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
"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
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
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