The CIA's Bay of Pigs Documents Can Be Kept Secret Indefinitely, Court Rules

Categories: La Habana

bay_of_pigs_memorial.jpg
Photo by Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons | CC 2.5
Bay of Pigs monument in Little Havana.
The American public might never get to know the entire history of the events that occurred during the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, not at least until the Central Intelligence Agency is finished revising the draft copy of its history, which seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the CIA can withhold a 30-year-old volume of the invasion's draft "official history" from the public under the "deliberative process" privilege of the Freedom of Information Act, even though most of the volumes have already been released to the public.

See also: CIA Withholds Bay of Pigs Documents, Claims Release Would "Confuse the Public"

"The D.C. Circuit's decision throws a burqa over the bureaucracy," said Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, the plaintiff in the case.

In 2011, Blanton's D.C.-based nonprofit sued the agency to release the five-volume history on the operation that CIA staff historian Jack Pfeiffer started in 1973. However, the agency refused to release the draft of Volume V, which it claimed was protected under the deliberative process privilege. The original public records request by the National Security Archive was filed in 2005.

The reasoning, according to the court's decision: "A draft of an agency's official history is predecisional and deliberative, and thus protected under the deliberative process privilege."

However, there might never be a final draft copy, according to Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who wrote for the 2-1 majority. "There may be no final agency document because a draft died on the vine," Kavanaugh wrote in the decision. "But the draft is still a draft and thus still predecisional and deliberative."

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler agreed based on similar reasoning in 2012, when the CIA argued the release of the drafts might "confuse the public."

"Presidents only get 12 years after they leave office to withhold their deliberations, and the Federal Reserve Board releases its verbatim transcripts after five years," Blanton said. "But here the D.C. Circuit has given the CIA's historical office immortality for its drafts, because, as the CIA argues, those drafts might 'confuse the public.'"

Ironically, it was Pfeiffer himself who sued the agency in the 1980s to try to declassify his own work. The history argues that the CIA case officers who organized the operation -- despite recruiting and training thousands of counterrevolutionaries across South Florida -- aren't to blame for its failure.

Send tips to author David Minsky at minskyda@gmail.com.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

My Voice Nation Help
22 comments
Joseph Mazon
Joseph Mazon

Well, at this point, its hard to imagine the documents revealing any major breakthroughs. The story of Bay of Pigs is about as well documented as any historical event of the 20th century. It was an ill conceived, poorly executed military operation run by the CIA, on a scale completely out of proportion to agency capabilities or culture. We can all point fingers at different players and lay the blame at their doorstep All had a share in its failure. Ultimately, the Kennedy White House COULD have 'rescued" the operation, but in the context of 1961 geopolitics, I'm not even sure that would have been a good idea either. It was, in the end the single best chance to nip Castro's revolution in the bud, and it failed. The irony of course, is that "La Revolucion" will survive Fidel and Raul by approximately 10 minutes. Once they are gone, everything they worked for and tried to build will turn into shifting sand. They know it, we know it, even the Yanquis know it. We can only pray that whoever takes power in Cuba after the Castro's are gone , has enough COJONES to keep the Yanquis out of Cuba. Have a nice day.

DRAKEMALLARD.0
DRAKEMALLARD.0 topcommenter


Howard Hunt  in Mexico, Hunt helped devise Operation PBSUCCESS, the successful covert plan to overthrow Jacobo Arbenz, the elected president of Guatemala. Following assignments in Japan and as station chief in Uruguay, Hunt was given the assignment of forging Cuban exile leaders in the United States into a broadly representative government-in-exile that would, after the Bay of Pigs Invasion, form a provisional government to take over Cuba was undeniably bitter about what he perceived as President John F. Kennedy's lack of commitment in overturning the Fidel Castro regime  The failure of the invasion of bay of the pigs damaged his career.  After his death, Howard St. John Hunt and David Hunt stated that their father had recorded several claims about himself and others being involved in a conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy

DRAKEMALLARD.0
DRAKEMALLARD.0 topcommenter

Howard Hunt  in Mexico, Hunt helped devise Operation PBSUCCESS, the successful covert plan to overthrow Jacobo Arbenz, the elected president of Guatemala. Following assignments in Japan and as station chief in Uruguay, Hunt was given the assignment of forging Cuban exile leaders in the United States into a broadly representative government-in-exile that would, after the Bay of Pigs Invasion, form a provisional government to take over Cuba was undeniably bitter about what he perceived as President John F. Kennedy's lack of commitment in overturning the Fidel Castro regime  The failure of the invasion of bay of the pigs damaged his career.  After his death, Howard St. John Hunt and David Hunt stated that their father had recorded several claims about himself and others being involved in a conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy


Oscar Grau
Oscar Grau

They will wait for a day in which all the people who fought have died and the new generations desensitize

Frank Daddario
Frank Daddario

IF YOU CARE you might be interested in arthur schlessinger jr book titled life and times of ROBERT KENNEDY vol 1 section on the invasion - it NAMEs names and goes on throught connecting NIXON years later in a reference during WATERGATE

Dave Tellez
Dave Tellez

And people wonder why there are still JFK conspiracy theories. Remember Nixon and the tapes. "... The whole Bay of Pigs thing..."

Lenny Sanch
Lenny Sanch

Jesus Diaz appears to be brain dead.

Joveline Pettus
Joveline Pettus

Who the heck reads an article that effects the foundation of our government and freedom and then says, "Who cares?" WTF? Catherine, I am with you - they need to release the records.

Jorge Martin Barreto Garcia
Jorge Martin Barreto Garcia

If the government releases anything , noone is going to believe it so what is the point when there's more important issues. You can't guarantee the truth. Sad

Catherine Lopez-Ramon
Catherine Lopez-Ramon

Wouldn't you want to know why it's a secret. I'm ok when it's a secret when it's for the benefit of the multitude but when 90%or more of the ones involved in that whole conspiracy are dead now release the facts why keep them locked up.

Aaron Matthews
Aaron Matthews

Of coarse.it.can, they killed the President and keep documents secret, this is easier to hide.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..............the BEST spot-light on this is in VOL 1 the life and times of robert kennedy by arthur schlessinger jr mentioning ALL the players as identified from within the JFK administration including nixon who was on tape refering to his role during the watergate scandal

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...