Ana Montes, a Cuban spy who worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency and divulged American secrets for 17 years, was released from prison on Friday.
The 65-year-old Montes completed more than 21 of her 25-year sentence. She served at FMC Carswell, a Texas prison for women in Fort Worth.
Ten days after the World Trade Center attacks, in September 2001, Montes was detained.
At that point, her superiors were already wary of her and didn’t want to take a chance at her leaking the details of the invasion of Afghanistan.
With the possibility of receiving the death penalty, Montes struck a bargain with federal prosecutors in which she agreed to admit guilt to planning to commit espionage in March 2002.
In return, she was given a 25-year sentence.
In 1979, Montes began working for the government, answering FOIA petitions at the Office of Privacy and Information Appeals of the Justice Department.
She received a proposal to serve covertly for the Cuban government in 1984.
According to a book written by investigative journalist Jim Popkin, she accepted the arrangement on December 16, 1984.
As a result of requests from the Cubans to find a position better suited for espionage, Montes applied to and was hired by the Defense Intelligence Agency in 1985. She progressed from there, finally rising to the position of analyst.
She deceived her coworkers during this time and transferred information to Cuba.
In “Code Name Blue Wren: The True Story of America’s Most Dangerous Female Spy – and the Sister She Betrayed,” Popkin writes, “She openly disclosed the identities of hundreds of Americans working on Cuban intelligence problems around the globe.”
She disclosed the existence of a stealth satellite that is still too expensive and secret for U.S. government officials to say what it is called.
The younger sister of Montes was a translator for the FBI. Additionally, according to Popkin, Montes’ leaks to Cuba resulted in the murder of an American Green Beret in Nicaragua, even though the federal government did not mention this in their case against her.
According to Popkin, Montes didn’t get significant remuneration from Cuba for her services. Just not her own; she did it out of love for her country.
At her trial, she declared, “I think our country’s position against Cuba is cruel and unfair. I felt ethically compelled to aid the island’s self-defense.
Although Montes left a minimal trace, the CIA still honored her with a “Certificate of Distinction” in 1997.
However, she raised suspicion, and FBI agents started to follow her. According to one of those agents, Pete Lapp, she didn’t seem startled when the federal authorities apprehended Montes.
Lapp told CBS News, “I think she had planned for that day, if it happened, for 17 years.”