Russia plans to reopen the Cold War Soviet-age SIGINT facility in Cuba,

Putin denies reopening of US-targeting listening post in Cuba

RT

July 17, 2014    

everything-we-know-about-the-huge-spy-base-in-cuba-that-russia-is-reopeningRussian President Vladimir Putin denied media reports that Russia was planning to reopen the Soviet-age SIGINT facility in Lourdes, Cuba, once was largest foreign listening post of its kind… When operational, the facility was manned by thousands of military and intelligence personnel, whose task was to intercept signals coming from and to the US territory and to provide communication for Russian vessels in the western hemisphere…

The facility in Lourdes, a suburb of Havana located just 250km from continental USA, was opened in 1967. At the peak of the cold war it was the largest signal intelligence center Moscow operated in a foreign nation, with 3,000 personnel manning it. From the base Russia could intercept communications in most part of the US including the classified exchanges between space facilities in Florida and American spacecraft

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union the base was downscaled, but continued operation. After Russia was hit the 1998 economic crisis, it found it difficult to maintain many of its old assets, including the Lourdes facility… An additional blow came in July 2000, when the US House passed the Russian-American Trust and Cooperation Act, a bill that would ban Washington from rescheduling or forgiving any Russian debt to the US, unless the facility in Lourdes is shut down. Moscow did so in 2001 and also closed its military base in Vietnam’s Cam Ranh, with both moves reported as major steps to address Americans’ concerns. But, in the words of a military source cited by Kommersant, the US “did not appreciate our gesture of goodwill.”… With the Lourdes facility operational again, Russia would have a much better signal intelligence capability in the western hemisphere…

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