A strange case of alleged spying on behalf of Cuba has popped up in Washington, raising fascinating questions about personality, motivation and Cuba’s goals in espionage.
The case involves Kendall Myers, now retired from the State Department’s intelligence branch, and his wife Gwendolyn, a former computer specialist at Riggs National Bank.
The couple is portrayed as enthusiastic converts to the cause of protecting Cuba against the United States and providing information to the Cuban government for years.
They were caught by a sting in which an FBI agent posed as a Cuban operative and asked them to return to the fold after several years of avoiding spy activities.
The magistrate who denied bail in the case indicated, as reported by the Washington Post, that they were caught red-handed.
The judge also noted that Walter Kendall Myers, 72, and his wife, Gwendolyn, 71, had marked on their calendar a yacht trip to the Caribbean in November with no return date, indicating a possible escape plan.
“To put it bluntly, the government’s case seems at this point insuperable,” wrote U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola, in an opinion issued after a hearing in U.S. District Court.
Former colleagues of Kendall Myers are obviously upset, as the Post also reported:
“The bureau people are very angry about it. Really angry. But also bewildered,” said Wayne White, who worked on Middle Eastern issues in the bureau for a quarter-century before retiring in 2005. “This seemingly intelligent and urbane person was convinced that Castro’s Cuba was this terrific place?”
Among the interesting side notes to the case is the fact that Myers has an interesting pedigree. He has a PhD from John Hopkins and is a descendant of Alexander Graham Bell.
My friend Jeff Stein points out another interesting sidelight to the story, reported by The American Thinker.
A writer for the Web site noted that Gwendolyn Myers’ position at Riggs Bank, a prominent Washington, D.C. bank which folded several years ago, could have been more valuable to Cuban intelligence than the State Department link:
She could have provided valuable information on her own to the Cubans. At that time Riggs bank was the premiere banking institution in the Washington metropolitan area. It had branches in many big embassies, laundered money for people and governments, had CIA officials on its payroll and otherwise was the repository of significant amounts of information which would be of considerable use to Fidel.
Fidel Castro, for his part, said last week he knew nothing about the couple, and thought their arrest was related to opposition in the United States to a political opening toward Cuba.
He expressed doubt that any of it ever happened, but if it did he admired the Myers for what they might have done.
“The confrontation with the United States is of an ideological character and has nothing to do with the security of that country. Don’t you all find the whole story about Cuban espionage quite ridiculous?”
– Peter Eisner