- The Washington Times - Monday, September 24, 2001

Critics of the laxity of U.S. intelligence-gathering in the wake of the recent terror attacks got more bad news late last week, when the FBI arrested a senior Defense Intelligence Agency analyst on charges of spying for communist Cuba. The analyst, 44-year-old Ana Belen Montes, worked at DIA since 1985. Considered one of the federal government's "key national security operations," the agency collects and interprets information about the military capabilities of foreign countries.
According to the formal charges filed against Mrs. Montes, she "conspired to communicate, deliver and transmit to the government of Cuba and its representatives, officers and agents, information relating to the national defense of the United States with the intent and reason to believe that the information was to be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of Cuba."
According to a 17-page affidavit, Mrs. Montes communicated via shortwave radio with her contacts in the Cuban government; documents relating to classified military maneuvers were discovered in her home, and additional incriminating data was recovered from her computer's hard drive. Mrs. Montes becomes the second high-ranking government official or intelligence officer to be arrested on charges of spying for Cuba in the past 15 months, and could face the death penalty if she is convicted. There is no word as yet as to how much compensation Mrs. Montes may have recieved from her Cuban paymasters or whether her motivation was ideological.
The charges against Mrs. Montes, added to other disclosures, such as the Robert Hanssen case, paint a disturbing picture about the integrity of some of America's most important bulwarks against both terrorism and potentially hostile foreign governments. The penetration of our security apparatus by this ever-growing list of moles makes one think of a gigantic wheel of Swiss cheese permeated with holes and being nibbled away by hungry little critters who seem brazen in their methods and utterly unconcerned about being caught. Hanssen operated for more than a decade without arousing suspicion; Mrs. Montes is alleged to have done the same snuggling up to Fidel, while collecting her weekly check from an asleep-at-the-wheel Uncle Sam.
Anyone convicted of espionage must be dealt with severely, and steps need to be taken immediately to address the apparent indifference and absence of accountability that plagues U.S. security organs.

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