35+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Covert Action

Apr 29, 2021 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 29, 2021 – John F. Kennedy may have secretly warned Fidel Castro against executing survivors of the Bay of Pigs invasion 60 years ago this month while also dangling a pledge of strict non-intervention if the Cuban leader spared their lives, according to new evidence posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.  Kennedy’s secret channel to Castro, the records suggest, was the president of Brazil, João Goulart.

Apr 16, 2021 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., April 16, 2021 – In the earliest known CIA assassination plot against leaders of the Cuban revolution, high agency officials offered the pilot of a plane carrying Raul Castro from Prague to Havana “payment after successful completion of ten thousand dollars” to “incur risks in arranging accident” during the flight, according to formally TOP SECRET documents posted today by the National Security Archive. The pilot, who the CIA had earlier recruited as an intelligence asset in Cuba, “asked for assurance that in event of his [own] death the U.S.

Nov 3, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., November 3, 2020 - Several days after Salvador Allende’s history-changing November 3, 1970, inauguration, Richard Nixon convened his National Security Council for a formal meeting on what policy the U.S. should adopt toward Chile’s new Popular Unity government. Only a few officials who gathered in the White House Cabinet Room knew that, under Nixon’s orders, the CIA had covertly tried, and failed, to foment a preemptive military coup to prevent Allende from ever being inaugurated.

Oct 22, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., October 22, 2020 - On October 23, 1970, one day after armed thugs intercepted and mortally wounded the Chilean army commander-in-chief, General Rene Schneider, as he drove to work in Santiago, CIA Director Richard Helms convened his top aides to review the covert coup operations that had led to the attack.

Sep 15, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 15, 2020 – On September 15, 1970, during a twenty-minute meeting in the Oval Office between 3:25 pm and 3:45 pm, President Richard Nixon ordered the CIA to foment a military coup in Chile. According to handwritten notes taken by CIA Director Richard Helms, Nixon issued explicit instructions to prevent the newly elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, from being inaugurated in November—or to create conditions to overthrow him if he did assume the presidency.

Sep 4, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., September 4, 2020 – “Chile voted calmly to have a Marxist-Leninist state, the first nation in the world to make this choice freely and knowingly,” U.S. Ambassador Edward Korry dramatically reported to Washington in a cable titled “Allende Wins” on September 4, 1970. “[W]e have suffered a grievous defeat; the consequences will be domestic and international; the repercussions will have immediate impact in some lands and delayed effect in others.”

Apr 6, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, April 6, 2020 – Cold War concerns about another Communist Cuba in Latin America drove President John F. Kennedy to approve a covert CIA political campaign to rig national elections in British Guiana, then a British colony but soon to be independent, according to declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive.

Oct 3, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 3, 2019 – When the Soviet Union put nuclear missiles in Cuba nearly 60 years ago, American officials refused to believe that at least one Soviet motivation was the defense of Cuba. But declassified U.S. documents published in the Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) confirm a series of sometimes frenetic covert operations ordered by the Kennedy White House and run by the CIA in those years to overthrow the Castro regime that in hindsight make Moscow’s (and Havana’s) concerns about defending the island much more credible.

Mar 4, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, March 4, 2019 – The covert operations of the Central Intelligence Agency are one element of the forward edge of power in U.S. foreign policy. But the CIA is not a lone ranger, shooting up saloons on its own account. A senior interagency group within the United States government acts as the high command of the secret war.

Feb 7, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, February 7, 2019 – Attorney-General nominee William P. Barr figured prominently in arguments to limit CIA responsibility to provide notification to Congress about covert actions during the 1980s, according to a review of declassified materials published today by the National Security Archive at the George Washington University.

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