Tampa Tribune’s “Pro-Consulate” Argument Fatally Flawed 5

macdillBy 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.

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How Cuba Got Our Missile 4

A Hellfire missile with sensitive US technology somehow ended up in Cuba - Business Insider

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?

 

Did Cuban SPIES steal US missile? Hellfire rocket bound for Florida shows up in HAVANA 3

The Hellfire missile can be attached to helicopters or drones

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.

Havana’s Spies Seen as Big Winner in New US-Cuban Relations 11

Headquarters of Cuba's dreaded Ministry of the Interior (MININT) [Photo -- Havana Times

Headquarters of Cuba’s dreaded Ministry of the Interior (MININT) [Photo — Havana Times]

By Chris Simmons

Havana long ago earned the nickname “Intelligence Trafficker to the World” for its sale and barter of stolen US secrets. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union and the loss of Moscow’s $3 billion annual subsidy, Cuba’s auctioning of US classified information skyrocketed. Defectors and émigrés report the island’s leadership sees America’s secrets as a commodity to be sold or traded to the highest bidder. These sources say Cuba’s intelligence brokering is now a key revenue stream, earning hundreds of millions of dollars annually in cash, goods, and services for the regime.

Cuba’s intelligence and security services are undoubtedly celebrating the legacy-making breakthrough in US-Cuban relations ordered by President Obama. The US leader’s intentions – while noble – will be undercut by five apparently unanticipated consequences that will trigger an increase in Havana’s targeting of the United States.

First, opening Cuba to American travelers will bring a huge influx of desperately needed cash to Cuban coffers – more specifically, the intelligence and security services that – along with their military brethren – run every major component of the tourism industry as profit-making enterprises.

Second, an estimated million Americans are expected to visit Cuba yearly, as compared to the 60,000 US tourists it currently enjoys. This endless parade of Americans will provide Cuban spies unprecedented opportunities to assess and recruit new American traitors.

Third, unrestricted access to US technology will allow Havana significant upgrades in the technical aspects of espionage and internal repression. While it may seem counterintuitive, Fidel and Raul Castro have long viewed the Cuban people as the greatest threat to regime survival. This explains why their two counterintelligence entities remain Cuba’s largest spy services. Conversely, the island’s three “foreign intelligence” services are directed against a single target – the United States.

The fourth benefit Cuba receives is a huge enhancement in the long-cultivated notion that it poses “no threat” to the US. Spying against an unsuspecting enemy is infinitely easier than operating against a suspicious one. That’s the reason this well-choreographed myth has been aggressively promoted by major Cuban spies like Ana Montes and the husband-wife team of Kendall and Gwen Myers, as well as countless Castro apologists. The boost President Obama gave Havana with his new initiative elevates this myth to heights Havana could not have achieved by itself.

The fifth and final gain will be the end of travel restrictions on Cuba’s US-based diplomat-spies, whose unrestricted travel is currently limited to a 25 miles radius from Washington DC and New York City. Open travel throughout the nation will be a godsend to Cuba’s espionage operations. This new advantage will eventually be enhanced even further by the opening of Cuban diplomatic consulates and Prensa Latina news agencies from coast to coast.

The combination of cash, US tourists, American technology, new diplomatic facilities and unrestricted freedom to travel will markedly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Havana’s intelligence trafficking. In turn, this further incentivizes the regime to use this opportunity to drive up the profit margins and sales of US government and corporate secrets.

A crown jewel in Havana’s intelligence arsenal is its network of communications intercept sites headquartered at Bejucal. This facility — Cuba’s equivalent to NSA — is the only “signals intelligence” site in the downlink of almost every US satellite. This gives Havana a unique competitive advantage the intelligence services of China, Russia, and Iran can only dream about. Several well-placed defectors said the volume of Pentagon, White House, NASA, and other US communications collected by Bejucal is so vast Cuba only had staffing to process the crème de la crème of stolen secrets. When the Castro brother’s pair this daily flood of material with the information and insights contributed by hundreds of human spies serving covertly throughout the US, the result is a terrifyingly real danger to the United States.

Cuba is not a benign nation, but rather a hostile dictatorship that poses a significant, albeit one-dimensional threat to the United States. For example, the Castro regime has warned America’s enemies of every major military operation from the 1983 Grenada invasion through the most recent intervention in Iraq. Its spying has also resulted in the deaths of America citizens.

Cuba is a police state and its apparatchiks respect one thing:  power. As such, its spy services will see Washington’s olive branch as a sign of weakness. They will declare “open season” on the American government, its businesses, and Americans themselves to enrich and maintain the regime to which they have sworn their lives, loyalties, and families’ futures.

This Date in History: Spies Expelled For Illegally Acquiring US Technology 1

July 4, 1982:  The US ordered the expulsion of Second Secretary Mario Monzon Barata and Attaché Jose Rodriguez Rodriguez. Posted to the Cuban Mission to the United Nations (CMUN), the two DGI officers were accused of violated the Trading With the Enemy Act by “buying, and trying to buy, large quantities of high-technology electronic equipment, much of it subject to strict trade controls.”  The State Department cited Monzon as chief of the DGI Center in New York City and claimed he had violated the Trading with the Enemy Act routinely for over a year. Monzon first arrived at the CMUN in September 1980. The New York Times cited Rodriguez as Monzon’s secretary.