True Believer

Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba's Master Spy
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Published:March 5, 2007
By Scott W. Carmichael (Author)

Read the extensive feature article on Montes in April 18, 2013 issue of The Washington Post magazine

Ana Montes appeared to be a model employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Known to her coworkers as the Queen of Cuba, she was an overachiever who advanced quickly through the ranks of Latin American specialists to become the intelligence community's top analyst on Cuban affairs. But throughout her sixteen-year career at DIA, Montes was sending Castro some of America's most closely guarded secrets and at the same time helping influence what the United States thought it knew about Cuba. When she was finally arrested in September 2001, she became the most senior American intelligence official ever accused of operating as a Cuban spy from within the federal U.S. government. Unrepentant as she serves out her time in a federal prison in Texas, Montes remains the only member of the intelligence community ever convicted of espionage on behalf of the Cuban government.

This inside account of the investigation that led to her arrest has been written by Scott W. Carmichael, the DIA's senior counterintelligence investigator who persuaded the FBI to launch an investigation. Although Montes did not fit the FBI's profile of a spy and easily managed to defeat the agency's polygraph exams, Carmichael became suspicious of her activities and with the FBI over a period of several years developed a solid case against her. Here he tells the story of that long and ultimately successful spy hunt. Carmichael reveals the details of their efforts to bring her to justice, offering readers a front-row seat for the first major U.S. espionage case of the twentieth century. She was arrested less than twenty-four hours before learning details of the U.S. plan to invade Afghanistan post-September 11. Motivated by ideology not money, Montes was one of the last "true believers" of the communist era. Because her arrest came just ten days after 9/11, it went largely unnoticed by the American public. This book calls attention to the grave damage Montes inflicted on U.S. security—Carmichael even implicates her in the death of a Green Beret fighting Cuban-backed insurgents in El Salvador—and the damage she would have continued to inflict had she not been caught.

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Product Details
  • Subject: Cold War
  • Hardback : 208 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (March 5, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 1591141001
  • ISBN-13: 9781591141006
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 15.29 oz
  • "Several years ago, I informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation of a growing suspicion that one of our own DIA employees, Ana Belen Montes, was secretly an agent of the Cuban government. The evidence at first was weak, but I worked with the FBI over several years to develop the facts and finally bring her to justice. This book is the inside story of that long and ultimately successful spy hunt." — Scott W. Carmichael

Scott W. Carmichael, senior security and counterintelligence investigator for the Defense Intelligence Agency was the lead agent on the Ana Montes espionage investigation. His contributions to national security have earned him the DIA Civilian Expeditionary Medal and Award for Meritorious Civilian Service, the Defense Intelligence Director's Award, the Department of Defense Counterintelligence Award, and the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement. He lives n the Washington, D.C area.

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Customer Reviews

5 Reviews
Average Customer Reviews
4.60 Stars
The Spy Who Came In From the Heat
Thursday, April 19, 2007
By: Mark Falcoff, The New York Sun
Read Mark Falcoff's review here:
Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
By: Mark Birdsall, Editor
"A terrific book that reveals espionage is not the sole domain of major countries. Had the DIA failed to expose Montes when it did, the results could have been much worse. Following 9/11, it would have been easy (and understable) if attention was focused elsewhere, but the clues left by this spy became stronger and were eventually understood. Another example of a career intelligence officer working hard for their employer, but digging even harder for snippets of information useful to an adversary. A warning to all security services that sometimes not everything is as it appears - even within the tight operational framework of the DIA ."
Must Read for Intelligence Professionals!!!!
Friday, May 25, 2007
By: Jim Dolbow
This first hand account about Cuba's penetration of the Defense Intelligence Agency was tough to put down. It held my interest from beginning to end. Well-researched. Well documented. The author has a great gift when it comes to writing because he makes the reader feel like he/she is his partner during the investigation. True Believer is great contribution to knowledge about espionage in general and the Cuban intelligence machine in particular. A must read for you and/or the spy buff in your life. If you liked Ronald Olive's book entitled Capturing Jonathan Pollard: How One of The Most Notorious Spies in American History Was Brought to Justice, you will definitely like this book.
From The Military Advocate, Summer 2007 issue
Thursday, August 2, 2007
By: Alice A. Booher, Judge Advocates Assoc.
"Carmichael wrote the book as a personal catharsis and to draw attention to the fact that Montes was not the only skilled spy under our noses. His factual documentation of how Montes was caught, the frustrations of the bureaucracy including legal steps to persuade the FBI to sign-on, the necessary play-acting and other scenarios, the planning, the minute details and intricacies of keeping those in her near-circle "in the bubble" so as not to give away her imminent arrest, is one of the best-ever non-fictional discussions of operations inside the Beltway and spy catching. In this business, there is no substitute for sound research coupled with diligence, creativity, and a sensitivity to the value of gut reactions. The book is a screaming wake-up call and a must read."
Very interesting book
Monday, April 30, 2007
I've followed this story since it first broke after September 11, 2001, and am glad that this book was finally published. It would be wonderful if it had the wide readership this issue deserves. I had the opportunity to attend a press conference at the office of Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen in Miami where Mr. Carmichael spoke but I'm sorry to have missed his presentation at Books & Books. The book is disappointing in that Mr. Carmichael, obviously, can't share all the informaiton that one would want to know about Ms. Montes' activities prior to and during the investigation. The sensitivity of the issue at hand makes it so, unfortunately. Ms. Montes is a fascinating character and it's unfortunate that a more detailed analysis of her personality and the forces that drove her to betray the US can't be laid out (whether because of national security or because she just doesn't seem to be the most open of people!). I did want to point out a mistake in the book -- Mr. Carmichael incorreclty writes that JFK was elected on November 3, 1959, the birthdate of the Special Forces soldier who was killed in El Salvador. The ACTUAL date of JFK's election was November 8, 1960.


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