By Juan O. Tamayo
The documents were definitely not classified as secret. But they contained detailed information about U.S. government programs to help Cuban dissidents that Havana has outlawed as a semi-clandestine campaign to topple the communist system.
So when the U.S. Agency for International Development mistakenly used an unencrypted line to send the documents to U.S. diplomats in Havana, USAID officials were chagrined and some of the authors of the document were incredulous.
“An amazingly stupid thing to do,” said an official of one of the groups that generated the documents — minutely detailed applications for a $6 million USAID program to train emerging leaders of Cuba’s non-government sectors.
His application of more than 200 pages contained a complete history of his past work with USAID’s pro-democracy programs in Cuba, the official said, some names of possible trainees and venues where they might be trained.
USAID has played down the impact of the mistake, arguing that the U.S. government never classified the pro-democracy programs as secret or even confidential.