The Venezuelan military defector identified as the ringleader of the botched coup attempt in Venezuela was likely working as a “double agent” for the same man he allegedly attempted to overthrow, socialist narco-dictator Nicolás Maduro, Breitbart News has learned.
“This was a counterintelligence operation from the Maduro regime that used a military defector as a ‘dangle’ to basically infiltrate the Venezuelan opposition first and then also infiltrate Colombian and U.S. authorities,” Joseph Humire, Western Hemisphere expert and executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS) think tank, said, echoing other assessments.
“It is debatable how successful they did at that, but the strategic purpose behind this counterintelligence operation was to create a false positive so they can justify their false narrative of an aggressive U.S. military incursion,” Humire added.
Echoing the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Spy Museum defined a “dangle” as “a person sent by the intelligence agency of his or her own country who approaches an intelligence agency in the hope of being recruited as a spy so as to allow a double agent operation for the purpose of intelligence collection or disinformation.”
Humire’s theory is consistent with comments recently made by former CIA Station Chief Daniel Hoffman.
On Wednesday, Hoffman cautioned Fox News that the individuals who carried out the ill-fated operation might have been infiltrated by Venezuela’s intelligence unit or military, noting that it would be “something for the United States to look at.”
Jordan Goudreau, a former U.S. Army Green Beret who runs the Florida-based security company Silvercorp USA, claimed responsibility for the alleged failed effort to remove Maduro from office, dubbed Operation Gideon.
Humire, the Associated Press (AP), and the Maduro regime itself, however, identified the mastermind of the operation as Cliver Alcalá, a retired major general in Venezuela’s army known as the ringleader of the military deserters from the South American nation.
Maduro claimed the effort was an attempt to assassinate him, placing blame on President Donald Trump’s administration, Venezuela’s legitimate President Juan Guaidó, and neighboring Colombia, an American ally. All have denied any involvement.
Maduro ceased being the legitimate president of Venezuela when his term expired in January 2019. Guaidó has failed to take control of the military, however, which has made it impossible for him to exercise his legal authority.
The Maduro regime captured two Americans — veterans Luke Denman, 34, and Airan Berry, 41 — along with six Venezuelans in the wake of the May 3 launch of the alleged invasion, allegedly organized by Goudreau at the suggestion of Alcalá. Maduro officials also killed eight people and arrested two others on the day of the failed plot.
“I think he was a dangle and a lot of people bit” and fell for his deception, Humire argued, referring to Alcalá.
Humire said the alleged defector maintained friendly ties with Guaidó.
“A lot of the Venezuelan opposition believe him,” he added, referring to the alleged defector. “He was at some point considered a close military advisor to President Juan Guaidó, and I know he is engaged with other opposition members of the Guaidó team.”
“Alcalá was the one who gave the [coup] idea to Jordan Goudreau, the U.S. special forces guy who had the military network to carry out the operation,” the expert pointed out. “He recruited all the people who were involved in this operation.”
“Problem is Alcalá is now in U.S. federal custody … that means you can’t ask him questions about counterintelligence or spying because he’s got a lawyer and he’s only involved now in the case he is being accused of, which is narco-trafficking,” Humire noted.
The United States reportedly extradited Alcalá from Colombia days after the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted him on March 26, alongside with Maduro on narco-terrorism, drug trafficking, and other criminal charges. Maduro and Alcalá worked as leaders of the same cartel since at least 1999, DOJ asserted.
Alcalá served in the Venezuelan army during the regime of former socialist dictator and Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, making the defector a Chavista. He allegedly defected a couple of years after Chávez’s death of cancer in March 2013. He ultimately left Venezuela and went into exile in Colombia in 2018.
“So if you believe Alcalá’s story and think he is a legit military defector, then this just seems like a silly thing that some mercenaries did that was kind of stupid,” Humire said, alluding the haphazard coup effort.
“If he is not a legitimate military defector, he was using that as a cover, and he’s actually a double agent working for Maduro, then this is something that they thought up together,” he continued.
“In my criteria, he is absolutely a double agent,” he also said, later adding, “He is specifically one of those who has a lot of markings that fit a profile that would draw a red flag.”
He went on to link Alcalá’s wife to the cartel of Colombia’s La Guajira region that borders Venezuela, from where the regime claims the mercenaries launched the operation to depose of Maduro.
El Nacional also reported that U.S. law enforcement linked members of the Maduro regime to the same drug trafficking organization, namely nephews of the dictator’s wife and his former vice president and current oil minister, Tareck el Aissami.
The U.S. has affiliated Aissami with Iran’s narco-terrorist proxy Hezbollah, which maintains a presence in Latin America. Humire told Breitbart News that Hezbollah is known to operate in Colombia’s La Guajira region.
Humire also pointed out that Carlos Alcalá, the brother of the man behind the failed coup, “in early 2019 was credentialed as Maduro’s ambassador to Iran.”
“His brother Carlos Alcalá, is still to this day Maduro’s envoy to Tehran and he has also extended his influence to Central Asia — Tajikistan,” he added. “So it doesn’t make much sense to me that you have one brother that’s working for Maduro in Iran, the other brother that’s working against Maduro in a part of Colombia that’s inherently controlled by a drug cartel and Hezbollah.”
The expert argued that Maduro is benefitting from the botched coup attempt he allegedly helped organize, noting that the socialist leader now has a reason to go after Guaidó and to vilify the United States.
“I honestly think they want the U.S. to invade them,” he continued, referring to the Maduro regime. “They’re looking for more U.S. military pressure and presence in the Caribbean and against Maduro.”
Maduro and “his external support — Iran, Russia, China — they’re all escalating the conflict in Venezuela to a point that they want to get the United States to get more engaged because they know that’s a recipe for disaster for the United States,” he continued. “If the United States commits more military troops in the Caribbean, that can lead to an extension of the presence of Chinese, Russian, and other foreign militaries.”
Venezuela and its foreign allies are itching for “a contention” in the Caribbean, he said.
“Secondary, if the United States tries to rescue these guys [two captured Americans] and we get caught … you can have all kinds of bad scenarios,” Humire continued. “They’re trying to legitimize the false narrative that the United States wants to start a war with them.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the Trump administration will use “every tool” at its disposal to bring back the two Americans, who Humire indicated were collateral damage and kept in the dark about the alleged Maduro-Alcalá plan.
“By the statements of Goudreau, it seems he trusted Cliver Alcalá so that means they fell for the ‘dangle’ and got tricked by a double agent,” he told Breitbart News.