Unsealed indictment: US federal employee conspired to commit espionage for Cuba
The FBI announced Thursday that an indictment has been unsealed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charging a former US federal employee with conspiracy to commit espionage for Cuba. The indictment had remained under seal since February of 2004 until now.
Marta Rita Velazquez, 55, was born in Puerto Rico but later resided in the US and worked in federal government agencies. An individual she helped to obtain a position in the US Defense Intelligence Agency was convicted in 2002 of conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of Cuba and is currently serving time in prison.
According to the FBI Press Release:
"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 Montes’s 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."
According to the press release, Velazquez was an attorney advisor at the
U.S. Department of Transportation, then later was with the State
Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a
legal officer "with responsibilities encompassing Central America."
Velazquez is a Princeton University graduate and later received a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. She has not returned to the US since 2002 and is currently residing in Stockholm, Sweden.
"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."
Read the full press release here.