The release by Cuba of US contractor Alan Gross was one of the biggest headlines on Wednesday, but in Washington there was a more discreet celebration going on. A mysterious US intelligence agent, who had been held as a prisoner in a Cuban jail for almost 20 years, was also freed.
His identity remains unknown, and if US intelligence officials have their way, little more will be revealed.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence would only say that the agent is “a Cuban individual” who was “instrumental” in the disruption of “several” Cuban intelligence operatives on American soil.
He was one of the most important intelligence agents that the United States has ever had in Cuba”
President Barack Obama
The words of praise President Barack Obama dedicated to this unnamed spy during his speech on relaunching diplomatic relations with Cuba on Wednesday made it clear that the man in question was a key asset. He was “one of the most important intelligence agents that the United States has ever had in Cuba,” the president said.
Although the bulk of his work will remain a matter of secrecy, authorities have revealed some of the results he helped them achieve. Thanks to information he provided, US officials discovered and detained some of the most dangerous spies – those who had infiltrated the highest levels of government in Washington.
According to the United States, his collaboration helped track Ana Belén Montes, a decorated Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) specialist who was the senior officer responsible for analyzing all information about Cuba. For 17 years, she worked as a double agent for the island without raising suspicion. Then, in 2002, she was arrested. Montes is currently serving a 25-year sentence.
The spy also helped the government identify and catch another high-level American civil servant, “Agent 202”
The spy also helped the government identify and catch another high-level American civil servant, Walter “Agent 202” Kendall Myers, the Cuban mole in the Department of State for three decades. Myers, who obtained access to top secret information, and his wife, Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, were arrested in 2009 and sentenced to life in prison.
According to the scant amount of information revealed, this secret agent also played an important role in uncovering the activities of a group of spies known as the “Wasp Network,” who infiltrated the Cuban diaspora in the United States. Five of these men were captured and given long prison sentences. The last three who were still serving time in American prisons made the trip back to the island, just as Gross was headed in the opposite direction.