President Obama and U.S. officials are hailing the unnamed spy who spent 20 years in a Cuban prison before Wednesday's historic developments led to his release, along with American contractor Alan Gross and three Cubans he helped put in U.S. jails.
Obama said the man, who is Cuban, was one the most important intelligence agents the U.S. ever had in Cuba and the information he provided led to the convictions of the Cuban Five — three of whom were flown home to Havana.
"This man is now safely on our shores," Obama said. Officials did not release his name but did detail some of his work.
"Information provided by this person was instrumental in the identification and disruption of several Cuban intelligence operatives in the United States and ultimately led to a series of successful federal espionage prosecutions," said Brian Hale, spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
"This man, whose sacrifices were known only to a few, has spent nearly 20 years in a Cuban prison due to his efforts on behalf of the United States," Hale continued in a written statement. "In light of his sacrifice on behalf of the United States, securing his release from prison after 20 years — in a swap for three of the Cuban spies he helped put behind bars — is fitting closure to this Cold War chapter of U.S.-Cuban relations.”
- Obama Scraps 'Outdated Approach' on Cuba
- Three Members of 'Cuban Five' Freed — to Some Outrage
- Lawmakers Slam Obama Over Cuba Relations