Senator calls 'Cuba Twitter' a cockamamie idea
by Desmond Butler, Associated Press and Jack Gillum, Associated Press
April 08, 2014 11:15 AM | 387 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this April 1, 2014, photo, a book street vendor passes the time on her smart phone as she waits for customers in Havana, Cuba. The administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development on Tuesday begins a series of appearances Tuesday, April 8, 2014, before lawmakers asking questions about his agency’s secret “Cuban Twitter,” a social media network built to stir unrest in the communist island. First up in the questioning of administrator Rajiv Shah is Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who publicly called the social media program “dumb, dumb, dumb.” (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this April 1, 2014, photo, a book street vendor passes the time on her smart phone as she waits for customers in Havana, Cuba. The administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development on Tuesday begins a series of appearances Tuesday, April 8, 2014, before lawmakers asking questions about his agency’s secret “Cuban Twitter,” a social media network built to stir unrest in the communist island. First up in the questioning of administrator Rajiv Shah is Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who publicly called the social media program “dumb, dumb, dumb.” (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — A key U.S. senator is demanding to know who came up with the idea to launch a secret "Cuba Twitter" social network system.

Speaking at a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont called the project "cockamamie."

Rajiv Shah, the top official at U.S. Agency for International Development, said the Twitter-like project was first designed during 2007 and 2008 when George W. Bush was in his second term as president.

Leahy has been extremely critical of the Cuba Twitter network since last week when an Associated Press investigation revealed USAID oversaw the creation of the text message-based service, dubbed ZunZuneo.

Leahy told Shah, quoting, "This one from the get-go had no possibility of working."

Leahy is chairman of the Senate panel that oversees USAID's budget.



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