91-year-old pact details diplomatic immunity

The “duties, rights, prerogatives and immunities” of American diplomats in Cuba is spelled out in a 1928 agreement that was signed in Havana and put into law in the U.S. in 1932. I learned that bit of diplomatic trivia from the State Department’s 130-page manual on Consular Notification and Access. Excerpts from the 1928 agreement … Read more

Flashback: Beyoncé and Jay-Z in Havana

Jay-Z and Beyoncé drew criticism after celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary in Cuba in 2013. The Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General investigated and found that they hadn’t broken the law. Their trip was legal under U.S. regulations allowing people-to-people educational travel. The Trump administration eliminated people-to-people travel by individuals and made it illegal to … Read more

Speak into the brassiere, please

Before the movie “Red Sparrow,” featuring a Russian dancer-turned-spy who uses sex as a weapon, some American intelligence agents purportedly ventured out in evening dresses outfitted with microphones, tape recorders and antennas. That’s according to an early-1960s counterintelligence document posted on governmentattic.org on Dec. 3. The document includes a dark, smudged photograph of an “electrically … Read more

U.S. government broke Guantánamo lease

The U.S. government has tried to topple the Cuban government, kill its president, strangle its economy. Now add this minor indignity: The U.S. “is technically in default” of a 1901 treaty allowing a military base at Guantánamo in Cuba, a State Department official wrote in 2006. That’s because the lease says the base can only … Read more

USAID: “Spies do exist”

A woman approaches a U.S. government employee who is on business in Moscow. They talk, they drink vodka. The American tells the woman: “I suppose it’s quite obvious that this representative of a ‘decadent Western society’ would like to make love to you.” His proposition was quickly, perhaps too quickly, accepted. The American did not … Read more