OUR OPINION: GOVERNMENT SHOULD RELEASE CIA HISTORY OF INVASION
Even in Washington, where official secrecy is a handy way to cover up mistakes and embarrassments, it’s hard to believe that bureaucrats still are sitting on most of the CIA’s own history of the Bay of Pigs. One of four volumes of the misbegotten 1961 invasion of Cuba was quietly released a few years ago and, somewhat by accident, recently came to light, as described in a front page article in The Herald last week.
The story that volume tells is astonishing: Even before John F. Kennedy became president, the CIA task force in charge of planning concluded that the invasion could not succeed as a covert military operation. It’s not clear whether the president-elect was informed of this view, yet still the invasion went on—with even fewer men and resources than the CIA planners had envisioned when they decided it wouldn’t work. The words treachery, betrayal, incompetence and double-cross come to mind.
It raises the question of how many more embarrassing secrets are contained in the other, still-secret volumes written by Jack Pfeiffer, official historian of the Central Intelligence Agency. More than 44 years after the event, three volumes remain under wraps. One covers CIA air operations against Cuba and another covers foreign relations and likely CIA activities in Latin America. The third covers matters yet unknown.
They should all be released, as soon as possible. The living veterans of the Bay of Pigs, who now know that their sacrifices and heroic efforts were compromised from the start, deserve to know the full story. How can we learn the lessons of the past if they are stamped ‘‘secret’’ and stashed in a vault?
Some disclosures may cause more pain, and will surely cause embarrassment to some involved in this clandestine enterprise, but in a democracy truth is supposed to be exposed, not hidden. That’s one of the differences between the United States and a tyranny such as Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Isn’t it?
Miami Herald Editorial Board