Exactly one week after Lt. Col. Chris Simmons, a counterintelligence officer currently serving in the U.S. Army Reserve, fingered four persons as agents of Cuba's Castro regime, including an editorial contributor to The Miami Herald, that paper has finally decided to acknowledge the accusations.
The accusation that Marifeli Perez-Stable was (at least one time, if not currently) a Cuban agent is not new. In November of 2006 I posted an email from (then) Indiana University Latino Studies professor Antonio de la Cova to Herald publisher David Landsberg in which de la Cova relates information he was made privy to when he worked as a journalist in Puerto Rico during the 1980s. The information was an FBI debriefing of a Cuban intelligence officer name Jesus Perez Mendez that defected in July of 1983. de la Cova claims that he was not allowed by his contact in the Puerto Rican police to photocopy the document but was allowed to copy it word-for-word in longhand. According to the document Perez Mendez asserted that Marifeli Perez-Stable was a Cuban DGI (intelligence) agent at that time. The document is posted on de la Cova's web site.
However this was not the first time de la Cova had publicly quoted the debriefing. He did so in a paper about academic espionage that he wrote for a foundation in 1993.
Several months after I posted the email from de la Cova to Landsberg, an attorney named John de Leon contacted me on behalf of Perez-Stable and threatened me with a libel/slander lawsuit if I did not remove the post in question. I declined to remove the post but offered Perez-Stable equal space to defend herself. She did not take me up on the offer.
Now Lt. Col Simmons is repeating the allegations made by de la Cova against Perez-Stable. He did so on the local Spanish language TV program A Mano Limpia last Thursday.
The Herald article claims that:
...Simmons offered no conclusive evidence that any of the four -- who have denied the accusation -- gave classified information to Cuba, received intelligence training or undertook missions for Cuban intelligence.Perhaps not in the A Mano Limpia interview last Thursday but I interviewed Simmons on The Babalu Radio Hour last night and he said of Perez-Stable:
Most importantly for me, at the end, was I had access to a colleague who debriefing, a recent debriefing of a former DI officer who was working what is called M-1 U.S. targets. But most specifically, he worked the academic section of U.S. targets and in the early first half of the 1990s, now this is the critical part because she says that her support of the regime ended back in the eighties. Her [Cuban] case officer recalled meeting with her in Ottawa, Canada, in mid 1991, and she was still an active agent of Cuban intelligence. So, no matter how she tries to spin, spin it that this may have been an indiscretion of her youth, I got the notes from her case officer who outed her. So, her usefulness to the regime ended when that second officer stepped forward."Two former Cuban intelligence officers have made the same charge against Perez-Stable who says she's the victim of "McCarthyite tactics" and who claims she's "a vocal opponent of the Cuban government". In actuality she lobbies for an end to the embargo (an outcome the regime desperately wants), has been a salesperson for Raul Castro's image as a reformer and recently called for "Washington and Havana to learn to live in peace, that is, to settle into a mutually beneficial relationship. Along the way, the United States should gain a consideration of Cuban sensibilities."
If Marifeli Perez-Stable was in fact an agent of influence for the Castro regime (which Simmons asserts is a crime) does it not follow that she would deny it? Would she not have more credibility in her role as an oft-quoted expert if she appeared to be a critic of the regime while advocating for U.S. policy changes that favor it?
It's worth emphasizing that there have been literally dozens of arrests of Cuban agents over the last 15 years, the most noteworthy were a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst named Ana Belen Montes in 2001, the members of the WASP spy network in 1998 and college professors Carlos and Elsa Alvarez in 2006. Simmons notes that Cuban espionage in the United States dates back to the very beginning of the Castro regime.