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[] USAToday, 7.3.2002: U.S. studying Cuba's ability to disrupt Ne,

03/07/2002 - Updated 09:28 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration has begun a review of Cuba
policy that will include an assessment of whether Cuba can disrupt
U.S. military communications through the Internet, a senior official

That issue will be examined along with others to determine Cuba's
potential to damage U.S. interests, the official said.

The senior official, asking not to be identified, said Cuba's
involvement in international terrorism also will be part of the

In addition, the administration is examining the possibility of
seeking an indictment against President Fidel Castro in the 1996
shootdown by MiG jet fighters of two Miami-based private planes near
Cuban air space, the official said.

Thus far, the centerpiece of President Bush's Cuba policy has been
support of the U.S. embargo against Cuba. But the official's comments
suggested the administration has a more proactive agenda in mind for
countering Castro.

A year ago, Vice Adm. Thomas Wilson, director of the Defense
Intelligence Agency, told a congressional hearing that Cuba has the
potential to use "information warfare or computer network attack" to
disrupt "our access or flow of forces to the region."

Wilson declined to discuss the matter further in open session, and the
administration has not commented publicly on the subject since then.
The senior official said Cuba's ability to engage in cyberattacks is
part of the policy review. Castro has dismissed Wilson's comments as

Richard Clarke, the White House technology adviser, said in testimony
in February before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, that the United
States could respond militarily against a foreign government in the
event of a cyberattack.

"We reserve the right to respond in any way appropriate: through
covert action, through military action, any one of the tools available
to the president," Clarke said.

He said Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, Russia and other countries
already have people trained in Internet warfare. He did not mention

Cuba is on the State Department terrorist country list, a designation
based on ties Cuba maintains with other countries on the list,
including Iraq, and the haven Cuba provides for foreigners linked to
alleged terrorist organizations.

As a result of the policy review, the Cuba section of the next State
Department terrorism report, due next month, may add to the rationale
for keeping Cuba on the list.

Castro argues that Cuba has been the victim of a Miami-based terrorism
campaign that dates back 40 years and has claimed, he says, thousands
of lives.

As for the embargo, Bush has said he will oppose "any effort to weaken
sanctions against the Cuban government until it respects Cubans' basic
human rights and civil rights, frees political prisoners and holds
free and democratic elections."

But there is strong sentiment in Congress to lift restrictions on
travel by Americans to Cuba. The worst nightmare of pro-embargo
stalwarts is the specter of Americans filling Cuba's tourist hotels
and, in the process, leaving behind hundreds of millions in dollars
for Cuba's cash-starved government.

The senior official raised the possibility of a presidential veto if
the travel restrictions are eased. At present, travel is permitted by
journalists and some other categories of Americans who have a
professional interest in Cuba. But tourism has been barred for years.


Olivier Minkwitz___________________________________________
Dipl. Pol., wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
HSFK Hessische Stiftung für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
PRIF Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
Leimenrode 29 60322 Frankfurt a/M Germany
Tel +49 (0)69 9591 0422  Fax +49 (0)69 5584 81
Mobil   0172  3196 006
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