tv Declassified CNN August 26, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
>> as a former fbi agent and chairman of the house intelligence committee, i had oversight of all 16 of our nation's intelligence agencies. my name is mike rogers. i had access to classified information gathered by our operatives. people who risked everything for the united states and our families. you don't know their faces or their names. you don't know the real stories from the people who lived the fear and the pressure until now. >> there was a cuban agent with
access to classified information placing our entire nation's security at risk. >> he was certainly in our zblilgd i think it's the betrayal that gets me. like how dare you? >> it's a sensitive time because we were launched a war. our boys and girls in uniform are going to die because you stabbed them in the back. ♪ ♪
>> almost every nation in the world has spies. most nations in the world spy against the united states. we are the number one target. there are at least 70 give or take ten nations spying on the u.s. if you were to believe there are probably an excess of foreign agents working in this country. that's not paranoia. that's a good guess. my name is chris simmons. i wasn't a career intelligence officer with the defense intelligence agency. the defense intelligence agency is the pentagon's intelligence
apparatus. it's focused on the national security structure of every nation in the world. the way we became engaged with this case a woman who led part of fbi investigation took the initiative to set up the meeting. the fbi explained we've heard you and your team are the best that are around cuban intelligence and we are part of an fbi spy case that involved cuba which had within dragging on for years and weir frustrated. can you help us? i was so concerned about the damage that this could have already inflicted and will continue to inflicted that i called scott car michael. scott car michael was head of the investigations side. >> i loved being a spy hunter. i loved the chase. nothing would make me happier than for somebody to say, well, scott we know espionage is occurring, we have these did bits of information, can you
help us out? you bet. i especially loved what are termed unsubinvestigation, unknown subject investigations and those are where you have good reason to believe espionage is occurring and you have absolutely no idea who might be doing it. fbi was trying to identity a cuban spy who was possibly in the d.c. area and they knew a few did bits of information about the spy but they had no idea who this person was, where this person worked. that's a problem because what they were talking about is the possibility that there was a cuban agent with access to classified information. it does not pose a military threat to the united states. the intelligence of cuban operations is that the intelligence take is shared by cuba with other countries. he shares information with iran, china, russia, even venezuela, north korea.
what makes cuba important is that it's the world's biggest intelligence trafficker. and i say that in the connection of the sale or a barter of u.s. secrets is now one of the central engines of the caan economy, whether it's political secrets, economic secrets, military secrets, every country has interest in the united states. and cuban, their ability to steal secrets, they outperform almost every nation in the world. [ applause ] >> cubans are so good for several reasons. at the start of the cold war the russians and all the warsaw pact allies saw the cubans as useful partners that would not draw attention like they would. the russians, the polls, every service in the world trained the cubans. cuba exploited the perception that they're not a threat because it lowers their cost of espionage and gets them more
clients because situations that would be hard for the chinese or russians to do, cuban agents can do easily. building an unsubcase is like putting a puzzle together. the challenge is you don't know what the puzzle looks like and you don't know how many pieces there are. the fbi's case, they have three very distinct pieces of the puzzle as they share their puzzle piece, turns out i had the fourth puzzle piece. that one piece of information fit perfectly into what they had just shared. when we put it all together, i told them that the fbi's looking in the wrong place. because the unsubdoing the three things you just shared coupled with the fourth piece of the puzzle, there are probably 40 or 50 people that could do
what your unsub can do and in all likelihood is working within the confines of the intelligence agency. he was certainly within our building. >> what was the information that the fbi had? what did they show you? >> the information that our colleagues shared with us remains classified to this day because it would reveal some of our methods that the cubans aren't yet aware of. >> some of the methods and systems that the d.i.a. kbloiz are so sophisticated. that's why espionage is so dangerous. because if you tell other countries the united states is able to do this, they will then guard against that.
of course, that degrades our ability to collect the information that our war fighters need in the event they go to war with some country. that's the problem. for most of the years that i worked for d.i.a., i was the senior counterintelligence investigator. if anyone was engaging in espionage in the agency on my watch, that was an affront to me. >> i hate that. it's the betrayal that gets me. like how dare you? >> one investigative lead that the fbi had was that the spying question had traveled to the naval station at guantanamo, cuba during a specific time frame. that was the best investigative lead. i knew that people traveled to get there had to get permission to do so. they submitted their request by message. it's searchable by keyword. it only took me moments to submit my query. the system produced a hit file a list of messages, about 100 of
them that matched parameters of my search. so i started hitting my function key quickly just to see if i would recognize names. and the 20th one -- [ laughs ] it was very, very emotional. the moment i saw her name, i knew. mind if i sit here? not if you want your phone to work. let me guess, you can't livestream your lobster roll. and my mobile pay isn't connecting and i just got an unlimited plan. right plan, wrong network. you see verizon has america's largest most reliable 4g lte network and now unlimited plans start at $40 per line, you know what i am saying? (laughs.) oh this is your seat. definitely. yep. just tucking it in. nah, i wasn't going to pull it out.
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the second i saw her name, i said, oh -- because i knew ana at that time was the queen of cuba. ann monotas has probably more time invested in the study of political military affairs regarding cuba than anybody else. ana's security clearances was top secret with access to special intelligence. this stuff is so extraordinarily sensitive that only a handful of people would be given access to it. someone in an honest position could cause exceptionally grave damage to your on our collective security and she could do that
in a moment, which means a greater possibility that our war fighters who are our boys and girls will die. that's why this is not a game. i actually went into shock. at that moment i realized i'm the only guy outside of havana who knew that ana monotas was a major spy. now, this was not the first time i'd seen ana monotas's name. i had other interactions with ana and dufrgt during the course of those interactions with her i developed a gut feeling that there was something wrong and suspicious about this woman. and so when i saw her name again, i knew that she was the spy that they were looking for. four years yearly in april 1996, one of our employees, regg brown
came to me expressing concerns about ana. he said her actions during a specific incident caused me great concern. >> three, two, one. >> okay. >> ladies and gentlemen, i have just been briefed by the national security adviser on the shooting down today of two american civilian airplanes by cuban military aircraft. >> on the 24th of february, 1996, the cuban military shot down two aircraft operated by a cuban immigrant group called brothers to the rescue. two civilian aircraft piloted by a total of three american citizens were shot down in international air space by cubans. >> do you have relatives? >> my son. >> he was in one of the airplanes. >> it was the murder of three american citizens. now, in response to the shootdown, the united states government scrambled fofgt what
happened and how we migrated respond. one of the first people the pentagon called in as an expert to advise them was ana monotas. in that circumstance, when the pentagon calls you, you must stay in place until you are dismissed. if you're there for two months, you stay there until the senior military leaders no longer have a need for your expertise. regg brown called the pentagon shortly after 8:00 p.m. that night just to ask ana a question, but she left and he thought, well, that's odd. regg thought that her actions in leaving the pentagon early were suspicious. so the first thing i did is took a look at her own records. everybody at the d.i.a. has a
personal file. i reviewed the files on ana monts and what i found was a model employee. ana, she had been working at d.i.a. since 1985 and she had never kmatd security violation. she rose to the ranks very quickly, lived very modestly. she was the kind of employee that officers hold up for others to em late. the assessment that ana might be a spy just didn't make a lot of sense. nevertheless, i decided to interview her. and ana gave me great answers to most of my questions. but then when i started questioning her about just going home and did anybody see you, her entire demeanor changed. one minute we're joking and laughing, having a good time, and the next minute, she is scared to death that i know something that she did, and i
had no idea what it was. i didn't know what was going on, but i walked away from that situation with a gut feeling that she was hiding something from me that was very important to her, and that gut feeling played a major role four years later in september of 2000 when her name popped up on that screen. and so i contacted the fbi. i met with them. i told them, look, i have an employee who i think is your suspect. the fbi had yet additional data that they were employing to measure suspects, new information which i had not previously possessed. and i refer to it as a template. ana monts didn't match up to that at all. i can limit your employee as a subpoena in this case and they had a lot of confidence in the validity of this new information. they used it as a trump card on me.
from the time i left the meeting until the time i took the elevator ride denounce and i found myself literally out on the curb, i knew that ana was at work three miles south in our headquarters building. i could just picture her in my mind's eye. that woman was in my building pulling this crap on my watch, placing our entire nation's future at risk. she was going to get the hell out of there. i needed the fbi to be able to make that happen, so i said we are going to persuade the fbi that ana monts was the spy they were looking for. and i realized i had to attack the trump card. wait so you got rid of verizon, just like that? uh-huh. i switched to t-mobile, kept my phone-everything on it- -oh, they even paid it off! wow! yeah. it's nice that every bad decision doesn't have to be permenant!
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the next day i spent most of the day examining the trump card. and i discovered something. i discovered a pattern that i recognized from something that i learned in an 8th great grade statistics math class. my math instructor told us, if you ever see this pattern, you need to understand that the fix is in. somebody is manipulating the data in order to get the outcome that you're looking at. and i saw a pattern which i knew could never occur in a random world. can't happen. it had to be the cubans. the fbi was using the trump card and was being manipulated. they didn't know it. so at that moment i realized that i had cracked the trump card. i wrote up an eight-page memo
and i fax i had to the fbi. about an hour later, steve mccoy called me, and the the first thing he said was scott, i think we got off on the wrong foot. i think we're going to be working together for a while. and i was revealed. the only way we were going to be successful was to work together and it was at that moment i knew that we were going to be okay. one of the things that the fbi did was to assign a cocase agent by the name of pete lap. >> the first time i heard the name ana montes was at the christmas party 2000. they got the name of a suspect who matched one of these unsub cases. i talked to steve mccoy, the senior case agent, and i said, hey, i hear you're working a neat case and you have a name. i'd love to work with you on this. he said yeah, sure, i'd
appreciate your help. from there we worked the entire case together with scott. it's important to keep in mind the fbi has to prove these cases. we're the lead counterintelligence agency for the united states. the bureau is going to be the organization that brings charges against someone for espionage. so there's a lot of pressure on us to get it right. knowing someone is guilty of espionage is fundamentally differentiate than proving that someone's guilty of espionage. so let's validate scott's claim that she's an agent of a foreign power and then let's try to catch her in the act of committing espionage. national security letters are hugely important tools for the fbi. national security letter is a letter that's issued by the fbi that excels financial institutions, credit
institutions, telephone companies to reling quish critical information. and once montes was identified as a suspect, we opened a full investigation on her that allowed to us opportunity to use national security letters. we had very sensitive intelligence that told us that the unknown subject had purchased a specific brand, make, and model computer at a specific period of time in 1996 from a store in alexandria. in other information. i identified ana's line of credit. from that we knew that ana had made a purchase at comp usa back in october of 1996. in april 2001 we served a national security letter at comp usa and asked them could we identify a specific purchase made here in october of 1996. and they said we keep records that far back behind the store and we only keep them for about five years.
this was april of 2001. the records were almost destroyed. so we pulled out boxes and about 20 minutes after we started, the assistant manager for comp usa said, is this what you're looking for? in fact it was the purchase ana made in true name for the computer that we could prove that the cubans tasked her back in 1996. the sales receipt for this computer purchase proved that she was in fact the spy. so from april 2001 i had no doubts she was a cuban spy. the question is was she currently spying and could we catch her in the act of committing espionage? open yous to the city mini shadow palettes, new from maybelline new york. our purest color pigments inspired by the city. from concrete runway to rooftop bronzes. the city mini shadow palettes. make it happen.
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the sales receipt for this computer purchase proved that she was in fact the spy. ana montes became the prime suspect in the unknown subject investigation. now it was a matter of catching her in the act of committing espionage. >> we need to get her on film meeting someone, uploading intelligence secrets, passing crypted thumb drive, that's the ultimate threshold, courtworthy evidence that will convict a
spy. >> so one of the first things we requested was physical surveillance on her. >> we had a lot to do. the fbi put cameras in her cubicle and microphones and tapped her phones and all that sort of thing. >> we started doing significant physical surveillance on montes, identifying her patterns of behavior, what was her routine. >> so watching ana montes, we saw that, for example, she would leave her home on sunday night at a precise time, go to the local metro, get on, go several stops, get off, walk, stop at locations, wait 60 seconds, go somewhere else, wait 90 seconds, more methodical, things a normal person doesn't. you knew something was afoot. >> when her shoe seemingly untied and she stopped, was she
signaling someone? over the next several months, the surveillance team told us we have a pattern now. she's following a route. here's the route. she's going into drug stores but she doesn't come out with a bag, so what's she doing in the stores. turns out she was using the pay phones. >> not too long ago we had pay phones everywhere and using pay phones was not in and of itself suspicious, but when you had a cell phone, you have a home phone, and when you have phones at your office, the fact that you go a couple blocks off your normal route to and from a home to use a pay phone, that is suspicious. >> once we did the legal paperwork to get the records from the pay phone, we saw she was calling pagers in new york city. and those particular numbers, we knew were associated with cuban
knew were associated with cuban espionage. and our suspicions were she was punching in codes, three or four digits. we knew she was communicating with a pager. she was sending signals that told us she was still active. >> so we saw her making all these pay phone calls, the timing of which cord with encrypted high-frequent messages being transmitted from the d.c. area to cuba. >> even before montes was identity as a suspect, we knew that the cubans were communicating to their agents via high-frequency messages that would have been picked up using a short wave radio. . >> the cubans would send a mesh of thursday, repeat it twice on thursday, twice on saturday much we knew communicating to the cubans vee the high-frequency messages required encrisp and
deencryption disks. so it's not like they were sending them messages out in the open air. they were encrypted messages no one could reed unless you had the matching deencryption software the cubans gave to their agents much in order to catch her in the act we knew we had to catch her in her home because we knew we had to find these disks. she loved in a 30-tenant build. our surveillance of her taught us she had a boyfriend out of florida. her traveling to visit her boyfriend memorial day weekend 2001 gave us a long opportunity to get into her apartment covertly to do a physical search.
>> so when we went into her apartment, i was absolutely nervous. it was hot. there was no air-conditioning. although it was a small two bedroom apartment, there was a lot to look through. the risk of getting caught doing this is tremendous and that's the last thing you want to do is compromise the investigation by someone coming home too early or someone, you know, watering the plant when you didn't plan on them doing that.s when you didn them doing that. we started searching her apartment. first thing we found was the sony short wave radio in its box out in the open underneath an open window. and then we found the toshiba laptop computer that the cubans had tasked her to purchase. so our computer experts made a copy of the computer, the hard drive, so that we could frenzily analyze it.
ana montes, as she had received and sent reports out to the cubans had tried to delete what was on her computer. but in the deleted space of her computer, we found almost 11 pages of single-spaced text in english and spanish. and in that text we found national defense information that montes gave to the cubans that was classified. >> that was a hugely successful covert search, but we had not found the disks. if we could find the disks that the cubans had given her, we would be able to read her crypted messages while she was getting them and hopefully know what the messages were between her and the cubans. um...i'm babysitting. that'll be $50 bucks. you said 30 dollars. yeah, well it was $30 before my fees, like the dog-sitting fee... and the rummage through your closet fee. who is she, verizon? are those my heels? yeah! yeah, we're the same size...in shoes.
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we had made a copy and found the communication between her and the cubans on the computer. we found the short wave radio. we saw her making all these pay phone calls. and we knew we had a strong case, but we felt we had to find these disks. we really needed that concrete proof that took away any shadow of a doubt from anybody that montes is guilty of espionage. >> the fbi speculated that perhaps she was keeping this data on her person. the reason they couldn't find it is because she was carrying it around with her all the time, perhaps in her purse.
the objective was to get to her purse, search it and get that purse back without either ana or any of her co-workers having even a suspicion that anything had occurred. >> we came up with a plan to separate her from the purse. we had insider access to ana montes' daily life. what occurred to us is, we could create a fake meeting that she would have to attend. >> we gave her a major speaking assignment, which meant she'd be visible to everybody, and psychologically, it just wouldn't look good for her to have a purse sitting on top of her materials. we scheduled that briefing for 9:00 in the morning because we wanted to make sure ana had time to settle in at work by 8:00 to put her purse into a drawer so she'd just secure it. and she did. >> all the attendees were at the
meeting prepared to do a good hour, hour and a half discussion of this very important issue. once the door was closed, the fbi technical team, under the guise of being a maintenance crew, went into her cubicle and the surrounding area to do routine maintenance on the facilities and had access to her purse. >> so while she was at the meeting, we had a very short period of time to go through her purse looking for the disks. >> it was a typical woman's purse. had cosmetics and wallets and just had a lot of purse type stuff in there. so we looked and searched in and couldn't find the disks there. >> so we couldn't find exactly what we were looking for, but we did find something.
inside ana's purse, the fbi found a sheet with a matrix, which was crypto material which ana employed when she communicated with the cubans via pagers. that's what we were looking for to determine what the message was between her and cuban intelligence. >> once we had her brevity codes, it was simply a matter of going to a phone, punching in the exact same codes, and we'd match it against the messages that had been sent and would be sent in the future and know exactly what she was telling new york. it told us at the time that she did not perceive herself in danger and was setting up a future meeting to meet with her case handler or spy handler, which was every other week. if we could get her meeting with her spy handler, we knew we'd get her convicted and put her in prison. she had the potential to be one of america's most dangerous spies.
>> holy [ bleep ]. >> my god! [ sirens ] >> i was sitting in my boss' office, i think, in a commercial office building in northern virginia about a mile from the pentagon when 9/11 occurred. >> oh, my god! >> and we were riveted to the television screen. we understood this was a terrorist attack and that it was significant. i sat in there for another 20 minutes or so, and i saw a puff of smoke to my right. and the puff of smoke persisted and turned gray and began to billow, and then news coverage came out about an aircraft hitting the pentagon. i didn't see the impact but knew what was happening. we had just crossed a threshold. the united states of america was going to formulate some sort of a response that would require
the assistance and support of the defense intelligence agency. >> in the aftermath of 9/11, dia assembled a task force to support the pentagon's forthcoming operations in afghanistan. ana montes was among those to be chosen for the task force. >> on saturday the 22nd of september, ana was going to be briefed on the war plan for "operation enduring freedom," the effort to remove the taliban from afghanistan. if ana montes gained access to information about our war plans, she could give it to the cubans who, in turn, would be happy to trade that information or to simply share that information with our adversaries, possibly including the taliban. in that event, all of our plans we executed during "operation enduring freedom" would have been known to the enemy. i knew that our investigation with ana was coming to an end.
>> we really wanted to catch her in the act of committing espionage with her handler who was handling and receiving the classified information. but we knew that it was just too much risk and potential damage to keep her at dia at such a sensitive time when we were launching a war. it was time to arrest montes for conspiracy to commit espionage. and when we actually do is one of the reasons why too many of us aren't prepared for retirement. just start as early as you can. it's going to pay off in the future. if we all start saving a little more today, we'll all be better prepared tomorrow. prudential. bring your challenges. i expect things to last [kina looong time.as,
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when 9/11 happened, we knew we had days left in the investigation. >> we really wanted to catch her in the act of committing espionage, but it was just too much risk to keep her at dia at such a sensitive time when we were launching a war. it was time to arrest montes for conspiracy to commit espionage. >> the fbi decided they'd like to effect the arrest over in our building. we decided to bring her down into the offices of the inspector general. >> so, we were going to arrest her at work, but we still wanted to try and get her to make some incriminating statements. if we could get her to say
things about her espionage in an interview before she's arrested, that would be a good thing for the prosecution. >> we started our interview. talked to her about this scenario that wasn't true, that there was a defector that came out from the cuban intelligence service and he talked about a penetration of the u.s. government. and quickly into this pretext, ana had this interesting physiological reaction. there was a rash that immediately broke out. they were on the side of her neck facing me. i could only see them. i had to kind of control myself and not go, look at that. she has this rash breaking out. so, she got them under control, and she was very focused and very firm. getting through this story, montes wised up to it and asked
if she was under investigation. and at that point in time, we told her she was under arrest for conspiracy to commit espionage, handcuffed her, and her life changed from that moment on. >> pete came out of the conference room with ana. she was in handcuffs, and i saw them walking down the corridor, if you will, towards me. she was almost standing in front of me, and she never looked at me. i doubt that she had any real idea as to what role i might have played in her capture. >> we're pleased to announce this morning that 45-year-old ana belen montes plead guilty, charged with espionage. it is a result between miss montes and the united states that will require her to fully
cooperate with law enforcement by providing information relating to all criminal and/or intelligence activities of which she has knowledge. >> as part of the plea agreement, she got 25 years for espionage. and in exchange for that, she agreed to be fully debriefed by the fbi and the rest of the intelligence community. she was debriefed for about seven months, exhaustively, probably three times a week, five or six hours a day. >> during ana's debriefing, they took her from the earliest days in 1985, when she started, all the way up to the day of arrest. >> what did you learn? >> she betrayed us in el salvador, compromised all of our military operations in central america throughout five years of the secret war during the 1980s. >> and to think, here was a woman that would literally sit across the table from special
forces teams going down range and pretend to be their friend, and then as soon as the meeting is over, contact her cuban handlers and say, you have another special forces team going on to el salvador. they'll be at this location on these dates. good luck. happy hunting. i'm convinced she willfully and intentionally took every action she could to kill americans in combat. it should make us all enraged. >> people from the intelligence community, every individual that she met from the u.s. government, if they were going to cuban covertly, she identified who they were and what their true mission was versus what their stated mission was. >> a lot of the information she shared will remain classified to the american public. isn't that ironic that information that you cannot read was read in beijing, moscow, teheran, cuba. there is no way, even in six
months of daily, all-day interrogations, you're not going to get everything that a career spy did in 16 years. we will never fully know the damage that she did to the united states. during the time we were debriefing her, we learned a lot about her motivation for being a cuban spy. >> so, in 1984, 1985, montes was working on her masters degree in international relations at johns hopkins university, and her mutual friend saw her in class, knew her opinions, and knew that she was diametrically opposed to u.s. foreign policy and what we were doing in that time period which was 1984, 1985. ana felt that the united states did not have a right to impose their will on other countries, especially in central and south america, and really disagreed with u.s. foreign policy at the time.
her friend sensed that she had this passion that the cubans would be interested in. she was introduced to the cubans via a diplomat, their undercover. he recognized she had a visceral empathy for the cuban plight for the cuban cause. and that's folks who they really reach out to and ultimately trust to be their agents. >> ana's cubicle was devoid of anything personal. it was all devoted to business. but ana's cubicle wall posted next to her computer monitor was a piece of paper, that was lined and written in script, the king hath note of all they attempt, by interceptions which they dream not of. >> fidel castro is aware of all of their plans by some secret means they can't even imagine. this was an inspirational quote she posted to her wall so that
every time she saw it, she could see it and motivate herself as a spy. you know, people commit espionage are a place in our collected security at risk. our boys and girls in uniform who are fighting battles for us are going to die because somebody stabbed them in the back. that's what espionage is, death. and that's why guys like me work so hard to find these people. i have told people that hunting for spies is like trying to find a ghost in the fog. and you've got to believe, first of all, that they're there. and then you have to have enough drive to keep looking. ♪
>> i remember that day very vividly. it was thanksgiving. it was pitch black to the north and to the east was like this ray of light coming up where the sun was starting to come up. they called me the fisherman. i really hadn't been out fishing a lot. my cousin sam he's more of a fisherman than me. he said look for sea weed and debris, anything floating on the ocean surface.