An inactive Hellfire missile sent to Europe for training was inadvertently shipped to Cuba, where it has remained since 2014, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.
It is sensitive stuff:
But while it was not operational, the missile still contained sensitive American weapons technology, such as targeting and sensor information, that U.S. officials said would be concerning if it fell into the hands of adversaries.
But no worries, there's probably a really good excuse for Cuba's failure to respond to our requests.
Ah, here it is:
The sources said the U.S. has been trying for more than a year to get the Cuban government to return the missile. The delay could have been complicated by the attention paid to the historic thaw between the U.S. and Cuba last December, followed by the restoring of ties and opening of embassies in Washington and Havana this summer.
I spewed my beverage across my screen over that excuse.
Supposedly improved relations with communist Cuba explain why Cuba has not returned the missile to us.
This apparently made sense to that unnamed (for obvious reasons of reputation maintenance) source.
UPDATE: A mid-February bit of news:
"We can say, without speaking to specifics, that the inert training missile has been returned with the cooperation of the Cuban government," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.
I wonder if the Cuba traded the missile for the planned presidential visit to Cuba?