Congress to Probe USAID’s ‘Cuban Twitter’ Fiasco

Administration Officials Struggle to Duck Blame

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have announced intentions to open probes into USAID’s spending of $1.6 million in “Pakistan” aid money creating a Twitter work-a-like for Cuba, in the hopes of fueling regime change.

USAID’s scheme, budded ZunZuneo, funneled money into an offshore account in the Cayman Islands, and set up a dummy corporation to run the operation, with its corporate leaders kept in the dark about its nature as a US government operation.

USAID’s leadership continues to defend the operation as a valid part of its agenda, but officials higher up the food chain see the embarrassment for what it is, and are quickly distancing themselves from it.

The White House claimed some officials there might have had some idea that there was some effort to “encourage expression of free ideas” in Cuba, but insist they had no idea it took the form of ZunZuneo. Spokesman Jay Carney objected to calling it a “covert” operation, but similarly insisted he had no idea it existed.

The State Department similarly denied any knowledge of the program, insisting then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was never told about it, and that it ended before John Kerry took over.

Cuba’s state media, for their part, are mocking ZunZuneo, which never got all that popular to begin with and vanished in 2012 after USAID pulled funding, as yet another failed US plot for regime change.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.