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Posted January 18, 2008 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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Cuba has extended its intelligence-gathering capabilities beyond the United States and Latin America to places where vital U.S. interests are at stake—like Iran, Turkey, India and Pakistan—a former top U.S. counterintelligence official told lawmakers Thursday.

Chris Simmons, a former counterintelligence officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency, said a series of intelligence setbacks for Cuba between 1995 and 2003—such as the dismantling of a network of spies in Miami, the closure of an intelligence center in Canada and the arrest of former DIA Cuba analyst Ana Montes in 2001—forced Cuba to tighten its intelligence operations.

Today Cuba puts trusted top intelligence operatives in charge of key embassy postings and operates more with allies like Iran and Venezuela, Simmons said in a briefing organized by Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Cuba’s intelligence apparatus, considered one of the world’s most formidable, numbers more than 11,500 agents, he said, of whom about 3,500 are focused on international operations.

Cuba has resorted to employing more of what he called ‘‘ambassador-spies’’—top intelligence chiefs who have become diplomatic envoys.

Before, Cuba placed such persons in the United States and with a few of Cuba’s closest allies, like the Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s.


‘‘We’ve seen a change in how they use ambassador-spies,’’ Simmons said, to ensure that their intelligence centers ``never again get closed.’‘

Such top intelligence officers are also being dispatched to places where the United States has active military operations, he said.

‘‘They feel compelled to work against every major U.S. military operation for their own interest and because it is vital to their allies,’’ he told the lawmakers. He said the information is then shared with U.S. rivals like Russia.

He said Cuba has established four new ‘‘regional intelligence centers’’—in Iran, India, Pakistan and Turkey.

Simmons, who worked on Cuba for the DIA for a dozen years, has founded the Cuban Intelligence Research Center, based in Leesburg, Va.

Ties with Iran’s current authorities have always been close, but the cooperation has become tighter, especially after 2006. The two countries work together on jamming TV and radio broadcasts and on dual-use biotechnology.

Cuba has dispatched a career intelligence officer, Juan Carretero Ibáñez, to India. He was an important intelligence operative in Chile during the 1970s regime of President Salvador Allende and headed a Cuban propaganda outfit, the Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America.


Cuba closed its Pakistan embassy in 1990 but reopened it in April 2006 and appointed ‘‘ambassador-spy’’ Gustavo Machín Gómez. Machín was one of the 14 diplomats expelled from the United States in 2003 on accusations of spying.

Cuba’s ambassador to Turkey is Ernesto Gómez Abascal, who Simmons said was either an intelligence officer or a collaborator and is a former ambassador to Iraq when it was led by Saddam Hussein. Simmons said Cuba shared information on U.S. military activities with the Hussein government.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on January 18, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Is it common for a former DIA counterintelligence officer to make public comments about US intelligence? This seems a little disturbing.

    Then I read that he said this at a “briefing organized by Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.” so then I really had to question the validity of this statement.

    Mr. Simmons has met with Ros-Lehtinen before and it would seem that she is trying to tie Cuba to Iran. I know Cuba and Iran have ties so maybe she is not too far out of line here.

    Anyone know Mr. Simmons? Here is his Iran-Cuba Nexus article as seen in Cubapolidata.

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  2. Follow up post #2 added on January 18, 2008 by Curt

    Cuba has every right to defend themselveves against the U.S after all the shit we have done to them. Chris Simmons is a fascist apologists with extensive ties to the Miami Mafia. More power to Cuba and down with the U.S Government!

  3. Follow up post #3 added on January 18, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    I wouldn’t go that far but point taken.

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  4. Follow up post #4 added on January 19, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    A country with spies ??? What a suprise !!!
    Cuba sounds just like the US and many other countries on the planet

  5. Follow up post #5 added on January 28, 2008 by Cuban American

    Wow Curt, you’re an idiot.  Why don’t you go read your New York Times, and drink your coffee with your left hand.  Because you are about as left’socialist/fascist as they come.  The funny part is, if you would have said something like that living in Cuba, you would see at the very least a 25 year prison sentence for being “counter-revolutionary”  and be accused of being a US mercenary.  Thats if your lucky, if not they would just make you dissapear like the 14,000 “counterrevolutionaries” executed after the revolution, like the pilots of the Brothers to the Rescues planes in 96 and like many others who have died at the hands of a ruthless totalitarian regime.

  6. Follow up post #6 added on January 28, 2008 by Curt

    Hey Mr. Cuban-American imbecile. You are trying to tell me that if I was in Cuba and said the things I stated on this blog that I would be thrown in jail. How would defending the Cuban govt. while I was in Cuba get me thrown in jail? What would happen to me if I strolled down SW 8 St. in Miami wearing a Che Guevarra T-shirt. What about the reception that Code Pink received at Versailles Restaurant last week. I stand by proudly with my leftist views. Patria o Muerta! Venceremos!

  7. Follow up post #7 added on February 29, 2008 by Gina

    To Curt the idiot

    It’s surprising how you try to use your leftist slogans in spanish. If you had any idea what you’re talking about you would at least spell MUERTE right.

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