ABOVE: This image provided by the Justice Department and contained in the affidavit in support of a criminal complaint, shows Manuel Rocha during a meeting with a FBI undercover employee. Newly unsealed court papers allege that Manuel Rocha engaged in "clandestine activity" on Cuba's behalf for decades, including by meeting with Cuban intelligence operatives. (Justice Department via AP)
It's being called one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting acts of espionage infiltration in American history.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia Manuel Rocha is being charged with acting as a secret agent of the Cuban communist regime.
Federal prosecutors allege from as early as 1981 until now, Rocha has been secretly working with Cuban intelligence.
Rocha faces charges including conspiracy and acting as an illegal agent of a foreign government.
“This action exposes one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign agent,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. "To betray that trust by falsely pledging loyalty to the United States while serving a foreign power is a crime that will be met with the full force of the Justice Department.”
The 73-year-old served in the U.S. State Department for almost four decades, but in conversations with an undercover FBI agent he allegedly referred to America as "the enemy" and said Cuba dictates his career.
Rocha spent two decades as a U.S. diplomat at top posts in Bolivia, Argentina, and the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.