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True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba's Master Spy Hardcover – March 3, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Inst Pr; 1St Edition edition (March 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591141001
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591141006
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #949,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Scott W. Carmichael, the senior security and counterintelligence investigator for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), served as the lead case agent for the DIA on the Ana Montes espionage investigation. He has been investigating attempts by foreign intelligence services to penetrate DIA operations worldwide for nearly twenty years. Prior to that he was a Chinese-Mandarin linguist in the U.S. Navy and a special agent of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. His contributions toward the successful resolution of national security matters have earned Carmichael the DIA Civilian Expeditionary Medal and Award for Meritorious Civilian Service, the Defense Intelligence Director's Award, the Department of Defense Counterintelligence Award, and the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement, among other awards and various forms of recognition. He lives with his wife and three sons in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

More About the Author

Hi. I'm Scott Carmichael. I was born in the State of Wisconsin and, yes, I will forever be a die-hard Green Bay Packers and University of Wisconsin Badgers fan. But my journey through life has taken me far from the place of my birth in the small farming community of Fort Atkinson. I spent four years in the service of our country as a U.S. Navy enlisted man during the Vietnam War. I was a Chinese-Mandarin linguist then, posted to small communications stations located in the Philippines and Okinawa, though I occasionally volunteered for temporary assignments on board American submarines operating secretly in the Tonkin Gulf and the South China Sea. The crews of USS Wahoo (SS-565) and her sister boat USS Gudgeon (SS-568), introduced me to the real Navy - the pig-boat Navy, and developed within me a greater understanding and appreciation for the concepts of teamwork, comradery, commitment, and - the stench of diesel fuel, which permeates the body and remains deeply etched at least within my memory banks to this day. Following discharge from the Navy, I obtained a BA degree in East Asian Studies from the University of Washington, in Seattle. Beautiful city. Met some of the most memorable and wonderful people imaginable during my stay there, and I miss them. But I returned to Wisconsin after graduation - to become a cop. I served as a police officer in my mother's hometown of Edgerton for a period of approximately 7 years, and learned while so employed virtually everything that I now know..about people. Priceless knowledge. Invaluable. That experience, that education as a police officer has since served me very well indeed. Because my business today is all about people, and what makes them tick. In 1984, I assumed new duties as a Special Agent of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, NCIS. That was before the service became the focus of its own TV show. I specialized in Foreign Counterintelligence, and spent a couple of years stationed at the Naval Base on Treasure Island, located in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Wow. Go there, if ever you have the opportunity. It is a long ways from cow country, believe me. Then I married, and in 1986 moved to Washington DC, where I accepted assignment to NCIS headquarters. Two years later, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) developed an organic capability to find spies within its ranks - and hired me as one of a number of specialists to perform that mission for the agency. That has been my calling, ever since. I have accumulated a total 25 years employment as a Special Agent of DIA, and serve today as the senior security and counterintelligence investigator for the agency. I sometimes work alone, but more often work in cooperation with agents of the FBI and/or the military service investigative agencies to resolve counterintelligence issues which impact DIA - and, I do other things as well. Whatever the boss asks of me. In 2007, the Naval Institute Press published my first book, True Believer, and in 2010, published my second, Moon Men Return. I have others in the works. And that is me. My biography. I do not consider myself to be a writer by trade. I am an investigator who happens to write, and I love doing so whenever I have the time or feel the inclination. I suppose I will continue to write until people tell me to stop. Thanks.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By laz_254 on February 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The plot is a great story about a Cuban spy (mole) in the Defense Intelligence Agency. The main good guy is a perceptive and doggedly tenacious counterintelligence agent/investigator. The bad guy (gal) lives a poker-faced double life: hard working and ambitious U.S. govt. employee with far-reaching influence in foreign policy decisions. So far so good, but the story is told like the author doesn't want to reveal the slightest bit of tradecraft or investigative detail. I know the author, who is also the good guy/investigator, needs to protect methods/techniques, but he does the reader a great disservice by holding back on details involving missteps and clues detected by the U.S. govt sleuths. The author mentions how the mole was detected due to certain telltale clues, but yet doesn't elaborate. If you want to read a story that is long on "If I tell then I'll have to kill you" intrigue then you (the reader) will be happy with lack of detail and supporting narrative.
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33 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Steve Dietrich VINE VOICE on April 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story is that of a dedicated Cuban agent climbing through the American intelligence community. Although often lost on the general public traitors generally come in two varieties, intelligence sources and agents of influence. Montes was both plus in a great position to help others inside the US intelligence community.

It matters not that Cuba is a flacid threat to the US, they are involved in Latin American leftist movements and looking to trade intel for goods and favors from the whose who of dictatorships. The author links Mondes directly to the death of a US military advisor working in Latin America. It is likely that there were more casualties.

One of the great frustrations of the case is the glacial pace of investigations. Again months and months were lost as the FBI agents worked with the DOJ's staff to try to get the required authorizations to bring the case foreward. In the end the events of 9-11 and the probability that Montes would compromise major anti-terror activities lead to her arrest before all the evidence could be gathered.

Just as we wondery why we could not connect the dots at Virginia Tech, one wonders why we keep erasing the dots in the interest of "justice" .

Like so many of these stories it begins with one suspicions person, initially ignored as onbody wants to believe that one of their own have betrayed the trust.

Update 5-10-07

Mr. Cespedes ( see comments) offered the following insightful comments, "What this reviewer neglects to mention is that the damage done to US security by this Cuban spy is tremendous. The fact is that the Cuban dictatorship has close relationships with Iran, Syria, China, Russia and all other terrorist states in the world.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Van Hee on February 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I knew Ana Montes a little, and while this book is an interesting account of how she was exposed and then caught, the constant reference to "details I can't reveal" spoils the whole story. Those are the details that led to Carmichaels commitment to catch her, but he will not tell us what they are. This book is not really worth buying, unfortunately. It's just a bogus, aimless story. The ending..Montes is caught...is predictable, but how Carmichael got there is kept on the margin. Too bad.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RBJ Jr. on February 6, 2010
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This was a very quick read, somewhat disconcerting at times due to frequent changes of progress developing. I can just imagine the effect on the writer being so close. He did an extremely thorough job with background and a very good job of providing credit to others involved; so many writers seem to be reluctant even to use anonymous "names."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This books narrates the story of the hunt for a mole in the CIA working for Cuba. I recommend this book for those interested in finding how CIA works to catch spies within.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Huag Ess on June 10, 2013
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A very disappointing recasting of the detection and prosecution of Ana Belen Montes who adroitly spied for Cuban Intelligence at high levels of the U.S,. Government recounted through the intuitive suspicions of a DIA counter intelligence investigator. Lacking elements from both the FBI and CIA roles in this case, the presentation of Montes operation is narrow, and essentially of little interest to readers more familiar with the arts and pitfalls of espionage. The text comes across as self-edited as well as self-focused, perhaps transcribed from a dictated narrative -- surprising considering the very reputable publisher of the work. Jim Popkins' "The Queen of Cuba" in the April 21, 2013 issue of the Washington Post Magazine is an excellent recapitulation of the Montes case, from start to finish with deserving credits to all the players (including the KGB) involved.
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First, thanks to the author for writing this book. He's clearly a passionate guy who believes in his mission. His book shows the level of complexity of counter-espionage investigations, with many participants not having knowledge of events outside their limited scope, let alone a complete picture. On the negative side, this book suffers from both its first person format and the fact that the author wasn't at the center of the investigation. Understanding that the nature of such books is that the whole truth will never be revealed, one is still left feeling let down by "True Believer". At 179 pages, it's a thin tome to begin with, but only 134 of those pages deal with the actual investigation. The balance is made up of discussions of the significance of the Montes case, her motivations, and a discussion of "how she got away with it" for so long. That's acceptable, but should have been woven into the central narrative. What is unacceptable is the discussion of counter-factuals dressed up as "why it matters", including the extended discussion of the details surrounding the death of US Army Special Forces Staff Sergeant Eric Fronius. These counter-factuals seem clearly added to the book to make up for the lack of details about the true results of Montes' betrayal. It is not good story telling or journalism, though. While the author is a passionate practitioner of the spy catcher's craft, he does not display that he is a student of the subject. In the discussion of the motivation of 'ideology', he seems uncertain why the Soviets stopped having luck with that motivator in recruitments after the 1950s, a subject heavily covered in the literature.Read more ›
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