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International Law

Law grad’s espionage indictment revealed; treaty thwarts extradition

Posted Apr 26, 2013 9:17 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A newly unsealed 2004 indictment accuses a Georgetown law grad of conspiracy to commit espionage by recruiting a woman to spy for the Cuban Intelligence Service.

Marta Rita Velazquez, 55, remains free in Sweden, report Reuters, the Washington Post and a press release. She cannot be extradited because espionage is considered a political offense and is not covered by Sweden’s extradition treaty, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd told the Post.

Velazquez graduated from Princeton in 1979 and Georgetown University Law Center in 1982. She allegedly recruited Ana Belen Montes while they were grad students at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, where Velazquez obtained a master's degree in 1984.

Velazquez went on to work as an attorney adviser at the U.S. Department of Transportation and as a legal officer with the State Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development, where she held a top secret security clearance. The February 2004 indictment claims Velazquez helped Montes obtain work as a Defense Department analyst.

According to the Washington Post, Montes had a “distinguished career at DIA as a top Cuban analyst, winning awards, briefing the Joint Chiefs of Staff and helping to soften U.S. policy toward Cuba, all while reporting reams of classified information back to Havana.” Montes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage in March 2002 and is serving a 25-year prison sentence. Law enforcement sources told the Post that authorities learned about Velazquez in late 2002 after debriefings by Montes.

Velazquez has lived outside the United States since 2002.

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