Saturday, January 19, 2013

Details of Alan Gross's "telco in a bag"

Tracy Eaton has written a terrific blog post on the project that landed Alan Gross in prison. Eaton has discovered and published documents that finally answer the question "what did Alan Gross actually do?"

The documents show that Gross smuggled in three backpack-sized "Telco's in a Bag," as shown above. He was paid $258,274 for that and had requested more money to continue the project, but was apprehended on his fifth trip to Cuba, before the project could be expanded. (On first reading, I did not see the total cost of the project to the US taxpayer).

The term "Telco in a Bag" is misleading. A better description would have been "a small local area network with a slow satellite connection to the Internet in a backpack."

"Telco in a Bag" no doubt sounded good to the people funding the project, but, as I have written earlier, it grossly overstates the power of the equipment Gross brought to Cuba. Had Gross succeeded, it would not have made a huge difference and, in failing, it provided the Cuban government with a propaganda "threat" that it has blown out of proportion.

Read the post and documents over and let us know what you think.
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