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By Larry Daley

Hugh Thomas, ("Cuba the Pursuit of Freedom" updated edition first Da Capo Press edition 1998, New York) a usually authoritative English language text on Cuban history mentions in a footnote on page 957, the betrayal of anti-Batista leader Frank Pais, by fellow Castro activists. Thomas mentions, and it is important that he mentions it although he does not give it great credence given the source, that the conduit of betrayal information led through Colonel Faget of the Batista "anticommunist" security.

Now it turns out that Colonel Faget's son, Mariano Faget is now in US prison for spying for Castro:

"Another 2001 conviction put Mariano Faget behind bars. Faget was a senior Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) official in Miami whom counterintelligence sources say interviewed and had access to the secret records of Cuban defectors and asylum-seekers, including former Cuban officials living in publicly undisclosed locations." see full text below

Given that in Latin America, traditionalist to the end, children frequently inherit the politics of their parents even if they are communist politics. Thus, it is quite possible that the Faget's were a family of such traditions, and that they were part of the complex communist underground that had been active in Cuba since at least the 1920's.

Communists long had an extensive collaboration with Batista, communist infiltration of Batista's notoriously ineffective "anti-communist" agency (BRAC) could thus be explained, and some strange failures of Batista forces against Castro, but not others, might well be understood.

Footnote 1

Cuba, Anthrax, spies etc

Issue Date: February 18, 2002
Alive and Kicking
Posted Jan. 28, 2002
By J. Michael Waller

Castro speaks in front of the pictures of five Cuban spies convicted of espionage in Miami.

A big mess in the American hemisphere awaits President George W. Bush, a mess that offers historic opportunities opportunities as colossal as the challenge, say Latin America experts.

Argentina's economy has collapsed, potentially spreading anti-U.S. populism like a cloud of billowing debris. Colombia, twice the size of France and straddling the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, risks becoming a narcostate like Afghanistan as drug-trafficking guerrillas fight to seize power. Mexico, beset with its own internal guerrilla problems, is on the verge of an historic anticorruption effort that actually could make a dent in the institutionalized kleptocracy. Venezuela, the largest supplier of U.S. oil, now shows resistance to the Qaddafi-style dictatorship of left-wing strongman Hugo Chavez.

Against this backdrop in nearby Cuba, the 43-year-old Communist regime of Fidel Castro looks more and more ripe for its much-delayed, post-Soviet transition. Unless, that is, the United States tries to rescue it in the name of stability.

In January, Bush appointed to the State Department someone whom supporters say is the right man at the right time to run U.S. policy in the Americas: Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Otto Juan Reich. A former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela who served in the Reagan State Department to promote free markets and roll back the Soviet advance in Central America, Reich's die-hard opponents were few but influential. With Castro personally denouncing Reich from Havana and a vocal pro-Castro network running a Website called, Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) tried to block Bush's pick by denying him a Senate hearing (see "Smearing Reich?" Aug. 6, 2001).

A senior State Department official tells Insight that Reich is swamped with diplomatic protocol and bureaucratic cleanup duties, but that he is energized for the huge task awaiting him. And none too soon, supporters say. Until now, Clinton holdovers in the State Department and on the National Security Council had been running Bush's hemispheric policy.

U.S. policy in the region may have been tainted from within, thanks to the very aggressive and sophisticated tradecraft of Cuba's lean and mean intelligence agency, the Direccin General de Inteligencia (DGI). At least 15 Cuban intelligence agents were arrested, indicted or convicted in 2001, revealing a skillfully laid network of operations to sabotage U.S. military facilities and to penetrate the U.S. government.

Ten days after the September attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the FBI arrested a suspected DGI agent deep in the U.S. military-intelligence system. Ana Belen Montes was in charge of Cuban affairs for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) when the bureau raided her office at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington on Sept. 21 and arrested her as a Cuban spy. During her arraignment, she refused to enter a plea.

Officials still are trying to measure the gravity of the betrayal, but every indication shows it to be serious. Counterintelligence officials say Montes had access to a range of U.S. military and intelligence secrets of interest to Havana and to terrorist groups and regimes allied with Castro. She allegedly betrayed the identity of a U.S. intelligence officer in Cuba, provided classified details about U.S. Navy war games and compromised a Special Action Program so sensitive that she was one of only two people who knew about it. Equally if not more importantly, Montes wrote or influenced intelligence reports that might have corrupted U.S. perceptions of Cuban subversive capabilities, operations and intentions.

Cuba's successful penetration of the DIA shows that the Havana regime, brushed off by many after the Soviet collapse as a quaint anachronism, remains a serious intelligence threat. Built by the Soviet KGB but refined and disciplined by the East German Stasi, the DGI has surprised friend and foe alike with its disruption and destruction of U.S. human-intelligence operations on the island and its ability to penetrate U.S. academic, political and governmental institutions.

Press reports say the Cuban secret services doubled practically every CIA agent recruited on the island and used many to transmit disinformation back to U.S. intelligence. "Cuba has not been able to spend on the same scale as many governments due to its lack of hard currency, yet the performance of the DGI compares favorably to that of the best agencies of developed nations," former DGI major Juan Antonio Rodriguez Menier wrote (with Hoover Institution scholar William Ratliff) in an unpublished study in the late 1990s.

The string of arrests and convictions in 2001 proved that argument beyond doubt. The FBI broke up a major DGI sabotage ring in Florida called the Wasp Network that was designed to infiltrate not only anti-Castro groups but major U.S. military facilities. Florida is home to both the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Miami, responsible for military operations in the Caribbean region and South America, and the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa, responsible for military activity in the Middle East and South and Central Asia. CENTCOM's chief, Gen. Tommy Franks, is leading military operations against terrorists in Afghanistan and neighboring areas. Of 15 Wasp Network members identified, eight have been convicted or pleaded guilty, four escaped to Cuba and the rest are being tried, according to the FBI.

Another 2001 conviction put Mariano Faget behind bars. Faget was a senior Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) official in Miami whom counterintelligence sources say interviewed and had access to the secret records of Cuban defectors and asylum-seekers, including former Cuban officials living in publicly undisclosed locations.

As the Wasp Network plotted to penetrate and sabotage U.S. military bases, including SOUTHCOM headquarters, Montes was busily passing secrets to Havana and conducting influence operations from her DIA desk across the Potomac River from the Pentagon.

She was an ideal target: a 44-year-old single woman who lived alone and had few friends. With a Puerto Rican background giving her native fluency in Spanish, Montes was in the words of FBI Special Agent Stephen A. McCoy "the senior analyst for matters pertaining to Cuba" in the Pentagon. McCoy is probably the FBI's top expert on Cuban espionage, with more than 12 years of experience operating against the DGI and its Cuban Communist Party analogue, the America Department. An FBI affidavit signed by McCoy states that Montes used a sophisticated tradecraft for clandestine communication with her DGI handlers.

In her Washington apartment, Montes received encrypted messages on high-frequency shortwave radio. The messages contained what McCoy calls "a series of numbers" that Montes keyed into her Toshiba laptop computer, using "a diskette containing a decryption program to convert the seemingly random series of numbers into Spanish-language text." This is the same method by which the DGI communicated with the Wasp Network in Florida, according to the FBI. Montes downloaded classified information or inputted it onto an encrypted diskette and physically delivered it, directly or indirectly, to her DGI handler, McCoy says.

FBI traitor Robert P. Hanssen, who counterintelligence sources say actively monitored U.S. surveillance of Cuban espionage officers and operations from his perch as one of the bureau's senior counterintelligence agents, also communicated with his KGB handlers via encrypted computer diskettes, which he would leave at clandestine drop sites for pickup.

Like Hanssen, Montes had excellent interagency ties in the intelligence community. Unlike Hanssen, she had solid ties in the military and in Congress, briefing SOUTHCOM officers, federal lawmakers and staff, and helping shape the content, analysis and tone of intelligence reports to policymakers. Capitol Hill sources tell Insight that after Congress became concerned with the Clinton administration's soft shift toward Cuba in the late 1990s, she accompanied two Republican Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffers to Cuba in 1998 and had a large role in a congressionally mandated Department of Defense report titled The Cuban Threat to U.S. National Security. That report, preparation of which was led by the DIA in coordination with the CIA, National Intelligence Council, National Security Agency, Intelligence and Research Bureau at the State Department, the SOUTHCOM Joint Intelligence Center and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, concluded that Cuba's conventional military was seriously crippled after the cutoff of Soviet support, but that the regime still presented a serious unconventional and intelligence threat to the United States. Sources close to the process say that Montes tried to water down the report and that other agencies had to strengthen it.

The report found that, despite the deterioration of the Cuban military, its "intelligence and counterintelligence systems directed at the United States appear to have suffered little degradation. Cuba has shared intelligence with other countries, including U.S. adversaries." In a section titled "Biological Warfare Threat," the report added, "Cuba's current scientific facilities could support an offensive BW [biological-warfare] program in at least the research and development stage. Cuba's biotechnology industry is one of the most advanced in emerging countries and would be capable of producing BW agents." Sending the report to the Senate, the defense secretary at that time, William S. Cohen, underscored the point: "I remain concerned about Cuba's potential to develop and produce biological agents."

This is where, from the terrorism standpoint, Cuba still matters. Insight has confirmed further a report by contributor Martin Arostegui that U.S. officials suspect Cuba might have been part of the deadly anthrax attacks that followed Sept. 11 (see "Fidel May Be Part of Terror Campaign," Nov. 9, 2001). "We're looking at a Latino connection," a U.S. official says. Adding to official concerns is an FBI statement, issued in August, that one of the Cuban spies apprehended in Florida had worked for the U.S. Postal Service and had reported on the functions of the U.S. mail system to his DGI handlers.

The FBI noted that the tempo of Montes' contacts with the DGI increased after Sept. 11. From her DIA office, she could see smoke pouring from the Pentagon. On Sept. 14, FBI surveillance tracked Montes as she left the DIA to return home, did what appeared to be a short evasive maneuver, then made a phone call to a pager owned by the Cuban Mission to the United Nations, a method she used to communicate with her handlers. She made similar calls on Sept. 15 and 16. The FBI arrested her Sept. 21.

Did she or Cuban intelligence have ties to the Sept. 11 attacks? FBI Washington Field Office Special Agent Chris Murray tells Insight, "Once these cases go to court, we can't talk about them."

What adds mystery to the question is the sudden action of the Russian government. For decades Moscow has operated a 28-square-mile signals intelligence (SIGINT) facility in Lourdes, Cuba, the largest outside of the former Soviet Union.

"The SIGINT facility at Lourdes is among the most significant intelligence-collection capabilities targeting the United States," according to a paper by the Federation of American Scientists, which calls the site "one of the largest and most sophisticated SIGINT facilities in the world. It is jointly operated by Russian military intelligence [GRU], FAPSI [the Russian Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information] and Cuba's intelligence services."

Inexplicably, on Oct. 17 the Russian government announced that it was shutting down its priceless SIGINT site, which U.S. intelligence sources say recently had gone through an expensive upgrade.

President Bush noted in a terse statement, "I welcome President [Vladimir] Putin's announcement today that Russia will close its military intelligence-gathering facility in Lourdes, Cuba." The White House offered no other information. Some national-security officials, who did not want to go on the record, speculate that Cuba, which is on the State Department list of regimes that sponsor international terrorism, might become a target of U.S. military force, and the Russians wanted to cut their losses.

Cuba remains in the terrorism business. A Colombian National Police official tells Insight that Havana continues to sponsor the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla force heavily engaged in narcotics trafficking.

Cuba also is a staging point for the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Colombia, where authorities arrested at least three IRA members reportedly training the FARC in urban-terrorism techniques. The government of Spain has complained, quietly, that Cuba lends support to the Basque ETA terrorist group.

Havana continues to provide shelter and political support to the Puerto Rican EBP/Macheteros terrorist organization and is giving haven to Macheteros member Victor Manuel Gerena, who is on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" list alongside Osama bin Laden. The Castro regime also has built new relations with pariah regimes in Iraq and Iran in a sort of confederation of terrorist states.

Its cultivation of radical fundamentalist Islamic terrorists, however, is nothing new. According to former DGI major Rodriguez Menier and the Hoover Institution's Ratliff, Cuban intelligence officers in the Middle East for years have recruited Islamist militants for use against the United States.

Any U.S. policy affecting Castro's interests likely will face intense opposition from a few groups, based mainly in Washington and New York City, supportive of the regime. It already has begun with the arrival of al-Qaeda terrorists to the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. One of the most vocal denouncers of U.S. treatment of the detainees is Michael Ratner, vice president of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York. In a debate with this writer on the New York City affiliate of National Public Radio, Ratner stood up for the rights of the terrorists to be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention. That's hardly surprising; in a CNN standoff during the Cold War, Ratner affirmed that he was a supporter of Castro and his regime.

If the still-active individuals who under President Ronald Reagan fought Reich in defense of Nicaragua's Sandinistas and El Salvador's communist guerrillas have their way, they will mount stiff resistance to anything the Bush administration will try to do against Castro and his allies in Colombia, Venezuela and elsewhere in the Americas. A senior State Department official says Reich is up to the challenge.

J. Michael Waller is a senior writer for Insight.


Cuba, España y los Estados Unidos | Organización Auténtica | Política Exterior de la O/A | Temas Auténticos | Líderes Auténticos | Figuras del Autenticismo | Símbolos de la Patria | Nuestros Próceres | Martirologio |

Presidio Político de Cuba Comunista | Costumbres Comunistas | Temática Cubana | Brigada 2506 | La Iglesia | Cuba y el Terrorismo | Cuba - Inteligencia y Espionaje | Cuba y Venezuela | Clandestinidad | United States Politics | Honduras vs. Marxismo | Bibliografía | Puentes Electrónicos |

Organización Auténtica