lunes, 14 de diciembre de 2009

Lo que ocurrió durante la nominación de Mari Carmen Aponte en 1999

A continuación, una información aparecida en The Miami Herald, el 12 de febrero de 1999, sobre lo ocurrido en el caso de Mari Carmen Aponte:

The Miami Herald
February 12, 1999
Lawyer in Cuba spy tale clears security for U.S. nomination
JUAN O. TAMAYO
Herald Staff Writer
The FBI has cleared a former White House volunteer entangled in rumors that Cuban spies once tried to recruit her, and President Clinton will nominate her to a top government job, officials say.
´´The agents who vet people's backgrounds gave her a clean bill of health´´, White House National Security Council spokesman Bob Nash said of Washington lawyer Mari Carmen Aponte.
``There's a strong view, held by the President and other senior members of the administration, that Miss Aponte is qualified and would make an excellent public servant´´, he added.
Nash declined to comment further, but Clinton administration officials confirmed that the President will soon appoint her to the Housing Finance Board, an agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Aponte, 52, a Puerto Rico native and Hispanic community activist in Washington, worked as a volunteer in the White House personnel office in 1993 and helped raise campaign funds for Clinton in 1996.
Clinton had nominated Aponte as ambassador to the Dominican Republic last year but she withdrew Oct. 25, citing ´´personal reasons´´, after the spy tale began circulating in Washington gossip circles.
Months earlier, the FBI had given her a top-security clearance for the ambassadorial post even though the bureau was aware of the Cuban spy tale, Clinton administration officials confirmed.
One Aponte friend said she withdrew after staffers at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Jesse Helms, R-N.C., vowed the panel would ask her tough personal questions as part of her confirmation process. A committee spokesman declined comment.
The spy tale dates back to 1993, when Florentino Aspillaga, an intelligence agent with Cuba's Interior Ministry who had defected in 1987, told it to Miami's Diario las Americas newspaper. Without offering any evidence, Aspillaga alleged that Cuban spies were trying to recruit Aponte through her Cuban-born boyfriend, Roberto Tamayo, who was known to frequently visit the Cuban diplomatic mission in Washington.
What Aspillaga apparently didn't know was that Tamayo, a Washington businessman, was also in contact with the FBI.
``Tamayo was a valuable source of information about some of the personalities within the Cuban Interests Section, retired FBI counterintelligence agent Ed Joyce told The Washington Times last month.
Joyce confirmed to The Herald that The Times had accurately reported his comments on Tamayo.
The story reported that Joyce ``questioned Mr. Tamayo regularly about his contacts with Cuban officials . . . during the late 1980s. But [Joyce] did not believe Mr. Tamayo was a professionally trained intelligence officer.
``Roberto was a fellow who had interests in all camps, the report quoted Joyce as saying. ``The Cubans knew Roberto was talking to me . . . I was getting information that I couldn't get other places.
Aponte's friends said that as soon as she learned of Aspillaga's allegations, she went to the FBI to inquire about Tamayo, and later arranged a meeting between him and the FBI agents.
She broke up with him in 1994, after he insisted on going on a trip to Cuba over her objections, the friends said.
Aponte declined to comment for this story. Tamayo, who is said to be living in Washington and working as an insurance salesman, could not be located for comment.
Whether or not there was ever a Cuban attempt to recruit Aponte remains unclear.
Aponte has told friends she never perceived any such attempt, and one White
House official said it appeared that none took place.
``In the end, there was nothing at all´´, the official said.
Copyright © 1999 The Miami Herald.

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