Tag Archives: Development Alternatives Inc

DAI and the perils of privatization

The perils of privatization. Cuba has arrested a pro-democracy agent who admits working for the US government. But that didn’t come from a confession. Instead, it was reported by a Washington DC area contractor, Development Alternatives, Inc, who confirmed one of their employees had been apprehended. The US State Department and CIA have always used private firms as cover, but privatizing the payroll, instead of providing a firewall of deniability, has added a bureaucratic layer more readily exposed.

Referring to their agent in Havana as a “subcontractor” is not to suggest that there are now sub-mercenaries, or sub-agents, but simply that the functions of the CIA and USAID have indeed been subcontracted. DAI is not a cover for the CIA, it’s a privatized surrogate.

The name DAI reminds me of the more embarrassing anagram, CAI, Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute, also doing the Lord Uncle Sam’s work.

Actually, the agent in question is not an employee of DAI, but a person subcontracted under the employ of a third party. The identity of neither the person, nor the third party company, is being revealed. Does that imply funny business to you?

Aspiring privateers beware, there is neither diplomatic immunity, nor covert backup, for private companies infiltrating foreign political systems. Under US laws, these agents would be tried as terrorists.

I’ve read it suggested that Cuba should consider a prisoner swap for the CUBAN 5, who’ve been languishing in US prisons for the crime of trying to stop Florida-based terrorists plotting attacks on Cuba. The DAI employee apprehended today entered Cuba under false pretenses, with a tourist visa, with the intention of overthrowing the Cuban government. The US would be lucky if it could be considered an even trade.