Anti-Castro Group Commends US Government In Cuban Spy Case

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:11 PM EDT

( - The chairman of the Cuban-American National Foundation, an anti-Castro group, is congratulating the Bush administration and federal investigators for their quick action in the case of a Cuban spy.

Ana Belen Montes pleaded guilty Tuesday to espionage charges and could spend up to 25 years in prison.

Montes, a U.S. intelligence analyst, was arrested last September. Investigators said she was spying for Cuba from the time she began working at the Defense Intelligence Agency in 1985 until her arrest.

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) provides analyses of foreign countries' military capabilities and troop strengths for the Pentagon.

Montes' attorney, Plato Cacheris, said she didn't spy for the money. "She was motivated by a desire to help the Cuban people and she did not, I underline, did not receive any financial benefit," Cacheris said in the Washington courtroom.

Cacheris also said Montes, an American citizen with a Puerto Rican background, offered to help Cuban intelligence, "because of her belief that United States policy does not afford Cubans respect, tolerance and understanding."

Investigators say she revealed the identities of four American undercover agents. They also found that she communicated her information through encrypted messages with the Cuban Intelligence Agency and received her instructions from Cuba via short-wave radio.

Federal investigators said the four agents are safe.

Federal Judge Ricardo Urbina in Washington set Montes sentencing date for September 24.

CANF Chairman Jorge Mas called Montes a "significant risk" to United States national security.

"For over sixteen years, the Castro regime had an agent in place inside the Defense Intelligence Agency funneling sensitive information back to Havana," said Mas.

"Through the determined casework of U.S. intelligence agents, this spy, Ana Belen Montes, is no longer in a position to pass along information to our current and potential adversaries," Mas added.

Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Montes "traitorous act" shows that Cuba remains a threat to the United States.

"The very fact that sensitive national security information belonging to the United States was compromised is an indication of Fidel Castro's continuing desire to undermine the U.S. government and the security of our people," said Graham in a statement.

The Castro government issued no official reaction.

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