With the U.S. government’s covert operations, both domestic and international, taking serious blows in the last few years, the latest revelation of its involvement in the Cuban Twitter to stir strategic unrest in that country seems like a ‘not so covert’ initiative, considering it involves social media. In Cuba, a country where information is tightly controlled by its communist government, the tactic to influence young Cubans to revolt and initiate democratic reforms has been speculated as a failed attempt by many for several decades. Due to Cuba’s close proximity to American soil, and its strong historic ties with the Russians, the latest tactic should not come as a surprise anyone.
The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1960s brought the world to the brink of nuclear war when the Cuban regime allowed the Soviet warships carrying nuclear weapons to navigate close to American shores. Any surprise attack would not have allowed enough time for the Americans to respond, and since then, the strategic importance of Cuba and its communist ties have shaped U.S. policies against its neighbor 90 miles offshore. The use of Cuban Twitter is simply another avenue to promote democracy in that country.
When National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden revealed to the world, U.S. involvement in monitoring phone and Internet activities of its citizens, foreign nationals, and the head of state of other countries, including its allies, it caused an uproar. Even the élite Special Forces, who operate under strict covert guidelines, and revered for the work they do to protect the nation and its interest around the world, have broken ranks and divulged top-secret intelligence. With major political and economic shifts taking place in the world, during a time in history when the enemy of the state is no longer easily identifiable, planted from outside or grown domestically, and plays by different rules, the intelligence agencies have cause for concern.
Regardless of all the active covert policies U.S. is involved in, the American citizens have to remember that it is their government’s job to protect them from harm, whether foreign or domestic. This is not an easy task to accomplish when there is no room for error. Furthermore, other countries have their own covert operations against the U.S. and operate under greater secrecy. When American citizens themselves offer classified information to the enemy, believing that they are doing everyone a huge favor, they fail to realize the harm their actions cause to the security of the entire nation. The Cuban Twitter saga needs to be understood in proper historical context as a highly strategic initiative that has been in place to keep U.S. safe, and be a force against Communism.
Despite the commotion caused by such highly classified information leaked to the public, these operations must continue in some form to protect the country, its resources and interests abroad, citizens, allies, and its way of life. The free society system in America that allows freedom of information and belief is a double-edged sword. It allows the same freedom to all, including its enemies. Protecting U.S. citizens under these guidelines requires the use of innovative approaches. Using Cuban Twitter and other social media in Cuba, or other countries that may pose a threat to U.S. security, is but a strategic initiative to confront and combat the enemy away from homeland.
Opinion by Amit Singh