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Jack Pfeiffer


Pat Speer
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Since John created a new thread on Pfeiffer, I thought I'd dredge this one up for anyone looking for an overview.

Sorry, I missed this thread when it was first posted. I have now merged these two threads.

The Miami Herald (Thursday, April 30, 1998)

CORRESPONDENT'S LETTER BY DON BOHNING

Bay of Pigs issues still unanswered

It was a major coup when the National Security Archive, a nongovernmental

documentation center in Washington, recently obtained the declassification of a

controversial CIA inspector general's report on the ill-fated 1961 Bay of Pigs

invasion of Cuba.

But, according to the Archive's Peter Kornbluh, the 150-page report by the late

Lyman B. Kirkpatrick is only the tip of a paper iceberg still stashed away at the

agency's headquarters in Langley, Va.

He estimates there are still about 30,000 pages of CIA operational documents

related to the Bay of Pigs that remain secret, of which perhaps 10 percent -- or

3,000 pages -- is expected to be declassified soon.

Kornbluh, a senior analyst who heads the Archive's Cuba documentation project,

has been engaged in a 10-year effort to obtain documents related to U.S.-Cuba

relations since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.

That effort helped obtain the release some years ago of 10,000 pages of

documents related to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and a small number relating to

the Bay of Pigs.

Documents still withheld

Only several hundred pages of Bay of Pigs documents have been released by the

CIA, including the lone remaining copy of Kirkpatrick's report, which came after a

two-year effort by the Archive.

The remaining still-classified documents, Kornbluh contends, ``continue to be

withheld because members of the directorate of operations [clandestine services]

are concerned that they will reflect badly on the early history of the CIA.''

Among the significant ones still to be released, Kornbluh says, is the complete

report by the Taylor Commission -- headed by the late Gen. Maxwell Taylor --

which analyzed the invasion for the Kennedy administration. Portions of the Taylor

report were released years ago, but the complete document remains classified.

Also yet to be declassified, Kornbluh says, is a four-volume internal history of the

invasion written by the late Jack B. Pfeiffer, an agency historian.

Pfeiffer himself wanted to see his work declassified and before his death sued the

CIA unsuccessfully for its release.

Still another document that remains secret is a 47-page ``after action'' report

written by Jack Hawkins, a retired Marine colonel who headed the paramilitary

staff for the Bay of Pigs invasion. Hawkins recently made a formal request for its

release, so far to no avail.

Jake Esterline, who headed the CIA's Bay of Pigs Task Force, has also requested

release of documents he authored, again so far without success.

Kornbluh believes it's too early to tell what unanswered questions might be

answered by the still-secret Bay of Pigs documents.

Waiting for Cuba's story

Kornbluh notes, however, that history is usually written by the victors and the full

story from the Cuban side has yet to be told.

``The thing that bothers me,'' Esterline says, ``is that the recent death of [Manuel]

Piñeiro further closed the window of opportunity of ever understanding the full

extent, if any, of the Castro government involvement with the death of President

Kennedy.''

Piñeiro, known as Barba Roja (Red Beard), Cuba's longtime foreign intelligence

chief, died in a car crash in Havana this year.

``With [Che] Guevara also gone, there probably are only two or three, including

Castro himself, who would be familiar with things we have never understood,''

Esterline says.

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Does anyone know when Jack Pfeiffer wrote his report on the Bay of Pigs for the CIA? (On his website David M. Barrett only says it was in the 1970s).

Does anyone know the date and cause of Pfeiffer's death?

Pfieffer died on the 31st of January, 1997.

James

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Does anyone know when Jack Pfeiffer wrote his report on the Bay of Pigs for the CIA? (On his website David M. Barrett only says it was in the 1970s).

Does anyone know the date and cause of Pfeiffer's death?

Pfieffer died on the 31st of January, 1997.

James

Thanks. Does this mean that Pfeiffer's legal action against the CIA died with him?

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Does anyone know when Jack Pfeiffer wrote his report on the Bay of Pigs for the CIA? (On his website David M. Barrett only says it was in the 1970s).

Does anyone know the date and cause of Pfeiffer's death?

Pfieffer died on the 31st of January, 1997.

James

Thanks. Does this mean that Pfeiffer's legal action against the CIA died with him?

You've got me there, John.

The last I seem to remember of any court action was the 1995 U.S. Court of Appeals, Pfeiffer verses CIA. Convenient for the spooks that Pfeiffer died two years later. Kind of stacked the deck in their favor somewhat.

James

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Jack Pfeiffer, Bay of Pigs, Volume III (1979)

"There was considerable concern over the necessary formalities of diplomacy in order that the United States not be involved in investigations by either the UN or the OAS for its anti-Castro program. Because it has been widely publicized that ex-Vice President Richard Nixon was one of the principals in planning the Bay of Pigs Operation, this volume has attempted to put the role that Nixon played into the proper context. It was the role of an interested senior officer in the Executive Branch, and by no stretch of the imagination could Nixon's role be constructed to have had a major impact on the development of operational planning by the Central Intelligence Agency in its anti-Castro effort."

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Jack Pfeiffer, Bay of Pigs, Volume III (1979)

"There was considerable concern over the necessary formalities of diplomacy in order that the United States not be involved in investigations by either the UN or the OAS for its anti-Castro program. Because it has been widely publicized that ex-Vice President Richard Nixon was one of the principals in planning the Bay of Pigs Operation, this volume has attempted to put the role that Nixon played into the proper context. It was the role of an interested senior officer in the Executive Branch, and by no stretch of the imagination could Nixon's role be constructed to have had a major impact on the development of operational planning by the Central Intelligence Agency in its anti-Castro effort."

This was one of the items in the Pfeiffer history that caught me by surprise. That doesn't sound like the Nixon I know. When I read the section on Nixon in the Pfeiffer history it became clear that Nixon was involved early on, but then appeared to lose interest as the State department pushed for moderates to replace Castro and as Nixon's own campaign for the presidency heated up. This makes me suspect that Nixon had a "secret" plan for Cuba, much as he did for Vietnam. Ask yourself, is it a coincidence that Robert King was traveling with Nixon on the campaign trail, providing "security," at the very time King's partner, Robert Maheu, was approached as the cut-out for the hits on Castro? I have my doubts.

Edited by Pat Speer
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