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Interview with CIA's Jake Esterline on the Bay of Pigs


Greg Burnham
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Jake Esterline Interview here:

“I am one of those who feel it is very wrong to pick too much on Jack Kennedy because it was Nixon who, if

we had kicked off as we had hoped for, between November and January of 60-61, it might not have worked,

but it would not have been a major disaster.” — Jake Esterline.

Serious students of the Bay of Pigs need to read this interview in its entirety.

Edited by Greg Burnham
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Thanks for posting this interview, Greg. It's interesting that "that fellow Prouty" (paraphrase) is twice mentioned as being "not very helpful" to the invasion attempt. One wonders why he is brought up apart from others at his operational level, two years after the publication of The Secret Team. But there is a lot more of more importance in the Esterline interview. Uploads of any more of the BOP players that the interviewer claims to want to interview would be appreciated. If not - where are these available online?

Edited by David Andrews
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Hi David,

I think the written word sometimes lacks the nuances of the spoken word whether in person or over the phone. However, Fletch never had to sign a secrecy oath nor

did he answer to the CIA. He was a military man all the way. As Chief of Special Operations he was the one who was tasked with sending the 16 B-26 bombers that

were eventually used for the operation down to Arizona for them to be outfitted with eight 50 caliber machine guns in their noses, etc. -- He, like Jack Hawkins, was

against the operation--especially at the beginning stages--because too many restrictions were placed on it from a military view point. Once the invasion force had

grown to a size that exceeded what could have been considered a guerilla effort and therefore no longer within CIA's purview, those with experience in this sort of

thing were not very helpful at all given the restrictions placed on covert operations.

By way of analogy: I suppose if a person wanted to steal a car they could employ the effort of a good mechanic to hot wire the car and the two of them could get in

and out of a dealership unnoticed if properly planned. But what if the plan was to steal a fleet of cars while under the same restriction of hot wiring each and every car,

but not being detected by security cameras?

What if Ocean's 11 turned into Ocean's 563 without proper consideration for the increased level of risk of getting caught?

There was no covert military paradigm of this scope from which Special Ops could model previously successful campaigns. Prouty's Office of Special Operations

could not have been very helpful under such a circumstance, indeed.

Edited by Greg Burnham
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Greg - I'm not complaining about what Prouty did or didn't do for BOP. I just think it's odd that he's name-dropped like that, with the notation "not very helpful" given twice in the same interview answer. It's like Esterline had to get that in for some reason (two years after publication of The Secret Team), but I can't figure out why, in an interview that was then not for general consumption, unless Prouty was judged in need of discrediting. But it's always useful to consider why such a need exists. Doesn't change my positive estimate of Prouty.

Would love to see more BOP interviews. Thanks.

Edited by David Andrews
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Greg - I'm not complaining about what Prouty did or didn't do for BOP. I just think it's odd that he's name-dropped like that, with the notation "not very helpful" given twice in the same interview answer. It's like Esterline had to get that in for some reason (two years after publication of The Secret Team), but I can't figure out why, in an interview that was then not for general consumption, unless Prouty was judged in need of discrediting. But it's always useful to consider why such a need exists. Doesn't change my positive estimate of Prouty.

Would love to see more BOP interviews. Thanks.

Understood, David. I didn't mean to sound defensive about Prouty. I was simply pointing out some relevant facts. Esterline's comments are subject to our interpretation given that they are only in written form--which leaves some room for misinterpretation. I don't know if Esterline was being critical of Prouty or not. He may have simply been stating a fact. I see how a negative connotation could be drawn from his comments though. I just don't know if that was his intent.

Stand by later today. I will upload a 28 minute clip from an interview I conducted with Gerry Patrick Hemming about Cuba and the Bay of Pigs. It's some GREAT stuff. Never heard before. Stand by...

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