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Conspiracy Documents Declassified: The National Security Archives Including Kennedy and Cuban Missile Files

Updated on January 13, 2011

Introduction to the National Security Archives and the Freedom of Information Law

One of the great support of public knowledge of our government's sometimes covert actions is the law entitled the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This Act was signed into law by president Lyndon B. Johnson on July 4, 1966, and too effect the next year.

This Act ensures public assess to government records from all agencies of the United States governenment. It presumes that information should be disclosed and the burden is on the government, not the public, to give adequate reasons (to be justified in courts if necessary) why information should not be disclosed. One reason might be, for example, that disclosure would endanger lives of soldiers. Requests must be sent in writing to the agencies, which have officials responsible for answering them. There are nine specific exemptions included in the Freedom of Information Act. The agencies must respond to a request wthin twenty days concerning whether they will comply with the request or not, and the person asking for the materials may may an appeal to the head of the agency. Agencies are also required to make arrangements for expedited requests where timeliness is important.

Exemptions fro the Freedom of Information Act include:

1. Information authorized by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy.

2. Related solely to internal personnel rules and practices of an agency

3. Material specifically exempted from disclosure by law.

4. Trade secrets and commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential.

5. Inter- or intra-agency memorandums or letters that would not be available by law to anyone not in litigation with the agency.

6. Personnel and medical files and similar files whose disclosure would clearly constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

7. Law enforcement information whose publication might interfere with the enforcement, provide someone with the right to a fair trial, would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, would disclose the identity of a confidential source, would disclose the techniques of law enforcement investigators, or would endanger the physical safety of an individual.

8. Material related to the creation of reports prepared by or for the use of agenies regulating financial institutions.

9. Geological and geophysical information concerning wells.

Of course, all of the above considerations are and have been the subject of court decisions after appeals by those seeking information through the Freedom of Information Act.

Clearly, the most frequent users of the act are the news media. Following them are historians and other reseaerchers. The American Civil Liberty Union and the National Security Archives are two public organizations extremely important in the work of keeping the activities of our government as open as possible. A lot depends on the independence, courage and insistance of our courts.

The Act also specifies that fdees for searches, duplication and review, whether for commercial or non-commercial use should be limited to "reasonable standard charges."

View the video below about the CIA and anti-Castro connection to the Kennedy assassination and the cover up of meetings with Oswald

The video immediately below is hosted by Bill O'Reilly before he became famous and a darling of the conservative right wing. In this video he offers a look at documents from the investigations of the assassination of president Kennedy. These documents provide a lot of evidence pointing to the much discussed connection between the CIA (or rogue elements within it) and the killing of the president. People in the CIA connected with the anti-Castro Cubans met with Lee Harvey Oswald before the assassination and afterwards acted to cover up connections with the anti-Castro Cubans in Miami and evidence pointing to the identity of a CIA figure who met with Oswald.

Very Early Bill O'Reilly Special on CIA Connection to the Kennedy Assassination

President Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis: Declassified Secret Government Documents and Audio Tapes

Press releases, selected documents, photographs, audio clips and other material from the historic conference in Havana. See the entire collection about the Cuban Missile Crisis at the National Security Archives.

Formerly secret documents from U.S., Cuban, Soviet and East Bloc archives.

Listen in on White House intelligence briefings and hear the actual voices of President Kennedy, his brother Robert, and other advisers during meetings of the President's Executive Committee (ExComm).

Images of Soviet missile and antiaircraft installations taken by U-2 spyplanes and U.S. Navy low-level reconnaissance aircraft in October-November 1962 used to brief President Kennedy and his advisers.

Documents, naval charts and other declassified records on the U.S. hunt for Soviet submarines during the most dangerous days of the crisis.

Two day-by-day, minute-by-minute chronologies of events surrounding the missile crisis.

Read the analysis of contemporary historians as they sift through the historiography and more recent evidence to learn the lessons of history.

The Declassified History.

At midday, and again in the early evening of October 16, 1962, John F. Kennedy called together a group of his closest advisers at the White House. Late the night before, the CIA had produced detailed photo intelligence identifying Soviet nuclear missile installations under construction on the island of Cuba, some ninety miles off the Florida coast; now the president and his men confronted the dangerous decision of how the United States should respond . . . [More]

The Most Dangerous Moment.

If the Cuban Missile Crisis was the most dangerous passage of the Cold War, the most dangerous moment of the Cuban Missile Crisis was the evening of Saturday, 27 October 1962, when the resolution of the crisis—war or peace— appeared to hang in the balance . . . [More]

Annals of Blinksmanship.

Now that the Cold War is over, its history has become a growth industry, though in truth there was no great shortage of historical analysis even while the war was going on. Today, however, one finds a certain generational divide as perhaps the salient characteristic of the enterprise . . . [More]

Turning History on Its Head.

For nearly forty years most American accounts of the Cuban Missile Crisis of have left Cuba out of the story. With the blockbuster film "Thirteen Days" the story now ignores the Soviet Union as well. The film turns history on its head and drums into our heads exactly the wrong lessons of the crisis. . . [More]

The Complete September 11th Sourcebooks from the National Security Archives

NEW - Government Releases Detailed Information on 9/11 Crashes

Complete Air-Ground Transcripts of Hijacked 9/11 Flight Recordings Declassified

The horrific September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon brought all of us here at the Archive feelings of rage at the hijackers, grief for the thousands who were murdered, and also determination that we will contribute to finding the best ways for America to respond. The Archive’s mission is to put on the record the primary source documentation that can enrich the policy debate, improve journalism, educate policymakers, and ensure that we don’t reinvent the wheel or repeat the mistakes of the past.

To these ends, we have published a series of volumes called "The September 11th Sourcebooks." We have cast a wide net, because the policy debate itself is also ranging widely, from deployment options abroad to wiretap surveillance at home. The first volume contains the documents that our staff experts, led by Dr. Jeffrey Richelson and coordinated by Michael Evans, have selected as the most important available primary sources on U.S. terrorism policy. These materials include CIA biographic sketches of Usama Bin Laden and Taliban leader Mohammad Omar, reports from the Pentagon and the Senate Intelligence Committee on previous terrorist attacks on the USS Cole and the Khobar Towers, the State Department’s overview of global terrorism and the FBI’s review of terrorism in the U.S. We have included several of the most relevant Congressional Research Service briefs, six of the General Accounting Office’s most recent reports on combating terrorism, plus the key policy directives on terrorism from the Pentagon and from Presidents Reagan and Clinton.

In Volume II, Archive experts John Prados and Svetlana Savranskaya draw on declassified records and the memoirs of former Soviet officials to examine Soviet policymaking, military operations, and lessons learned from the last war in Afghanistan, a bloody, ten-year conflict that pitted Soviet military forces against CIA-backed Afghan rebels. The collection also includes excerpts from an essay written by analyst Steve Galster as an introduction to the Archive's microfiche collection, Afghanistan: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1973-1990, published in 1990.

The third volume is a package of documents assembled by Dr. Robert Wampler that shed light upon the decision made by President Richard M. Nixon in 1969 to end all U.S. offensive biological (and chemical) weapons programs.

Volume IV is a collection of formerly secret U.S. government documents describing the last years of King Zahir’s reign in Afghanistan, in 1970-73. Archive senior analyst Dr. William Burr obtained the documents from declassified White House and State Department files at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

Uncertainties regarding the cause, pathology and vectors of the recent anthrax outbreak in the U.S. are mirrored in the case of the most deadly anthrax epidemic known, which occurred at a Soviet biological weapons facility located in Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinberg, Russia) in 1979, where at least 68 people died. This incident was a focus of intense controversy and heated exchanges between Washington and Moscow during the 1980s, which would only come to a conclusion with the end of the Soviet Union and a more open Moscow leadership in the 1990s. Still, the heritage of the Soviet biological warfare effort, which was unparalleled in scope and potential lethality, remains a problem today and tomorrow. The documents provided in Volume V give a unique perspective on the Sverdlovsk anthrax issue as it unfolded and the questions it provoked, which remain relevant today.

In coming days, we plan to publish volumes on specific topics in the current policy debate, such as the U.S. ban on assassinations and the CIA guidelines on recruiting assets. We welcome your ideas, queries and suggestions for other topics and other documents. How will we make the United States – and the world – both secure and free?

Fox News Interviews Woman Who Made the Documentary about the 638 attempts to assassinate Castro

CIA acknowledges Castro plot went to the top

By Alex Johnson Reporter MSNBC JUNE 26, 2007

Click here for the original story site at MSNBC. I don't know how long they'll have it posted.

Buried deep in the hundreds of historical documents the CIA declassified Tuesday is a memo that reveals for the first time that the Kennedy administration's CIA director, Allen Dulles, personally approved a plot to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro.

The documents are among almost 700 pages of papers that reveal new details about the CIA's plots to assassinate foreign leaders. In addition to Castro, proposed targets included Patrice Lumumba, the democratically elected president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rafael Trujillo, the Dominican dictator.

Ever since reports of the CIA's interest in assassinating Castro began to emerge more than 35 years ago, one question has remained unanswered: Were the plots the off-the-book work of lower-level CIA operatives, or did they have the blessing of Dulles and other agency leaders?

The final report of the special Senate subcommittee headed by Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho, to investigate CIA abuses was never able to reach a conclusion. But the documents released Tuesday state unequivocally that "the DCI [Director of Central Intelligence - i.e., Dulles] was briefed and gave his approval."

According to a five-page memo in Tuesday's release, the plotting began in the final months of the Eisenhower administration, under the leadership of Richard Bissell, the agency's director for plans. The operation used a go-between, Robert Maheu, a former FBI agent who did work as a private investigator for the CIA.

The iceman cometh

In September 1960, Maheu traveled to New York to meet Johnny Roselli, a high-ranking Mafia official who controlled ice-making machines in Las Vegas. Maheu told Roselli a cover story: that he represented several large international business firms that were suffering catastrophic financial losses in Cuba. And they were willing to pay $150,000 to arrange for Castro's "removal."

Roselli didn't want to get involved, but he introduced Maheu to Sam Giancana, boss of the Chicago mob, and Santos Trafficant, the head of the mob's Cuban operations, both of them members of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.

Concerned about the messiness and unreliability of firearms, Giancana suggested poisoning Castro with a pill in his food. The CIA accordingly provided six pills that it described as "of high lethal content." They were given to Juan Orta, "a Cuban official who had been receiving kick-back payments from the gambling interests, who still had access to Castro, and was in a financial bind."

According to the memo, Orta made several unsuccessful attempts and developed cold feet. A second, unnamed would-be assassin also wasn't able to do the job. So a second plot was hatched, through a Cuban exile leader. But it was abandoned after the failed Bay of Pigs operation in 1961.

The documents also reveal that at the height of negotiations over his involvement in the Castro plot, Giancana asked Maheu for help in finding out whether his girlfriend, Phyllis McGuire, a member of the singing McGuire Sisters, was having an affair with Dan Rowan, half of the Rowan & Martin comedy team.

The CIA sent a technician to bug Rowan's Las Vegas hotel room, the CIA memo says. But the technician was arrested by Clark County sheriff's deputies. He placed a telephone call to Maheu in the presence of sheriff's officials, potentially endangering the entire Castro plot.

The Justice Department announced its intention to prosecute Maheu and the technician, leading the CIA's director of security to intervene with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

The prosecution was dropped.

© 2007 MSNBC Interactive


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