Longstanding Chinese Spy Base In Cuba Revealed By U.S. Official
According to a Biden administration official, a Chinese spy base or facilities in Cuba have been operational since before 2019, when renovated. They may receive electronic communications from neighboring U.S. military and commercial buildings.
The individual said the spy facility was a problem that the Biden administration had inherited from the administration of former President Donald J. Trump while speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified intelligence.
According to the individual, after Mr. Biden assumed office, his government was briefed on the base in Cuba and the ideas China considered for constructing other facilities worldwide.
The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other news organizations all reported about the plan to build a Chinese spy facility in Cuba on Thursday, which led to a strong reaction from Capitol Hill.
Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, the panel’s top Republican, and Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a joint statement that they were “deeply disturbed by reports that Havana and Beijing are working together to target the United States and our people.”
At the time, the National Security Council’s spokesperson, John Kirby, refuted the reports, calling them “not accurate.” He continued, “We have had real concerns about China’s relationship with Cuba, and we have been concerned since Day 1 of the administration about China’s activities in our hemisphere and around the world.”
A U.S. official, though aware of the material described in the stories from Thursday, asserted that China and Cuba had reached a deal to improve their current spying capabilities.
On Saturday, Cuba’s deputy foreign minister Carlos F. de Cossio claimed on Twitter that the most recent allegations of surveillance facilities were “slanderous speculation.”
Some of the Biden administration’s detractors in Congress questioned the administration’s response’s motivations.
“Why did the Biden administration previously deny these reports of a C.C.P. spy base in Cuba? Why did they downplay the ‘silly’ C.C.P. spy balloon?” The Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, was referred to by its initials in a statement released on Saturday by Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher, the Republican head of the House select committee looking into strategic competition with China.
According to an official, the Biden administration has been trying to oppose China’s ongoing efforts to establish a foothold in the area and elsewhere, primarily by diplomatically engaging with countries that China was eyeing as potential hosts for such sites.
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China will pay Cuba to host a secret spy base, where Beijing could monitor American ships and electronic communications across the southeastern U.S. https://t.co/KR8feLUc5a
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 8, 2023
The official continued by saying that the administration has stalled China’s ambitions, but he would not elaborate.
The investigations described how China is moving its intelligence-gathering operations into ever-closer proximity with the United States, even though Beijing’s efforts to establish military sites and listening stations worldwide had been previously recorded.
Cuba’s coastline is just about 100 miles from the closest point in Florida, which gives China the technological edge it needs to undertake signals intelligence operations by keeping an eye on electronic communications in the U.S. southeast, which is home to several military sites.
The proximity of Cuba to the United States had long made it a valuable strategic base for American adversaries, perhaps most notably during the Cold War when the Soviet Union attempted to store nuclear missiles on the island nation during the Cuban Missile Crisis. China and the United States routinely spy on one another’s activities.
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In reaction to the claims, Wang Wenbin, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, stated on Friday, “The U.S. is the global champion of hacking and superpower of surveillance.”
The Biden administration, attempting to restore relations with China following a protracted period of increased tensions, was also awkwardly placed by the reports’ appearance at the time.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last year against Beijing’s objections, which view the self-governing island as a part of its territory. Several diplomatic, military, and climate engagements between the two nations were put on hold.
High-level talks were again postponed earlier this year after a Chinese spy balloon was sighted crossing the United States by persons on the ground and tracked loitering near critical military sites. This cancellation included an official trip by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.
Currently, Mr. Blinken is slated to fly to Beijing for meetings that start on June 18. It is unknown if the discovery of a Chinese espionage base so near to American land will affect those preparations.
Other concerns loom over the trip, such as the mounting requests for China to free Yuyu Dong, a well-known journalist who has been held since February of last year and is presently in custody while facing spies allegations that his family claims are untrue.
Mr. Dong, a former Nieman scholar at Harvard, spent years in Beijing meeting openly with journalists and diplomats from the United States and Japan.