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Declassified CIA Documents Reveal Details of Bay of Pigs Invasion

Top Secret reports show that the US plans fired shots at a friendly pilot

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Declassified, previously "top secret" CIA documents reveal that during the Bay of Pigs Invasion a CIA operative fired at a friendly pilot, reports the Associated Press. "We couldn’t tell them from the Castro planes," Grayston Lynch explains in the documents. "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." That's one anecdote found in the four volumes of declassified internal CIA documents that the National Security Archive posted today. The reports, the result of a FOIA filed by the Archive last April, also reveal the following interesting details of the failed Castro overthrow.

Some high-level CIA officials thought it would be a good idea to get the Mafia involved.

A small group of high-level CIA officials sought to use part of the budget of the invasion to finance a collaboration with the Mafia to assassinate Castro. 

Nixon's role as vice president under Eisenhower:

Vice-President Nixon, who portrayed himself in his memoirs as one of the original architects of the plan to overthrow Castro, proposed to the CIA that they support “goon squads and other direct action groups” inside and outside of Cuba. The Vice President repeatedly sought to interfere in the invasion planning.  

The CIA knew all along it couldn't succeed.

In perhaps the most important revelation of the entire official history, the CIA task force in charge of the paramilitary assault did not believe it could succeed without becoming an open invasion supported by the U.S. military. On page 149 of Volume III, Pfeiffer quotes still-secret minutes of the Task Force meeting held on November 15, 1960, to prepare a briefing for the new President-elect, John F. Kennedy: “Our original concept is now seen to be unachievable in the face of the controls Castro has instituted,” the document states. “Our second concept (1,500-3000 man force to secure a beach with airstrip) is also now seen to be unachievable, except as a joint Agency/DOD action.”

This candid assessment was not shared with the President-elect then, nor later after the inauguration. As Pfeiffer points out, “what was being denied in confidence in mid-November 1960 became the fact of the Zapata Plan and the Bay of Pigs Operation in March 1961”--run only by the CIA, and with a force of 1,200 men.

Read all the details at the National Security Archives.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.