Cuba Rebuilds Spy Network in Fla., Agent Says

Ranks swell to about 210 after crackdown 10 years ago
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2008 3:59 PM CDT
Members of the Salvadorean Solidarity Committee with Cuba protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, April 30, 2007, demanding the release of 5 Cubans accused of spying.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Cuba has rebuilt its spy network in Florida to its highest level in 10 years, a US Army expert on Cuban agents tells the Miami Herald. The FBI rounded up more than a dozen spies in 1998, but they have all been replaced, bringing Florida’s spy population to around 210, Lt. Col. Chris Simmons said. His revelation is the first in recent years by a US official on Cuban spies.

Cuba once had about 300 spies in Florida, Simmons said, but scaled back after the cold war. Yet their targets remain unchanged: They watch mostly US military installations and Cuban exile groups and sell data to US rivals like China or Iran. Simmons revealed the spy numbers, which one expert dubbed "possible," while promoting his upcoming book about Cuban agents.