How Cuban Intelligence Seeks to Influence U.S. Policy

Friday, September 5, 2014
From this week's FBI Advisory, "Cuban Intelligence Targeting of Academia":

Targets Within Academia: The academic world offers a rich array of targets attractive to foreign intelligence services. US government (USG) institutions draw on academia for personnel, both for entry level staffing and for consultation from established experts. A segment of the population, both students and faculty, is bound for work within the USG. Another segment is likely to have contact with USG information and policies through many other venues, including work with research institutes and numerous forms of contract work. First, many of these individuals may have access to useful information that can be passed to the CuIS ("Cuban Intelligence Services"). Second, some of these individuals are in a position of influence. They can assist in directly influencing the US policymaking process or in shaping public opinion on Cuba.

Influence Opportunities: Another priority of the CuIS is influence operations in support of Cuban policies. Many individuals who are targeted in academia are well positioned to assist the CuIS in helping portray the image of Cuba that the Government of Cuba desires. The free flow of information in academia actually assists such Cuban efforts. In fact, those CuIS contacts in academia lacking access to USG information may hold commensurate value to the Government of Cuba by assisting in this public relations campaign.

The many individuals, including academics, businesspeople, religious leaders, political leaders, journalists, and students, who are exposed to Cuban officials or are invited to Cuba to participate in events, conferences, and tourism can be presented a crafted image of Cuba that may ultimately be disseminated to the United States by the visitors. Many of these visitors may even be passing on this positive image of Cuba unwittingly based on their one visit. At the same time, recruited Cuban agents will also actively propagate disinformation developed by the Government of Cuba and the CuIS. For instance, the CuIS have also been known to use agents, possibly academics or journalists, to write books or articles that present the GOC in a favorable light.