Republican Addicts of the Tall Tale

  1. Cuba remains `terrorist threat'
    to U.S., administration official says

    BY RAFAEL LORENTE
    South Florida Sun-Sentinel

    WASHINGTON - (KRT) - Repeating and strengthening previous
    allegations about Cuba's alleged weapons of mass
    destruction program, a Bush administration official Tuesday
    told Congress in written testimony that the island "remains
    a terrorist and (biological weapons) threat to the United
    States."

    "I believe the case for the existence of a developmental
    Cuba (biological weapons research and development) effort
    is strong," said John Bolton, undersecretary of state for
    arms control and international security. Bolton made the
    allegations as part of a 25-page written statement on the
    development and spread of nuclear, chemical and biological
    weapons.

    Bolton also said Cuba has been successful at hiding details
    of its weapons program thanks to data passed to Havana by
    convicted spy Ana Belen Montes, the former senior Cuba
    analyst for the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency.
    Montes is serving 25 years in federal prison after pleading
    guilty to spying for Cuba in 2002.

    Montes "participated in interagency coordination of a
    national intelligence estimate on (biological weapons),
    and passed some of our most sensitive information about
    Cuba back to Havana," Bolton's written testimony said.
    "Additionally, Montes' espionage materially strengthened
    Cuba's denial and deception efforts; the data Montes passed
    gave Havana ample opportunity to generate controlled
    information that could, via defectors and emigres, reach
    Washington."

    Bolton never verbalized his Cuba allegations during remarks
    before the House Committee on International Relations on
    Tuesday. Instead, he answered questions about the threats
    posed by Pakistan, Iran, North Korea and Libya. Asked about
    his stronger comments on Cuba after the hearing, Bolton
    shrugged and said his written statement spoke for itself.

    During his testimony, Bolton said the United States has no
    evidence implicating senior Pakistani government officials,
    such as President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, in taking part in
    the network that was selling nuclear secrets to countries
    such as Libya.

    Bolton first made allegations about Cuba's weapons program
    in May 2002, on the eve of former President Carter's trip
    to the island. At the time, Bolton's charge, which was
    later repeated by other officials, was much more
    circumscribed. He said Cuba had "at least a limited
    developmental offensive biological warfare research and
    development effort." Bolton also said at the time that Cuba
    was providing some of its technology to rogue states.

    Cuban President Fidel Castro has denied the allegations.
    Carter said that in preparation for his visit to the island
    he was never given any information about the allegations.

    A spokesman for the Cuban Interests Section in Washington
    ridiculed Bolton's allegations on Tuesday.

    "Those are the usual, ridiculous lies that this man
    habitually makes about Cuba," said Lazaro Herrera Martinez,
    first secretary of the Interests Section. "It is ridiculous
    to say that Cuba poses a threat to the national security"
    of the United States.

    ---

    C 2004 South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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