The unexpected White House decision to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba had another surprise nestled within it: A U.S. intelligence agent held for two decades by the Castro regime, apparently unknown to the American public, was also released.
Today, the Cuban government released imprisoned American aid worker Alan Gross, while the U.S. released three Cuban spies and agreed to loosen sanctions on the country. Critics of the announcement suggested this amounted to a lopsided deal, but the president noted that the U.S. had gotten something else, too.
“In exchange for the three Cuban agents, Cuba released one of the most important intelligence agents that the United States has ever had in Cuba, and has been in prison for nearly two decades,” Obama said. “This man — whose sacrifice has been known to only a few — provided America with the information that allowed us to arrest the network of Cuban agents that included the men transferred to Cuba today, as well as other spies in the United States. . . . This man is now safely on our shores.”