25 April 2013
Alleged Cuban Spy Marta Rita Velazquez Indicted
Unsealed Indictment Charges Former U.S. Federal Employee with Conspiracy
to Commit Espionage for Cuba
Defendant Allegedly Helped Cuban Intelligence Service Recruit and Insert
Spy into U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency
U.S. Department of Justice April 25, 2013
Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007/ (202) 514-1888
WASHINGTONA one-count indictment was unsealed today in U.S. District
Court for the District of Columbia charging Marta Rita Velazquez, 55, with
conspiracy to commit espionage, announced John Carlin, Acting Assistant Attorney
General for National Security; Ronald C. Machen, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the
District of Columbia; and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of
the FBIs Washington Field Office.
The charges against Velazquez stem from, among other things, her alleged
role in introducing Ana Belen Montes, now 55, to the Cuban Intelligence Service
(CuIS) in 1984; in facilitating Montess recruitment by the CuIS; and
in helping Montes later gain employment at the U.S. Defense Intelligence
Agency (DIA). Montes served as an intelligence analyst at DIA from September
1985 until she was arrested for espionage by FBI agents on September 21,
2001. On March 19, 2002, Montes pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia
to conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of Cuba. Montes is currently
serving a 25-year prison sentence.
The indictment against Velazquez, who is also known as Marta Rita
Kviele and as Barbara, was originally returned by a grand
jury in the District of Columbia on February 5, 2004. It has remained under
court seal until today. Velazquez has continuously remained outside the United
States since 2002. She is currently living in Stockholm, Sweden. If convicted
of the charges against her, Velazquez faces a potential sentence of up to
life in prison.
According to the indictment, Velazquez was born in Puerto Rico in 1957. She
graduated from Princeton University in 1979 with a bachelors degree
in political science and Latin American studies. Velazquez later obtained
a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1982 and a masters
degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
(SAIS) in Washington, D.C., in 1984.
Velazquez later served as an attorney advisor at the U.S. Department of
Transportation, and, in 1989, she joined the State Departments U.S.
Agency for International Development (USAID) as a legal officer with
responsibilities encompassing Central America. During her tenure at USAID,
Velazquez held a top secret security clearance and was posted to the U.S.
Embassies in Nicaragua and Guatemala. In June 2002, Velazquez resigned from
USAID following press reports that Montes had pleaded guilty to espionage
and was cooperating with the U.S. government. Velazquez has remained outside
the United States since 2002.
The indictment alleges that, beginning in or about 1983, Velazquez conspired
with others to transmit to the Cuban government and its agents documents
and information relating to the U.S. national defense, with the intent that
they would be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage
of the Cuban government.
As part of the conspiracy, Velazquez allegedly helped the CuIS spot, assess,
and recruit U.S. citizens who occupied sensitive national security positions
or had the potential of occupying such positions in the future to serve as
Cuban agents. For example, the indictment alleges that, while Velazquez was
a student with Montes at SAIS in Washington, D.C., in the early 1980s, Velazquez
fostered a strong, personal friendship with Montes, with both sharing similar
views of U.S. policies in Nicaragua at the time.
In December 1984, the indictment alleges, Velazquez introduced Montes in
New York City to a Cuban intelligence officer who identified himself as an
official of the Cuban Mission to the United States. The intelligence officer
then recruited Montes. In 1985, after Montes recruitment, Velazquez
personally accompanied Montes on a clandestine trip to Cuba for Montes to
receive spy craft training from CuIS.
Later in 1985, Velazquez allegedly helped Montes obtain employment as an
intelligence analyst at the DIA, where Montes had access to classified national
defense information and served as an agent of the CuIS until her arrest in
2001. During her tenure at the DIA, Montes disclosed the identities of U.S.
intelligence officers and provided other classified national defense information
to the CuIS.
During this timeframe, Velazquez allegedly continued to serve the CuIS, receiving
instructions from the CuIS through encrypted, high-frequency broadcasts from
her handlers and through meetings with handlers outside the United States.
This case was investigated by the FBIs Washington Field Office and
the DIA. It is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Clifford Rones of
the Counterespionage Section in the Justice Departments National Security
Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Michael Harvey of the U.S.
Attorneys Office for the District of Columbia.
The charges contained in an indictment are merely allegations, and each defendant
is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.