AN OVERVIEW OF CUBAN INTELLIGENCE COLLECTION CAPABIITIES
By Manuel Cereijo
Cuba has a significant intelligence capability that it inherited from the former Soviet Union, and later own from Russia, and the PRC. Cuba has the ability to use IMINT, SIGINT, HUMINT, MASINT, and open source analysis to develop all source intelligence products for Cuba's political and military planners. According to intelligent sources, Cuban intelligence operations against the United States have increased in sophistication, scope, and number, and are likely to remain at a high level for the foreseeable future.
The most recent example of a HUMINT operation conducted by Cuba is the case of Ana Belen Montes. Montes was a DIA employee. In her work, Ana Belen Montes was able to obtain information pertaining to ongoing military operations of the United States, as well as to low key the asymmetric military capabilities of Cuba. Other HUMINT operations are the members of the so called WASP network, recently caught, and sentenced in Miami.
Cuba has one of the most sophisticated SIGINT programs in the world. The main facility is, of course, the Bejucal base, west of La Habana. The SIGINT facility at Bejucal is among the most significant intelligence collection capabilities targeting the United States. This facility, less than 100 miles from Key West, is one of the largest and most sophisticated SIGINT collection facilities in the world. The complex is manned by approximately 1,000 Cuban personnel, now joined by PRC military personnel. It is capable of monitoring a a wide array of commercial and government communications throught out the United States, and between the United States and Europe.
Bejucal intercepts transmissions from microwave towers in the United States, communication satellite downlinks, and a wide range of short-wave and high-frequency radio transmissions. It also serves as a mission ground station and analytical facility. It can monitor all U.S. military and civilian geo-synchronous communications satellites.
It has been alleged that the Bejucal facility monitors all White House communications activities, launch control communications and telemetry from NASA and Air Force facilities at Cape Canaveral, financial and commodity wire services, and military communications links. Bejucal has a special collection and analysis facility that is responsible for targeting financial and political information. This activity is manned by specially selected personnel from Cuba and the PRC.
The Cubans also use a variety of other means to collect signals intelligence. They operate SIGINT collection sites in over 30 countries from diplomatic protected embassies, consulates, trade delegations, and residences. These activities are prominent in Europe and the U.S. The Cubans used Russian ELINT satellites. Presently, they are using PRC satellites.
The Cubans are presently using PRC satellites for imagery systems. The PRC has several photoreconnaissance satellites in orbit, with an average of 780 mission days per year. PRC imagery systems are assessed to be able to obtain resolutions of better than one-third of a meter. Their satellites are an electrooptic imaging system that provides the PRC, and Cuba, with near real-time imagery.
The PRC has a number of programs that can provide MASINT data. They use infrared detection capabilities similar to those provided by the U.S. Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite system. Cuba and China have signed an agreement, in 1999, to cooperate in all of these areas.
MASINT: Measurement and Signature Intelligence, is scientific and technical intelligence information obtained by quantitative and qualitative analysis of data derived from specific technical sensors for the purpose of identifying any distinctive features associated with the source, emitter, or sender and to facilitate subsequent identification and/or measurement of the same.
IMINT : This is imagery intelligence . It will be a mainstay of the intelligence community in the 21st century.