Cuban intelligence services remain a “persistent threat,” according to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said in a report on Jan. 29.
The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community inexplicably groups Cuba with Iran, gives few details about Cuba and focuses mostly on China and Russia. Excerpts from the report are below:
Threats to US national security will expand and diversify in the coming year, driven in part by China and Russia as they respectively compete more intensely with the United States and its traditional allies and partners. This competition cuts across all domains, involves a race for technological and military superiority, and is increasingly about values. Russia and China seek to shape the international system and regional security dynamics and exert influence over the politics and economies of states in all regions of the world and especially in their respective backyards.
- China and Russia are more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s, and the relationship is likely to strengthen in the coming year as some of their interests and threat perceptions converge, particularly regarding perceived US unilateralism and interventionism and Western promotion of democratic values and human rights.
- As China and Russia seek to expand their global influence, they are eroding once well- established security norms and increasing the risk of regional conflicts, particularly in the Middle East and East Asia.
- At the same time, some US allies and partners are seeking greater independence from Washington in response to their perceptions of changing US policies on security and trade and are becoming more open to new bilateral and multilateral partnerships.
The post-World War II international system is coming under increasing strain amid continuing cyber and WMD proliferation threats, competition in space, and regional conflicts. Among the disturbing trends are hostile states and actors’ intensifying online efforts to influence and interfere with elections here and abroad and their use of chemical weapons. Terrorism too will continue to be a top threat to US and partner interests worldwide, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The development and application of new technologies will introduce both risks and opportunities, and the US economy will be challenged by slower global economic growth and growing threats to US economic competitiveness.
- Migration is likely to continue to fuel social and interstate tensions globally, while drugs and transnational organized crime take a toll on US public health and safety. Political turbulence is rising in many regions as governance erodes and states confront growing public health and environmental threats.
- Issues as diverse as Iran’s adversarial behavior, deepening turbulence in Afghanistan, and the rise of nationalism in Europe all will stoke tensions.
The United States faces a complex global foreign intelligence threat environment in 2019. Russia and China will continue to be the leading state intelligence threats to US interests, based on their services’ capabilities, intent, and broad operational scopes. Other states also pose persistent threats, notably Iran and Cuba. Geopolitical, societal, and technological changes will increase opportunities for foreign intelligence services and other entities—such as terrorists, criminals, and cyber actors—to collect on US activities and information to the detriment of US interests.
Penetrating the US national decisionmaking apparatus and the Intelligence Community will remain a key objective for numerous foreign intelligence services and other entities. In addition, targeting of national security information and proprietary technology from US companies and research institutions will remain a sophisticated and persistent threat.
We expect that Russia’s intelligence services will target the United States, seeking to collect intelligence, erode US democracy, undermine US national policies and foreign relationships, and increase Moscow’s global position and influence.
We assess that China’s intelligence services will exploit the openness of American society, especially academia and the scientific community, using a variety of means.
Iran and Cuba
We assess that Iran and Cuba’s intelligence services will continue to target the United States, which they see as a primary threat. Iran continues to unjustly detain US citizens and has not been forthcoming about the case of former FBI agent Robert Levinson (USPER).
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel will adhere to former President Raul Castro’s blueprint for institutionalizing one-party rule and socialism in Cuba through constitutional reforms. Diaz-Canel has acknowledged that Raul Castro, who still commands the ruling Communist Party, remains the dominant voice on public policy.