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‘Former US ambassador admits to being secret agent for decades’

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NEW DELHI: A former US ambassador to Bolivia and National Security Council official, Victor Manuel Rocha, has pleaded guilty and been sentenced for secretly acting as an agent for Cuba over several decades, a breach of trust that marks one of the most significant infiltrations of the US government by a foreign power.
Rocha, aged 73 from Miami, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the US Attorney General, and conspiring to defraud the United States.He has been sentenced to the statutory maximum of 15 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.
According to the Department of Justice, Rocha’s illicit activities spanned over four decades during which he engaged in clandestine intelligence-gathering missions for communist Cuba while occupying various trusted positions within the US government.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen stated, “Today’s plea and sentencing brings to an end more than four decades of betrayal and deceit by the defendant. Rocha admitted to acting as an agent of the Cuban government at the same time he held numerous positions of trust in the US government, a staggering betrayal of the American people and an acknowledgment that every oath he took to the United States was a lie.”
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Rocha is required to cooperate fully with the US government, which includes assisting with any damage assessments related to his espionage activities. He must also forfeit all retirement benefits owed by the US based on his former employment, and any profits from publications related to his criminal conduct or US government service.
This case underscores the ongoing challenges and complexities of national security, particularly in relation to foreign espionage within government ranks. The lengthy sentence reflects the severity of Rocha’s actions and serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of betraying national trust.

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