By Chris Simmons
The Tampa Tribune’s recent editorial, “Get behind consulate effort,” is an interesting read, mostly because of its total lack of understanding of US national security and Castro’s Cuba. For example, the feature claims “warnings by several former military officials that the local Cuban consulate would become a hotbed for espionage seem to us overwrought.” It then concedes that Havana undoubtedly DOES collect against MacDill Air Force Base, but proposes that a consulate would actually “make it easier to keep tabs on Cuban officials.”
It seems the Tribune is speaking out of both sides of its mouth. Just last month, it ran a story highlighting several Cuban espionage operations in the area. Now it insists adding more spies – this time based out of consulate – would make it easier to find them.
What the paper meant to say is finding spies hidden among a consulate’s diplomats is easier then finding them operating somewhere within the greater Tampa/St Pete metropolitan area. That point is true – and totally irrelevant. Operationally, the local Cuban spy networks already in play would avoid contact with any of their diplomatic facilities because of the inherent risks. These covert spies – when caught – go to jail – as did many members of Cuba’s Wasp Network, a branch of which was headquartered in Tampa. Diplomat-spies are different, as immunity precludes their arrest.
Furthermore, who will monitor these new Cuban spies? I suspect local counterintelligence entities are already busy hunting down other clandestine networks run by the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Cubans, ISIS, etc. What will local politicians say when these unmonitored Cubans are later caught conducting economic espionage against local businesses?
Havana’s acquisition of a Hellfire missile should remind everyone that US secrets are for sale around the clock. Cuba’s intelligence services would welcome the opening of a Tampa consulate – but only as a tool augmenting a very lucrative revenue stream.
A Hellfire missile with sensitive US technology somehow ended up in Cuba – Business Insider
The Post & Courier (Charleston, SC) A powerful U.S. air-to-ground missile whose design and electronics are a military secret has ended up in the hands of the Cuban government through a series of bizarre mishaps or deliberate theft that could be the plot for a Cold War comedy — or something much darker.
The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. officials fear that whether it got the missile by accident or design, the Cuban government has likely shared its secrets with countries like China, North Korea or Russia, and that copies could soon turn up on the international arms market.
Despite thawing U.S. relations with Cuba, the State Department has reportedly been unable to get the missile back or find out what happened to it.
According to the Journal, an unarmed version of the Hellfire air-to-ground missile, designed to kill tanks, was loaned by its manufacturer, Lockheed-Martin, to NATO for a training exercise in Spain. It was supposed to be returned by air from Madrid via Frankfurt, Germany, but its clearly marked shipping case somehow ended up going to Paris where it was loaded on an Air France flight to Havana, and there it vanished.
The FBI and U.S. intelligence agents are still trying to figure out whether the diversion of the missile to Cuba was purely accidental or a clever Cuban intelligence coup.
Article continues here: Did Cuba Steal US Missile?
The Hellfire missile can be attached to helicopters or drones
ESPIONAGE was suspected after it was revealed a high-tech US missile was accidentally shipped to Cuba.
By Fraser Moore, (London) Sunday Express
A Lockheed Martin Hellfire missile was mistakenly shipped from Europe there in 2014.
It was supposed to go from France to Florida, but ended up in the Caribbean country under suspicious circumstances.
The dummy missile is a laser-guided, air-to-surface missile that weighs about 45kg (100lb). It can be deployed from an attack helicopter such as the Apache or an unmanned drone such as the Predator.
There are worries that the advanced technology could be passed on from Cuba to US rivals such as Russia or North Korea. In the wake of North Korea’s supposed H-bomb test, US officials say that they are trying their best to retrieve the missile.
Communist Cuba experienced a diplomatic thaw with Washington in July last year after more than 50 years of hostilities. But an embargo barring US trade and travel to the Caribbean island is still in place. And Cuba, made famous by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, still has a dire human rights record.