America has plenty of threats from the outside. But it looks like the most serious ones are from within.
And one US ambassador was exposed as a spy for this enemy nation.
According to unsealed court documents revealed on Monday, US prosecutors charged a former ambassador to Bolivia with secretly working for the Cuban government and assisting its clandestine intelligence-gathering mission against the US for more than four decades.
Victor Manuel Rocha, a former State Department official, was arrested on Friday in Miami, Florida, on a criminal complaint. According to the Justice Department, federal prosecutors charged Rocha with a variety of federal offenses, including operating as an unlawful agent of a foreign government and using a passport obtained via deception.
“This action exposes one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign agent,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a news release.
Rocha, a naturalized US citizen originating from Colombia, allegedly spent 40 years quietly working as an agent for Havana while pursuing and acquiring positions within the US government to have access to confidential material with the power to influence its foreign policy.
The indictment makes no mention of the information that Rocha allegedly communicated with conspirators within Cuba’s intelligence community.
Rocha moved through the ranks of the State Department during both Democratic and Republican governments between 1981 and 2002. He worked in US embassies in Argentina, Bolivia, and Mexico City, and from 1994 to 1995, he was the head of inter-American affairs centered on Cuba on the White House’s National Security Council.
According to the Justice Department, Rocha later became an advisor to the Commander of the United States military’s Southern Command — a joint command of the United States military whose area of responsibility includes Cuba — from roughly 2006 until 2012.
During a series of encounters beginning last year, Rocha acknowledged to an undercover FBI agent posing as a covert Cuban General Directorate of Intelligence representative his decades of employment as a Cuban intelligence agent.
Rocha allegedly informed the undercover agent that his attempts to “infiltrate” the US administration had been “meticulous,” “very disciplined,” and had “strengthened the revolution immensely.”
At their first meeting outside a Miami church, the accused spy told the undercover agent that his “number one priority was…any action on the part of Washington that would – would endanger the life of — of the leadership…revolution itself.”
Prosecutors claim that throughout the conversations, Rocha acted like a Cuban agent, continuously referring to the US as “the enemy,” praising Fidel Castro as the “Comandante,” referring to his contacts in Cuban intelligence as “Compaeros,” and referring to the Cuban intelligence services as the “Dirección.”
“I have to protect what we did because what we did…the cement that has strengthened the last 40 years,” Rocha allegedly told the undercover agent during their second meeting, “What we have done…it’s enormous…It was more than a grand slam.”
It was unclear whether Rocha’s legal counsel had issued a statement.
When contacted by The Associated Press, his wife, Karla Wittkop Rocha, declined to comment.
“I don’t need to talk to you,” she reportedly told the outlet before hanging up.
Rocha was scheduled to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Miami on December 4.
The arrest comes about a year after a high-ranking federal officer was released from jail after serving more than two decades for leaking information and the identities of certain American agents to Cuba.
Ana Belen Montes, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, pled guilty in 2002 to espionage conspiracy and using her position to leak confidential information and four U.S. spy identities to Havana.
Stay tuned to The Federalist Wire.