Alan Gross, who was released by Cuba at the start of Hanukkah after five years in prison, for what it called espionage, had been arrested because he tried to bring internet access to that country’s small Jewish community. But according to a report by FactCheck.org there was a lot more to the story than that.
Gross was also bringing in technology that was illegal in Cuba as a paid subcontractor for a pro-democracy program funded by the U.S. government, for which he received $500, 000. Included in what he smuggled into Cuba were satellite phones and special chips that allow internet access without detection.
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According to a report by AP cited by FactCheck, Gross knew the consequences of his actions and that he was involved in “very risky business.”
This contradicts comments made by President Obama on the day og Gross’ release which included, “Five years ago, [Gross] was arrested by Cuban authorities simply for helping ordinary Cubans, including Cuba’s small Jewish community, access information on the Internet.”
When he was arrested, Gross told Cuban authorities that no one ever told him that his activities in Cuba would violate their laws. He repeated this assertion in affidavits. But apparently Gross knew the truth all along.
An AP report cited source as saying that Gross made the following comments before his arrest:
“This is very risky business in no uncertain terms.”
“Detection of satellite signals will be catastrophic.”