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Less than a perfect spy

26 April 2013

TWO spies in the news today.

The United States is seeking extradition of former Agency for Interntional Development officer Marta Rita Velazquez.  In October 2002,  Defense Intelligence Agency senior analyst  Ana Belen Montes named Vazquez as the person who recruited her to work for Cuban intelligence.  However, Velazquez was not indicted until 2004, by which time she had quietly retired from the U.S. government and moved to Sweden.

Montes and Vazquez seem kind of old fashioned… profession intelligence officers working as spies for another country’s secret service.  The kind of people who know what they’re doing, and don’t make for all that intriguing of stories.

Which perhaps can’t be said for U.S. spy… er… alleged spy Timothy Hallet Tracy.  Venezuelan Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres named Tracy as “el gringo”, the bag-man (and a possible adviser) to a a ring of right-wingers seeking to foment violence and chaos ahead of, and after the recent Presidential elections, supposedly to  justify U.S. intervention on behalf of “democratic restoration”.

Tracy’s family claims the accused spy was only making a documentary.  Frank Bajek, writing for the Associated Press quotes a friend of Tracy, who refers to the 35-year old film-maker as a “kid”,  as saying:

“This whole thing came about with him at a party in South Florida,” he said. “He met this cute girl who says, `If you really are a documentary filmmaker you’ll come tell the story of what is happening in Venezuela,’ and if you say something like that to Tim he goes, whether or not he knows a single person there or knows anything about the political situation or the consequences.”

Tracy’s resume doesn’t indicate any familiarity with political reporting, or show any experience in serious reportage or coverage of anything to do with Latin America.  His  film samples  feature some guy (who looks to be Tracy himself) running around with a high powered weapon, but… if the videos show by the Interior Minister today are Tracy’s work, he is either a really poor film maker, or he just didn’t know what he was doing.

Cherchez la femme…   South Florida  has a long history as the meth lab of bad ideas when it comes to exile plots against Latin American regimes.  The Venezuelan community — not known for their sympathies for the Bolivarian Republic — undoubtedly includes its share of “cute girls” more than willing to convince a poor sap who advertises himself as, among other things, a “mischief maker” — to act as the go-between with so-called “student groups” that (again, given the video shown by the Interior Minister) appear to be third rate operatives.

timtracy_1321220502_18Yeah, I suppose this upper middle class guy from Grosse Point could be a U.S. government agent, and it’s not like the U.S. government hasn’t hired some less-than-competent spies before (or, as with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Montes, did have competent agents… working for the other guys), but it doesn’t look as if he  could be the mastermind of anything.

That the group he is accused of was engaged in domestic terrorism (and a lot more people… about 70 more… were killed in the violence they set off than were killed by the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston),  he may indeed get to make a documentary on about Latin America… a first-hand look at Venezuelan prison life.

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