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CIA’s Bay of Pigs files still under wraps

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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On May 10, a judge ruled that the CIA didn’t need to reveal an investigation of the botched Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. The decision was because the investigation is a draft and not a final document, effectively shielding the CIA document from public scrutiny.

The Bay of Pigs was a 1961, U.S.-backed invasion of Cuba that ultimately failed and was a major foreign policy embarrassment.

The document was the final volume of the CIA’s three-decade-old history of the Bay of Pigs, which the CIA characterized as “a polemic of recriminations against CIA officers who later criticized the operation.”

The CIA argued the volume represented a proposal by a subordinate history staff member that was rejected by the chief historian as it contained significant deficiencies, and that the volume is protected under the deliberative process privilege exemption in the Freedom of Information Act.

The National Security Archive, a government transparency group, sued the CIA to declassify the document.

The district judge sided with the CIA based on the fact that the final volume didn’t pass through the first stage of a multilayer review process. In the decision, the judge said that the draft history would risk the release of inaccurate historical information to the public.

The CIA did not have any problem with declassifying earlier volumes of the history where the author attacked then-President John F. Kennedy and then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

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