243: Peter Lapp – Ana Montes Espionage Case, FISA Warrants

Retired agent Peter Lapp served in the FBI for 22-years. Assigned to the Washington Field Office, he specialized in counterintelligence, espionage, economic espionage, and trade secret theft matters.

In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Pete reviews the espionage investigation of Ana Belen Montes, who was arrested ten days after 9/11 for espionage, and sentenced to 25 years for spying for the Cuban Intelligence Service while she worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The application of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants played a key role in Pete and his senior co-case agent’s ability to gather evidence in this case.

Pete was also the case agent on the theft of trade secrets investigation of MIN Yonggang, who as a former DuPont employee was convicted of misappropriating over $1 billion of the company’s trade secrets. Pete gained inter-agency experience while conducting a joint-duty assignment at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence/Partner Engagement. Later in his career, he was promoted to program manager, and chief of the economic espionage and People’s Republic of China (PRC) espionage units at FBIHQ’s Counterintelligence Division.

Pete conducted hundreds of awareness briefings while at the Washington Field Office to academic, industry, and community groups on the topics of counterintelligence, insider threat, and active shooter.

Pete is the founder of PJ Lapp Consulting, LLC where he now focuses his vast knowledge and experience in counterintelligence and insider risk. He is a widely recognized expert and thought leader in the area of IR. Combining his experience as an investigator and program manager of espionage and economic espionage investigations, Pete is well qualified to provide seasoned advice on how to successfully build your IR program to mitigate reputational risk and protect your critical assets to help companies maintain their competitive advantage.

Pete is the author of Queen of Cuba: An Agent’s Insider Account of the Spy Who Evaded Detection for 17 Years.

Special Agent (Retired)

Peter J. Lapp

May 1998 – Mar 2020







“Every counter intelligence success is a counter intelligence failure. She committed espionage for 16 years before being caught. The damage she did is long lasting and can’t be erased.”—Retired Agent Peter Lapp

The following are links to FBI and news  articles about the Ana Montes espionage investigation and information about the use of FISA warrants in national security matters:

FBI Website: Ana Montes: Cuban Spy

CNN “Declassified” –  8/8/2018: The most dangerous U.S. spy you’ve never heard of

Washington Post – 4/18/2014: Ana Montes Did Much Harm Spying For Cuba – Chances Are You Haven’t Heard of Her

Department of Justice – Office of Justice Programs: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA)

Listen to more FBI Retired Case File Review episodes on espionage cases here.

Ana Montes’ official FBI mugshot photo.










9/16/01, surveillance photo of Ana Montes making a call on a pay phone in NW DC near Cleveland Park. She made the call despite “making” the FBI surveillance moments before.






FBI photo of Montes’ “go bag” with everything needed for a quick escape.









A “cheat sheet” provided by Cuban intelligence that Ana Montes used to help her encrypt and decrypt messages to and from her handlers. (FBI.gov)






Photo taken in 1988, at Ana’s brother Tito’s graduation from FBI new agent training at Quantico. Her father is on the left and her sister is Lucy is in the middle.  
Queen of Cuba book cover
Pete’s true crime book based on his investigator POV of the case can be purchased here.



















Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.


  1. JesseJanuary 15, 2023

    Very convenient (and racist) to assume that her motives were based solely on ethnicity, and ignore her own explanation: She believed US foreign policies were immoral because they’re cruel, perpetuate oppression, and cause the deaths of many people.

    It’s unbelievable that the people on this podcast lament the death of a US soldier in the line of duty, but don’t give a hoot about the deaths caused by US policies (e.g., US-supported Salvadoran government and its death squads).

  2. Nick BarretoJanuary 11, 2023

    I wish to thank you both for sharing the fascinating story of betrayal.
    When I heard Agent(R) Lapp speak to Ana’s insight on Dept. of State and White House concerning Cuba, I was reminded of the Elian Gonzales debacle in 1999. I am willing to bet Ana was in a position to alert Cuba on decisions under consideration by Janet Reno (Justice Department), WH, and State Dept. Given her expertise on Cuba matters, after all she was known as the “Queen of Cuba” in our INTEL community, Ana would have steered or even persuaded our agencies to surrender this young boy to Cuban authorities. Ultimately, the decision to return Elian to Castro cost President Clinton’s Democratic Party-political clout in Florida to this day.

  3. Brad BaysJanuary 2, 2023

    Although this may be an editing effect, early on in Episode 243 Peter Lapp seems to say that the United States during the Reagan administration was supporting the Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua. This is a mistake. Perhaps the unedited interview includes “the opposition to” the Sandinistas.

    1. Jerri WilliamsJanuary 2, 2023

      I’ll ask Pete what he meant to say.

    2. Jerri WilliamsJanuary 3, 2023

      I emailed Pete and he immediatedly sent me this response:

      I remember flipping Contras with Sandinistas in the episode. I’ve corrected it in the manuscript but please tell Brad great catch, and thank you. — Pete Lapp

      FYI. Pete’s book is now available for pre-order https://www.amazon.com/Queen-Cuba-Insider-Account-Detection/dp/163758959X/

  4. Stray DawgNovember 29, 2022

    You can watch the CNN ” Declassified ” series which has Ana Montez searching with firestick. I don’t think it’s free , but we’ll worth watching.
    There are several different stories with scumbags who betrayed their country.


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