The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and an insufficient sense of urgency about Cuban espionage among his U.S. intelligence colleagues, drove Scott Carmichael to take the unusual step of writing a book about his work as a mole hunter.
The author of True Believer is also a longtime (20 years) counterintelligence investigator for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Department’s counterpart to the CIA. Carmichael was the driving force behind catching Montes, a DIA analyst, who had spent her 16-year career sending top-secret information to Cuba.
The successful investigation and capture of one of U.S. intelligence’s prized employees was pushed deep inside the pages of newspapers — if it appeared at all — due to 9/11. The lapse in intelligence that led to those attacks overshadowed a rare instance when a mole was successfully outed.
Montes, who was arrested ten days after 9/11, was an unlikely suspect. She had no previous connection to Cuba. A child of Puerto Ricans, she was born the daughter to a career U.S. Army officer on a base in Germany. Her teen years were spent in Baltimore area public schools, and she graduated with a degree in foreign affairs (with a Latin America emphasis) from the University of Virginia. While rising quickly through the Justice Department as a paralegal she earned a master’s degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “She was a model of self-discipline, drive and focus,” Carmichael writes, adding that she received glowing employment reviews everywhere she worked.
Those qualities carried her ultimately to her position as the DIA’s top political and military analyst on Cuba. Candidates for jobs in the intelligence community undergo extensive background reviews, but Montes had already earned a high-level security clearance in her Justice Department position. Such credentials “can be used like currency,” Carmichael says, providing near-instant access to sensitive information for those new in their jobs. Unfortunately it was during her time at Johns Hopkins that the Cuban Intelligence Service had already recruited Montes.p>Even though it was the Castro regime that approached Montes, Carmichael writes that her motives stemmed from ideological concerns more than anything: br> /p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
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