Spies among us

Went to see Scott Carmichael speak at Books and Books in Coral Gables, Florida last night. Mr. Carmichael is author of an incredible new book titled True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba’s Master Spy.

Mr. Carmichael, a counterintelligence investigator with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) hunts out moles (spies for other countries who work within intelligence and/or military agencies) for a living. His biggest catch is Ana Belen Montes, an ideologically motivated spy for mFidel Castro. She was arrested shortly after September 11 and–fortunately–before she’d have been privy to war planning against Afghanistan’s then-Taliban government.

One of the casualties caused by this traitor was the death of a Green Beret named Greg Fronius. Mr. Carmichael got emotional when he began to tell the story of Staff Sergeant Fronius, and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who had introduced him, had to fill in for him as he regained his composure.

SSG Fronius’ story, for short, is that he was in El Salvador training their military. He helped them build a secret camp deep within what Mr. Carmichael called “insurgent” territory, or guerilla territory. Because of her job within the DIA, Ana Belen Montes visited the camp in El Salvador–and she would eventually give the information of the camp’s location and forces stationed there to her Cuban handlers. Armed with this information, Castro-backed Salvadorean rebels attacked the camp, killing Fronius and 200-plus Salvadorean soldiers.

The scariest part of Mr. Carmichael’s presentation is that he said Cuba’s intelligence capabilities are outstanding and that we have seriously underestimated their abilities. He was surprised that no one had been caught spying for Castro at Southcom, for example. Mr. Carmichael believes Ana Belen Montes was just the tip of the iceberg.

Read True Believer if you get a chance. Mr. Carmichael is donating proceeds to the children of SSG Fronius.