Ana Montes, convicted of spying for Cuba, is released from prison after 20 years

(CNN) — Ana Montes, a US citizen convicted of spying for Cuba, has been released from the US federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons online records.

Cuba recruited Montes to spy in the 1980s and she was employed by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as an analyst from 1985 to 2001. She was eventually promoted to be Cuba’s top analyst for the day.

spy ana montes

On September 21, 2001, Montes was arrested in Washington and charged with conspiring to provide defense information to Cuba.

In early 2002, she was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to espionage. The judge who sentenced Montes ordered her supervised release for five years.

Regarding Montes’ release, Florida Senator Marco Rubio criticized Montes for betraying the United States and aiding Cuba’s communist regime.

“Americans should remember Ana Belén Montes for who she really is, even though she has served her time in prison. If we forget the story of this spy, she will surely repeat herself, “Rubio said in a statement released this Saturday.

This is how they recruited the queen of Cuba

Ana Montes, now 65, was known as the Queen of Cuba, an American who for more than a decade and a half handed over so many American military secrets to Havana that experts say the United States may never know the full extent of the damage.

In 1984, Montes was working as a clerk at the Washington Department of Justice and was studying for a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University.

He was often critical of President Ronald Reagan’s support for rebels fighting pro-communist regimes in Central America.

“I felt that the United States had no right to impose its will on other countries,” said FBI Special Agent Pete Lapp, the man who ultimately led the investigation against Montes and arrested her.

Her anger over US foreign policy complicated her relations and drew the attention of Cubans, who prompted her to turn her back on friends, family and her own country.

Someone at Johns Hopkins noticed Montes’ passionate views on Cuba and he was soon introduced to recruiters and agreed to help the Cuban cause.

Around the same time, Montes applied for a job at the Defense Intelligence Agency, where workers handle US military secrets on a daily basis. When she started there in 1985, the FBI says she was already a fully recruited Cuban spy.

how she was caught

One night in 1996, Montes was called to consult at the Pentagon during an ongoing international incident, but she broke protocol by not remaining on duty until she was fired. This raised suspicions.

Four years later, DIA counterintelligence agent Scott Carmichael heard that the FBI was looking for a mole: an unidentified spy within the DIA working for Cuba.

The suspect had traveled to the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, at a specific time. When he searched for a list of DIA employees who visited Guantanamo during those dates, a familiar name came up: Ana Montes.

“The moment I saw his name, I knew it,” Carmichael said.

After that, Carmichael and FBI agent Lapp teamed up to prove that the DIA Queen of Cuba was really a spy.

Through “highly sensitive” intelligence, it emerged that the unidentified DIA mole had purchased a specific make and model of computer at a specific time in 1996 from an unknown store in Alexandria, Virginia.

Lapp was able to find the original store record linking that computer to Montes, which confirmed his beliefs.

CNN’s Thom Patterson contributed reporting.

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