The Miami Herald
Thu, August 14, 2008

Informant denies being a Cuban agent


Gilberto Abascal, an FBI informant and alleged Cuban government agent, told The Miami Herald on Wednesday that he is not working for Cuban intelligence and that he is loyal to the United States.

''That's all a lie,'' Abascal said about the accusation in a telephone interview.

Abascal's statements were his first since Lt. Col. Chris Simmons named him and three others as Cuban agents during a TV appearance July 31 and in an interview with The Miami Herald.

Of the four, only Abascal had not responded to Herald calls for comment before the story was published Friday. Abascal, however, has denied similar allegations by others in the past.

The other three named by Simmons also denied the allegations.

Simmons is a reserve Army counterintelligence officer and former counterintelligence analyst on Cuba at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

He played a key role in the 2001 arrest of Cuban spy Ana Belén Montes.

In the Miami Herald interview, Simmons said he had concluded Abascal was a Cuban agent because of information the FBI had submitted in court in connection with an arms case against Hialeah developer Santiago Alvarez, a benefactor of Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles.

''And when you go through his records, he is in contact with Cuban intelligence officers at the [Cuban] interests section, which the FBI conceded,'' Simmons said.

``They couldn't explain it, but they acknowledge he's in contact.''

Abascal said he was never in contact with anyone at the Cuban Interests Section and that the only Cuban official who contacted him ''three or four times'' probably called from Cuba. Abascal said he refused to talk to the caller and reported the contact to the FBI.

The Miami Herald has reported previously that an April 6, 2006, letter from federal prosecutors acknowledged that Abascal met with a Cuban official known as ''Daniel,'' and perhaps others, at least six times.