who may help you help the determined Nicaraguan folks…. They want somebody to translate Spanish-language information articles.’”

Velazquez prompt a visit to New York, so Montes may meet her buddies, who had been Cuban intelligence officers.

On Dec. 16, 1984, Montes agreed to betray her nation.

After all, she instructed nobody. However when her sister known as with the information that she had simply joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Montes was horrified.

“She obtained all upset,” Lucy recalled later. “I used to be actually shocked that she could be so in opposition to it. I couldn’t perceive it.”

By 1989, Ana Montes was winning awards at the DIA and had dramatically altered her look. (Courtesy Montes Family)

As soon as authorities brokers began wanting carefully, there have been many issues not simply comprehensible about Ana Montes. By now, she had a job on the Division of Protection’s Protection Intelligence Company — and elevated entry to nationwide secrets and techniques. Quickly, her betrayals included a human price.

She revealed the names of undercover brokers working in opposition to the Cuban authorities. Alerted to 1 spy’s arrival, her Havana handlers coldly messaged again, “We’re ready right here for him with open arms.” She additionally visited a navy base in El Salvador, supposedly as a part of her official job. A month later, rebels attacked that camp and killed 44 troopers, together with a Inexperienced Beret.

“I’m sure that she turned over details about that one specific camp to the Cubans,” one U.S. investigator declared later. “I imply, there isn’t any doubt.” However there was no exhausting proof.

There hardly ever was, due to Montes’ almost-paranoid safety. She obtained coded directions by way of short-wave radio; she replied by way of pay telephones. In contrast to different spies, Montes refused to danger eradicating recordsdata from her workplace, as a substitute committing them to reminiscence. Later, she would meet her Cuban bosses at native Chinese language eating places and repeat the stolen secrets and techniques phrase for phrase.

Montes remained remarkably profitable. She continued to earn raises and promotions at work and even obtained an award from the pinnacle of the CIA. Sarcastically, Montes additionally obtained an award from the Cubans – a medal so secret they confirmed it to her, then took it again.

In 1997, CIA Director George Tenet awarded Ana Montes a Certificate of Distinction for her “strong sense of Intelligence Community responsibility.”  (Photo: DIA)

However her double life was taking a toll. As a result of there was nobody she may really belief, she stored everybody at bay. She had no shut buddies and few romantic potentialities. At one level, her Cuban bosses sympathetically organized a blind date with one other spy. It didn’t work out. Montes started to see a psychiatrist. She took countless showers as if making an attempt to clean herself clear.

Unsurprisingly, Montes started to arouse suspicions. She had began pushing her method into conferences she had no enterprise in, accessing reams of categorized info for which she may declare no reliable use. American operatives had already obtained a tip that one in all their colleagues had been working with the Cubans. A couple of particulars – dates of journeys, sure electronics bought – appeared to level to Montes.

Slowly, rigorously, they started to spy on the spy.

FBI brokers tailed her walks round Washington, sifted by way of her residence constructing’s dumpsters, tapped her telephone, and hacked her pc. They broke into her residence when she was away and found a short-wave radio. Earlier than they left, they put in hidden cameras and microphones.

The proof they finally assembled — together with communications between Montes and her Cuban bosses — was plain.

On Sept. 21, 2001, Montes obtained a name at work saying there was an issue with a timecard. Might she come to the Inspector Basic’s workplace and clear it up? When Montes confirmed up, a receptionist ushered her right into a convention room. Two FBI brokers had been ready. Montes barely flinched, whilst they snapped on {the handcuffs}.

And he or she has not wavered since.

At her trial, Montes refused to cry and even apologize. “I consider our nation’s coverage towards Cuba is merciless and unfair,” she said. “I felt morally obligated to assist the island defend itself.” In contrast to different spies, it appeared she had not executed this for cash. Over nearly 20 years, Montes solely accepted a number of thousand {dollars}, primarily for bills.

The FBI arrested Ana Montes ten days after the 9/11 terror attacks. They were worried she might faint, but Ana walked out “calm” and composed.  (FBI)

As an alternative, her motive was deeper — she spied out of conviction and love. Montes was devoted solely to Fidel.

The decide sentenced her to 25 years, and he or she was despatched to a supermax jail in Texas, the place her fellow inmates included Squeaky Fromme and Al Qaeda terrorists. Her solely good friend was a death-row assassin who had slit open a pregnant lady and stolen her child.

Montes silently does her time. On Jan. 8, 2023, having served 21 years, three months, and 19 days, she is scheduled to stroll out a free lady.

And if Montes regrets something – that’s simply one other one in all her secrets and techniques.


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