A Biden administration official familiar with the intelligence community confirmed over the weekend China has operated a spy station in Cuba since 2019 at the earliest as part of its global effort to upgrade its intelligence-gathering, the Associated Press reported.
The Biden administration confirmed the existence of the base after a Thursday report in the Wall Street Journal revealed that Cuba and China had reached an agreement to build a spy station on the island.
The administration official who spoke with the Associated Press said the intel community has been aware that China was spying from Cuba and its larger global intel operations for some time.
According to the official, the Biden administration has increased its efforts to thwart China’s push to expand its intelligence-gathering operations and believes that progress has been made through diplomacy and other actions.
The Wall Street Journal reported that as part of the negotiations, Beijing planned to pay Cuba billions, however, the White House called the report “not accurate.”
In an interview on MSNBC Thursday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the administration has been concerned “since day one” about Beijing’s global “influence activities” and is watching it closely.
The US intel community determined China’s spy operations in Cuba are an “ongoing” matter rather than a “new development,” according to the unnamed administration official.
The official told the Associated Press that the president’s national security team was briefed on several sensitive Chinese operations around the world when Biden first took office, including China’s plan to expand logistics as well as collection infrastructure to further Beijing’s global influence.
In a tweet on Saturday, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, the Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister, dismissed the reports of a Chinese spy station on the island, calling it “slanderous speculation” designed to “cause harm and alarm.”