Tuesday Time-Waster: Ana the spy

I recently came across the story of Ana Montes, a U.S. government analyst who also spent 17 years spying for Cuba. I’d never heard of her, but a random CNN article caught my attention and then sent me to Google for more information. This 2013 Washington Post article by Jim Pompkin is a great read and has fascinating information if you have any interest in this kind of thing.

Interestingly, Montes escaped a lot of publicity because she was arrested 10 days after 9/11. Dozens of federal investigators had been building a case against her for several years, but 9/11 suddenly changed everything: She was given a bigger role with security clearance regarding the U.S. response to 9/11, and investigators couldn’t risk having her give THAT information to Cuba. And so, while everyone was still reeling from 9/11, a spy was arrested. She could have face the death penalty, but she plea bargained to a 25-year prison sentence and thus avoided a trial.

The man who first suspected Montes wrote a book about it, and I’m tempted to buy it. Reviews are good but it sounds like a lot of the intriguing details were left out (not surprising; since it was written by a former government employee, he’d have to get it cleared by them for publication). Speaking of true spy books, though, I thought “The Spy’s Son,” was fascinating and well-written — that one was about CIA employee Jim Nicholson who dragged his son into his saga.