CO­OP­ER­A­TION WITH CUBA

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

The Pen­tagon and U.S. in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity were di­rected to ex­pand ties with the com­mu­nist regime in Cuba under a pres­i­den­tial di­rec­tive is­sued by the White House last month.

Pres­i­dent Obama said his nor­mal­iz­ing of re­la­tions with Cuba will re­place an “out­dated pol­icy” that failed to ad­vance U.S. in­ter­ests and sup­port re­forms in the Cuban state.

“The ob­jec­tive of the new pol­icy is to help the Cuban peo­ple to achieve a bet­ter fu­ture for them­selves and to en­cour­age the devel­op­ment of a part­ner in the region ca­pa­ble of work­ing with the United States to con­front re­gional chal­lenges, such as cli­mate change, dis­ease and il­licit traf­fick­ing,” Mr. Obama said.

Crit­ics say the pol­icy is naive and likely to strengthen re­pres­sive com­mu­nist rule on the is­land na­tion ruled since 1959 by Fidel Cas­tro and now his brother Raul.

Any in­tel­li­gence co­op­er­a­tion is ex­pected to be dif­fi­cult since Cuba’s spy ser­vices have been con­duct­ing ag­gres­sive op­er­a­tions against the United States for decades.

Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence James R. Clap­per tes­ti­fied to Congress in Jan­uary that Cuba re­mains a re­gional hos­tile in­tel­li­gence threat for the United States.

“For ex­am­ple, Ira­nian and Cuban in­tel­li­gence and se­cu­rity ser­vices con­tinue to view the United States as a pri­mary threat,” Mr. Clap­per said.

Under the new di­rec­tive, Pres­i­den­tial Pol­icy Di­rec­tive-43, spy agen­cies will have to lower their guard and en­gage the Cuban in­tel­li­gence ap­pa­ra­tus.

Ac­cord­ing to the or­der, the DNI is re­quired to “sup­port broader United States Gov­ern­ment ef­forts to nor­mal­ize re­la­tions with Cuba, with In­tel­li­gence Com­mu­nity el­e­ments work­ing to find op­por­tu­ni­ties for en­gage­ment on ar­eas of com­mon in­ter­est through which we could ex­change in­for­ma­tion on mu­tual threats with Cuban coun­ter­parts.”

The di­rec­tive does not say how in­tel­li­gence with the Cubans will be shared. A DNI spokesman had no com­ment on the di­rec­tive. For­mer De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer Scott W. Carmichael said it is ironic that the United States might co­op­er­ate on nonpro­lif­er­a­tion with a na­tion that once brought the United States to the brink of nu­clear war.

“But it’s a good idea,” Mr. Carmichael said. “We do have some com­mon ground with Cuba, on is­sues of mu­tual in­ter­est and con­cern, so it makes sense to share in­for­ma­tion which ben­e­fits both coun­tries.”

The Pen­tagon, too, is be­ing or­dered to step up ex­changes with the Cuban mil­i­tary.

“The Depart­ment of De­fense (DOD) will con­tinue to take steps to ex­pand the de­fense re­la­tion­ship with Cuba

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