WASHINGTON — A display of U.S. intelligence data likely persuaded Cuba to drop its claim that the two unarmed civilian planes it shot down last month were in its airspace, administration officials said Saturday.
A national security official at the White House said that during a New York City meeting in late February, senior CIA officials showed Cuban military intelligence officers "evidence that the shoot-down did take place in international airspace."
Similar evidence had been presented earlier at the United Nations, but members of the Cuban delegation said they could not properly interpret it and asked that it be shown to their government's intelligence experts, a U.S. official said.
"Our assessment is that this presentation convinced Cuban officials that the shoot-down had taken place over international waters," the official said. "Therefore, we believe it's not a coincidence that the Cuban government ceased its protests following this meeting."
The attack killed two pilots and two other members of the Cuban American group Brothers to the Rescue.
Separately Saturday, a brother of one of the four men killed in last month's attack reached U.S. soil, jubilant after Brothers to the Rescue helped him defect.
"I'm very happy to be in this marvelous country of liberty!" Nelson Daniel Morales Barba said as he emerged from immigration offices at Miami International Airport.
Morales' younger brother, 29-year-old Pablo, was killed Feb. 24.