The Justice Department charged a former State Department official for secretly serving as an agent for the Cuban government.
Federal prosecutors allege Victor Manuel Rocha, a 73-year-old resident of Miami, Fla., “secretly supported” Cuba and its clandestine intel-gathering efforts by serving as a covert agent of the country’s General Directorate of Intelligence.
“Rocha provided false and misleading information to the United States to maintain his secret mission; traveled outside the United States to meet with Cuban intelligence operatives; and made false and misleading statements to obtain travel documents,” the DOJ stated.
The DOJ said, when confronted by an undercover FBI agent within the last year, Rocha admitted his ties to the country’s government and referred to the U.S. as “the enemy.”
Authorities charged Rocha with conspiracy to act as an agent of the foreign government, acting as an agent of a foreign government and using a passport obtained by a false statement. Rocha is expected to make a court appearance in Miami on Monday.
Rocha began serving on the National Security Council in 1994 and as the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia between 2000 and 2002.
Rocha’s actions come as several high-profile U.S. leaders have been charged or investigated for having improper relationships with other countries. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) was charged with serving as an unregistered agent for Egypt and New York City Mayor Eric Adams is being investigated by the FBI to determine whether he conspired with the Turkish government during his 2021 mayoral campaign.
“This action exposes one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign agent,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
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