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Former INS Official Mariano Faget Found Guilty of EspionageAired May 30, 2000 - 1:38 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Just in to CNN, a verdict in Miami by a jury convicting on four counts Mariano Faget. You may have heard the name. He was a U.S. Immigration, with the INS. He was accused of lying to the FBI, accused of espionage. He's been convicted on four counts of espionage.
CNN's Candiotti -- Susan Candiotti has been following the case, gives us a little background here so you know what we're talking about.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mariano Faget has not wavered from his defense.
MARIANO FAGET, FORMER INS OFFICIALS: I am not a spy. I would not do that to the country that I love, which is the United States.
CANDIOTTI: The government has not accused Faget of spying. The 34-year INS employee, a supervisor with security clearance, was charged with leaking classified information and making false statements to federal agents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is obviously a secret file.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: But the secret he was told by the FBI was fake. Faget was the target of a sting. After the FBI caught him meeting a Cuban intelligence officer, then videotaped him meeting another Cuban diplomat, this man, both times without INS authorization, agents bugged Faget's office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAGET: As long as we understand that we cannot disclose this information to anyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CANDIOTTI: On this tape, the head of FBI's Miami's office tells Faget a Cuban diplomat is going to defect, adding, the information is classified. About 12 minutes later, Faget calls businessman Pedro Font, a childhood friend from Cuba, and tips him off.
Faget defended his actions on the witness stand, repeating the position he took during this jailhouse interview after his arrest last February.
FAGET: I was afraid that my friend for 30 years was going to be put in harm's way some way by being set up or somehow brought into this defection.
CANDIOTTI: After Faget's call to Pedro Font, Font, with a beard, is seen on an FBI surveillance tape meeting and embracing a Cuban intelligence officer. Pedro Font was not charged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had no reason to believe that any of the information that he communicated could in any way -- not would but could -- in any way be used to compromise the national defense.
CANDIOTTI: A conviction on all charges could mean up to 30 years in prison.
Susan Candiotti, CNN, Miami.
WATERS: And, again, Mariano Faget, the former INS official, has been found guilty by a jury in Miami on four counts of espionage.
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