The innocents abroad
In November of 1995, Rolando Sarraff Trujillo (a.k.a. 'Roly') was arrested and then convicted of espionage by
a Cuban military tribunal. He was sentenced to 25 years. Since then, everyone outside of Cuba, from human
rights groups to his sisters, have declared him to be innocent. Even Roly declared from prison that he was
unjustly jailed. However, in his press conference of December 17, 2014, announcing the reestablishment of
relations with Cuba, President Obama declared that Roly was the most important spy the United States ever
had in Cuba. The Obama Administration alleged that Roly had been the cryptographer who passed on secret
codes to the intelligence agencies which enabled the U.S. to capture:
Yet, whereas the three remaining members of the Cuban Five were greeted as heroes in Cuba and likewise Alan
Gross was greeted as a hero in the United States, poor Roly was taken through the back door and kept hidden
from the press even to this day.
A valid question that everyone interested in the spy swap should ask themselves,then, is whether Roly was truly
guilty or not? Did he deserve to be put in prison for 20 years?
Here I won't address these issues specifically because Roly did indeed pass sensitive information to the CIA
through me. This is a fact corroborated through the FBI report dated September 2, 1992, and through recordings
I made of FBI and CIA agents. The question is whether Roly did so as a spy or as a double-agent. Was Roly
acting on behalf of Fidel Castro WHEN he passed information through me from June 1992 to June 1994? Or was
he convicted for passing information AFTER June 1994 through Pepe Cohen and trying to escape the island?
There are two bits of information that answer these questions for me.
A. One is that in a phone call that I had and recorded with Pepe Cohen in 2009,
he denied knowing Roly. He did not want to talk about Roly. He kept deflecting
the dialogue to other subjects saying that he knew many Rolies and Rolandos
on the island.
Now why would he do that if Roly was already locked up in solitary?
1. Was he concerned that if he gave out information about Roly, the Cubans
would reopen Roly's case and commute his sentence from 25 years to firing
If so this would confirm that Pepe and Roly did share some secrets that Fidel
didn't know about.
2. Or was Pepe concerned about third parties, perhaps the people who acted
as couriers between Pepe and Roly? Was Pepe concerned about family
members of both of them still on the island? Certainly Pepe's cousin
Riopedes Valdes was a close associate and knew everything about PR-2.
Again, this confirms that Pepe and Roly were in communication with each other
through third parties after Pepe rafted out of Cuba in August of 1994.
B. The other is that Lazara was summoned by the military tribunal to Roly's trial.
The only reason for Lazara to be subpoenaed is that Roly's case obviously had
something to do with the Pepe-Roly-Lazara triangle. They did not arrest Lazara.
And Lazara has since then openly attempted to leave Cuba. The Government has
consistently denied her an exit visa and she has complained about this to the press
and through human rights organizations.
Therefore, if Lazara had something to do with Roly's case, but she was not
imprisoned despite that I formally notified the Cuban Government of her
involvement in PR-2, then Fidel knew about PR-2 and its dealings with the CIA
through me. Clearly, Pepe Cohen was not receiving sensitive information through
her. It would have been suicide. He and she knew that the Government would and
still does put an eye on her. Nevertheless, Lazara had quit her job as a
cryptographer in March of 1994. She was no longer in touch with fresh sensitive
Roly was in touch with Pepe through someone else after Pepe defected in August
of 1994 and that was the person (or those were the persons) that Pepe was afraid
would come to the attention of the Cuban Government. It is possible that the U.S.
agencies are still operating through some of these individuals if Pepe was still
fearful that their cover might be blown as late as 2009.
However, what I will discuss here is something else. What concerns me here is the issue of whether Roly
was a cryptographer and whether he passed crypto codes to the United States that enabled the counter-
intelligence agencies to detect and capture the Wasp Network, Ana Belen Montes and the Myers. This is
truly a big fat lie. President Obama is outright lying.
The official story... both of them
Ana Belen Montes was arrested in September 2001 after a few months of surveillance work. How did the
FBI know that there was a mole inside the Defense Intelligence Agency? What is the official story?
Well, when you look into the public record, you find that there are two versions, two conflicting versions.
Yet, they both originate in the same sources.
Hollywood Script # 1
In April of 2013, over a year and a half ago, investigative reporter Jim Popkin writes an article in the
Washington Post on how Ana Montes was detected and captured. He narrates a 007, cloak-and-dagger
story of two computer bloodhounds who track down Montes by scanning the Defense Intelligence Agency
(DIA) database. According to Popkin, in September of the year 2000, an unidentified female intelligence
officer -- apparently someone working at the FBI -- contacts former Defense Intelligence Agency officer
Chris Simmons, an individual who thinks of himself as a slick spy master. Simmons is a bit of a celebrity
in the Miami exile community, especially among fans who follow intelligence matters. He is periodically
interviewed and asked to give his opinion on exile TV.
Sensing that the information he received from this agent is interesting, Simmons contacts his friend Scott
Carmichael who still works at the DIA and whom Popkin touts as an experienced DIA mole hunter…
although Carmichael thinks of himself as nothing more than "a K-Mart security guard". I tend to agree with
Carmichael on this one. Popkin is making a mountain out of a 'mole' hill.
Carmichael skillfully scans the entire DIA database in search of the employee who has bought a Toshiba
laptop, the only clue the spy catchers have, information which purportedly comes out of the Wasp Spy
Network investigation. The system spits out Ana Montes. As the story goes, Montes used a credit card
to buy the computer and this petty footprint is what results in her undoing.
Carmichael now approaches FBI Special Agent John McCoy who refuses to act, saying that anyone can
fit the description. Undeterred, Carmichael goes over McCoy's head to his boss. After weeks of persuasion,
the FBI reluctantly agrees to monitor Montes. The counter-espionage team discovers that Ana makes a
suspicious phone call from a public phone. This call is suspicious because Ana carries a cellphone.
Obviously, Ana is acting quite peculiar for a high ranking Government employee who coincidentally also
happens to be a key Cuban policy maker.
The FBI requests a court order to do a secret black bag operation on Montes' apartment. The legal
burglars enter her home and discover the Toshiba computer, a shortwave radio, and some other
suspicious items. Inside the computer they find crypto codes and a program facilitated by the Cuban
Intelligence Service (CUIS) to translate them. They use this information to prosecute her. Ana Montes is
arrested, convicted and sentenced to 25 years.
Hollywood script # 2
In his second article, written a year and a half later, Popkin works exactly in reverse. He starts with the
crypto codes and ends up with Ana. The heartwarming fable starts in the balmy island of Cuba where
the cameras zoom in on a lone journalist working at the M-XV, the Wiretapping and Surveillance/Agent
Communications Directory. His job is to snitch on coworkers in the Interior Ministry, place bugs, and
write reports. It's the method Fidel Castro devised to guarantee loyalty within the ranks. But Rolando
Sarraff Trujillo -- Roly -- the son of two fanatics who helped Fidel in his Sierra Maestra days, is secretly
a skilled cryptographer, a skill he developed in his spare time while strolling down Malecon Boulevard.
Now, the CUIS is a compartimentalized institution. All intelligence services are and must be. But for
unknown reasons, Roly has access to secret codes developed at the M-XI, the Directory of Cryptography.
Actually, the cameras zoom in on a hole that Roly has painstakingly carved in the walls from one
department to the other. That's how he syphons the information out every night.
1994 Roly now makes contact with the CIA, a trivial matter, just a phone call from Havana to Washington.
And of course, the Agency jumps at the opportunity provided by this lone mole with blind eyes. Roly passes
the codes to the Yanks and they begin to monitor the communications between Cuba and its agents. Bingo!
a. (1998) The Agency first discovers that the CUIS is sending coded instructions to
a group of some 30 or 40 alleged exiles in Miami who are actually Cuban spies
that have infiltrated anti-Castro groups. Thanks to the golden codes provided
by Roly, the FBI is able to arrest these individuals. The entire operation
happens four years after Roly sends the codes. What has happened is that
the CUIS bosses, stupid of them, did not realize that you have to change the
codes a little more frequently than every 20 years.
b. (2001) The next to fall is Ana Montes. The CIA listens in and discovers that her
handlers in Havana are instructing her via coded message which she receives
through her shortwave radio to get some specific documents that they need.
Thanks to the treasure trove of codes provided by Roly, another one bites the
dust. Fortunately, the CUIS is still unaware that the codes have been deciphered
by the Yanks.
c. (2009) The last to fall are the Myers, but the task to detect them is a little more
complicated. The slick Myers do not use the crypto codes to which Roly has
access. They use a mysterious, ancient code invented by the Mayans known
as the Morse Code. Working on the inside, Roly realizes that this secret code
could also be of use to the Agency, and thanks to his valuable contribution, the
CIA is able to listen in on the Myers and arrest them as well.
For his crime of passing the secret codes to the U.S., the Cubans arrest Roly in 1994 and sentence him
to 25 years. However, being such an inefficient bureaucratic system, the word doesn't get around, and
the CUIS continues reusing the codes all the way to 2009. It is believed that after Roly was swapped at
the end of 2014 that the Cuban Congress will finally be convened to address the question of whether
the CUIS should change the codes once and for all so that the Yanks won't listen in on their private
conversations with their spies in the U.S. any more.
Of course, Jim Popkin is not a very bright individual and it is useful dupes like him that come in handy to
the U.S. Government when it wants to leak disinformation to the public. On the one hand, Popkin personally
looks good because he can boast in the publishing world that he has access to secret agents in the
Washington area that leak intelligence scoops in his ear. So he doesn't complain. He looks like a million
dollars. Like Simmons, this gives him credentials to be regarded as an expert in intelligence matters. His
colleagues, which are a notch dumber than him, envy Popkin because the best they can do is reprint his
articles for the news media they represent. On the other, Popkin is useful because he writes in important
news media that channel his writings to the public. Everybody is happy. Too conveniently happy!
It should be obvious to truly intelligent persons by now that anyone like Popkin who is given privileged
intelligence information by anonymous secret agents can be trusted as far as you can throw him.
Someone should immediately warn the FBI that there are CIA and DIA intelligence agents in Washington
that are leaking classified information to Popkin which the Russians and the Chinese can take advantage
of. Perhaps the FBI should start monitoring Popkin to see what traitors he meets with in secret. Apparently,
no one ever thought of that: moles at the CIA are passing classified and secret information to Cuba, Russia,
China and Iran through unwitting dimwits such as Popkin.
So? Which is it? Which version is correct? Was Ana Montes detected when Simmons and Carmichael
scanned the DIA database in search of the mole who bought a Toshiba computer, info which sprung out
of the Wasp Spy Network investigation? Or was Ana Montes discovered by the CIA when its agents
listened in the communications between Cuba and its spies after Roly gave them the codes?
Roly was kept in solitary confinement for 16 years at the maximum
security Guanajay Prison until November of 2013 when the secret
discussions between the Cuban and the American Governments were
well underway. He was then transferred to the Villa Marista Prison where
he was allowed to mingle with the general population. The sketch of his
cell (below) was made by him in 2011 when he was still locked up in
Roly met several requirements and conditions that served the interests of the negotiators.
..........1. Up front, Raul Castro Cuba had no operational interest other than vengeance to
..............hold Roly back. Roly had no information to give the Americans. If he did, Castro
..............would not have released him. It’s just that simple.
..............In fact, it is very suspicious that Raul Castro moved Roly to the Marianao Prison
..............about a year and a half ago shortly after negotiations between the U.S. and Cuba
..............started. Roly was kept in solitary confinement for 16 years at the maximum security
..............Guanajay Prison. Then suddenly, in November of 2013, Roly was transferred to the
..............Villa Marista Prison where he mingled with the general population.
..........2. Roly had served 20 years, almost all of his sentence. This already made him sellable
..............to the American public. Here was a guy who had endured most of his youth in a
..............communist prison. If that didn’t stir compassion and pity…
..............The reasoning would be straight forward in the eyes of the public and easy to swallow.
..............This guy must have done something pretty nasty to Fidel Castro if he was sentenced
..............to 25 years, and what else could that be if not spying for the United States?
..........3. His 20 year lockup gave a guy like Roly who had been an intelligence officer, a great
..............advantage over other candidates, the main one being that nobody in the U.S. knew
..............him and could not verify any of the claims made by the Obama Administration. Mr.
..............Obama could say and did say anything he wanted about Roly.
..............It is thus that Roly was presented as an expert cryptographer despite that he
..............worked at the M-XV, the Surveillance and Wiretapping Department. Roly studied
..............and worked as a journalist. The Cubans do not recruit people with such a
..............background to do cryptographic work. Neither do the Americans.
..........4. But just as convenient was the fact that the M-XV together with the entire Cuban
..............intelligence system was overhauled in the mid 1990s and reconstructed. No reporter
..............or detective in the U.S. could verify anything about the M-XV or about Roly. The
..............reporters, the conservatives, and the Cuban exile community in the U.S. would simply
..............have to take President Obama’s word for it.
..........5. And last but not least, Roly could be fit into Popkin’s successful article which was
..............already taken for granted by people who follow intelligence matters. President
..............Obama was not going to handle this through Washington. He was going to handle
..............this through Hollywood.
........From Guanajay solitary confinement.................... to Villa Marista general population (November 2013)
Popkin's two irreconcilable versions of the capture of Ana Montes
How Ana got caught
Spies do not fall because someone deciphered their code. Spies fall because someone snitches on them.
The Obama Administration credited Roly knowing that most people have been conditioned by Hollywood
to have this 007 vision of contemporary spying. The Cubans do not use 007 gadgets to do their spying.
They are good because they are experts at characterizing and recruiting people. The people they recruit
do it for ideological reasons. There is no antidote to that except snitching. Indeed, it is quite interesting
that they leaked the story of how they caught Ana Montes in great detail to achieve a political objective.
They emphasized codes and people quickly gobble that up. On the other hand, when you look up how
they caught the Myers, you find not a word:
“How the FBI learned of Myers' espionage has not been made public. One can only
assume that an agent in Cuba or a defector informed on him.”
I mean, if the methods used by the counter-intelligence teams to detect and capture spies is not classified,
I’m sure a lot of reporters as well as the Russians and the Chinese would like for Obama to leak in detail
how they caught the Myers through informal sources such as Popkin and Simmons.
Ana Montes was caught when someone snitched on her. The anonymous female intelligence agent that
allegedly risked her career whispering to Simmons that there was a spy high up in the U.S. Government
was Ana’s sister Lucy who worked for the FBI doing translations of the dialogues of the Wasp Spy
Network which is where the information regarding the Toshiba laptop surfaced… Lucy certainly didn't risk
losing her job or forfeiting her career. She risked being outed on the one hand and having her sister hate
her for the rest of her life on the other. So they concocted the excuse that the anonymous agent risked her
career to keep her name secret. Did Scott Carmichael risk his career when his name went public as a
mole hunter? Did FBI Special Agent John McCoy risk his career when his name went public as the head
of a counter-espionage task force? Clearly, a small fry squealer like the anonymous female agent that told
Simmons of the mole would have been given a medal... unless of course it was Lucy and she asked to
remain anonymous to avoid the eternal anger of her older sister. It was the case of Ted Kaczinsky revisited.
The famous Unabomber was ratted on by his little brother David and they never spoke again…
Lucy wasn’t even surprised when she was told that Ana was arrested. And she offered Ana her home upon
release, probably to make it up to her.
Nevertheless, both Simmons and Carmichael knew Ana Montes years before they outed her.
And everyone close to Ana Montes knew that she was a leftist, except of course the people at the Defense
Intelligence Agency who were supposed to do a thorough background check on her.
So Simmons and Carmichael did not find Ana Montes by searching the DIA database, in great measure
because the mole could have been in any of the myriads of government departments. If at all, Simmons
and Carmichael did some reverse engineering. They knew the name of Ana Montes, that she was a leftist,
and that she acted suspiciously. They already had doubts about her years before the information about the
When Lucy told them that there was a mole, all that Simmons and Carmichael needed to do was verify their
hunch. They merely fit the face to the facts. No sophisticated intelligence necessary. Ana did not fall because
of sophisticated computer work. Ana fell because of snitching. People who knew her ratted her out once the
information came out that there was a mole somewhere at the DIA.
Regarding official sources that Obama used to get the message out about Roly being a cryptographer and
who mostly wish to remain anonymous, one of them is Alan P. Hale, an individual with an extensive resume
in dealing with the press. Among his achievements, Hale was a team player on the disinformation campaign
regarding ‘weapons of mass destruction’.
Another source that spread the word that Roly was a cryptographer and the most important spy the US had
in Cuba, for unknown reasons, asked to remain anonymous.
However, the Infobae reporter published the name of the offficial.
His name is James R. Clapper and he’s the Director of National Intelligence
And when you look up Clapper you discover that:
“Two U.S. representatives accused Clapper of perjury for telling a Congressional
committee in March 2013, that the NSA does not collect any type of data at all on
millions of Americans. One senator asked for his resignation, and a group of 26
senators complained about Clapper's responses under questioning. Media observers
have described Clapper as having lied under oath, having obstructed justice, and
having given false testimony.”
Roly has already served his purpose. His sole purpose was to deceive Cuban exiles and congressional
conservative leaders into believing that the US got a good deal in the spy swap..
The remaining members of the Cuban Five could not have been exchanged for Alan Gross whom they
perceived to be nothing more than a hostage. President Obama had to find a more credible candidate.
And make no mistake. Roly is not being hidden for medical reasons or for extensive debriefing. For
instance, Yuri Nosenko, the Soviet defector was held for over three years because the CIA had doubts
about his credentials and honesty. This isn’t the case with Roly.
The U.S. does not have to verify whether Roly is authentic. If the Obama Administration tells you that the
agencies need to debrief Roly for 8 or 10 months, you know that they are just giving you more runaround.
Roly is hidden for nothing more than to keep him away from the press.
Most of all, President Obama counted on the fact that the press and the public have very short attention
spans. He correctly predicted that people would soon forget about the swap and focus on the issue of
the new relations with Cuba. He knew that the bargaining chip issue would quickly die by amnesia, a
media version of pocket veto. It’s only been a month since Roly was exchanged and the poor guy has
already been forgotten. Roly is no longer news. Roly is now history.
|Rolando Sarraff Trujillo... didn't out Ana Montes
By November of that year, Raul Castro gives the order to transfer Roly from the maximum security
('special area') Guanajay Prison where he was held in solitary confinement for 16 years to the Villa
Marista Prison where he is allowed to mingle with the general population. Obviously, Roly was already
a key player in the secret negotiations as early as April 2014, especially when Roly mentions in a letter
(dated April 23, 2014) that he is in there with Alan Gross who is protesting through a hunger strike and
that any swap will have to respect his dignity. The American negotiators only had to find the right
candidate to fit the widely believed story and modify it a bit... "Yes. Ana Montes was captured and, yes,
there were codes involved... But guess who provided the codes?" This was an integral part of the
modified version that the negotiators had to concoct since they knew that President Obama couldn't get
away with swapping the remaining members of the Cuban Five for Alan Gross. This would have been
widely seen as capitulating to terrorists: exchanging three genuine spies for a hostage. The Cubans
understood the situation and were forced to release Roly to address the concerns of the American
The timing of Popkin's articles gives the answer away. Popkin published his first article on April 18, 2013, just
when the secret negotiations to reestablish relations between the Cubans and the Americans were underway.
The intelligence community loved the story. It was so dashing, so 007, that a motion picture company bought
the rights to the article to make a movie for Hollywood out of it. There was no mention of Roly or of crypto
codes or of a hidden mole within the CUIS involved in original story of the capture of Ana Montes. Indeed,
drowning in his immense gullibility, Popkin drools: "