In litigation likely to shed embarrassing light on US covert operations in Cuba, the wife of imprisoned former AID contractor Alan Gross is suing the Obama administration and the Maryland-based subcontractor, Development Alternatives Inc (DAI), which sent him on five illegal missions.
Gross was arrested by the Cubans in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Gross’ wife, Judy, told CBS News, “It’s this country that sent Alan on this mission, and Alan is rotting in a jail cell, and I’m asking President Obama to do something about it.”
Her husband made five trips to Cuba as a State Department sub-contractor smuggling communications devices into the country’s Jewish community. The State Department admits that his activities were illegal under Cuba law, and Gross complained to his contractor that the trips were becoming risky. Judy Gross denies that her husband was spying, but CBS describes the US program as “created in 1996 to hasten the fall of the Cuban regime.”
One observer close to the Cuban scene said, “Judy Gross’ decision to sue the United States and pursue a more aggressive stance against AID and the State Department changes the dialogue.” He added, “It’s also interesting that the White House opened it’s website to a petition on the Cuban 5 case.”
Rumors persist that both governments are considering a swap involving Gross for one or more of the Cuban 5, but there has been no evidence of progress. The Judy Gross litigation could result in exposures of secrets in the US “democracy promotion” policy, which would damage the American reputation.