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    The Perfect Spy Was a Cuban

    The Perfect Spy Was a Cuban

    Ana Belen Montes, the most effective and damaging Cuban spy known to have penetrated U.S. intelligence, was a major warrior in the long nasty war between the United States and its communist neighbor. On Jan. 6, after serving just over 21 years of a 25 year sentence for espionage, she was released from a maximum security prison, perhaps drawing the curtain on the deadly clandestine conflict involving efforts by Cuban exiles and their U.S. allies to reverse the revolution led by Fidel Castro.

    By the time of her arrest in 2001, Montes had been a mole inside the Defense Intelligence Agency for 17 years, feeding U.S. secrets to during the civil wars in Central America, where Cuba and the U.S. military backed opposite sides in conflicts in and El Salvador. Even as the Cold War ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its lifeline of economic and military support for Castro's regime, Montes rose in rank and importance in the . She became the agency's chief analyst in charge of processing U.S. intelligence about the island, earning the sobriquet, “Queen of Cuba,” both for her unrivaled expertise and her imperious manner.

    There have been worse breaches of U.S. national security, notably Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, whose spying for the Soviets inside the CIA and led to the deaths and imprisonment of a good number of the CIA's Russian sources. But Montes' spying unquestionably dealt…

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