Cuban Spy Case Still a Mystery

September 3, 2014 |

Master Sargeant Tessa M. Fontaine, in charge of the enigmatic Cuban spy case

By Miguel Fernández Díaz  (Café Fuerte)

Master Sargent Tessa M. Fontaine, in charge of the enigmatic Cuban spy case

Master Sergeant Tessa M. Fontaine, in charge of the enigmatic Cuban spy case.

HAVANA TIMES — A yet unidentified Cuban spy convicted to 13 years in prison in the United States has come into the limelight following the bestowal of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Bronze Medal on Master Sergeant Tessa M. Fontaine.

The case was processed by the NRO Counterintelligence and Cyber-Counterintelligence Division in Chantilly, Virginia. Fontaine engaged in 148 hours of interrogation with spies and documented 16 hours of espionage activities conducted by Cuba’s Intelligence Department (DI).

According to the limited information provided by the NRO, Fontaine’s work helped protect an intelligence system valued at 5 billion dollars.

The case of the “new Cuban spy”, however, continues to be shrouded in secrecy.

Complete Silence

Chris Simmons, the US intelligence officer in charge of the case of Ana Belen Montes, the Cuban superspy who had infiltrated the Pentagon, affirms there is utter secrecy regarding the individual under investigation and convicted thanks to Fontaine.

It has yet to be established whether the spy is of Cuban nationality or whether they are a US citizen working for Cuba.

The information was made available by the NRO at the end of May following reconnaissance activities and the promotion of officials on the occasion of Memorial Day.

Fontaine had already been named Deputy Official of the Year by the Air Force in 2013. Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, she is currently stationed in the Lackland Air Base in San Antonio, Texas. She has served in international missions in both Kuwait and Iraq.

Cuba’s Interest in the NRO

The NRO designs, manufactures, launches and gives maintenance to all US spy satellites. Cuba has no space program and its military infrastructure is obsolete. As such, it is of little interest to the NRO, which in turn does not represent a threat to Cuba.

Everything seems to indicate that Cuba’s DI had an interest in the NRO nonetheless, in much the same way its Red Avispa wasp network was interested in US air bases.

No reference to the Cuban spy detected by Fontaine has yet been made in US public documents or media.

Cuba continues to pursue its international campaign calling for the release of the three agents from the Red Avispa who are still imprisoned in the United States, but interestingly it has never spoken on behalf of Ana Belen Montes, convicted to 25 years in prison, and for Kendal and Gwendolyn Myers, who leaked secret State Department information to Havana for decades. Kendall Myers was sentenced to life imprisonment and his wife Gwendolyn to five and a half years in prison in July of 2010.

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  • Griffin

    The most likely reason the Cuban intelligence agency was interested in the work of the National Reconnaissance Office would be to re-sell the intelligence they gathered. The most likely customers would be the Russians and the Chinese. Cuba has long made a good business in the collection and resale of intelligence data on the US military and industry.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      However, when incompetent Cuban spies are caught, given open trial, found guilty and inmprisoned, the Castro family regime squeals like a stuck pig and then tries to make them into heroes.

      • Ken Hiebert

        You can’t bring yourself to say The Cuban Five. In the eyes of many they are heroes. Why does the US have the right to go anywhere in the world to oppose terrorists, but Cuba is not allowed to monitor the activities of violent groups in Florida?

        • Rey Caraballo

          “not allowed to monitor de activities of violent groups in Florida”
          Does this also include passing information to the Castro’s regime that ended with the assassination of four Cuban pilots from “Brothers to the Rescue” above international waters? And later on, congratulating the Cuban government and themselves for the “good” work done? All this in reference to the shutting down of the two planes.
          Very “nice” monitors you are pretending to defend with your totally partial comment.
          I am Cuban, and I do know how the Castro’s regime “monitors” Cuban citizens, inside the island and/or abroad, while people like you, pretending to be real “democrats”, approve all the barbaric acts committed by the Cuban dictator and associates against their own people.

        • Griffin

          US military forces are in other countries with the permission of the governments of those countries. The exception is when the US has legally declared war on the other country (ie. Saddam’s Iraq) or when the US has received authorization from the UN to send their troops (i.e. Afghanistan).

          The Cuban government does not have permission from the US government to send intelligence agents to spy in America. Nor has the Cuban government publicly declared they are at war with the US. Nor has the UN authorized Cuba to send their spies into the USA.

          • Terry Downey

            Please!!! And the US has no secret operatives with boots on the ground infiltrating and gathering intel (by your definition, “illegally”) anywhere in the world? Come on. Give your head a shake. But perhaps I’m wrong…maybe the CIA really IS full of alter boys always playing by the rules after all.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          I have a reasonable knowledge of intelligence, counter-intelligence and espionage and have met many practioners. The agents are almost invariably strong supporters of the political views of their employers and hate (not too strong a word) the politics of the countries that they work against. Cuba like most countries has intelligence agents operating in other countries. If I were a Cuban communist my admiration would be more for those of my government’s agents who are not caught
          rather than those who are.
          The life of agents is difficult to say the least, living a double life, trying to obtain information and risking discovery which until very recently could result in execution by those they were spying against.
          Just as the life of an intelligence agent is difficult, so is that of their families in for example not knowing when – if ever – they will see their father or husband again and being unable to know or trace their whereabouts.
          The Cuban agents who were caught spying in the US paid the price and Mr. Gross is paying the price of his activities in Cuba. He is alone and as deserving the title of being a hero as Mr. Gonzalez and his colleagues.
          The agents I have met did not regard themselves as heroes. The Castro regime as employers of the imprisoned Cuban
          agents has endeavored to make them into a cause celebre
          to draw attention away from their purpose and failure.
          Let us just briefly compare the “violent groups” to whom you refer in Florida and the State violence intended by the Castro regime when led by Fidel. What he wanted was a nuclear attack upon the US – as evidenced by his fury when he found cout belatedly that Nikita had agreed to withdraw them. To me that is violence – how about you?