According to the Wall Street Journal, China has struck a secret deal with Cuba to establish an electronic eavesdropping facility on the island, just 100 miles off the coast of Florida. U.S. officials familiar with classified intelligence have revealed that this spy installation would enable Beijing to gather electronic communications from the southeastern United States, home to numerous military bases, as well as monitor ship traffic.
The potential establishment of this eavesdropping station has raised concerns within President Joe Biden’s administration, posing a new threat in close proximity to America’s shores. While U.S. officials have refrained from disclosing specific details regarding the location or construction of the listening station, the agreement between China and Cuba has sparked alarm in Washington.
This development comes amidst efforts by both the United States and China to ease tensions that escalated after a suspected Chinese high-altitude spy balloon crossed U.S. airspace, resulting in its interception by the U.S. military off the East Coast in February. The reported deal may also complicate Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s planned trip to China in the coming weeks, as bilateral ties have deteriorated over various disputes, including military activities in the South China Sea, human rights concerns, and technology competition.
If the report is accurate, Senator Bob Menendez, Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Cuba hawk, views it as a direct assault on the United States. A former U.S. intelligence official highlighted the significance of a Chinese listening post, indicating a substantial expansion of Beijing’s spying capabilities and granting access to signals intelligence as far north as Washington.
While the United States has a history of surveillance activities targeting China within its own sphere of influence, such as using Taiwan as a listening post and conducting spy plane operations in the South China Sea, the potential establishment of a Chinese facility in Cuba would mark a significant development, potentially enabling China to utilize the island as a base for intelligence collection against the United States.
This alleged agreement, if implemented, could provide a much-needed cash infusion for Cuba, which is grappling with a sputtering economy, inflation, fuel shortages, declining agricultural production, and a cash crunch that has contributed to rising discontent among the population.
As intelligence reports suggest, the proposed spy facility would grant China the ability to conduct signals intelligence, including intercepting emails, phone calls, and satellite transmissions. Cuba, a historical adversary of the United States, has a long history of espionage and spy games. The infamous Cuban missile crisis in 1962, sparked by Soviet nuclear weapons placement on the island, remains a significant moment in U.S.-Soviet tensions.
While the Cuban government has not responded to requests for comment, it is important to note that China’s alleged plans in Cuba pose potential implications for U.S. national security and warrant close monitoring and appropriate countermeasures by the United States.
[Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based on the report by the Wall Street Journal and should be verified independently.]