The National Intelligence Center (CNI) has been in the news lately. Two of its own employees have been caught providing sensitive information to spies from the United States Embassy in Madrid. The CNI discovered the existence of these double agents last September and one of them has been in prison since then. This is not the first time that the CNI has had a mole, and the new traitors were apprehended thanks to procedures established after a previous incident with a spy who sold information to Russia.
Before becoming the first and only person convicted of treason in Spain’s democratic history, Roberto Flórez had a respectable career within the CNI. He joined the Civil Guard at 19 and was recruited by the intelligence service in 1992 to spy on ETA. Flórez quickly established ties with members of the terrorist group and was eventually transferred to Peru. In Lima, he infiltrated the upper echelons of political power and earned the trust of Alejandro Toledo, who later became president of Peru.
Flórez’s true identity was revealed in 2000, leading to his return to Spain. Back in Madrid, he maintained contacts with agents of the Counterintelligence Division, especially those linked to operations in Russia. In 2005, suspicions about his activities were confirmed with the help of the CIA, leading to his arrest in 2007. During the trial, it was revealed that Flórez had provided numerous confidential reports to the SVR, the intelligence service inherited from the KGB. In 2010, he was found guilty of betraying his country and sentenced to 12 years in prison, which was later reduced to nine.
The recent betrayal by two CNI employees is not the first time the organization has dealt with moles. The case of Roberto Flórez, the first person convicted of treason in Spain’s democratic history, serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining security protocols within intelligence agencies. The CNI has faced challenges in the past, but it continues to adapt and improve its procedures to prevent future breaches of security.
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