By Sara A. Carter
The Washington Times
February 8, 2008
Iran, Cuba and Venezuela are working together against the U.S. by undermining democracy in Latin America, allowing trafficking of illegal drugs and creating safe havens for extremist groups, intelligence officials said.
Testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Tuesday, National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell said that influence from the three countries — led respectively by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez — has spilled into Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador, which “are pursuing agendas that undercut checks and balances” of democratic governments.
“Moreover, each of these governments, to varying degrees, has engaged in sharply anti-U.S. rhetoric, aligned with Venezuela and Cuba — and increasingly Iran — on international issues, and advocated measures that directly clash with U.S. initiatives,” said Mr. McConnell, whose department oversees all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, surrounded by officials, stands under a research rocket, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Feb. 4, 2008. Iran launched a research rocket Monday and unveiled its first major space center that will be used to launch research satellites, state-run television reported.(AP Photo/ISNA, Mehdi Ghasemi)