But details from the bail hearing also indicated the alleged 10-member network rounded up last weekend was a low-budget affair, with a Cuban military captain who lived under the alias Manuel Viramontez falling behind on his rent.
The Cuban government ``indicated they were supposed to suffer like the rest of the Cuban people,'' FBI agent Mark de Almeida testified in explaining the spies' spartan lifestyle.
The 10 were charged Monday with trying to penetrate U.S. military bases, infiltrate anti-Castro exile groups and manipulate U.S. media and political organizations. Prosecutors said it was the biggest Cuban spy ring uncovered in the United States since Castro took power in 1959.
However, the Pentagon said none of the alleged spies obtained U.S. secrets.
Eight defendants postponed their bail hearings. Viramontez and Luis Medina, reputedly a Cuban intelligence major, were ordered held without bail. All 10 were in solitary confinement at a federal jail.
De Almeida testified that evidence seized from Viramontez ``analyzes the ability to sabotage or cause damage to airplanes or the hangar itself.'' The FBI agent did not recall the location of the hangar except that it was in Florida.
De Almeida also testified that diskettes seized at Viramontez's apartment contained references to Cuba's military intelligence headquarters, Cuban officials and the word ``comrade.''
References to ``commandante'' found on encrypted diskettes, which were coded to appear blank, were taken by investigators to mean Castro, de Almeida said.
Medina's primary assignment was to infiltrate U.S. Southern Command headquarters in Miami, which coordinates U.S. military operations in Latin American and the Caribbean, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis.
Outside court, Viramontez attorney Paul McKenna said the court, not public opinion, must decide the case.
``You can't have a lynch mob mentality about this case,'' McKenna said. ``We have to let our system of justice, our courts, deal with this.''
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press