Friday, October 26, 2007

A defense intelligence official said yesterday that Cuba‘s spies have sold American intelligence secrets to other U.S. enemies, and that the communist island’s spies even now could be involved in long-term operations in the FBI, CIA, Congress and the White House.

Christopher Simmons, a Cuban counterintelligence officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency, cited in a Heritage Foundation speech the case of Ana Montes, a former DIA analyst who pleaded guilty to 16 years of spying for Fidel Castro’s dictatorship.

“Based on my estimates, there could be at least six others like her involved in long-term penetrations of U.S. government at the highest level,” Mr. Simmons said. Agents for the Cuban regime “have had over 50 years to get this right. They understand America better than some Americans do.”

Mr. Simmons said Havana has sold any U.S. intelligence secrets it can get to such foreign countries as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, and also makes money through terrorist-training programs. All told, these activities earn the communist regime hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

“Castro has spent years strengthening ties and supporting other terrorist groups and organizations around the world. He still continues to do so right now,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida Republican and a Cuban-American, said during the same Heritage forum. “This guy has been extremely successful in infiltrating our intelligence community here in the United States.”

American military intelligence has been compromised by Cuban agents in every U.S. military mission since 1983, including Grenada and the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War.

U.S. prosecutors said Montes, who spied for ideological reasons, was arrested within days of the September 11, 2001, attacks to prevent that from happening again because she was privy to classified plans to attack the Afghan regime that harbored Osama bin Laden.

The United States needs to keep close tabs on its defense intelligence information, the congressman said, because Cuba is still spreading anti-Americanism in Latin America and forging a strong relationship with Iran.

“Iran is Cuba’s strongest ally,” Mr. Diaz-Balart said. “Nut cases bond together.”

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