National Security Archive Update, August 15, 2011: TOP SECRET CIA ‘OFFICIAL HISTORY’ OF THE BAY OF PIGS: REVELATIONS

15 August 2011 — National Security Archive Update, August 15, 2011

‘Friendly Fire’ Reported as CIA Personnel Shot at Own Aircraft
New Revelations on Assassination Plots, Use of Americans in Combat

National Security Archive FOIA Lawsuit Obtains Release of Last Major
Internal Agency Compilation on Paramilitary Invasion of Cuba

Newsweek runs article by Historian Robert Dallek based on Archive work

Archive Cuba Project posts Four Volumes; calls for declassification of still secret Volume 5

For more information contact:
Peter Kornbluh – 202/994-7000

Washington, D.C., August 15, 2011 – In the heat of the battle at the Bay of Pigs, the lead CIA field operative aboard one of the transport boats fired .75mm recoilless rifles and .55mm machine guns on aircraft his own agency had supplied to the exile invasion force, striking some of them. With the CIA-provided B-26 aircraft configured to match those in the Cuban air force in order to provide a “plausible denial” of the U.S. role in the invasion, “we couldn’t tell them from the Castro planes,” according to the operative, Grayston Lynch. “We ended up shooting at two or three of them. We hit some of them there because when they came at us…it was a silhouette, that was all you could see.”

This episode of ‘friendly fire’ is one of many revelations contained in the Top Secret multi-volume, internal CIA report, “The Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation.” Other revelations include new information on the CIA’s collaboration with the Mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro as part of the invasion plan, Richard Nixon’s role in the invasion preparations, covert efforts to orchestrate the defection of top Cuban officials, Anastacio Somoza’s quid pro quos for providing cooperation, and the use of American pilots in the attack on Cuba.

Pursuant to a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by the National Security Archive on the 50th anniversary of the invasion last April, the CIA recently declassified four volumes of the massive, detailed, study–over 1200 pages of comprehensive narrative and documentary appendices.

The Archive posted all four volumes today, along with a comprehensive synopsis of the new information contained in them.

But the CIA refused to release a single word of the fifth and final volume of the Official History, written by CIA Chief Historian Jack Pfeiffer between 1974 and 1984. Today, CIA lawyers were expected to present papers in court arguing that Volume V cannot be released for national security considerations among other reasons.

Archive Cuba specialist Peter Kornbluh, who filed the lawsuit, hailed the release as “a major advance in obtaining the fullest possible record of the most infamous debacle in the history of the CIA’s covert operations.” The Bay of Pigs, he noted, “remains fundamentally relevant to the history of the CIA, of U.S. intervention in Cuba and Latin America, and of U.S. foreign policy. It is a clandestine history that must be understood in all its inglorious detail.”

Kornbluh said the Archive would continue to pursue all legal avenues to obtain the release of the entire study. “More than half a century after the dramatic debacle described in the Official History,” he noted, “the American public has a right to know the full history of what was done in its name but without its knowledge.”


THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

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