Undercover with FBI Counterintelligence
As usual, John H was already in Washington, awaiting my return.
On this occasion, he brought the FBI's Cuba contingent from Washington Field Office (WFO) into our dealings, by necessity, as this was their turf. And while Special Agent Anna M was intrigued by my doings in Havana, she was much more interested in Luis Fernandez of the Cuban Interests Section.
It was Anna M's primary responsibility to know as much about Fernandez as possible. And thus far, she knew precious little, except this: He was an over-worked intelligence officer who arrived in Washington, D.C. as a temp, became permanent, and was now expected to remain under diplomatic cover for a five-year tour.
"Oh, yeah, I know Juan!"
"Juan and I had some meetings," I said. "The up-shot is, he's supposed to send something to you by diplomatic pouch for delivery to me. I don't think we want to get into this over the phone. Maybe we should discuss it over lunch?"
"Sure we do."
We both ordered chicken curry and Kirin beer.
It worked like a can opener; Fernandez began to spill the beans.
"I went to my ambassador last week to ask about this," said Fernandez, "but I did not get an answer."
Fernandez confided that he would much prefer to be back in Cuba, "with family, my neighbors, and my sea wall."
In addition to the stress of long hours, he worried a lot about saying the wrong thing and landing himself in trouble with Havana.
He seemed starved for a social life and appeared in no hurry to break from our lunch as we enjoyed hot tea and snifters of complimentary hazelnut liqueur.
I finally signaled for a check and paid the tab, courtesy of the FBI.
"We've talked about you," said Abierno.
He probed the publishing process of Howard's book.
I shrugged. "Probably. Somewhere."
"Here's how we solve that sucker," I said. "Get Vesco to write his book for me. Then hand him back to the U.S. just before it's published. Good for U.S.-Cuba relations. Great publicity for the book. We sell a million copies and everybody's happy, except Vesco, but who gives a
f--- about him, right?"
Abierno studied me, amused.
"Many writers want to do this," said Abierno.
"What things?" I asked.