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Tags: Cuba | spies | students | professors | FBI

FBI: Cuba's Recruiting US Students, Professors as Spies

Friday, 05 September 2014 10:30 AM EDT

The FBI has issued an alert that Cuban spy services are actively enlisting American students and college professors as "clandestine agents" and propaganda peddlers.

In a five-page unclassified FBI report obtained by The Washington Free Beacon, the agency said that the communist country’s intelligence bureau (CuIS) is known to aggressively "target the U.S. academic world for the purposes of recruiting agents, in order to both obtain useful information and conduct influence activities."

The report says Cuba has "perfected" the art of placing agents in the United States by targeting universities and colleges "under the assumption that a percentage of students will eventually move on to positions within the U.S. government that can provide access to information of use to [Cuba)]"

While noting that Cubans devote "a significant amount of resources" to exploiting American students and faculty, the FBI warned, "Academia has been and remains a key target of foreign intelligence services, including (CuIS)."

"However, one additional reason the CuIS target this sector is because the cash-strapped Cuban regime’s general lack of resources does not permit an extensive reliance on monetary incentives for recruiting sources," the report said.

Chris Simmons, a former "spycatcher" for the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Free Beacon that Cuban intelligence officials first set their sights on turning American academics into agents decades ago.

"College campuses are seen as fertile grounds for the recruitment of the 'next generation' of spies," Simmons said. "Cuba heavily targets the schools that train the best candidates for U.S. government jobs, like Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, and George Washington University."

The report, dated Sept. 2, said that Cubans specifically aim at recruiting academics with leftist views. "For instance, someone who is allied with communist or leftist ideology may assist the [CuIS] because of his/her personal beliefs," said the report.

The FBI also noted that some students and professors are being offered lucrative future business deals in Cuba when the United States  lifts its trade embargo with the country, while others are treated to extravagant visits to the island.

The Cubans also exploit or blackmail potential spies though their personal problems or with sexual entrapment while they are visiting the island.

The report said that Cuban intelligence operatives "will actively exploit visitors" to the country, headed by Gen. Raul Castro, who took over as dictator from his ailing older brother Fidel Castro.

"Intelligence officers will come into contact with the academic travelers. They will stay in the same accommodations and participate in the activities arranged for the travelers," it said. "This clearly provides an opportunity to identify targets."

The FBI also alleged that, apart from collecting classified information and government secrets, Cuban officials are attempting to recruit key people who will portray the country in a positive light and "sway policymakers into particular courses of action" through either disinformation or propaganda.

The report said that once the Cubans have enlisted a student, they encourage that person to enter a field where they may one day have access to vital information, such as U.S. government departments or intelligence community, the Free Beacon said.

Cubans are not just recruiting "clandestine agents," but search for people who are useful to them because of their political influence and can be exploited to support the island’s goals, the report said.

"Some of these individuals may not be told openly that they are working for the [CuIS], even though it may not be too hard for them to figure out," the report added. "The relationship may openly appear to be a benign, mutually beneficial friendship."

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The FBI has issued an alert that Cuban spy services are actively enlisting American students and college professors as "clandestine agents" and propaganda peddlers.
Cuba, spies, students, professors, FBI
Friday, 05 September 2014 10:30 AM
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