WASHINGTON/HAVANA, June 8 (Reuters) – China has reached a secret deal with Cuba to establish an electronic eavesdropping facility on the island roughly 100 miles (160 km) from Florida, the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday, but the U.S. and Cuban governments cast strong doubt on the report.
Such a spy installation would allow Beijing to gather electronic communications from the southeastern U.S., which houses many U.S. military bases, as well as monitor ship traffic, the newspaper reported, citing U.S. officials familiar with classified intelligence.
The U.S. Central Command headquarters is based in Tampa. Fort Liberty, formerly Fort Bragg, the largest U.S. military base, is in North Carolina.
The countries have reached an agreement in principle, the officials said, with China to pay Cuba “several billion dollars” to allow the eavesdropping station, according to the Journal.
“We have seen the report. It’s not accurate,” John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, told Reuters. But he did not specify what he thought was incorrect.