Marcus Aurelius: The Cuban Penetration of DIA and CIA Well Told — and the Polygraph Monster Adds to Incestuous Churn

Government, Ineptitude
Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius

Actually, story is reasonably well known within USG in DC area.  Scott Carmichael, DIA CI SA, wrote pretty good (and approved) book on case.  But unfortunate facts remains that (1) DGI recruited her and ran her in place for a long time using reasonable standard of tradecraft and (2) she beat polygraph.  DIA has now joined CIA and NSA in requiring polygraphs for all employees or assignees with staff-like access.)

Ana Montes did much harm spying for Cuba. Chances are, you haven’t heard of her

Washington Post, April 18, 2013

Ana Montes has been locked up for a decade with some of the most frightening women in America. Once a highly decorated U.S. intelligence analyst with a two-bedroom co-op in Cleveland Park, Montes today lives in a two-bunk cell in the highest-security women’s prison in the nation. Her neighbors have included a former homemaker who strangled a pregnant woman to get her baby, a longtime nurse who killed four patients with massive injections of adrenaline, and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, the Charles Manson groupie who tried to assassinate President Ford.

montez and tenet
George “Slam Dunk”Tenet and His Cuban Counterpart

But hard time in the Lizzie Borden ward of a Texas prison hasn’t softened the former Defense Department wunderkind. Years after she was caught spying for Cuba, Montes remains defiant. “Prison is one of the last places I would have ever chosen to be in, but some things in life are worth going to prison for,” Montes writes in a 14-page handwritten letter to a relative. “Or worth doing and then killing yourself before you have to spend too much time in prison.”

Like Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen before her, Ana Montes blindsided the intelligence community with brazen acts of treason. By day, she was a buttoned-down GS-14 in a Defense Intelligence Agency cubicle. By night, she was on the clock for Fidel Castro, listening to coded messages over shortwave radio, passing encrypted files to handlers in crowded restaurants and slipping undetected into Cuba wearing a wig and clutching a phony passport.

Montes spied for 17 years, patiently, methodically. She passed along so many secrets about her colleagues — and the advanced eavesdropping platforms that American spooks had covertly installed in Cuba — that intelligence experts consider her among the most harmful spies in recent memory. But Montes, now 56, did not deceive just her nation and her colleagues. She also betrayed her brother Tito, an FBI special agent; her former boyfriend Roger Corneretto, a Cuban-intelligence officer for the Pentagon; and her sister, Lucy, a 28-year veteran of the FBI who has won awards for helping to unmask Cuban spies.

Read full story.

Phi Beta Iota:  The US IC has always lacked integrity with respect to clearances, allowing contractors to rob both the government and other contractors of cleared personnel, resulting in constant churn.  Just as we all sign secrecy agreements, so also should we understanding that clearances are conditional, and leaving a job should result — if the government manager or COTR desires it — in loss of clearances.  Now it is even worse.  While knowing full well that ALL Cuban assets beat the polygraph without exception, and knowing full well that the polygraph is at best an intimidation device for pre-testing disclosure, the US Government generally and DIA particularly now make the polygraph a mandatory part of the clearnace process.  This has both set back hiring, and radically increased the churn.