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Archive for Saturday, September 22, 2001

Military worker accused of spying

Intelligence analyst charged with giving intelligence to Cuba

September 22, 2001

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— A Pentagon intelligence analyst was charged Friday with spying for Cuba.

Ana Belen Montes, an employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency, transmitted a substantial amount of classified information to the Cuban intelligence service, an FBI affidavit alleged.

Montes appeared before a U.S. magistrate in Washington and was charged with conspiracy to deliver U.S. national defense information to Cuba. She entered no plea and was ordered held without bond.

Montes has worked for the DIA, the intelligence arm of the Defense Department, since 1985, authorities said.

In a 17-page affidavit, the FBI alleged that earlier this year Montes contacted the Cuban intelligence service via shortwave radio.

"Based on the evidence below, I have concluded that Montes was an agent (of Cuba) who communicated with her (Cuban) handling officer by passing and receiving computer diskettes containing encrypted messages," the complaint said, citing the FBI agent who conducted the investigation.

The FBI secretly entered Montes' residence under a court order May 25 and uncovered information about a number of Defense Department issues, including a 1996 war games exercise conducted by the U.S. Atlantic Command.

According to the affidavit, the DIA said that Montes attended the war games exercise in Norfolk, Va., as part of her official duties at DIA. The FBI said it found information on the hard drive of her laptop computer.

One partially recovered message deals with "a particular special access program related to the national defense of the United States," which is so sensitive that it could not be publicly revealed in the court documents, the document said.

The DIA confirmed that Montes and a colleague were briefed on the highly sensitive program on May 15, 1997.

The FBI said it had Montes under surveillance since May.

A DIA spokesman declined to comment beyond saying when Montes had gone to work for the agency.

The DIA, based at Bolling Air Force Base in southeast Washington, D.C., provides analyses of foreign countries' military capabilities and troop strengths for Pentagon planners. It also has offices within the Pentagon. Along with the CIA, National Security Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office, the DIA is one of the main agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.

The spokesman declined to say whether Montes worked at the Pentagon or at Bolling Air Force Base.

Last June, Mariano Faget, a U.S. immigration official, was convicted of disclosing classified information to aid Cuba.

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