Court allows CIA to keep Cuba invasion document secret

Court documentsBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org
The United States Central Intelligence Agency has successfully defended itself against a lawsuit that sought the release of a secret document detailing the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion. On April 17, 1961, a brigade of 1,300 CIA-funded and -trained anticommunist Cubans mounted a surprise assault on the Caribbean island. The failure of the operation prompted the CIA to produce a multi-volume report, whose fifth and final part was authored in the early 1980s by CIA resident-historian Jack Pfeiffer. The first four volumes of the history of the Invasion have been released to the public, one voluntarily by the CIA and three through Freedom of Information Act requests. George Washington University’s National Security Archive sued the CIA in 2011, eventually forcing the Agency to declassify Volumes I, II and IV of the report. This left Volume V, which is the subject of an ongoing dispute between historians and the CIA, going back to 2005. On Tuesday, the US Court of Appeals for the Circuit of the District of Columbia ruled in a split 2-1 decision that the CIA had the right to maintain the secrecy of the entire fifth volume of the report. The two judges that ruled in favor of the CIA’s position, Brett Kavanaugh and Stephen Williams, argued that the volume in question had been “rejected for inclusion in the final publication” of the CIA report. As such, it was not a finished product, but rather a draft manuscript and was therefore not subject to US declassification rules under the Freedom of Information Act. The judges added that, since the document was “predecisional and deliberative” in character, it should be granted the so-called “deliberative process privilege”. This clause stipulates that the authors of deliberative documents are entitled to concrete and long-lasting assurances that the draft documents they are producing will remain secret. This, said the two judges, would allow the authors to advise those who commission their work freely and candidly. Read more of this post

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US judge denies release of CIA report on Bay of Pigs invasion

Court documentsBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On April 17, 1961, a brigade of 1,300 CIA-funded and -trained anticommunist Cubans mounted a surprise assault on the Caribbean island. But prior intelligence collected by  spies working for Havana, and stiff resistance by pro-Castro troops, resulted in the CIA’s biggest known covert action failure. Approximately 1,200 surviving members of the CIA’s army were captured by pro-Castro forces, many of whom were severely interrogated or executed in subsequent years. The intelligence fiasco led to a five-volume CIA report, whose final volume was authored in the early 1980s by CIA resident historian Jack Pfeiffer. It essentially contains the CIA’s counterargument to a previous report, authored by the Agency’s Inspector General, which placed the blame for the failure on the invasion squarely on the shoulders of the CIA. Volume III of the report was voluntarily released by the CIA in 1998, but was not discovered by researchers until 2005, when an academic found it among the Kennedy Assassination Records Collection at the US National Archives. Following an unsuccessful Freedom of Information Act request, George Washington University’s National Security Archive sued the CIA in 2011, eventually forcing the Agency to declassify Volumes I, II and IV last April. This left Volume V, which is the subject of an ongoing dispute between historians and the CIA. But in a decision aired late last week, US District Court judge Gladys Kessler agreed with the Agency that the volume was not subject to US declassification rules because it had been “rejected for inclusion in the final publication” of the report. According to judge Kessler, the volume written by Dr. Pfeiffer, the CIA historian, was not a finished product, but rather a draft manuscript, and was therefore exempt from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #574

CIA documents

CIA documents

►►CIA told Kennedy Cuba invasion was ‘unachievable’. [Never mind. It turns out that the original article on Foreign Policy has been corrected to state that the meeting was not with Kennedy after all — see reader’s comment below]. More revelations from the newly declassified CIA Official History of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. According to the multi-volume history (pictured), a CIA team told President-Elect John F. Kennedy during a meeting in 1960 that toppling the Cuban government of Fidel Castro would not be feasible, considering the small invasion force that Kennedy insisted upon for the Bay of Pigs operation, in order to maintain plausible deniability.
►►NATO bombs home of Libyan intel chief. A compound in Tripoli destroyed overnight by NATO air strikes was the home of Abdullah Al-Senussi, former head of Libyan intelligence. This information allegedly comes from al-Senussi’s neighbor, oil engineer Omar Masood, who said he has lived across the street for 35 years. Meanwhile, several news outlets report that Abdel Salam Ahmed Jalloud, prime minister of Libya between 1972 and 1977, has defected to Italy.
►►Palestinian attacks took Israeli intel by surprise. The triple attacks, attributed by Israel to a Palestinian splinter group from the Gaza Strip, took Israel’s intelligence and security services by surprise, judging by the ensuing confusion and inaccuracy of initial reports. Between 15 and 20 Arab gunmen, some wearing Egyptian army fatigues, are believed to have taken part in the operation.

CIA shot own planes, used napalm in Bay of Pigs, documents show

CIA documents

CIA documents

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Newly declassified documents show that the CIA mistakenly fired at its own assault planes and resorted to using napalm to stave off successive Cuban counterattacks during the Bay of Pigs invasion. The revelations are included in a multi-volume Official History of the covert operation, which the CIA was forced to declassify after a lawsuit by George Washington University’s National Security Archive. On April 17, 1961, a brigade of 1,300 CIA-funded and -trained anticommunist Cubans mounted a surprise assault on the Caribbean island. But prior intelligence collected by spies working for Havana, and stiff resistance by pro-Castro troops, resulted in the CIA’s biggest known covert action failure. Approximately 1,200 surviving members of the CIA’s army were captured by pro-Castro forces, many of whom were severely interrogated or executed in subsequent years. According to the declassified documents, CIA forces eventually resorted to bombing Cuban government troops with napalm. Initially, operation planners were hesitant about using napalm, because of fears that doing so “would cause concern and public outcry”. But all hesitation had dissolved by the early hours of April 18, as American military commanders faced the possibility of seeing invading troops completely annihilated by successive waves of counterattacks. The documents also reveal that at least one CIA paramilitary officer opened fire on the Agency’s B-26 planes, which had been disguised to resemble those used by the Cuban Revolutionary Air Defense Force. Read more of this post

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