Canadian diplomats spied for the CIA in Cuba, claims new book
October 16, 2012 2 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Several accredited Canadian diplomats were recruited by the United States Central Intelligence Agency to spy on Cuba in the aftermath of the 1962 missile crisis, according to a new book. Authored by Canadian retired diplomat John Graham, the book, entitled Whose Man in Havana? Adventures from the Far Side of Diplomacy, is to be published this week by Penumbra Press. In it, Graham claims that he was among a number of Canadian diplomats stationed in Cuba, who were secretly recruited by the CIA. The US agency had been essentially forced out of the island after Washington and Havana terminated diplomatic relations in 1961, soon after the government of Fidel Castro declared itself a proponent of Marxism. The closure of the US embassy meant that the CIA had no base from which to operate in the Caribbean island. Two years later, in May 1963, US President John F. Kennedy personally asked Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson for assistance in intelligence-gathering efforts in Cuba. The Canadian leader consented and, according to Graham, Canadian diplomatic officials actively assisted the CIA until at least 1970. The author states in his book that he himself operated in Cuba for two years, from 1962 until 1964, under the official cover of Political Officer at the Canadian embassy in Havana. Prior to that, he says, he was provided with rudimentary training by the CIA, which consisted of spending “just a few days” at the Agency’s headquarters in Langley, VA. He was then tasked with conducting physical surveillance of Soviet military bases on Cuba and, if possible, identifying weapons and electronic security measures, and noting troop movements. Interestingly, Graham claims he turned down his CIA handlers’ request to carry around a miniature camera, opting instead for the old-school method of drawing sketches of Soviet bases. After completing a series of detailed drawings of his targets, the diplomat would fly to Mexico City and deposit them at the Canadian embassy there. The papers would then be flown to Ottawa via diplomatic pouch and from there sent to the CIA. It is worth noting that Graham’s revelation does not mark the first-ever instance of a Canadian diplomat admitting secretly working for the CIA. Two years ago, Canadian former Ambassador Ken Taylor acknowledged that he and a colleague worked for the CIA in the late 1970s while being stationed in Tehran, Iran.