New York Times breaks the story that the person arrested in Cuba for allegedly spying and/or distributing computers and electronics is Alan P GrossBy GINGER THOMPSON and MARC LACEY | New York Times
The United States contractor detained in Cuba last month and accused of being a spy is a 60-year-old social worker from the Washington suburbs who had gone to Cuba to provide communications equipment to Jewish nonprofit organizations, according to American officials.
In postings on the Internet, the contractor, Alan P. Gross — whose identify had not previously been made public — said he had more than 20 years’ experience in development work around the world. One of his Internet networking sites said he had been a volunteer field organizer for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
American officials say that Mr. Gross had gone to Cuba as part of a United States government program and was providing encouragement and financial assistance to religious nonprofit groups. The officials acknowledge that Mr. Gross entered Cuba without the proper visa, though they contend that he was not involved in any activities that posed a violent threat to the Cuban government. And they flatly dispute any allegations that he is a spy.
The Cuban government, however, has characterized his work as a threat to national security.
In the United States, where Cuba continues to fire political passions, Mr. Gross’s detention has become the source of new tensions between Washington and Havana, and it threatens to ignite more debate on Capitol Hill about how the Obama administration ought to proceed in its Cuba policy.
Specifically, the case has raised questions about whether the administration should continue a Bush administration practice of sending development workers to conduct the kind of semicovert operations that landed Mr. Gross in jail.
At the time Mr. Gross was detained, he had visited Cuba several times, delivering computer and satellite equipment to three Jewish community groups, according to people with knowledge of his work.
In December, they said, he was on a follow-up trip for Development Alternatives Inc…