Cuban state-television on Monday accused a former bureau chief for the Reuters international news agency of arranging a meeting on a darkened Havana street between an undercover Cuban agent and a U.S. diplomat who the program claimed was really a CIA operative.
The program, dedicated to uncovering supposed plots against Cuba, featured a professor and little-known dissident named Raul Capote, who described himself as "Agent Daniel," the Cuban intelligence agent who purportedly took part in the meeting.
Capote said he attended a reception with Reuters' then bureau chief, Anthony Boadle, at the German Embassy, without giving a date. The two left the party by foot two hours later, walking through the quiet Havana night, he said.
"We walked I don't know how many blocks, until we arrived at a dark place where a car was parked. There was a shadow inside, a man," Capote said. He said it was Mark Sullivan, a diplomat at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana in 2006-2008 who the program accused of being a CIA agent.
The program showed a picture of Boadle and said he served as a liaison between Capote and the CIA. It added that during Boadle's "stay in Cuba from March 2002 through 2008 he published reports favoring local counterrevolutionaries and the interests of the United States and the European Union."
Capote said that in time he began working with the CIA himself _ though he was in fact a double agent. U.S. officials he took to be members of the CIA asked him his opinion on Cuban politics and eventually gave him a satellite phone to use to communicate, he said.
The Reuters office in Havana had no immediate comment, nor was there any reaction from the U.S. Interests Section, which Washington maintains instead of an embassy. Cold War enemies Cuba and the United States have had no formal diplomatic relations for a half century. The Cuban government also declined to comment.
Boadle currently works for Reuters as an editor in Washington.
The program, called "Cuba's Reasons," is shot in the style of a real-crime drama, with a mix of grainy secret footage, creepy music and stylized dramatizations. Cuba has been broadcasting episodes of it focusing on what it considers Washington's "cyberwar" against the island since shortly before the trial of U.S. government contractor Alan Gross.
Gross was given a 15-year sentence in March after being convicted of illegally bringing communications equipment into Cuba while working on a USAID-funded democracy program.
While Cuban state-run media often denounce the foreign press as being biased, it is unusual to single out individuals or make such a serious and public accusation.
In recent months, Cuba has denied press accreditation for a number of foreign journalists and has pushed for them to stop working on the island.
In February, the Communist Party newspaper Granma carried an article denouncing The Wall Street Journal for an editorial that drew parallels between Cuba and Egypt, where a popular uprising forced former President Hosni Mubarak to step down.
The editorial was published days after Cuban media lashed out at CNN's Spanish-language channel for reporting that an opposition demonstration was going to take place in Havana. The protest never occurred.
Cuban state cable TV providers in January removed CNN's Spanish service from a package of channels provided mostly to hotels, foreign companies and diplomats on the island, though no reason was given.