Cuba tried to enlist a noted American journalist to spy on members of the Cuban exile community and prominent Cuban-American citizens.
That disclosure comes from a new book by the journalist, Robert Eringer.
He asserts that representatives from the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C., in 1999 sought to recruit him to obtain financial information on three Cuban-American legislators — Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida and New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez. They also wanted him to infiltrate the anti-Castro Cuban American National Foundation.
In exchange, the Cubans promised him exclusive contacts and business opportunities in Cuba, according to Eringer’s book, “Ruse: Undercover with FBI Counterintelligence.”
What the Cubans didn’t know was that Eringer was at the time working as an undercover FBI agent.
“Of course, at the FBI they went crazy with the case,” Eringer told the Miami Herald. “A Cuban intelligence officer asking me, a U.S. citizen, for help spying on other U.S. citizens on U.S. soil was something completely incompatible with his diplomatic status.”
Eringer, who has also been a novelist, literary agent and private intelligence consultant, worked for the FBI from 1993 to 2002. His mission was to capture Edward Lee Howard, a spy who had deserted the CIA and moved to Moscow.
Eringer posed as a literary agent interested in publishing Howard’s memoirs. He met with Howard in Moscow in 1994, and Howard pulled strings with Cuban intelligence to allow Eringer to travel with him to Havana in 1999.
The U.S. planned to arrest Howard during a layover at an international airport, according to the Herald. But the plan was aborted by then-President Bill Clinton over fears it could jeopardize Russian-American relations.
Howard was found dead in Moscow in 2002.
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