(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), made the following statement after HPSCI Chairman Devin Nunes received a response from the Department of State regarding an inquiry into the status of Ana Belen Montes, who was convicted and sentenced to Federal prison in 2002 on charges of espionage for the Cuban regime. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“While the Obama administration ‘assures’ us that ‘the United States Government has no intention of releasing or exchanging Montes,’ it made similar assurances to Congress regarding the swap of the Cuban Five, which we now know turned out to be false. In April 2013, Secretary Kerry testified before Congress that the Obama administration was not going to conduct a swap for Alan Gross, yet the Cuban Five – including one individual who was convicted in U.S. courts of conspiring to murder U.S. citizens - were indeed traded to communist Cuba.

“When it comes to U.S. foreign policy with Cuba, the Obama administration cannot be trusted. The Castro dictatorship will exploit the fact that the White House will bend over backwards to accommodate any concession to the tyranny in Havana. Montes caused critical damage to our national security and Congress must ensure that she serves out the remainder of her sentence where she belongs, in the U.S. Federal prison system, and prevent the administration from offering her as any sort of concession to the Castro regime.”    

Please click here for Chairman Nunes’ letter, and here for the response from the State Department.