The Chatter Podcast: Ana Montes, the American who Spied for Cuba, with Jim Popkin

David Priess
Thursday, January 12, 2023, 10:18 AM

Shane Harris sat down with Jim Popkin to talk about Ana Montes’ story, what drove her to become a spy, and the investigation that brought her to justice. 

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

In 2001, the FBI arrested a top U.S. intelligence officer who had spied for Cuba for nearly two decades. The story of Ana Montes, whose colleagues called her “The Queen of Cuba,” has all the hallmarks of an espionage thriller. She was among the most damaging spies of her generation, and yet her story remains lesser known than more notorious Cold War-era turncoats. 

In his new book, journalist Jim Popkin tells the story of Montes’ radicalization, her recruitment by Cuban intelligence, and how she managed to spy so long undetected. Montes was released from prison earlier this month, after serving a lengthy prison sentence. New details of her story have come to light in Poplin’s book, Code Name Blue Wren: The True Story of America's Most Dangerous Female Spy—and the Sister She Betrayed

Popkin sat down with Shane to talk about Montes’ story, what drove her to become a spy, and the investigation that brought her to justice.  

Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.

See for privacy and opt-out information.

Popkin's book

Popkin’s feature on Montes in The Washington Post magazine

Popkin on Twitter

David Priess is Director of Intelligence at Bedrock Learning, Inc. and a Senior Fellow at the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security. He served during the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations as a CIA officer and has written two books: “The President’s Book of Secrets,” about the top-secret President’s Daily Brief, and "How To Get Rid of a President," describing the ways American presidents have left office.

Subscribe to Lawfare