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It's official: Faget wasn't a Cuban spy by Jose Perez, 3/25/00

FBI now says INS agent may not have been a Cuban spy, AP, 3/25

Cuba fights FBI hoax, see this for history of the case

Miami FBI Office: terrorism, drugs, and politics, updated 3/25/00: Miami FBI head, said to be brother of CANF attorney, personally entrapped INS officer Faget

 

FBI Hoax Collapses

The FBI hoax around INS official Mariono Faget and his supposed spying for Cuba started to unravel on 3/25, as reported by AP:

"Federal investigators now concede that a senior INS official charged with espionage may not be a Cuban spy afterall, but insist he still broke the law by revealing secrets to a friend and lying about his contacts with Cuban diplomats. Investigators have filed no evidence in court showing that Immigration and Naturalization Service official Mariano Faget ever passed secrets to Cuban officials.

The FBI also acknowledged that the title of the press release announcing his February arrest -- "Operation False Blue Cuban Spy Case" -- may have created the misleading impression that Faget is charged with spying for Fidel Castro's government.

"The title does not reflect the facts of the case at this time," FBI spokesman Terry Nelson said." -- AP wire,

Is this the same FBI agent Terry Nelson who was the subject of a felony drug trafficking warrant from thr Canadian Mounties in '98? At any rate, the news media, who certainly haven't followed this little side story, are not exactly proclaiming the obvious from this case: that the Miami FBI office created an espionage case out of whole cloth and managed to get a Cuban diplomat expelled on the strength of it.

FBI now says INS agent may not have been a Cuban spy

FBI now says INS agent may not have been a Cuban spy
The Associated Press
Web-posted: 8:36 a.m. Mar. 24, 2000

MIAMI -- Federal investigators now concede that a senior INS official charged with espionage may not be a Cuban spy afterall, but insist he still broke the law by revealing secrets to a friend and lying about his contacts with Cuban diplomats. Investigators have filed no evidence in court showing that Immigration and Naturalization Service official Mariano Faget ever passed secrets to Cuban officials.

The FBI also acknowledged that the title of the press release announcing his February arrest -- "Operation False Blue Cuban Spy Case" -- may have created the misleading impression that Faget is charged with spying for Fidel Castro's government.

"The title does not reflect the facts of the case at this time," FBI spokesman Terry Nelson said. "The title does reflect the violation of the Espionage Act, and to a lay person, espionage and spying are synonymous."

Faget, a top administrator in the INS Miami office, is charged with violating the Espionage Act by telling a friend classified information and meeting with Cuban officials believed to be intelligence operatives. If convicted, Faget faces up to 10 years in prison. He has pleaded innocent and his trial is scheduled for April 24.

"This is one of the most serious offenses known to the law against the government and the people of the United States," Assistant U.S. Attorney Curtis B. Miner told a recent court hearing.

Faget's attorney, Edward O'Donnell, has conceded that his client revealed classified information and met with Cuban diplomats, but also insists no spying occurred.  -- AP Wire

[It's interesting to note that later stories put the spin in the headline that the FBI sticks to its story, instead of saying what the story actually says, that the FBI has no evidence and thus set it up so Cuban diplomat Imperatori was expelled on the whim of Miami FBI head Hector Pesquera, whose brother is said to have represented one of the CANF connected plotters who were on their way to get Castro with 50 caliber sniper rifles in late '98.]

See also http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Politics/reuters20000324_3169.html


It's official: Faget wasn't a Cuban spy

It's official: Faget wasn't a Cuban spy
Sat, 25 Mar 2000

A month after accusing Miami INS bureaucrat Mariano Faget of being a Cuban operative, U.S. government officials are admitting that they don't have even a shred of evidence to back up the claim.

A story in today's Miami Herald modestly headlined, "US: Cuba spy charges overstated" reports:

"The U.S. government now concedes that immigration official Mariano Faget may not be a Cuban spy after all.

"Investigators acknowledge that they have filed no evidence in court showing that Faget, a veteran Immigration and Naturalization Service officer with access to secret files, passed secrets to Cuban officials.

"They also concede that the title of the FBI's original press release announcing Faget's arrest -- Operation False Blue Cuban Spy Case - may have been misleading, creating the impression that Faget was suspected of spying for Fidel Castro's government."

As is fitting for a story that considers this sort of outrageous fabrication a mere case of"overstated" charges, the Herald significantly "underreports" the accusations first leveled against Faget. U.S. Attorney Tom Scott hosted a news conference televised internationally by the major news networks where Faget was depicted as working hand-in-glove with intelligence officers at Cuba's diplomatic mission in Washington. He was

denied bail on the government representation that he might flee, obviously to Cuba. The Miami press was full of lurid stories on how government officials were going back through cases Faget had handled in an attempt to evaluate the intelligence damage.

Now the Herald says Faget was simply a hapless mid-level bureaucrat who was given false information about a Cuban who was defecting. Faget passed it on to a lifelong friend and business partner who had had dealings with the alleged defector, worried that his friend, who was to meet another Cuban diplomat that day, might get caught in the middle ofHavana-Washington intelligence sparring.

Despite the admission, the government is planning to continue its prosecution of Faget on trumped up charges of "communicating national defense information" to an unauthorized person, meaning the cock-and-bull story about the defection that the FBI invented out of whole cloth!

Readers of this list will not be surprised by the latest revelations.The day after the case broke, I posted on this list an extensive analysis which concluded that Faget could not possibly have been a Cuban spy and that the people accusing him knew this perfectly well.

Today's admission also confirms Cuba's charge that the expulsion of a Cuban diplomat Faget had been in touch with was alying frame-up.

The article does not explore WHY the U.S. attorney, the FBI and the INS engaged in a conspiracy to entrap Faget and then publicly brand him a spy for the Cuban government. One can scarcely imagine a more open-and-shut case of the government deliberately tainting a jury pool. The government also expelled from the country, thus putting beyond the reach of the defense, the Cuban diplomat for whom Faget supposedly had worked as a spy, and who had volunteered to stay in the country and testify in the case. It almost seems as if the government were deliberately inviting a judge to throw out the case on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct.

The government's confession that it did not believe then and does not believe now that Faget was actually working for the Cuban intelligence services is further evidence that the real motive for the slander was the Elián González case.

The spy charges against Faget were made public on the last working day before the scheduled federal court hearing on Elian's case, and was immediately seized on by the lawyers working for the right-wing exile Groups to suggest the decision that a six-year-old belongs with his sole surviving parent was somehow the work of Cuban moles within the immigration service.

The Herald's revelation that the government had consciously and falsely publicly branded Faget a Cuban spy has so far been ignored with Olympian indifference by the major national and international news media. It remains to be seen whether those who so eagerly broadcast and printed the government slanders against Faget will give equal prominence to the new information which exculpates him.

José Perez

The Miami Herald article, US: Cuba spy charges overstated, is at
http://www.herald.com/content/archive/news/spy2000/docs/033380.htm


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