U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement regarding reports that National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden is headed to Cuba or Venezuela from Russia. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"It would not be surprising if the NSA leaker finds safe haven in Cuba or Venezuela, two regimes that have a longstanding history of giving refuge to fugitives from U.S. law. Let us not forget that Phillip Agee, former CIA agent, leaked classified information about CIA personnel and fled the U.S. to seek refuge until he passed away in 2008 in Cuba.
"The cruel irony is that there are no press freedoms in either Cuba or Venezuela, yet Snowden who supposedly stands for transparency in government seeks refuge in police states like these two countries. Those who misrule over Cuba and Venezuela, Raul Castro and Nicolas Maduro, do not allow independent free press, do not cooperate on terrorism related issues, disregard due process and an independent judicial system.
"Cuba -- a U.S. designated State Sponsor of Terrorism - is currently harboring over 70 fugitives, including Joanne Chesimard who is on the Federal Bureau of Investigations' Most Wanted Terrorist list. The Cuban regime has also used our senior healthcare system, Medicare, to scam the American people in order to funnel funds to the Castro thugs.
"I'm concerned that Castro or Maduro can use the NSA leaker as a bargaining chip to get more concessions from the Obama administration. Cuba has a sophisticated espionage service that controls the Venezuelan regime and undermines U.S. interests. If the NSA leaker shares our intelligence capabilities with either authoritarian state, it would further jeopardize our national security."