BY LAUREN SFORZA
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) are calling on the Biden administration to give a classified briefing regarding a reported Chinese spy facility in Cuba.
Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and CIA Director William Burns expressing concerns over recent reports of China building a spy facility in Cuba, which lies about miles from Florida. The lawmakers wrote that Americans deserve to know “about the national security implications of this direct provocation by our adversaries” and asked for more information about the reports.
“The American public needs to be assured that their government unequivocally condemns this escalation, and is working to do everything in its power to counter it,” the lawmakers wrote. “While we understand the sensitive nature of this matter, Congress also requires greater transparency and clarity about these developments.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that China reached an agreement with Cuba to build an electronic eavesdropping facility on the island nation, which would allow China to pick up signals communication including emails, phone calls and satellite transmissions. After the Pentagon initially denied the report, a Biden administration official told the Associated Press that China has been operating a spy base on Cuba since 2019.
The lawmakers asked the administration officials for more information on the “exact nature and objectives” of the Chinese Intelligence gathering in Cuba, what the implications are for the U.S. and what the Biden administration is doing to “deter” China’s further expansion in Cuba.
“It comes as no surprise to us that the Cuban regime-which has historically opened its doors to foreign adversaries of the United States-and the PRC are working together to undermine U.S. national security. However, the establishment of intelligence facilities and expansion of military ties this close to U.S. territory is a significant, escalatory step,” the lawmakers wrote.
The lawmakers asked for a classified briefing about the matter to each of their committee no later than July 14.
The Hill has reached out to the State Department and the CIA for comment.