The White House has reversed its position and acknowledged that China had operated a secret spy base in Cuba for several years. The Biden administration is obviously blaming the Trump administration for the situation. A senior official from the Biden administration confirmed that the U.S. intelligence community has been aware of Chinese spying activities from Cuba since 2019, contradicting earlier denials from the White House and NSC spokesman John Kirby. The person in charge stressed that the situation of Chinese intelligence facilities in Cuba is a well-documented issue.
Despite initially dismissing the reports as inaccurate, the administration now claims to have inherited the issue. The revelation of China’s spy base in Cuba raises significant concerns due to the island’s proximity to Florida and numerous U.S. military bases in the southeastern region. The reported negotiations between Beijing and Havana for a multi-billion dollar deal to establish an advanced intelligence base on the island further exacerbate the situation. This development would grant China an advantage in intercepting communications from U.S. military installations in the region and potentially beyond. The Biden administration has acknowledged that their diplomatic efforts have slowed down China’s progress but recognizes the need to continue disrupting their activities.
It is worth noting that most nations utilize their foreign embassies and consulates for intelligence gathering, making it unclear whether China’s spy activities in Cuba significantly differ from the norm. The initial Wall Street Journal report suggested otherwise, but the exact inaccuracies pointed out by the administration regarding the report have not been specified. Nevertheless, any news involving China, spying, and the Western hemisphere tends to be presented in an alarmist manner by Congressional hawks and the American media. It is essential to consider the extensive U.S. intelligence infrastructure in the South China Sea and among regional allies near China’s coast and the presence in Taiwan, which may justify Beijing’s actions in Cuba.
The blame game between the current and previous administrations has ensued following the WSJ report. The Biden administration emphasizes that the Chinese base in Cuba was established before their term and that they have been aware of the issue since taking office.
Republicans, however, are critical of the administration’s response, accusing Biden of ignoring the threat from China. Rep. Mike Turner, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, finds the contradictory statements from the Biden administration unacceptable. In contrast, Rep. Mike Gallagher, chair of the House China Committee, accuses the administration of deliberately misleading the public and whitewashing Chinese aggression for the sake of engagement.