Cuban Agent Who Penetrated the CIA Dies

Nicolas Alberto Sirgado Ross, photo:

HAVANA TIMES – Nicolas Alberto Sirgado Ross, the Cuban intelligence agent who penetrated the CIA for ten years and dismantled several of the plots against Fidel Castro, died last Wednesday in Havana, victim of respiratory failure.

According to Cafe Fuerte, Sirgado received in 1962 the task of penetrating the CIA with the mission to detect any plans to kill Castro. He gained access to the Agency in late 1966, during a business visit of a Cuban delegation to London.

His record as an undercover agent was the basis for the popular Cuban series “En silencio ha tenido que ser”, (It had to be in silence”) aired on national television in the 80s.

Sirgado died at the age of 77. His body was cremated and the funeral was held Friday in Havana.

4 thoughts on “Cuban Agent Who Penetrated the CIA Dies

  • According to Brain Latell, every one of the Cubans that the CIA thought they had “turned” and directed to penetrate the Cuban intelligence agency turned out to be a double-agent working for Cuba. Instead of spying for the US, they were feeding their CIA contacts false information.

    You have to give credit where it is due: Fidel Castro was a brilliant spy-master.

  • For a fascinating look at the espionage war between Cuba and the US, I recommend “Castro’s Secrets: the CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine.” by Brian Latell.

    As a retired CIA analyst, Latell has his point of view, but it’s not as jingoistic as you might assume. He labels the Kennedy-era covert actions against Cuba “a deliberate and massive campaign of international terrorism” . Latell also criticizes the CIA & FBI for their colossal failure to defend against penetrations from Cuba’s highly skilled and professional intelligence agents.

    He calls Fidel Castro the pre-eminent spy master of our age and credits the Cuban leader’s skill at running double agents against the US as a key in factor in defending his revolution. While the CIA was busy running offence against Cuba, ( Latell labels the Kennedy-era covert actions against Cuba “a deliberate and massive campaign of international terrorism” ), they ignored the defensive side of things and the Cuban intelligence agency was able to penetrate the CIA, the FBI and the US Defence Intelligence Agency. Nicolas Ross was one of those double agents who penetrated the US. The CIA only learned the full extent of the Cuban success against them in 1987 when a senior Cuban intelligence agent defected. The Americans were stunned and horrified.

    Latell’s conclusion is that if the US had laid off the offensive covert actions against Cuba and focussed more on protecting the US from penetrations by Cuba’s intelligence agency, the legitimate security interests of the US would have been better served.

  • Not surprisingly, there are two sides to this story. The Cuban version claims numerous assasination attempts foiled and all sorts of CiA plots to destabilize Latin American governments undermined. On the other hand, the CIA, while acknowledging that damage was done, claims to have compartmentalized Sirgado Ross’ role and the information he had access to. Either way, the spy game is built on lies and deception and Cuba was as good as anybody else at infilitrating the US. It is clearly in the Castros best interest to propagandize Sirgado Ross’ exploits. The US, as a practice, never divulges the name of ex-spies. Nonetheless, infiltrating the Cuban government is much easier for the US because of the large number of Cuban-born defectors who ideologically oppose the Castros and are willing to work towards regime change. Proof of this is evidenced by the paranoia that still persists in Cuba regarding US spies.

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