U.S. officials have consistently denied any plans to exchange the spies for Gross. Even so, the judge’s decision upset some Cuban exiles.
“I respect our judicial system and I respect the judge’s decision,” said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami. “However, I disagree with it because the case of this convicted spy proves that you can inflict harm on your country of birth, spy in favor of an enemy state, serve only part of your sentence and, be released, even under restricted sentence … and then later retire to a quiet and prosperous life under the total protection of the Cuban regime.”
Ros-Lehtinen also said that it was unfair to grant González this privilege while Gross remained jailed in Cuba.
González is one of five Cuban intelligent agents sent to infiltrate military bases and Cuban exile groups. They created what is called the Wasp Network with about 15 members to carry out their mission. The Cuban government insists that they were only monitoring exiles and calls them “The Five Heroes.”
The FBI discovered the network and dismantled it in 1998, though not before it had infiltrated several exile groups, including Alpha 66, Comandos 4F, the Cuban American National Foundation and Brothers to the Rescue.
It was the infiltration of Brothers to the Rescue that shocked the exile community the most because the prosecutors were able to prove before a federal jury in a Miami court that members of the Wasp Network provided information to the Cuban intelligence that allowed it to target the planes that were shot down.
The network members also infiltrated a U.S. Navy base in Key West and attempted to infiltrate the Southern Command in Miami-Dade.