WASHINGTON -- Following are excerpts from "The Inspector
General's Survey of the Cuban Operation," a highly critical
internal inquiry into the CIA's Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. The 150-page
report, one of the most secret documents of the Cold War, was released
under the Freedom of Information Act to the National Security Archive, a
nonprofit group that collects and publishes declassified Government
31. The agency
committed at least four extremely serious mistakes in
a. Failure to
subject the project, especially in its latter frenzied stages, to a
cold and objective appraisal by the best operating talent available,
particularly by those not involved in the operation, such as the Chief of
Operations and the chiefs of the Senior Staffs. Had this been done, the
two following mistakes (b and c, below) might have been avoided.
b. Failure to
advise the president, at an appropriate time, that success had
become dubious and to recommend that the operation be therefore
canceled and that the problem of unseating Castro be restudied.
c. Failure to
recognize that the project had become overt and that the
military effort had become too large to be handled by the agency alone.
d. Failure to
reduce successive project plans to formal papers and to
leave copies of them with the president and his advisers and to request
specific written approval and confirmation thereof.
32. Timely and
objective scrutiny of the operation in the months before
the invasion, including study of all available intelligence, would have
demonstrated to agency officials that the clandestine paramilitary
operations had almost totally failed, that there was no controlled and
responsive underground movement ready to rally to the invasion force,
and that Castro's ability both to fight back and to roll up the internal
opposition must be very considerably upgraded.
33. It would
also have raised the question of why the United States
should contemplate pitting 1,500 soldiers, however well trained and
armed, against an enemy vastly superior in number and armament on a
terrain which offered nothing but vague hope of significant local support. It
might also have suggested that the agency's responsibility in the operation
should be drastically revised and would certainly have revealed that there
was no real plan for the post-invasion period. ...
would have been embarrassing. The brigade could not
have been held any longer in a ready status, probably could not have been
held at all. Its members would have spread their disappointment far and
wide. Because of multiple security leaks in this huge operation, the world
already knew about the preparations, and the government's and the
agency's embarrassment would have been public.
cancellation would have averted failure, which brought
even more embarrassment, carried death and misery to hundreds,
destroyed millions of dollars' worth of U.S. property, and seriously
damaged U.S. prestige. ...
40. It is beyond
the scope of this report to suggest what U.S. action might
have been taken to consolidate victory, but we can confidently assert that
the agency had no intelligence evidence that Cubans in significant numbers
could or would join the invaders or that there was any kind of an effective
and cohesive resistance movement under anybody's control, let alone the
agency's, that could have furnished internal leadership for an uprising in
support of the invasion. The consequences of a successful lodgment,
unless overtly supported by U.S. armed forces, were dubious. ...
41. The choice
was between retreat without honor and a gamble between
ignominious defeat and dubious victory. The agency chose to gamble, at
rapidly decreasing odds.
42. The project
had lost its covert nature by November 1960. As it
continued to grow, operational security became more and more diluted.
For more than three months before the invasion the American press was
reporting, often with some accuracy, on the recruiting and training of
Cubans. Such massive preparations could only be laid to the U.S. The
agency's name was freely linked with these activities. Plausible denial was
a pathetic illusion.