Monday, July 21, 2014

Russia Goes Retro with Cuban Spy Base

Russia is trying to reopen a Cold War-era spy base in Cuba.

During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Cuba earlier this month, Putin and Cuban officials reportedly reached a provisional agreement to reopen the signals intelligence facility in Lourdes, Cuba, south of Havana...

The Lourdes base was first opened in 1964 and was used to intercept communications in the U.S. and throughout the Western Hemisphere. Some estimate that as much as 50 percent of the radio-intercepted intelligence that the Soviet Union collected on the U.S. during the Cold War came from Lourdes. Putin closed the facility back in 2001, citing it as a “goodwill gesture” toward the U.S., which had long expressed concerns about the Russian spy station. However, many analysts believed the real reason behind the decision was the $200 million-a-year rent that Moscow was reportedly paying to Cuba to maintain the base.

According to The Guardian, “the Lourdes facility was the Soviet Union’s largest foreign base, a mere 155 miles from the U.S. coast. It employed up to 3,000 military and intelligence personnel to intercept a wide array of American telephone and radio communications.” (more)