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WH denies 'Cuban Twitter' operation was 'covert'

The White House on Thursday denied that the United States government’s creation of a “Cuban Twitter” program was covert.

“It was not a covert program. It was debated in Congress. It was reviewed by the [Government Accountability Office]. Those sorts of things do not happen to covert programs,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

On Thursday morning, The Associated Press reported that the Obama administration secretly created a communications network in Cuba in an effort to undermine its communist government.

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The report said the program was publicly launched in 2009, and was nicknamed ZunZuneo, Cuban slang for a hummingbird’s tweet.

During more than a two-year period, the program attracted at least 40,000 subscribers, most of whom were young people in Cuba, the report said. It was intended to build an audience, and then turn them toward dissent.

Its followers, however, were unaware of who was behind the program, the AP found after it reviewed more than 1,000 pages of documents and interviewed people who worked on the program.

The AP said it was unclear if the program was legal because a covert program would have to be authorized by the president.

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