By Jim Emerson, staff writer
Russia will join Google, Microsoft and the NSA in collecting data on Americans by reopening their Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) listening post in Cuba. Russia struck a deal with Cuba, a direct result of the deterioration of the relationship between Russia and the United States over the situation in Syria and the crisis in the Ukraine. In a recent visit to the Island nation by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cuba’s Raul Castro agreed to reopen the facility in return for Putin writing off 90% of Cuba’s debt to Russia.
The Lourdes SIGINT facility near Havana Cuba was the Former Soviet Union’s largest listening post operated by the Foreign Intelligence Service outside of Russia. Construction of the 28 square mile station site began in 1962 after the Cuban missile crisis. The completed facility began its job of spying on the United States in 1964. During the cold war, the facility would be staffed by KGB, GRU, and Cuban Intelligence officials in addition to spies and technicians from other Soviet Bloc countries.
Thanks to a warming of the relationship between Russia and the United States after 9-11 and given the crushing weight of Russia’s national debt, Putin decided to close the facility to save money. Democrats can’t blame the reopening on President Bush. Obama owns it outright. Reopening Lourdes will enable Russia to collect radio and Satellite signals in the western hemisphere from an Island just 90 miles south of Key West, Florida. It’s likely that much of the intelligence collected will be shared with China.
What can be collected?
Any Signal not blocked by the curvature of the earth will be ripe for collection by Lourdes. Russia will be able to freely listen in to air, naval and some satellite signals focusing on both the US military and the nation’s commerce. Russia is actively developing a closer relationship with Latin American countries and Cuba. Obama has announced more sanctions from the Golf Course as Secretary of State Lurch round-files the Monroe Doctrine, providing Putin the flexibility to return the old Soviet Union just south of the American Border. America’s return to Cold War diplomacy will be yet another Obama Legacy.