A firm contracted by the U.S. government to help set up a Twitter-like network in Cuba held secret level security clearance and was warned the operation could involve classified work, according to documents seen by Al Jazeera. And documents show that the program was managed by a section of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) tasked with helping manage regime change in countries where U.S. interests are at stake.
Details contained in the terms a $1.5 billion contract between USAID and Washington-based contractor Creative Associates International (CAI) outline the security clearance arrangements required by the U.S. government. Signed in 2008, the document had been obtained by researcher Jeremy Bigwood through a FOIA request, and shared with Al Jazeera.
USAID said the document was in relation to subsequent work put out to CAI, but Al Jazeera understands that the stated security level needed and the nature of the work detailed is the same as the contract relating to the Twitter-like ZunZuneo project.
Bigwood first reported on the contract in a report published Monday by the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA). The contract details could be seen to undermine official statements that the ZunZuneo program was “discreet” but “absolutely not” covert, according to testimony USAID administrator Rajiv Shah gave before Congress.