Updated November 2007




Subject: Three Phases of Assassination

by Debra Conway

My dissatisfaction with authors and producers who rewrite history relative to when events actually happened, or who said what to whom, led me to this project consisting of gathering, studying, and interpreting documentary evidence putting together information on the CIA and Mafia's attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro. It also considers the evidence of when President Kennedy and AG Robert Kennedy knew of the Mafia's involvement against Castro, versus knowing of specifically of the assassination plots. Whether either was directed from the White House, as some claim, is suspect. The record does show by May 1961, however, the Attorney General and FBI Director Hoover were aware that the CIA had earlier used Giancana in an operation against Cuba and FBI files contained two memoranda which, if simultaneously reviewed, would have led one to conclude that the CIA operation had involved assassination.

Phase One: Aug. 1960 until Nov 15 '61, Mafia members, John Rosselli, Sam Giancana, and Santos Trafficante, (AKA Santo Trafficante) under James O'Connell. These activities were exposed when Giancana's 1960 wiretap of a Las Vegas hotel room was investigated by the FBI in 1961 and revealed in part to Robert Kennedy on May 22, 1961.

Phase Two
: Late 1961 or Early 1962. Operation MONGOOSE under William Harvey begins. Harvey continues to work with Rosselli, while bringing in QJWIN with ZR/RIFLE on a separate course.

Phase Three: Dec 1963, ZR/RIFLE is still in effect, continued contact with Rosselli under William Harvey; AM/LASH under Desmond FitzGerald, and also RFK's activities with the exiles.

Note on Phase Three -- I believe the conspirators used using the Castro plots for "window dressing" for the true plot to assassinate President Kennedy and may not have been true attempts to kill Castro at all, but a way to implicate others (false sponsors).

These plots resulted in a what I call a "checkmate" situation for Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who we now know played a major role in rendering inaccessible much evidence in the case of his brother's murder. The deep remorse shown by RFK and his actions afterwards are only explainable when we allow that he believed --or was led to believe-- he was somehow responsible for his brother's death through his continued encouragement -- however innocent -- of the Cuban exiles and their actions against Castro.

In fact, the President was clearly working the "Second Track*" of possible rapprochement with Castro the last year of his life. In an interview with author Anthony Summers, Arthur Schlesinger stated:

"Undoubtedly if word leaked of President Kennedy's efforts (rapprochement), that might have been exactly the kind of thing to trigger some explosion of fanatical violence. It seems to me as a possibility not to be excluded."

Though official communication always describes "Mongoose" (Phase Two) activities as a "sabotage and harassment" campaign, the statements and claims of RFK's actions regarding his knowledge or direction of the Castro plots made in Gus Russo's book, "Live By The Sword" and also Richard Mahoney's book "Sons and Brothers" should be examined and followed-up. Indeed, Phase Three is the crucial time period where RFK was most actively acting independently of the CIA and possibly the President himself. Not only was there a two-track position on Castro, the same concept was applied to the Cuban exiles:

On March 29, '63, JFK calls a meeting of the ExComm (Executive Committee) to discuss the exile raids against Cuba, stating:

"The question is whether we should take direct action in the U.S. to cut off their (Cuban Exiles) supplies or whether we should try to advise them to attack Cuba but not the Russians, with the result that the raids would draw less press attention and arouse less acrimony in Moscow. The AG feels the raids can be slowed down using the Coast Guard and "prosecute cases against those who are supplying ammunition to the raiders."

This is the same time Robert Kennedy's phone logs show continued contact with the exile groups. Could these men have told him or been involved with the Castro plots?

I place great importance to Castro's interview with Daniel Harker on September 7, '63, where Castro warns that U.S. leaders aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders will themselves not be safe. The CIA and Cuban exiles reading these remarks just two days later in both the New Orleans Times-Picayune and Miami's Herald could not but react strongly. Though there is no hard evidence that Castro knew of the AMLASH plot, the coincidence of Cubela being in Brazil shortly before this interview cannot be denied. Indeed, the Church committee report states:

The individual who was the CIA "point of record" for working with the WC wrote in 1975: "There can be no question from the facts surrounding the Castro appearance, which had not been expected, and his agreement to the interview, that this event represented a more-than-ordinary attempt to get a message on the record in the US.

The listing of events in the timeline are not complete by any means and is an ongoing project for me. This version of it is a basic, but far-reaching listing of both government and research sources. I would have to write another book to list all the sources and also hundreds of government documents that point to the conclusion I have come to. However, reading the timeline and using sources of this same time period, I believe the reader will find the Phase One; Phase Two; Phase Three programs easy to recognize.

The crucial thread running through all phases is that the CIA ran its own programs, frequently in direct opposition to whatever the State Department or the current president's plans might be. Indeed, the administration's meetings and decisions made seem to be on a different world altogether from the CIA's maneuvers. Meetings with one group constantly defeated the objections and decisions of another.

Why did the CIA not give information on the Castro assassination attempts to the Warren Commission? In 1975, in his Church Committee testimony, Richard Helms was asked if he was charged with furnishing the Warren Commission information from the CIA, information that he thought was relevant?

Helms: No sir, I was instructed to reply to inquiries from the Warren Commission for information from the Agency. I was not asked to initiate any particular thing.

Senator Morgan: in other words if you weren't asked for it, you didn't give it

Helms: That's right, sir.
(Helms testimony, 7/17/75)

Debra Conwayß


Summary by Tim Howells:

Robert Kennedy had William Harvey replaced by Desmond Fitzgerald. In spite of this change, the plots went forward, and did so with the full support of Fitzgerald. As has been pointed out, Fitzgerald encouraged a renaissance of the "Technical Services" craziness(in this case proposing that an exploding sea shell be strategically placed so that Castro would notice it and hold it up to his ear). He also participated in the attempt to get a dissatisfied Cuban official, Rolando Cubela Secades, to kill Castro. When Cubela asked to meet with Robert Kennedy, he was given a meeting with Fitzgerald instead, and he claimed that he represented Kennedy. On the very day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated, CIA agents met with Cubela in Paris and delivered to him a pen filled with poison with which he was supposed to kill his boss.

But an attempt to deal with Castro in a very different way was also underway on the very day of the Kennedy assassination. William Atwood and Lisa Howard were contacting Cuban officials at the President's personal request to initiate discussions aimed at normalizing relations.

We are forced to one of two conclusions:

1) Desmond Fitzgerald continued in the tradition of Bissell and Harvey to promote plans for the assassination of Fidel Castro without the approval or knowledge of the Kennedy administration.


2) Even as John F. Kennedy was holding out the olive branch to Castro, he was actively trying to have him killed.
Tomnln contributed very important information taken from the Church Report that appears to decide this issue conclusively in favor of conclusion

(1): CHURCH COMMITTEE BOOK V......(page 72)
"In late July 1964, an FBI informant again reported that the CIA had meetings with the Cuban official (AMLASH). This report indicates that that the purpose of those meetings had been to plan the assassination of Castro. The informant reported that the Cuban official had been unhappy with the CIA response that Attorney General Kennedy had refused to support the plan. Because the informant requested that the bureau not inform the CIA or the White House about this report, it was not disseminated outside the FBI. Headquarters advised the field office in contact with the informant, to keep them advised. The FBI supervisor involved noted on his copy of the communication to the field office, that the bureau, acting on orders from the Attorney General, was investigating a reported underworld plot against Castro, and that this might be the same as the alleged plot involving the Cuban (AMLASH)."

CIA-Mafia-Cuba Time line:


Dec 11, 59 - Official memo from Colonel J.C. King, to CIA Director Allen Dulles proposes the elimination of Castro. Dulles approves "through consideration be given to the elimination of Castro." (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75)


Jan 13, 60 - Dulles presents "Cuban project" for "careful planning of covert actions." The CIA began "Operation 40," which took its name from "the Group of 40" of the National Security Council group. Their job was to formulate a plan for Cuba to provoke a general uprising of the Cuban people with the collaboration of the forces in exile and in this way "legitimize" a U.S. intervention. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75; Furiati pp 14-15)


      Feb '60 - Robert F. Kennedy publishes "The Enemy Within," which named the little known Organized Crime leaders Salvador "Sam" Giancana and Santos Trafficante as mobsters; soon afterwards, the CIA gives both men protection by involving them in intelligence plots. (Scott p 227)

      Mar 9, 60 - At a meeting of the Task Force, Colonel King 's recommendations are presented: create the conditions to prove that Cuban leaders are preparing an attack on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo or "eliminate the leaders [Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, and Che Guevara] with a single blow"; otherwise, the present government can only be brought down through the use of force." (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75; Furiati p 16)

      Mar 17, 60 - President Eisenhower signs National Security Council directive on the anti-Cuban covert action program (Operation 40) authorizing the CIA to organize, train, and equip Cuban refugees as a guerilla force to overthrow Castro. (Fonzi chronology p 415)

      Aug, 60 - CIA Deputy Director of Plans Richard Bissell and CIA Chief of Security Sheffield Edwards have discussions concerning use of underworld figures in organized crime. Certain figures in organized crime are already involved in a plot to kill Castro. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75)

      Aug 16 , 60 - First Attempt: The first assassination plot by the United States against Fidel Castro is initiated when a CIA official is given a box of Castro's favorite cigars and told to poison them. It is unknown whether any attempt was later made to pass the cigars on to Castro. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 73)

      Sept 2, 60 - CIA Chief of Operational Support James O 'Connell reports assassination operation has commenced.

      Sept 24, 60 - Initial meeting is held between CIA Operational Support Chief O 'Connell mobster John Rosselli, and Robert Maheu, a private investigator with CIA ties, at the Plaza Hotel in New York for the purpose of planning assassination of Castro. Rosselli then asks Giancana to participate. Giancana agrees and approaches Trafficante, who agrees to recruit an "asset" to carry out the murder. (Davis; Fonzi chronology p 415)

      Late Sept, 60 - Bissell and Edwards brief Dulles and CIA Deputy Director Charles Cabell about operations against Castro.

      Early Oct, 60 - Subsequent meeting takes place in Florida (Fountainbleu Hotel) and includes Rosselli, Giancana, Trafficante, Maheu, and O 'Connell. Rosselli (and Maheu) stay at the Kenilworth Hotel keeping his presence from underworld colleagues.

      O 'Connell turns over plan for poison pills to CIA 's Technical Services.

      Oct 18, 60 - Hoover sends memo to Deputy Director of Plans Bissell at CIA, with copies to some other members of the intelligence community stating that an informant had reported that "during a recent conversation with several friends, Giancana stated that Fidel Castro was to be done away with very shortly. When doubt was expressed regarding this statement, Giancana reportedly assured those present that Castro's assassination would occur in November." According to the memorandum Giancana claimed to have met with the assassin-to-be on three occasions and said that the assassination could be accomplished by dropping a pill in Castro's food. The memorandum did not specifically reveal CIA involvement. (Memo, Hoover to Bissell, 10/18/60; Church Committee Report, The Assassination Plots, p 125-126)

      Oct 31, 60 - Arthur J. Ballentti, a private detective hired to bug a Las Vegas hotel room for Giancana is caught and arrested. Ballentti's bail was paid by Rosselli. The CIA had been asked to approve the bugging and told Mahue to hire an independent outside detective and that they would pay for it.

      The FBI commenced an investigation with quickly developed that Maheu and Giancana were involved in the case. In April 1961, Rosselli's involvement was discovered. Giancana later makes a deal for the CIA to step in because of his help with the Castro plots. CIA's Edwards tells Mahue to refer the FBI to him "to be briefed that he was engaged in an intelligence operation directed at Cuba." (Assassination Plots, Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, p 71)

      Nov 27, 60 - Dulles and Bissell brief Pres-elect JFK on plans for Cuban exiles and CIA to invade Cuba and probably alludes to ploy to assassinate Castro (per Bissell) in circumlocutious terms, without telling him of organized crime involvement.

      Dec 19, 60 - Cuba and the Soviet Union issue a joint communiqué in which Cuba openly aligns itself with the domestic and foreign policies of the Soviet Union and indicates its solidarity with the Sino-Soviet Bloc. (NYT, 12/20/60

      Jan 3, 61 - The United States and Cuba sever diplomatic and consular relations.

      Jan 4, '61 - A memo titled Policy Decisions Required for Conduct of Strike Operations Against Government of Cuba concerning "Branch 4 of the Western Hemisphere Division was an internal task force created within the CIA in January 1960 to direct the Cuban project. J.D. Esterline became task force director on January 18, 1960. Esterline reported on the project to the Deputy Director for Plans, Richard M. Bissell, although Bissell's principal aide, Tracy Barnes, who acted for Bissell about 50 percent of the time. Branch 4 began with a staff of 20 and grew by April 1961 to a staff of more than 500 with its own communications, propaganda, and military sections. Marine Corps Colonel Jack Hawkins was assigned to Branch 4 in September 1960, with direct responsibility for military training operations." The memo stated: The purpose of this memorandum is to outline the current status of our preparations for the conduct of amphibious/airborne and tactical air operations against the Government of Cuba and to set forth certain requirements for policy decisions which must be reached and implemented if these operations are to be carried out. (Memorandum From the Chief of WH/4/PM, Central Intelligence Agency (Hawkins) to the Chief of WH/4 of the Directorate for Plans (Esterline), Washington, January 4, 1961. Source: U.S., Department of State, Foreign Relations Of The United States,1961-1963, Volume X, Cuba, 1961-1962)

      Jan 20, 61 - JFK is inaugurated as the thirty-fifth president of the United States.

      Feb , '61 - Executive Action-ZR/RIFLE : William Harvey, chief of FI/D, was briefed by authority of Richard Bissell on phase one of the mob plots. That briefing was in connection with "Executive Action Capability;" i.e., a general standby capability to carry out assassinations when required. Harvey arranges to be briefed by Edwards. Executive Action program came to be known as ZR/RIFLE.

      Feb 13, 61 - CIA 's Technical Services Division records indicate that a box of Castro 's favorite cigars treated with lethal poison were delivered to an unidentified asset. The records do not disclose whether an attempt was made to pass the cigars to Castro. (Fonzi chronology p 415)

      CIA 's O'Connell delivers poison pills to Rosselli who is to give them to a Cuban official close to Castro.

      Early Mar, 61 - According to his 1964 Oral History at the JFK Library, JFK asks his friend Florida Senator George Smathers about the reaction throughout South America if Castro were to be assassinated. Smathers did not recommend the action.

      Project name ZR/RIFLE first appears in files, although the first recorded approval is dated Feb 19 '62. It 's purpose is to develop killers for political assassinations. Harvey 's master plan for the project includes the use of cover stories and phony 201 files. ZRRIFLE continued on a course separate from the Edwards/O'Connell/Mafia operation against Castro until Nov 15, '61 when Harvey discusses with Bissell the application of the ZR/RIFLE program to Castro. Harvey 's notes of the discussion state both Bissell and Helms place Harvey in charge of the operation against Castro.

      Mar 14, 61 - Meeting at Fountainbleu Hotel, Rosselli gives pills to Cuban contact to poison Castro 's food while eating out. The pills are reportedly later returned after the official lost his position.

      Early Apr, 61 2nd Attempt: Rosselli passes poison pills in second attempt to kill Castro to Cuban associate of Trafficante in Miami. Manuel Atonio de Varona. Giancana is with him. Assassination attempt is "an auxiliary operation" (per Bissell) of the Bay of Pigs. de Varona, a prominent Cuban exile member of the "Revolutionary Democratic Front" put together by E. Howard Hunt. De Varona is also the former president of the Cuban Senate under President Carlos Prio. He is to be paid $150,000 if he succeeds in his role to pass the poison pills to Cuban official Juan Orta, Castro 's personal secretary. Orta is later exposed and jailed.

      Apr 15, 61 - Bay of Pigs

      Apr 18, '61 FBI records indicate that Mahue informed the FBI that the Ballenti tap involved the CIA and suggested Edwards be contacted, Mahue informed the FBI that the tap had played a part in a project "on behalf of the CIA relative to anti-Castro activities," a fact which could be verifed by Sheffield Edwards, CIA Director of Security. (FBI Memo Apr 20, 61; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75 p79)

      Apr 22, 61 - RFK selects Allen Dulles, General Maxwell Taylor and Admiral Arleigh Burke to conduct secret review of the entire Cuba operation. This becomes the "The Taylor Report on Limited War Programs." (See June 13)

      May 3, '61, Edwards memoranda to FBI read that Giancana had been recruited "in connection with the CIA's clandestine efforts against the Casto government." No results yet, but "several of the plans are still working and may eventually pay off." Edwards stated, "he had never been furnished with any details of the methods used by Giancana and Maheu because this was 'dirty business' and he could not afford to know the specific actions." ***He also wrote that Richard Bissell had "told the attorney general that some of the [Bay of Pigs] planning included the use of Giancana and the underworld against Castro." (Rappleye and Becker, p 211-212;)

      May 22, 1961, FBI Director Hoover sent the Attorney General a memorandum about the Las Vegas wiretip. An attachment to that memorandum quoted Sheffield Edwards as saying that Bissell in "recent briefings" of Taylor and Kennedy "told the Attorney General that some of the associated planning included the use of Giancana and the underworld against Castro." Bissell told the Church Committee that he did not remember any briefing other than for the review of the Bay of Pigs - The Taylor Report. (Bissell, 7/22/75) Taylor told the Church Committee that no mention was made of an assassination effort against Castro.

      The summary of Edwards' statements to the FBI that was sent by Hoover to Attorney General Kennedy on May 22,1961, stated, in
      part that :

      Colonel Edwards advised that in connection with CIA's operation against Castro he personally contacted Robert Maheu during the fall of 1960 for the purpose of using Maheu as a "cut-out" in contacts with Sam Giancana, a known hoodlum in the Chicago area. Colonel Edwards said that since the underworld controlled gambling activities in Cuba under the Batista government, it was assumed that this element would still continue to have sources and contacts in Cuba which perhaps could be utilized successfully in connection with CIA's clandestine efforts against the Castro government. As a result, Maheu's services were solicited as a "cut-out" because of his possible entree into underworld circles. Maheu obtained Sam Giancana's assistance in this regard and according to Edwards, Giancana gave every indication of cooperating through Maheu in attempting to accomplish several clandestine efforts in Cuba. Edwards added that none of Giancana's efforts have materialized to date and that several of the plans still are working and may eventually "pay off." Colonel Edwards related that he had no direct contact with Giancana; that Giancana's activities were completely "back stopped" by Maheu and that Maheu would frequently report Giancana's action and information to Edwards. No details or methods used by Maheu or Giancana in accomplishing their missions were ever reported to Edwards. Colonel Edwards said that since this is "dirty business", he could not afford to have knowledge of the actions of Maheu and Giancana in pursuit of any mission for CIA. Colonel Edwards added that he has neither given Maheu any instruction to use technical installations of any type nor has the subject of technical installations ever come up between Edwards and Maheu in connection with Giancana's activity. Mr. Bissell, in his recent briefings of General Taylor and the Attorney General and in connection with their inquiries into CIA relating to the Cuban situation [the Taylor Board of Inquiry] told the Attorney General that some of the associated planning included the use of Giancana and the underworld against Castro.'

The summary of Edwards' statements to the FBI that was sent by Hoover to Attorney General Kennedy on May 22, 1961, stated, in part that:

Colonel Edwards advised that in connection with CIA's operation against Castro he personally contacted Robert Maheu during the fall of 1960 for the purpose of using Maheu as a "cut-out" in contacts with Sam Giancana, a known hoodlum in the Chicago area. Colonel Edwards said that since the underworld controlled gambling activities in Cuba under the Batista government, it was assumed that this element would still continue to have sources and contacts in Cuba which perhaps could be utilized successfully in connection with CIA's clandestine efforts against the Castro government. As a result, Maheu's services were solicited as a "cut-out" because of his possible entree into underworld circles. Maheu obtained Sam Giancana's assistance in this regard and according to Edwards, Giancana gave every indication of cooperating through Maheu in attempting to accomplish several clandestine efforts in Cuba. Edwards added that none of Giancana's efforts have materialized to date and that several of the plans still are working and may eventually "pay off." Colonel Edwards related that he had no direct contact with Giancana; that Giancana's activities were completely "back stopped" by Maheu and that Maheu would frequently report Giancana's action and information to Edwards. No details or methods used by Maheu or Giancana in accomplishing their missions were ever reported to Edwards. Colonel Edwards said that since this is "dirty business", he could not afford to have knowledge of the actions of Maheu and Giancana in pursuit of any mission for CIA. Colonel Edwards added that he has neither given Maheu any instruction to use technical installations of any type nor has the subject of technical installations ever come up between Edwards and Maheu in connection with Giancana's activity. Mr. Bissell, in his recent briefings of General Taylor and the Attorney General and in connection with their inquiries into CIA relating to the Cuban situation [the Taylor Board of Inquiry] told the Attorney General that some of the associated planning included the use of Giancana and the underworld against Castro.'

The summary of Edwards' conversation with the FBI was accompanied by a cover memorandum from Hoover stating that Edwards had acknowledged the "attempted" use of Maheu and 3 "hoodlum elements" by the CIA in "anti-Castro activities" but that the "purpose for placing the wiretap...has not been determined...." (FBI memo to Attorney General, 5/22/61) The memorandum also explained that Maheu had contacted Giancana in connection with the CIA program and CIA had requested that the information be handled on a "need-to-know" basis.

RFK writes in the margin of the memo to his aide, Courtney Evans, "I hope this will be followed up vigorously," after being assured the alliance had been discontinued by CIA's Edwards. (Hoover memo to RFK and RFK's notation quoted in Assassination Plots, Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, pp127-128)

Note: Courtney Evans had worked closely with the then Senator John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy on the McClellan Committee which had investigated the relationship between organized labor and organized crime. During the McClellan Investigation Sam Giancana was one of the major crime figures examined. After becoming Attorney General, Robert Kennedy had singled out Giancana as one of the underworld leaders to be most intensely investigated.

      June 6, 1961 - A memorandum from Evans to Allen Belmont, Assistant to the Director (FBI) dated June 6, 1961, stated:
      "We checked with CIA and ascertained that CIA had used Maheu as an intermediary in contacting Sam Gianeana, the notorious Chicago hoodlum. This was in connection with anti-Castro activities. CIA, however, did not give any instructions to Maheu to use any technical installations. In connection with this information received from CIA concerning their attempted utilization of the hoodlum element, CIA requested this information be handled on a "need-to-know" basis. We are conducting a full investigation in this wiretap case requested by the Department and the field has been instructed to press this investigation vigorously. Accordingly, 'the Attorney General will be orally assured that we are following up vigorously and the results of our investigation will be furnished to the Department promptly."

Aug 16, 1961 - Entries in the FBI files indicate that the FBI vigorously pursued its investigation of the wiretap case. However, on August 16, 1961, the Assistant United States Attorney in Las Vegas reported his reluctance to proceed with the case because of deficiencies in the evidence and his concern that CIA's alleged involvement might become known. The Department of Justice files indicate no activity between September 1961, when the FBI's investigation was concluded, and January 1962, when the question of prosecution in the case was brought up for reconsideration. (Assassination Plots, Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, pp127)

There is no indication that the FBI concluded that the CIA had used the Mafia for assassination plots.


Nov 9, 61 - JFK meets with reporter Tad Szulc and asks about Castro. Szulc 's notes from that day read: "JFK said he raised the question because he was under terrific pressure from advisors (think he said intelligence people, but not positive) to okay a Castro murder, said he was resisting pressures." A few days later, aide Richard Goodwin discussed the matter of assassinating Castro with the president. It was to Goodwin that Kennedy observed, "If we get into that kind of thing, we 'll all be targets." (Mahoney p135; Schlesinger, p530)

Nov 16, 61 - JFK delivers speech at the University of Washington (Seattle) commencement: "We cannot as a free nation, compete with our adversaries in tactics of terror, assassination, false promises, counterfeit mobs and crises."


      Sept 24, '61 - Cuban government announces it has smashed "AM/BLOOD" an Castro assassination attempt by exiles trained by the CIA on Guantanamo, the American naval base in Cuba. (Hinckle and Turner, pp106-107)

      Oct 5, '61 - Castro assassination attempt planned by Veciana and CIA 's "Bishop" is discovered by Castro and Veciana is forced to flee Cuba; Reynol Gonzalez, one of Veciana 's co-conspirators, is later arrested hiding on the estate of Amador Odio, a wealthy industrialist and father of Silvia Odio. Gonzales, the elder Odio and his wife are arrested. (Fonzi Chronology p 416)

      Nov 1, '61 - Presidential advisor Richard Goodwin and CIA Deputy Edward Lansdale recommend the creation of Operation Mongoose as a coordinated effort to depose Castro 's government. (Fonzi chronology p 416)

      Nov 9, 61 - JFK meets with reporter Tad Szulc and asks about Castro. Szulc 's notes from that day read: "JFK said he raised the question because he was under terrific pressure from advisors (think he said intelligence people, but not positive) to okay a Castro murder, said he was resisting pressures." A few days later, aide Richard Goodwin discussed the matter of assassinating Castro with the president. It was to Goodwin that Kennedy observed, "If we get into that kind of thing, we 'll all be targets." (Mahoney p135; Schlesinger, p530)

      Nov 13, '61 - Harvey cables the Mexico City CIA Station to dispatch David S. Morales (Morales, a Mexican-American CIA agent from Phoenix, was well known as the Agency 's top assassin in Latin America. He had served in Cuba from 1958-1960 in the American Consulate in Havana. He had played a supporting role in Mexico City during the Bay of Pigs planning and afterward he openly described what Kennedy had done as traición betrayal. Nicknamed El Indio. Mahoney, p135) to JM-WAVE (the CIA base in south Florida) for permanent posting. (Cable 5816, CIA Station (Scott), 19 Nov 1961 to Base, confirming receipt of Harvey 's cable, AA)

      Nov 15, 61 - ZR/RIFLE: Bissell orders Cuban Task Force head Harvey to implement the application of ZR/RIFLE assassination plan in Cuba. Harvey reestablishes the Agency contact with Mob liaison Rosselli. (Fonzi chronology p 417)

      Nov 16, 61 - JFK delivers speech at the University of Washington (Seattle) commencement: "We cannot as a free nation, compete with our adversaries in tactics of terror, assassination, false promises, counterfeit mobs and crises."

      Nov 30, 61 - JFK sends memo to Secretary Rusk ordering him to "Use our available assets to help Cuba overthrow the Communist regime."

      Operation Mongoose: JFK authorizes a major new covert action program aimed at overthrowing the Cuban government. The new program, codenamed Operation Mongoose, will be directed by counterinsurgency specialist Edward G. Lansdale under the guidance of Attorney General Robert Kennedy. A high-level inter-agency group, the Special Group Augmented (SGA), is created with the sole purpose of overseeing Mongoose. (The Cuba Project, 3/2/62; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, pp. 139, 144)

      Nov, 61 - Bissell is "chewed out" by both JFK and RFK at a meeting in the Cabinet room at the White House. Thereafter RFK pressed constantly for results from Mongoose.

      Late 1961 or Early 1962 - Task Force W : William K. Harvey is put in charge of Task Force W, the CIA unit for Operation Mongoose. Task Force W operates under guidance from the SGA and subsequently will involve approximately four hundred Americans at CIA headquarters and its Miami JMWAVE station, in addition to about two thousand Cubans, a private navy of speedboats, and an annual budget of some $50 million. Task Force W carries out a wide range of activities, mostly against Cuban ships and aircraft outside Cuba (and non-Cuban ships engaged in Cuban trade), such as contaminating shipments of sugar from Cuba and tampering with industrial products imported into the country. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75)

      Jan 19, 62 - A meeting of the SGA is held in Robert Kennedy 's office. Notes taken by CIA representative George McManus contain the following passages: "Conclusion Overthrow of Castro is Possible...a solution to the Cuban problem today carried top priority in U.S. Government]. No time, money, effort--or manpower is to be spared. Yesterday...the president indicated to [ Robert Kennedy ] that the final chapter had not been written--it's got to be done and will be done." McManus attributes the phrase "top priority in the U.S. government--no time, be spared" to Attorney General Kennedy. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 141)

      Jan 29, 1962 - Note from the head of the Administrative Regulations Division to the first and second assistants in the Criminal Division stated: "Our primary interest was in Giancana...apparently detective (Maheu) has some connection with Giancana but he claims was because of CIA assignment in connection with Cuba - CIA has objected, may have to drop." Assistant Attorney General Herbert Miller then asked the FBI to again speak with Edwards about the prosecution of Maheu. (Memo from Miller, l/31/62;Assassination Plots, Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, pp129)

      Feb 19, 62 - QJWIN/ ZRRIFLE: Helms succeeds Bissell as CIA dep. director of Plans. Helms writes memo to Harvey authorizing him to retain the services of "Principal Agent QJWIN" (Jose Mankel, drug smuggler and mercenary from Germany, per Gus Russo) "for the services of ZRRIFLE." According to a later memo he was terminated on Feb 14, 1964 after failing to establish cover for an assignment. "Harvey would later tell the inspector general that the code name QJWIN designated a capability to recruit professional assassins, separate from ZRRIFLE, but that he came to use the terms interchangeably."

      Harvey 's first meeting with Edwards on the subject of the Castro operation. They plan his takeover details during March.

      Feb 20, 62 - Edward Lansdale presents a six-phase schedule for OPERATION MONGOOSE designed to culminate in October 1962 with an "open revolt and overthrow of the Communist regime." The basic plan includes political, psychological, military, sabotage, and intelligence operations as well as proposed "attacks on the cadre of the regime, including key leaders." Lansdale notes that a "vital decision" has not yet been made regarding possible U.S. military actions in support of plans to overthrow Fidel Castro . (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, pp. 143-44)

      Feb 26, 62 - Lansdales's Plan Reduced: At a meeting of the SGA , the scale of Lansdale 's "Cuba Project" is sharply reduced, and Lansdale is directed to develop a detailed plan for an intelligence-gathering program only. On March 1, the SGA confirms that the immediate objective of the program would be intelligence collection and that all other actions would be inconspicuous and consistent with the U.S. overt policy of isolating Castro and neutralizing Cuban influence in the hemisphere. (Document 6, Guidelines for Operation Mongoose, 3/14/62; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 145)

      Mar 14, 62 - Guidelines for OPERATION MONGOOSE are approved by the SGA . Drafted by Maxwell Taylor, they note that the United States would attempt to "make maximum use of indigenous resources" in trying to overthrow Fidel Castro but recognize that "final success will require decisive U.S. military intervention." Indigenous resources would act to "prepare and justify this intervention, and thereafter to facilitate and support it." Kennedy is briefed on the guidelines on Mar 16. (Document 6, Guidelines for OPERATION MONGOOSE, 3/14/62; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, pp. 145-47, 159)

Mar 13, 62 - JCS "Northwoods" Plan presented to McNamara. According to an ABC article on James Bamford's book Body of Secrets "The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy's defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years. Whether the Joint Chiefs' plans were rejected by McNamara in the meeting is not clear. But three days later, President Kennedy told Lemnitzer directly there was virtually no possibility of ever using overt force to take Cuba, Bamford reports. Within months, Lemnitzer would be denied another term as chairman and transferred to another job."

Mar 16, 62 Lansdale memo reads: "The President said bluntly that we were not discussing the use of military force, that General Lemnitzer might find the U.S so engaged in Berlin or elsewhere that he couldn't use the contemplated 4 divisions in Cuba."

      Research Tim Howells on Northwoods (from KAC - pdf)

      Mar 16, 62 - Lansdale suggests killing Castro while he visits Ernest Hemming way's Cuban home in meeting with President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. Read Lansdale's Memo for MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT, 16 MARCH 1962

      March 22, 62 - Hoover had a private luncheon with President Kennedy. There is no record of what transpired at that luncheon. According to the White House logs, the last telephone contact between theWhite House and Judith Campbell occurred a few hours after the luncheon.

      Mar 23, 62 - The day immediately following his luncheon with the President, at which Rosselli and Giancana were presumably discussed, Hoover sent a memorandum to Edwards stating: At the request of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, this matter was discussed with the CIA Director of Security on February 7, 1962, and we were advised that your agency would object to any prosecution which would necessitate the use of CIA personnel or CIA information. We were also informed that introduction of evidence concerning the CIA operation would be embarrassing to the Government. The Criminal Division has now requested that CIA specifically advise whether it would or would not object to the initiation of criminal prosecution against the subjects, Balletti, Maheu, and the individual known as J. W. Harrison for conspiracy to violate the "Wire Tapping Statute."

      Apr, 62 - Helms issues what he termed "explicit orders" that William Harvey contact Rosselli. Harvey feels he is taking over an ongoing operation. Edwards later states he felt it was not active.

      Note: Harvey complained to McCone about the requirement for advance SGA approval of "major operations going beyond the collection of intelligence" and the fact that applications had to be spelled out in detail. He was delighted when he received orders from Helms to revive the Rosselli project without seeking SGA approval. When questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1975, Helms conceded that he had not been instructed to do it, but then again he had not been told not to. (Hinckle and Turner p137-138)

      Apr 8-9, 62 - Harvey and O 'Connell meet Rosselli in New York. (O 'Connell says Maheu was also present.) (CIA Inspector General 's Report May 1967 p6)

      Apr 10, 62 - Edwards responds in writing to Hoover 's Mar 23 memo that prosecution of Maheu and presumably other Mafia figures for wiretapping "Would result in most damaging embarrassment to the U.S. government." In demanding a written response from the CIA, Hoover effectively cleared himself of any involvement.

      Apr 14, 62 - Harvey and O 'Connell meet in Washington DC to take delivery of the poison pills from Dr. Gunn of CIA.

      Mid Apr, 62 - O 'Connell and Rosselli leave for Miami. Harvey and Edwards travel to Miami together. Establishes Harvey 's takeover with Rosselli with O 'Connell carrying over until June 1962 when O 'Connell is reassigned. Giancana and Trafficante are dropped from the new phase.

      Apr 21, 62 - Harvey passes poison pills to Rosselli in Miami (2nd attempt). Rosselli passes them to Tony Varona, reporting back that the hit squad had targeted not only Fidel but also Raul and Che Cuevara.

      Apr 24, '62 - The Justice Dept rules on Balletti, agreeing with the CIA no prosecution. "This would not necessarily affect prosecution of Giancana for any other offenses."(Memorandum to the Attorney General from Herbert J. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal division, Subject: Arthur J. Ballentti Wiretap Case, 24, April 1962, National Archives)

      Apr 26, '62 - Special Group briefing on Ballentti wiretap case and CIA-Mafia plots. This memorandum for the record is prepared at the request of the Attorney General of the United States following a complete oral briefing of him relative to a sensitive CIA operation conducted during the period approximately August 1960 to May 1961. (Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files: Job 91-00741R, Box 1, Mongoose Papers. Prepared by McCone. The memorandum apparently records a meeting of the Special Group (Augmented); Foreign Relations Of The United States 1961-1963 Volume X Cuba, 1961-1962 Department Of State, Washington, 331. Memorandum for the Record)

      Late Apr, 62 - Harvey, along with Ted Shackley, the chief of JMWAVE Station, procured $5000 worth of explosives, detonators, rifles, handguns, radios, and boat radar in Miami for pickup by Tony Varona. O 'Connell and Rosselli observe delivery.

      Rosselli, given the nominal rank of colonel by the CIA, is now working directly with the Cuban exile community and directly on behalf of the CIA. David Sanchez Morales, Chief of Operations in Miami, is Rosselli 's key contact. (Note: In 1973, during a night of drinking and story swapping with close friend Ruben Carbajal and business associate Bob Walton, Morales flew into a rage at the mention of Jack Kennedy 's name. Walton says Morales ' tirade about Kennedy, fueled by righteous anger and high-proof booze, went on for minutes while he stomped around the room. Suddenly he stopped, sat back down on the bed and remained silent for a moment. Then, as if saying it only to himself, he added: "Well, we took care of that son of a bitch, didn 't we?") (Fonzi pp 389-390; Background on Morales: Twyman p 447-463) Rosseli is one of only two Americans authorized to go into Cuba on clandestine missions. (Mahoney p167)

      May 7, '62 - RFK briefed on past CIA-Mafia Plots: RFK meets with Richard Helms (Helms later denied this meeting took place despite a specific indication on RFK 's calendar), and later that afternoon with Sheffield Edwards and CIA general council Lawrence Houston for a briefing on pre-Bay of Pigs organized crime assassination plots. (Testimony of Lawrence Houston HSCA, p62 National Archives) "Mr. Kennedy stated that upon learning CIA had not cleared its action in hiring Maheu and Giancana with the DOJ he issued orders that the CIA should never again take such steps with first checking with the DOJ." CIA does not tell RFK the organized crime plots will continue. (Memo for IG from Sidney D. Stembridge Acting Director of Security 3.16.76, quoting FBI memo FBI 62-109060-4984 - states May 9, '62 as the date for this briefing.)

      Edwards continues the charade by writing a memo stating falsely he told Harvey to "drop any plans for use of subject (Rosselli) for the future and "internal memorandum for the record," asserting that the operation was "terminated." Note: Harvey found out about this memo when questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1975, and he was furious. He declared that it "was not true, and Col. Edwards knew it was not true"; the falsification was intended to show that Edwards was "no longer chargeable should the operation backfire." (Senate Assassination Plots Report p134)

      May 9, 62 - During an hour long meeting regarding many Justice Dept. issues, RFK tells Hoover the CIA has used organized crime figures in an effort to assassinate Castro (phase one). May 10, 1962 Hoover Memo (FBI 62-116 395-317, NARA-JFK 124-10271-10030)

      May 14, '62 - After the May 7th meeting with RFK, Edwards and Houston dispatch a memo for the Attorney General 's file that would establish his being "informed" of the plots, and that, to Kennedy 's knowledge, they had been terminated. (Church Committee)

      May 22, 62 - After being fully briefed, Hoover sends memo to RFK noting CIA had used Giancana in "clandestine efforts" against Castro. "Colonel Edwards said that since this is 'dirty business' he could not afford to have knowledge of that action of Maheu and Giancana in pursuit of any mission for the CIA Mr. Bissell, in his recent briefings of General Taylor and the attorney general and in connection with their inquiries into CIA activities relating to the Cuban situation told the Attorney General that some of the associated planning included the use of Giancana and the underworld." (FBI 62-109060-4984; Church Committee Interim Report, p127)

      Summer, 62 - Rosselli goes on two mission attempts to reach Cuba. Both fail, with the second resulting in his boat sinking. (Rosseli to Jack Anderson and Les Whitten, Jimmy Breslin, and his own attorneys; Rappleye and Becker pp 224-25)

      Jun 14, '62 - The State Dept. writes a memo regarding Operation Mongoose: "Spontaneous Revolts in Cuba Contingency Planning" stating: The purpose of this plan is to define the courses of action to be pursued by affected agencies of the US Government in the event that a decision is made that the United States undertake military intervention in Cuba. (362. Memorandum From the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale) to the Special Group (Augmented,) Foreign Relations Of The United States 1961-1963 Volume X, Cuba, 1961-1962)

      Jun 21, 62 - Rosselli reports to Harvey that Varona had dispatched a team to Cuba. Harvey felt they would accomplish little and had no specific plan.

      Jul, 62 - Rosselli complains to associates of harassment by FBI and Justice Dept.

      Aug 10, 62 - At a Cuban task force meeting (RFK does not attend.) in Rusk 's office, a new Lansdale proposal for large-scale sabotage raids called "stepped up Course B" is rejected by the majority of the group. Sec. Of Def. McNamara, got up to leave and voiced an opinion that "the only way to take care of Castro is to kill him. I really mean it." Note: Testimony About the August 10 Meeting:

      McCone testified that "liquidation" or removal of Castro and other Cuban leaders arose at the August 10 meeting in the context of exploring the alternatives that were available" for the next phase of MONGOOSE. He did not recall who made this suggestion, but remembered that he and Edward Murrow took "strong exception" to it.

      After the meeting of the SGA, group recommends increased Mongoose activity. Harvey 's notes show that McNamara and Edward Murrow of the USIA raised the subject of assassination. McCone states in memorandum that at no time did the suggestion receive serious consideration, however, afterwards General Lansdale asks Harvey in a memo: "In compliance with the desires and guidance expressed in the 10 August policy meeting on Operation Mongoose. We will hold an Operational Representatives work session in my office. Papers required from each of you for the Tuesday meeting: Mr. Harvey: Intelligence, Political, including liquidation of leaders." Harvey is furious that the term "including elimination of leaders" has been put to paper and demands it removed.

      McCone testified to the Senate Committee in 1975 that he called McNamara after receiving Lansdale 's August 13 memo: "insisted that the Memorandum be withdrawn because no decision was made on this subject, and since no decision was made, then Lansdale was quite out of order in tasking the Central Intelligence Agency to consider the matter." McCone said that McNamara agreed that Lansdales 's Memorandum should be withdrawn for the same reason.

      Note: McCone 's memoranda reads: "Immediately after the meeting, I called on Sec McNamara personally and reemphasized my position, in which he heartily agreed. I did this because Operation MONGOOSE --- an interdepartmental affair --- was under the operational control of [the Defense Department]" (Senate Committee, McCone, 6/6/75, p39) McNamara confirmed this testimony: "I agreed with Mr. McCone that no such planning should be undertaken." He added: "I have no knowledge or information about any other plans or preparations for a Castro assassination." (Senate Committee, McNamara, 7/11/75, p8)

      Harvey testified it was his recollection that "the question of assassination was raised by Secretary McNamara as one of shouldn 't we consider the elimination or assassination ' of Castro. He told the committee there was "no extensive discussion of it, no back and forth as the whys and wherefores and possibilities"(Harvey, 7/11/75 p30)

      Aug 14, 62 - Harvey submits memo to his new boss, Helms, reporting the Lansdale communication and what Harvey had done about it. Harvey 's memo states "The question of assassination, particularly of Castro, was brought up by Secretary McNamara. It was the obvious consensus at that meeting, that this is not a subject which has been made a matter of official record. Upon receipt of the attached memorandum. I advised that as far as CIA was concerned we would write no document pertaining to this and would participate in no open meeting discussing it."

      Aug 20, '62 - Maxwell Taylor, the chairman of the SGA, informs President Kennedy in a memo that the SGA sees no likelihood that the Castro government can be overthrown without direct U.S. military intervention. Taylor reports that the SGA recommends a more aggressive OPERATION MONGOOSE program. Kennedy authorizes the development of aggressive plans aimed at ousting Castro, but specifies that no overt U.S. military involvement should be made part of those plans (see entry for August 2 3, 1962, below).(Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 147)

      Aug 23, '62 - President Kennedy calls a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to air John McCone 's concerns that Soviet missiles were in the process of being introduced into Cuba. Although Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara argue against McCone's interpretation of the military build-up in Cuba, Kennedy concludes the meeting by saying that a contingency plan to deal with a situation in which Soviet nuclear missiles are deployed in Cuba should be drawn up.

      Aug 23, '62 - Kennedy's instructions are formalized in National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM ) 181, issued this same day. Kennedy directs that several additional actions and studies to be undertaken "in light of the evidence of new bloc activity in Cuba," and assigning studies on Berlin, Cuba, and Mongoose problems stating: "What actions can be taken to get Jupiter missiles out of Turkey?" With regard to MONGOOSE, Kennedy orders that "Plan B Plus," a program aimed at overthrowing Castro without overtly employing the U.S. military, be developed "with all possible speed." (Document 12, National Security Action Memorandum 181, on Actions and Studies in Response to New Soviet Bloc Activity in Cuba, 8/23/62)

      Sept, 62 - Rosselli informs Harvey the poison pills are still with "asset" in Cuba. Verona is ready to send in another team but it doesn 't seem that they actually ever go.

      Sept 3, '62 - Senior State Department official Walt Rostow recommends that current OPERATION MONGOOSE activities be intensified but also suggests studying the possibility of having independent anti-Castro groups oust Castro with minimal U.S. assistance. (Document 14, W. W. Rostow's Memorandum to the President, Assessing Soviet Military Aid to Cuba, 9/3/62)

      Sept-Jan, 62 - Harvey meets with Rosselli continuing to monitor the assassination project. No progress is made.

      Oct 1, 62 - Secretary McNamara meets with the JCS for a briefing on the latest intelligence on Cuba and to discuss intensified Cuban contingency planning. Defense Intelligence Agency analysts inform the group that some intelligence points to the possibility that MRBMs have been positioned in Pinar del Río Province. After the meeting, Admiral Robert Dennison, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command (CINCLANT), is directed by McNamara "to be prepared to institute a blockade against Cuba." The commanders-in-chief of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force under the Atlantic Command are also directed to pre-position military equipment and weapons needed to execute the airstrike plan. (USCONARC Participation in the Cuban Crisis, 10/63, p. 8; CINCLANT Historical Account of Cuban Crisis, 4/29/63, p. 39; Department of Defense Operations during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 2/12/63, p. 2)

      Oct 2, 62 - As a result of his meeting with the JCS the previous day, Robert McNamara sends a memo to the JCS outlining six circumstances in which military action against Cuba may be necessary:

      a. Soviet action against Western rights in Berlin...
      b. Evidence that the Castro regime has permitted the positioning of bloc offensive weapons on Cuban soil or in Cuban harbors.
      c. An attack against the Guantanamo Naval Base or against U.S. planes or vessels outside Cuban territorial air space or waters.
      d. A substantial popular uprising in Cuba, the leaders of which request assistance...
      e. Cuban armed assistance to subversion in other parts of the Western Hemisphere.
      f. A decision by the President that the affairs in Cuba have reached a point inconsistent with continuing U.S. national security. McNamara asks that future military planning cover a variety of these contingencies, and place particular emphasis on plans that would assure that Fidel Castro is removed from power. (CINCLANT Historical Account of Cuban Crisis, /29/63, p.-42)

      Oct 4, 62 - RFK Makes Clear Lansdale Is In Charge of Mongoose: RFK advises SGA that JFK wants more priority given to operations against Castro regime. The attorney general also expresses the president's "concern over [the] developing situation," and urges that "massive activity" be undertaken within the Mongoose framework. The group agrees that plans for the mining of Cuban harbors and for capturing Cuban forces for interrogation should be considered. It was established that "General Lansdale's authority over the entire Mongoose operation, and that the CIA organization was responsive to his policy and operational guidance, and this was thoroughly understood." (Memorandum of Mongoose Meeting Held on Thursday , October 4, 1962, 10/4/62; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 147; Document: Memorandum of Project Mongoose meeting.)

      Oct 14-15, 62 - National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) in Washington to analyze photos taken by Heyser's U-2 mission. Late in the afternoon, one of the teams finds pictures showing the main components of a Soviet MRBM in a field at San Cristóbal. Analysis of reconnaissance photos during the day also identifies all but one of the remaining twenty-four SAM sites in Cuba. Other photographs of San Julián airfield show that IL-28 light bombers are being uncrated. A senior officer at NPIC phones CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence Ray Cline to inform him of the discovery. The officials at NPIC have tried to contact CIA Director McCone but are unable to reach him en route to Los Angeles. National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, who is given the news by Ray Cline, decides to wait until morning to alert President Kennedy. Bundy later states that he chose to wait because it was not possible to prepare a presentation information until morning and because he feared that a hastily summoned meeting at night would jeopardize secrecy.

      The SGA orders the acceleration of covert activities against Cuba. In particular, the group agrees that "considerably more sabotage should be undertaken" and that "all efforts should be made to develop new and imaginative approaches with the possibility of getting rid of the Castro regime." (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 147)

      A major U.S. military exercise named PHIBRIGLEX-62 is scheduled to begin. The two-week long maneuver was to have employed twenty thousand Navy personnel and four thousand Marines in an amphibious assault on Puerto Rico's Vieques Island and the overthrow of its imaginary tyrant, "Ortsac"-"Castro" spelled backwards. (However, because of the impending crisis, PHIBRIGLEX62 is used primarily as cover for troop and equipment deployments aimed at increasing military readiness for a strike on Cuba.) (CINCLANT Historical Account of Cuban Crisis, 4/29/63)

      Oct 16, 62 - McGeorge Bundy informs President Kennedy that "hard photographic evidence" has been obtained showing Soviet MRBMs in Cuba. Kennedy immediately calls an 11:45A.M. meeting and dictates the names of the fourteen or so advisers he wants present. This is the group that becomes known as the "ExComm"--the Executive Committee of the National Security Council. Later that morning, President Kennedy briefs his brother Robert, who expresses surprise at the news. JFK and RFK determine they have two missions: to get the missiles out and to contain war impulses. (Mahoney p 200)

      Missile Crisis - ExComm: The first meeting of the ExComm convenes. Photographic evidence is presented to the group, including pictures of missile sites under construction with canvas-covered missile trailers. Note: JFK decides not to "attend all the meetings of our committee," to keep discussions from being inhibited." (Kennedy, p33)

      The SGA convenes in the White House prior to the second ExComm meeting. According to Richard Helms' notes, Robert Kennedy expresses President Kennedy 's "general dissatisfaction" with progress under the Mongoose program. The SGA discusses but rejects several alternatives for eliminating the newly discovered Soviet missile sites in Cuba, including a proposal to have Cuban émigrés bomb the missile sites. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 146)

      Oct 22-28, 62 - Cuban Missile Crisis

      Oct 23, 62 - At a debriefing for State Department officials, Edwin Martin emphasizes to U. Alexis Johnson the importance of preventing exile groups from creating an incident in Cuba during the crisis. Martin suggests that Johnson raise the issue of halting covert activities with CIA Director of Plans Richard Helms as well as with the ExComm. The issue of ending Operation Mongoose activities and checking the action of independent Cuban émigré groups does not, however, appear to have been seriously discussed in the ExComm. Mongoose activities are not in fact shut down until October 30, too late to prevent a sabotage mission against Cuba from being carried out by CIA agents on November 8. (U. Alexis Johnson 's Agenda for the Morning ExComm Meeting, 10/24/62)

      Oct 25, 62 - A CIA sabotage team, dispatched to Cuba to destroy facilities at the Matahambre copper mine in Cuba, is prevented from executing the sabotage attack by Cuban authorities.

      Oct 29, '62 - During the crisis, an FBI informant reported that "he believes he could arrange to have Fidel Castro assassinated. Underworld figures still have channels inside Cuba through which the assassination of Castro could be successfully arranged." "He said that in the event the United States Government is interested in having the attempt made, he would raise the necessary money and would want nothing from the Government except the assurance that such an undertaking would in no way adversely affect the national security. He expressed confidence in his ability to accomplish this mission without any additional contact with Governmental representatives and with a minimum of contacts with private individuals." The Bureau reported this to the AG and concluded: "The informant was told that his offer is outside our jurisdiction, which he acknowledged. No commitments were made to him. At this time, we do not plan to further pursue the matter. Our relationship with him has been most carefully guarded and we would feel obligated to handle any recontact of him concerning the matter if such is desired." (Memorandum from Hoover to the AG, 10.29/62)

      Oct 30, 62 - All operations by Task Force W, the CIA 's action arm for Operation Mongoose activities, are called to an immediate halt. However, during the crisis, Director of Task Force W, William Harvey, ordered teams of covert agents into Cuba on his own authority to support any conventional U.S. military operation that might occur. At the end of October, a new mission is about to be dispatched. One of the operatives, concerned about a covert operation so soon after a settlement to the missile crisis has been reached, sends a message to AG Kennedy to verify that the mission is in order. Kennedy, angered to learn that CIA missions are continuing, chastises Harvey and asks CIA Director McCone to terminate the operations. Harvey is demoted and is to be sent to Rome. Edward Lansdale is subsequently sent to Miami to oversee the end of Mongoose. However, three of ten scheduled six-man sabotage teams have already been dispatched to Cuba. On November 8, one of the teams carries out its assigned sabotage mission. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, pp. 147-48)

      Nov, 62 - Operation Mongoose ends.

      Nov 8, 62 - A six-man CIA sabotage team dispatched as part of Task Force W blows up a Cuban industrial facility (see entry for October 30,1962). The incident is never raised in U.S.-Soviet talks and remains unknown to most if not all members of the ExComm.

      Dec, 62 - Special Group "Cuba Coordinating Committee" takes over covert operations against Cuba.

      Dec 4, 62 - ExComm members discuss future policy toward Cuba at a working meeting held without President Kennedy present. The group reviews U.S. planning for future overflights of Cuba, apparently agreeing that continued aerial reconnaissance is necessary to verify the removal of the IL-28 s and to ensure offensive weapons are not reintroduced into Cuba.

      U.S. Customs officers capture twelve anti-Castro guerillas, mostly American soldiers of fortune trained by the CIA, at a secret training base called No Name Key, north of Key West, as they are about to embark on a raid to Cuba. They are charged with violation of the Neutrality Act. Among those arrested is Gerry Patrick Hemming, founder with Frank Sturgis of the International Anti-Communist Brigade. (FBI Memorandum 105-1198, Miami Field Office, Jan 20, 1963, National Archives; Hinckle and Turner, pp154-157; Fonzi chronology p 418)

      Dec 22-Jan 6, 63 Harvey is in Miami. Details of activity unknown.

      Dec 29, 62 - At RFK 's insistence and over Kenny O 'Donnell 's objections, JFK attends welcoming ceremony for exiled prisoners at the Orange Bowl saying the exiles would return their flag to a free Cuba. Schlesinger observed later that "both the Brigade and Castro received the wrong message." (Schlesinger p580)

      Note: O 'Donnell told JFK that it would "look as if you 're planning to back them in another invasion of Cuba." The president concurred, "You 're absolutely right. I shouldn 't do it." (O"Donnell and Powers, pp312-313)

      JFK spends an hour in Palm Beach with brigade leaders Manuel Artime, Pepe San Roman, Enrique Ruiz-Williams, and a half-dozen others. They personally invite the president to the rally so he changes his mind and attends. (Mahoney p220)

      A scheduled [exile] plot against JFK does not proceed. Note: The Secret Service and the Miami Police are tipped off about his presence. "A Cuban male, 25 yrs. 5 '4", 135-155 lbs., strong muscular build, known only as CHINO" for questioning. (Mahoney p220, endnote 231, p407)


      Jan 1, '63 The Special Group Augmented is replaced by a different oversight organization, the Special Group , chaired by McGeorge Bundy. Although Mongoose is abolished, the CIA arm, Task Force W, continues to exist as the Special Affairs Staff, located at the CIA's Miami station. William Harvey, formerly the head of Task Force W, is replaced by Desmond FitzGerald as head of the Special Affairs Staff. Operations against Fidel Castro continue during 1963 under FitzGerald, despite earlier Kennedy directives to halt all Cuban operations. In addition to continuing attempts on Castro's life over the course of the year, CIA teams carry out at least six major operations in Cuba aimed at disrupting the Cuban government and economy. (Cuba, Operation Mongoose, 1/28/63; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 170)

      Harvey's replacement by Desmond FitzGerald and the scuttling of the Rosselli operation did not end but only redirected the CIA's attempts to kill Castro. One of FitzGerald's early inspirations was fanciful and impractical, appealing to his temperamental fondness for the clever and the ingenious. It called for the Technical Services Division to rig an exploding seashell, which would be placed on the sea floor in an area where Castro liked to go skin diving. Like many CIA people, in love with the subtle and the artful, FitzGerald was fascinated by gadgets and resented skeptics who dourly suggested they would cost too much or would fail to work or weren't even needed at all. He was downright petulant at times. When Sam Halpern once protested that a fancy new communications device just wasn't going to work, FitzGerald said, "If you don't like it, you don't have to come to meetings anymore."

      Halpern protested that the seashell plan was inherently impossible to control. How could they be sure that Castro would be the one to find it? Besides, the best assassinations do not appear to be assassinations at all, while Castro blowing up on the ocean floor would point a finger directly at the United States. Similar protests had been made about the plan to give Castro a box of poisoned cigars. He might hand them all out to a delegation of visiting schoolteachers. If the idea was to kill Castro, they had to find something which would get him and no one else. FitzGerald's ideas weren't turning out any better than the earlier ones, such as the proposal to provide Castro with a poisoned wet suit to be delivered by James B. Donovan, an American lawyer negotiating the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners. The Technical Services Division had duly purchased a suit and contaminated the breathing apparatus with tubercle bacilli and the suit itself with fungus spores which would cause a chronic skin disease called Madura foot. Critics of this plan claimed that its authors had neglected the most elementary points: for example, the fact that it was in effect a gift from the United States (the idea was to keep it secret), or Donovan's feeling about being the gift-giver in this plot. If he didn't know, after all, he might try on the suit himself. As it happened, Donovan gave Castro a wet suit entirely on his own, and the CIA's wet suit was destroyed.

      But FitzGerald did not abandon the problem. Eventually he came up with a serious effort to use a major in the Cuban army, in contact with the CIA since 1961, named Rolando Cubela. (As originally published in The Atlantic Monthly, August 1979 "Inside the Department of Dirty Tricks" by Thomas Powers)

      Jan 4, 63 - The Standing Group, an NSC group that eventually replaces the ExComm in reviewing U.S. policy toward Cuba, discusses McGeorge Bundy's proposal of opening communications with Fidel Castro. Bundy later notes that the "gradual development of some form of accommodation with Castro" became a standard item in lists of policy alternatives considered by the Kennedy administration. Nonetheless, U.S. policy toward Castro vacillates considerably in the months after the missile crisis. Even as secret approaches to Castro are being weighed, the Kennedy administration also contemplates Pentagon proposals for military action against Castro, as well as a wide range of economic and covert programs to weaken the Castro government. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 173)

      Jan 8, 63 - JFK writes NSAM 213 : Interdepartmental Organization for Cuban Affairs approving a detailed organization plan for coordinating management "of all aspects of our current policy toward Cuba," giving day-to-day coordinating responsibility to the Dept of State while "final responsibility of course, remains with the President."

      Jan 25, 63 - At its first meeting in over a month and during subsequent sessions, the ExComm considers various long-range plans to pressure Fidel Castro. The United States wants Castro removed from power but it recognizes that if this proves impossible, then it wants him to be independent of the Soviet Union. Policy papers suggest that the ultimate objective is replacement of the government by "one fully compatible with the goals of the United States." (Participation in Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings, October 1962, 10/5/68)

      Feb 2, '63 - CIA officially sets up new Domestic Operations Division under Tracy Barnes, chief of the psychological and paramilitary staff for the Agency 's clandestine branch during the Bay of Pigs, when he worked with David Atlee Phillips as propaganda chief; Phillips takes over Cuban operations on orders from FitzGerald. E. Howard Hunt is shifted from chief of the covert action staff in the Western European Division to a deputy position in Barnes ' new division. (Fonzi chronology p 419)

      Feb, 63 - Harvey Demoted: Harvey is officially removed from his post as head of Project Mongoose on orders from Robert Kennedy and is reassigned to the Rome station as chief of station effectively taking him out of action. He meets with Rosselli in Washington, DC. (Inspector General 's Report, p 53) See entry for Oct 30th.

      Harvey gets back in touch with Rosselli in Miami and Los Angeles (Feb 13). Harvey is reportedly seen in Florida meeting with Rosselli as late as June 1963 and visited anti-Castro camps there. Asset is paid $2,700 for expenses. They agree to put assassination plots on hold but leave the bounty of $150,000 active. (Church Committee, 1975)

      AM/LASH plot against Castro revived headed by Harvey 's replacement, FitzGerald, using Castro government official Cubela, an associate of the Cuban "asset" who had been recruited by Trafficante for first attempt.

      Two-Tracks: JFK and the State Dept. begin their own two-track process towards Cuba. The Republican right adopts the cause of liberating Cuba from Castro. (Mahoney p266)

      RFK takes former Bay of Pigs prisoner, Brigade 2506 's Manual Artime on skiing vacation returning him to Miami with CIA retainer to revive his "Movement for the Recovery of the Revolution." As a condition for this support Artime and Ruiz Williams supported the Kennedy plan to integrate the Bay of Pigs veterans into U.S. Armed Forces. Nearly half the brigade members sign up for a special army training program at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. 300 others, including former 2506 frogman Blas Casares and underground organizer Jorge Recarey, achieve officer rank after completion of the Special Officers ' Training Program at Fort Benning, Georgia, in Mar 1963. (Mahoney p 265)

      Spring, 63 - Life magazine editorially adopts the cause of the exiles as its own with photo essays. Clare Luce Booth, wife of Time-Life magazine publisher Henry Luce, former congresswoman, and U.S. ambassador, helped finance an anti-Castro platoon. The Luces walk out of White House luncheon with JFK after refusing to tone down coverage of the exile raids and leave Cuba to the devices of the president. Luce calls meeting at Time-Life headquarters in New York, stating Time, Inc. was declaring war on Cuba. Contact was to be made with principal exile groups to arrange for reporters and photographers to go along on raids. Time, Inc would provide logistical and financial assistance. Note: Life purchased ship-to-shore radios for Alpha 66 and paid commandos for exclusive stories; it also provided life insurance for commandos and correspondence. (Turner and Hinckle, p186-187)

      Mar 19, '63 - At a press conference in Washington arranged by spymaster Bishop, Alpha 66 leader Veciana announces that his anti-Castro forces have raided a "Soviet fortress" and ship in a Cuban port east of Havana, causing a dozen Soviet casualties and serious damage. Veciana says his purpose is "to wage psychological warfare against the government of Premier Fidel Castro and the Soviet troops supporting him." The New York Times says the Kennedy administration is "embarrassed by the incident." (Fonzi chronology p 419)

      Mar, 63 - Meeting of NSC discusses Castro 's lending assistance to revolutionary movements outside Cuba. RFK sends JFK two memos urging more action. JFK answers neither one. (Mahoney p266; Schlesinger pp580-81)

      Mar 18, 63 - Exiles on Attack: Attack on anchored Soviet vessel Lvov (L'Gov), off northern coast of Cuba, by members of Alpha 66 organized by CIA 's "Maurice Bishop," aka David A. Phillips (who hoped to provoke the president and Russia into another confrontation) and Second Front commandos. The commandos then went ashore and attacked a Soviet infantry camp wounding twelve soldiers. Afterwards the group held a press conference to brag about their actions. (Turner & Hinckle p174;Cuba, The US and Russia 1960-1963, pp126-127) Soviet Union delivers angry protest. (U.S.-Cuba Relations, 1960-1963: Neutrality Enforcement and the Cuban Exiles During the Kennedy Administration)

      Note: On March 19 , the Department of State issued a statement that it was "strongly opposed to hit-and-run attacks on Cuba by splinter refugee groups." The statement continued, "such raids do not weaken the grip of the Communist regime on Cuba--indeed they may strengthen it." The statement concluded that the U.S. Government was investigating the raid to see if U.S. law was violated. (For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1963, pp. 266.) In his press conference, Kennedy stated that "our best information was that they did not come from the United States." He also stated that the United States did not support the group and had no connection with it. (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963, pp. 277-278)

      Note: Under Secretary Ball had nine telephone conversations with Department of State, Justice, and White House officials between 9:10 a.m. and 2:15 p.m., March 19, prior to the release of the Department of State's statement. Ball was told by U. Alexis Johnson that the United States had no connection with Alpha 66; but as Ball observed, "nobody is going to believe this." Ball noted that the actions of Alpha 66 were in clear violation of the U.S. neutrality laws. (Kennedy Library, Ball Papers, Telephone Conversations, Cuba)

      Mar 21, 63 - President Kennedy criticizes recent attacks on Cuba by Cuba "exiles," saying that the raids only "strengthened the Russian position in Cuba." (NYT, 3/22/63) Earlier in the day JFK expressed some concern why we were without good intelligence on the intentions of these groups. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Exiles, 3/63)

      Mar 26, 63 - The anti-Castro group L-66 attacks and sinks the Soviet ship Baku as it loads Cuban sugar at the harbor of Caibarien, Cuba. The assault on the Baku, as well as the one on the L'Gov a week earlier, are among the most serious attacks that have taken place during the year, and both incidents were strenuously protested by the Soviet Union and Cuba as CIA instigated: "CIA bandits hiding behind the skirts of Cuban malcontents". ( Pravda; Summary of Major Raids Carried Out by Anti-Castro Groups, ca. 4/63; NYT, 3/28/63)

      Note: The Lambda 66 Cuban exile group attacked the Soviet ship Baku when it was loading sugar in the Cuban port of Caibarien. The raiders had a free lance photo journalist aboard for Life magazine, Andrew St. George. (Turner & Hinckle, p174; Life Apr 12, 1963; Memoranda from Chase to McGeorge Bundy and Clifton to the President, March 27.)

      Mar 29, '63 - JFK calls a meeting of the ExComm to discuss the exile raids against Cuba, stating: "The question is whether we should take direct action in the U.S. to cut off their supplies or whether we should try to advise them to attack Cuba but not the Russians, with the result that the raids would draw less press attention and arouse less acrimony in Moscow." McCone feels there will be intense public and press criticism if the US stands down these raids. Rusk states the raids will be blamed on the US no matter what we say. "If we decide that such raids should be conducted, we should plan them ourselves and see that they are carried out under our control rather than as now occurs." McNamara says the raids can be stopped if the Navy is used or "if we don 't want to stop the raids, we can modify them, making it difficult for the raiders to attack targets not of our choosing." The AG feels the raids can be slowed down using the Coast Guard and "prosecute cases against those who are supplying ammunition to the raiders." The President asked the Attorney General to meet with Mr. McCone and representatives of State, Defense, and the White House to draft an action program for his approval, to include the following points:

      a. Guidance by the CIA to the raiding groups.
      b. Discussion with the British about the use of the Bahama Islands by the raiders.
      c. Consideration of whether we should inform the press for background that the raiders are taking off from the Bahamas.
      d. Preventing the planned airplane raid, if necessary, announcing that we intend to stop the raid so that if it takes place, then all would be fairly and clearly warned.
      e. Ways of preventing the return of raiders leaving U.S. jurisdiction. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Executive Committee, Meetings, Vol. IV, 38-42, 1/25/63-3/29/63. Top Secret. The meeting lasted until 1:30 p.m. (President's Appointment Book) and was the last meeting of the Executive Committee.)


      Apr, 63 - According to his testimony, Harvey receives phone call from Rosselli.

      Beginning in April, the Mafia begins arming and organizing the Cuban exile movement to relaunch the anti-Castro cause. Dr. Paulino Sierra Martinez, a Cuban attorney from Chicago known to almost no one in the exile community in Miami surfaced in south Florida to form a united front called the Junta de Gobierno en Exilio. Sierra was accompanied to Florida by an entertainer from Dallas named William Trull. FBI reports reveal they hardly knew each other and gave conflicting versions of why they teamed up. (Mahoney pp269-270; Staff Summary file for Paulino Sierra Martinez, HSCA. Also HSCA Staff Summary of CIA file, n.d.)

      Meetings of the Special Group continue discussions on Cuban operations, specifically on the exile activities. Further concern is the early negotiations of the Nuclear Test Ban treaty. (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, S.G. 83)

      Mafia begins arming and organizing the Cuban exile movement supposedly to relaunch the anti Castro cause. (Mahoney p 269)

      Apr 1, '63 - The New York Times reports: "Seventeen heavily armed Cuban exiles planning to attack a Soviet tanker off Cuba were seized yesterday by a British force on a solitary islet in the Bahamas chain. The capture was apparently the first result of an agreement worked out late last week by Washington and London to cooperate in preventing raids by opponents of Premier Fidel Castro [In Miami], Cuban exiles reacted with a mixture of anger, defiance and gloom." The anti-Castro raiding party was led by Jerry Buchanan, a member of Frank Sturgis ' International Anti-Communist Brigade. (Fonzi chronology p 419)

      Apr 3, 63 - Official sabotage operations against Cuba have been discontinued, McGeorge Bundy tells participants in a high-level administration meeting on Cuba, because the Special Group "had decided...that such activity is not worth the effort expended on it." This cessation of sabotage operations is short-lived however; President Kennedy approves a new set of operations on June 19 (see entry for June 19, 1963). (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 173)

      Apr 5, '63 - Kennedy Administration reveals it is assigning more Navy and Customs planes and boats to police the Florida straits against continuing anti-Castro raids. (Fonzi chronology p 419)

      Apr 9, '63 - Memorandum From the Secretary of the Army's Special Assistant (Califano) to the Secretary of the Army (Vance) states items of sabotage and propaganda concerning Cuba. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 77-0131, Sabotage/Destruction.)

      Apr 11, '63 - JFK writes private letter to Khrushchev concerning the test ban and states: "We are also aware of the tensions unduly created by recent private attacks on your ships in Caribbean waters; and we are taking action to halt those attacks which are in violation of our laws. In particular, I have neither the intention nor the desire to invade Cuba; I consider that it is for the Cuban people themselves to decide their destiny. I am determined to continue with policies which will contribute to peace in the Caribbean." (the full text of the letter is in Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, volume VI, pages 265-268)

      Just days later: A memo from Gordon Chase of the NSC staff to McBundy relates discussion of Cuba covert actions including "Black Operations and Sabotage Targets" among the "Cottrell Committee." Minutes from the meeting state: "General--Dez (Califano/FitzGerald) feels that the President wants some action. Dez is working on a program which will show continuous motion. The soft targets, which are generally unimportant, will be first because they require the least preparation. As time goes on, however, we will be hitting some harder and more important targets." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 4/1-4/20/63)

      Apr-Jun, 63 - RFK phone logs show continued contacts with exile leaders.

      Apr 13-21, 63 - Harvey is at the Plantation Yacht Harbor motel/marina in Plantation Key, Florida according to his QJWIN/ZRRIFLE expense records. "John A. Wallston" (Rosselli 's alias was John A. Ralston), who listed his address as 56510 Wilshire Blvd the Friars Club in Los Angeles was registered in the next room which was charged to Harvey 's room #22. Harvey spent at least three days there making calls to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Perrine, FL (possibly JM/WAVE station). Records show a boat was chartered to go to Islamorada, FL. There is reimbursement for dinner for three (two unofficial Americans and Harvey) at the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami on April 20 and also "operational hotel rooms" at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami. (Twyman pp 442-443; Mahoney p 268)

      Apr 15, '63 - A memo prepared by McCone analyzing the situation in Cuba reads: "Castro's talks with (James) Donovan have been mild in nature, conciliatory and reasonably frank. Of greater significance is Dr. Vallejo's private statements to Donovan that Castro realizes he must find a rapprochement with the United States if he is to succeed in building a viable Cuba. Apparently Castro does not know how to go about this, therefore the subject has not been discussed with Donovan." (See also Memo from McCone to JFK Apr 10, '63, with same information. Central Intelligence Agency, DCI/McCone Files, JOB 80-B01285A, DCI's Meetings with the President, 1 April-30 June 1963. Secret; Eyes Only. A note on the top of the memorandum reads: "Read by the Pres 4/10 at 1:00 p.m. Note retained."; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Intelligence Material, Vol. V.)

      In a meeting with JFK in Palm Beach, McCone raised the question of the "possibility of working on Castro with the objective of disenchanting him with his Soviet relations causing him to break relations with Khrushchev, to effect the removal of Soviet Troops from Cuba, reorient his policies with respect to Latin America, and establish in Cuba government satisfactory to the rest of the Hemisphere." McCone offered the president two ways to solve the Cuban problem: either in the manner outlined above or alternately, by bringing consistent pressure of every possible nature on Khrushchev to force his withdrawal from Cuba, and then to bring about the downfall of Castro by means which could be developed after the removal of the Soviets troops (but not before) and thereafter establish a satisfactory government in Cuba. I stated to the President that we were studying both courses of action and I had not made up my mind concerning the feasibility of either plan. The President thought both approaches should be carefully examined and suggested the possibility of pursuing both courses at the same time." (Central Intelligence Agency, DCI/McCone Files, Job 80-B01285A, DCI Meetings with the President, 1 April-30 June 1963. Drafted by McCone on April 16.)

      Apr 18, '63 - Memorandum From the Coordinator of Cuban Affairs (Cottrell) to the Special Group listing "Proposed New Covert Policy and Program Towards Cuba" for consideration of the new Special Group. Efforts are to be concentrated in the effort to have Russia remove forces from Cuba.

      Note: A note on the bottom of this memorandum indicated it was prepared for the April 18 meeting of the Special Group, which deferred consideration of this paper until April 25.

      Manchester, "Death of a President", p. 46: Some of the Lone Star faithful looked forward to the induction into the Presidency of a lanky, two-gunned nonfictional John Wayne. That spring Cuban exiles living in Miami recieved a broadside declaring: "Only through one development will you Cuban patriots ever live again in your homeland as freemen, responsible as must be the most capable for the guidelines and welfare of the Cuban people." This blessing would come to pass if an inspired Act of God should place in the White House within weeks a Texan known to be a friend of all Latin Americans...though he must under present conditions bow to the Zionists who since 1905 came into control of the United States, and for whom Jack Kennedy and Nelson Rockefeller and other members of the Council of Foreign Relations and allied agencies are only stooges and pawns. Though Johnson must now bow to these crafty and cunning Cumminist-hatching Jews, yet, did an Act of God suddenly elevate him into the top position would revert to what his beloved father and grandfather were, and to their values and principles and loyalties. The dodger, decorated with cowpokes and a profile of the Alamo, was dated April 18, 1963, and signed, "A Texan who resents the Oriental influence that has come to control, to degrade, to pollute and enslave his own people." Commission Document 1107 (the FBI Gemberling Report of May 15, 1964).

      Apr 21, 63 - McGeorge Bundy submits to the NSC's Standing Group a memo on "Cuba Alternatives" discussing "possible new directions" for U.S. policy toward Cuba. Three possible alternatives are identified: forcing "a non-Communist solution in Cuba by all necessary means," insisting on "major but limited ends," or moving "in the direction of a gradual development of some form of accommodation with Castro." (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 171)

      Exile leaders accuse JFK of "breaking promises and agreements" for a second invasion.

      Apr 27 - May 23, 63 - Fidel Castro and a large entourage begin a five-week, fourteen-city visit to the Soviet Union.

      May 1, 63 - After her lengthy interview with Fidel Castro, ABC News Anchorwoman Lisa Howard is debriefed by the CIA when she returned to the U.S. She emphasized his interest in better relations with Washington, and offered to play the role of diplomatic intermediary between the two countries. The notation "PSAW" in the top right-hand corner of the document signifies that the memorandum was read by President Kennedy. (CIA, "Interview of U.S. Newswoman with Fidel Castro Indicating Possible Interest in Rapprochement with the United States.")

      May, 63 - FBI scrutinizes the activities of Alpha 66.

      May13, '63 - A draft memorandum from Sherman Kent to McGeorge Bundy titled: "Developments in Cuba and Possible US Actions in the Event of Castro 's Death," prepared by the Office of National Estimates of the CIA, at Bundy 's instruction, it "represents our best and most careful effort in the time available." This memo is a general analysis of the situation with Cuba and prospects for US action after Castro 's death. "We believe the odds are that upon Castro 's death his brother Raul or some other figure in the regime would, with Soviet backing and help, take over control." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, meetings and Memoranda Seriers, Standing Group Meeting, 5-28-63)

      May 19, '63 - The Miami News reports in an article titled, "Gamblers Pop Out of Exile Grab Bag" that Chicago-based gangsters were behind the government-in-exile move.

      Note: One of the promoters of a united front meeting in Miami in May was George Franci, a Trafficante asset.

      Jun, 63 - Rosselli came to Washington to meet with Harvey who picks him up at Dulles Airport and takes him to dinner. This was to be their official last meeting. FBI surveillance of Rosselli picks up the meeting. Harvey meets with FBI 's CIA liaison Sam Papich the next morning. Harvey explains that he was terminating an operational association with Rosselli. Papich reminds Harvey of the FBI rule requiring FBI personnel to report any known contacts between former FBI employees and criminal elements and that Papich would have to report to Hoover that Harvey had been seen with Rosselli. Hoover and the Justice Dept. liaison Courtney Evans were given detailed reports on the contact. (Mahoney p 286, note 97, p 412)

      Jun 5, 63 - CIA transmits than a half dozen intelligence reports indicating that Castro was interested mending the U.S.-Cuban conflict and establishing normal ties. (CIA, "Reported Desire of the Cuban Government for Rapprochement with the United States.")

      Jun 10, 63 - JFK 's speech at the American University

      Jun 8, '63 - Pawley, of Life magazine, boards a CIA flying boat to rendezvous off the coast of Oriente province with his own yacht, the Flying Tiger II that will be used by exiles for a mission. He is accompanied by Rip Robertson, a Life photographer, Eddie Bayo, a respected veteran anti-Castro raider determined to lead a sortie into Cuba to liberate the Russian officers who supposedly want to defect to the US. These officers were said to know the location of Soviet nuclear missiles on the island, missiles that were never removed by the Soviet Union despite its commitment to do so. The plan is to meet up with the Flying Tiger II two days later with the Soviet officers in hand but Bayo and his comrades were never heard from again. This becomes known as the Bayo-Pawley affair. (Mahoney pp272-273)

      Jun 19, 63 - Following a Special Group meeting, President Kennedy approves a new sabotage program against Cuba. Whereas Operation Mongoose was aimed at eventually sparking an internal revolt, the new program seeks a more limited objective: "to nourish a spirit of resistance and disaffection which could lead to significant defections and other by-products of unrest." Numerous sabotage efforts against important economic targets are authorized by the Special Group during the autumn of 1963, and U.S.(CIA)-assisted raids and assassination plots are not completely terminated until 1965 (see entries for October 3 and 24, 1963). (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75)

      Note: RFK has formed close ties to several Cuban exiles: Roberto San Roman, Enrique Ruiz-Williams, and in '63, Manuel Artime. RFK 's "interference" led to arguments with Harvey (who routinely refers to the AG as "that fucker)." By this time Miami is no longer controlled by Washington. Besides Rosselli 's kill team, Operation 40, a ZR/RIFLE unit created prior to the Bay of Pigs, brought together Cuban mob henchmen like Eladio del Valle and Rolando Masferrer, soldiers of fortune like Frank Sturgis, and CIA case officers like Col. William Bishop and David Morales, who managed assassins. (Mahoney p 174-175;HSCA staff reports)

      Jun 27, 63 - Harvey, winding up his headquarters responsibilities in preparation for assignment in Rome, writes a memo stating that the original justification for employing QJWIN (asset developed for original ZR/RIFLE projects.) no longer existed and raised the question of QJWIN 's termination. He is not terminated until Feb 14, 1964.

      Jul 8, 63 - U.S. restricts currency transactions with Cuba, including freezing $33,000,000 of Cuban deposits in U.S. banks.

      Jul 9, 63 - U.S. Customs officials arrest members of 30th November Revolutionary Movement on Florida key with weapons.

      Jul 15, '63 - Miami News Latin American editor Hal Hendrix breaks story, "Backstage With Bobby," detailing RFK 's role as the architect of the Nicaragua-based front against Castro. (Mahoney, p265; FBI memo, Re: Anti-Fidel Castro Activities Internal Security, 105-1742, 19 July, 1963, HSCA, AA)

      Note: This newspaper story was discussed in the Jul 16, '63 meeting of the "Standing Group": Report by Mr. FitzGerald--There was a discussion of the wide-spread press reports that the U.S. was backing Cuban exiles who are planning raids against Cuba from Central American States. One news article shown the Attorney General was headed "Backstage with Bobby" and referred to his conversations with persons involved in planning the Cuban raids./6/

      /6/The story, by Hal Hendrix, was in the Miami Herald, July 14, 1963.

      In the discussion as to how to deal with the press reports, the Attorney General suggested that we could float other rumors so that in the welter of press reports no one would know the true facts. Mr. McCone agreed that it would be possible to confuse the situation in this manner. [5 lines of source text not declassified] (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Standing Group Meeting, 7/16/63)

      Jul 24, 63 - A group of anti-Castro Cubans arrives in New Orleans from Miami and joins a training camp off Lake Ponchatrain. Members are from the International Anti-Communist Brigade, established by Frank Sturgis and Gerry Hemming. The Senate Intelligence Committee Report would later claim that " A ' life-long friend of AMLASH/Cubela," had helped procure explosives for the camp. "A" is Victor Espinosa Hernandez, who obtained the explosives from Richard Lauchli, cofounder of the paramilitary right-wing Minutemen. During the Garrison investigation, reports were received that LHO and Ferrie were seen at this camp. (Fonzi chronology p 420)

      Jul 31, 63 - FBI raid seizes more than a ton of dynamite, 20 bomb casings, napalm material, and other devices at William Julius McLaney 's, a well known Havana gambler (and brother of Mike McClaney, former casino owner in Cuba) home at Lacombe, La., in the Lake Ponchatrain, New Orleans area. Loren Eugene Hall, and supposedly, Ferrie is working with this group, not part of the IAB camp. No one is charged. Articles appear in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Aug 1, 2, and 4, '63.

      Summer-Fall '63 - Raids and seizures apparently are commonplace in this period. Reports in the files of intelligence agencies in mid-1963, document a series of meetings among major leaders of the anti-Castro movement. These reports indicate that some of these leaders claimed the support of the US Govt. Such meetings followed the June '63 decision of the Special Group to step up various covert operations designed to encourage dissident groups inside Cuba, to worsen economic conditions in the country, and to cause Cubans to doubt the ability of the Castro regime to defend the country. (Book V Final Report of the [Senate] Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, 4/23/76; Memorandum for the Special Group, 6/19/63)

      Aug 16, 63 - Chicago Sun-Times reports CIA had dealings with the underworld figure Giancana from 1959 to before the Bay of Pigs. This prompted CIA Director McCone to ask the Deputy Director for Plans, Helms, for a report about the article.

      Helms sends a memorandum to McCone forwarding a copy of the May 14, '62 memo for the record sent to AG Kennedy following the May 7 briefing on the gambling syndicate, phase one. This is the earliest date on which there is evidence of McCone 's being aware of any aspect of the CIA operation against Castro involving Giancana and that it involved assassination. (Senate Assassination Plots Committee Report)

      Aug, 63 - According to FBI report, a Latin American military officer attends a Cuban exile group meeting and talks of assassination.

      Aug 20, 63 - Chicago Sun Times reports further on the CIA-Mafia plots citing an incident in which Giancana speaks out an FBI agent following him saying, "Why don 't you fellows leave me alone? I 'm one of you."

      Early Sept, 63 - Talks between the Cuban delegate to the UN, Lechuga, and a U.S. delegate, William Attwood, are proposed by the Cubans. RFK encourages the effort. Attwood reports regularly to the White House and to Adlai Stevenson, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. (Fonzi chronology p 421)

      Manuel Rodriguez registers as alien in Dallas, sets up local chapter of Alpha 66.

      Sept 7, 63 - AM/LASH: CIA case officers in Brazil have their first meeting with AM/LASH (Rolando Cubela) since prior to Missile Crisis. They cable Fitzgerald that he would perform an "inside job" on Castro 's life and is awaiting a U.S. plan of action. Helms authorizes a meeting between his deputy Fitzgerald and Cubella. This news could have leaked to Cuban exile groups in New Orleans. (Mahoney p286)

      Note: Rolando Cubela Secades: a hero of the Castro revolution and an official in the Casto regime. The CIA had opened contacts with him in 1961 when he became disenchanted with increasing Soviet interference in Cuban affairs. He spoke of defecting but was asked to stay in Havana as a source. Interviewed in 1978 by Anthony Summers, while serving a life sentence for plotting against Castro, he claimed the proposal to kill Castro came entirely from the American side. A cording to Summers, the CIA used a leading Cuban exile in its long-running series of contacts with Cubela: Manuel Artime, one of the exiles most favored by RFK. According to interview notes by a congressional investigator: Artime claimed "he had direct contact with JFK and RFK personally. They in turn contacted the CIA. AM/LASH was proposed by JFK" (Summers Not In Your Lifetime, p249) In an interview conducted in Havana in May 1997, National Assembly president Ricardo Alarcon allowed that Cubella may have been a Castro plant. (Mahoney interview) Note: Cubella as double agent?

      Castro gives impromptu interview to reporter Associated Press reporter Daniel Harker. And in that interview Castro warns that U.S. leaders aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders will themselves not be safe. He added, "Yet the CIA and other dreamers believe their hopes of an insurrection or a successful guerrilla war. They can go on dreaming forever."

      Note: This account of the interview appeared in the Miami Herald, p. 1A on Sept 9, '63. While other major newspapers carried the story, some did not include Castro 's warning. The entire report was in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Sept 9, '63. The individual who was the CIA "point of record" for working with the WC wrote in 1975: "There can be no question from the facts surrounding the Castro appearance, which had not been expected, and his agreement to the interview, that this event represented a more-than-ordinary attempt to get a message on the record in the US. (CIA memo 5/23/75) A CIA analyst on Cuban affairs reached a similar conclusion. (Briefing of [Senate] Select Committee staff. 1/7/76)

      Sept 12, 63 - Considering Castro 's recent statements, the Cuban Coordinating Committee meets to conduct a broad review of U.S. contingency plans. They agree there is a strong likelihood Castro will retaliate in some way against the rash of covert activity in Cuba; however an attack on the U.S. is considered unlikely. (Book V Final Report of the [Senate] Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, 4/23/76)

      Sept 18, 63 - William Attwood, deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, wrote memo for Adlai Stevenson and other U.S. officials, requesting authorization to make secret contact with Cuba's UN Ambassador Carlos Lechuga. The White House granted permission, and the first discussion took place at the New York apartment of ABC News Anchorwoman, Lisa Howard.

      Sept 27, '63 - The Coordinator of Cuban Affairs prepared a memo listing assignments for contingency papers relating to a possible retaliatory actions by the Castro regime. (Memorandum to the Indepartmental Coordinating Committee of Cuban Affairs, from Coordinator of Cuban Affairs, 9/27/63.)

      Oct 3, 63 - Arthur Krock 's NYT article "The Intra-Administration War In Vietnam," quotes Vietnam reporter Richard Starnes: ..."if the United States ever experiences [an attempt at a coup to overthrow the government] it will come from the CIA and not the Pentagon." The agency "represents a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone."

      Oct 10, '63 - FBI is told by an informant the CIA is meeting with AM/LASH.

      Oct 24, 63 - French reporter Jean Daniel, conducts a brief interview with JFK before setting off on an assignment in Cuba. Though JFK is critical of Castro, he suggests Daniel broach the subject of reestablishing U.S.-Cuba relations with Castro, asks Daniel to report back to him. (Daniel, "Unofficial Envoy: A Historic Report from Two Capitals," New Republic, Dec 14, '63)

      Oct 29, 63 - Desmond FitzGerald, a senior CIA official, meets AM/LASH. Fitzgerald tells him that a coup against Castro would receive U.S. support. Fitzgerald is introduced to AM/LASH as a "personal representative of Attorney General Kennedy." The Church committee found no evidence that the AG RFK authorized, or was aware of this representation. Helms testified he did not seek the AG 's approval because he thought it was "unnecessary." (Book V Final Report of the [Senate] Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, 4/23/76;Helms, 6/13/75, pp 117-118)

      Nov 4, 63 - Case officer is told by Fitzgerald that AM/LASH can be informed the rifles, telescopic sights, and explosives will be provided.

      Nov 12, 63 - Memorandum for the record relates a meeting of on Cuban Operations. McCone gave a brief summary of recent developments inside Cuba. FitzGerald reported on Cuban operations under six main headings: (a) Covert Collection, (b) Propaganda, (c) Economic Denial, (d) Disaffections in the Military, (e) Sabotage and Harassment, and (f) Support of Autonomous Anti-Castro Groups. The consensus was that since CIA's sabotage operation is in the main low cost and since it does worry the Castro regime, denies him some essential commodities, stimulates some sabotage inside Cuba and tends to improve the morale of the Cubans who would like to see Castro removed, CIA should proceed with those operations planned for the coming week end (November 15 though 17). The view was expressed that CIA, in connection with the Department of Defense, should concentrate on attempting to catch Castro red-handed delivering arms to Communist groups in Latin American countries. (Department of State, INR Historical Files, Special Group Meeting No. 105)

      NSC official Gordon Chase drafted a memorandum in order to present arguments in favor of improved relations. The memo was drafted as the first major meeting between high level Cuban and U.S. officials to discuss better relations was being organized; that meeting was aborted by the assassination of John F. Kennedy. (NSC, "Some Arguments Against Accommodation--A Rebuttal," November 12, 1963; )

      Nov 16 -18, '62 - Rosselli takes a trip: he buys a ticket -- in his own name -- to Phoenix, booked reservations a Mountain Shadows resort (with two female guests) also in his own name. The FBI then finds out Rosselli is on his way to Washington DC to see a congressman so feeling he is developing an alibi, they tail him. (Mahoney p284)

      Nov 18, '62 - Rosselli, apparently canceling plans to go to Washington, leaves instead for Las Vegas, where he can make calls and conduct meetings free from FBI surveillance. (Mahoney p284)

      Nov 18, 63 - JFK makes public appearance in Tampa under tight security and delivers a speech on Cuban policy.

      Nov 19, 63 - JFK 's Dallas motorcade route is published in Dallas newspapers.

      RFK calls JFK to see if he can squeeze Helms into schedule. The CIA claim hard evidence of Castro 's attempt to overthrow the government of Venezuela. A half hour later, Helms and RFK walk into the Oval Office with a submachine gun recovered from an arms cache in Venezuela. On the stock was the official seal of Cuba. Knowing JFK 's consideration of a rapprochement with Castro, Helm 's visit was meant to torpedo any such notion. (Mahoney pp285-286)

      Castro contacts reporter Daniel and spends six hours talking to him about U.S.-Cuban relations. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 4/23/76; Daniel, "When Castro Heard the News," New Republic, 12/7/63)

      Gordon Chase reported in a memo on the discussions between Attwood and Castro's aide de camp, Dr. Rene Vallejo, on a meeting in Cuba or New York. (White House, Talks with Cuba , November 19, 1963)

      Nov 20, 63 - CIA officer telephones AM/LASH for meeting on Nov 22. As a signal that his request for weapons, specifically, a high-powered rifle with telescopic sighs or some other weapon which could be used to assassinate Castro from a distance, will be granted, the officer states this is the meeting AM/LASH requested . This is the first indication that he might receive the specific support that he had requested. (Book V Final Report of the [Senate] Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, 4/23/76; 1967 Inspector General 's Report, p 90)

      Note: July '64 - An FBI informant again reported that the CIA had meetings with the Cuban official (AMLASH). This report indicates that that the purpose of those meetings had been to plan the assassination of Castro. The informant reported that the Cuban official had been unhappy with the CIA response that Attorney General Kennedy had refused to support the plan. Because the informant requested that the bureau not inform the CIA or the White House about this report, it was not disseminated outside the FBI. Headquarters advised the field office in contact with the informant, to keep them advised. The FBI supervisor involved noted on his copy of the communication to the field office, that the bureau, acting on orders from the Attorney General, was investigating a reported underworld plot against Castro, and that this might be the same as the alledged, and that this might be the same as the alledged plot involving the Cuban (AMLASH)." (Book V Final Report of the [Senate] Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, 4/23/76, pg72)

      Nov 22, 63 - Assassination in Dallas : JFK is shot and killed during a motorcade through downtown Dallas. Texas Governor John Connelly is seriously wounded. A Dallas policeman, J.D. Tippet is found shot dead in the nearby residential street by passersby shortly afterwards.

      Fitzgerald meets with AM/LASH in Paris to provide poison pen to assassinate Castro. Upon conclusion of the meeting they learn of the President 's assassination. (Book V Final Report of the [Senate] Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, 4/23/76)

      Documents released in 1997 show that RFK is scheduled to meet secretly with Manuel Artime, Roberto San Roman, and Harry Williams. It is not known if this meeting had in fact occurred when the news of JFK 's death arrived. According to author William Turner in an interview by with Williams, "on that day he was meeting with CIA safe house in northwest Washington with Richard Helms, Howard Hunt, and several other CIA agents. Williams stated" it was the most important meeting I ever had on the problem of Cuba" with plans for this invasion from the Dominican Republic crystallizing. (Russo, 289; Hinckle and Turner, 251; Memo For the Secretary of the Army/Attn: Jos. Califano, "Training of Cuban Refugees in Nicaragua," 12-11-63)

      Note: After learning of the assassination and LHO 's New Orleans connections with anti-Castro exiles, RFK calls Williams stating, "One of your guys did it." Williams was at home in Florida working with "Bay of Pigs" author Haynes Johnson. This is confusing when considering Williams ' statement that he attended a meeting in D.C.

      Reporter Daniel meets with Castro again spending most of the day with him. Daniel 's report of this meeting "When Castro Heard the News," describes Castro 's reaction to word of the assassination. After word that President Johnson had been sworn in reached Castro, he asked: "What authority does he exercise over the CIA?" (Book V Final Report of the [Senate] Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, 4/23/76; Daniel, "When Castro Heard the News," New Republic, 12/7/63)

      Robert Kennedy calls CIA Director McCone and asks "Did the CIA kill my brother?" McCone, who is continually out of the loop, says no. (Sheridan)

      Nov 23, 63 - LHO is charged for assassinating the president.

      CIA headquarters cables AM/LASH case officer and orders him to break contact with AM/LASH because of the president's assassination and return to headquarters. Plot temporarily abandoned.






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