A top U.S. Air Force officer warned on Tuesday that Russia would be crossing "a red line" if it were to use Cuba as a refueling base for nuclear-capable bombers.
Gen. Norton Schwartz, whose nomination to become the Air Force’s top military officer is being considered by the Senate, was asked at his confirmation hearing how he would advise U.S. policymakers if Russia were to proceed with such a plan.
Russia’s Izvestia newspaper this week quoted a "highly placed source" as saying Russia could land Tu-160 supersonic bombers nicknamed "White Swans" in Cuba as a response to a planned U.S. missile defense shield in Europe, which Moscow opposes. [my emphasis]
…straight from this story tomorrow?
In a memo sent Friday to various members of Congress, Stephen Driesler, AID’s deputy assistant administrator for legislative and public affairs, said the agency recently implemented stricter financial reviews. That new review turned up irregularities at the Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia (Group in Support of Democracy), a Miami group criticized in the past for using federal funds to send Nintendo games to Cuba.
The executive director of Grupo de Apoyo admitted that an employee used the organization’s credit card for thousands of dollars in personal items and then billed them to the grant aimed at bringing democracy to Cuba, Driesler’s memo said.
A report by the Cuban-American National Foundation released in May showed that less than 17 percent of $65 million in federal Cuba aid funds spent during the past 10 years went to ”direct, on-island assistance.” The bulk of the money, the report said, went to academic studies and expenses of exile organizations, mostly in Miami and Washington.
The report echoed findings by The Miami Herald in 2006 and a congressional Government Accountability Office audit that found lax oversight of the programs and came as the Bush administration prepares to dole out a record $45.7 million in Cuba. [my emphasis]
But I can assure you it’s one of those days when I wish I had a White House Press Pass and a cheap plane ticket to DC.