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Castro Assassination Plots

With recent news stories reporting that the House Intelligence Committee will be investigating a canceled CIA assassination program that targeted Al-Qaeda operatives, as well as the furor caused by House Speaker Pelosi's remarks that the CIA lied to her, an historical examination of both events is warranted - and nowhere is there more precedent than in the murky waters of the CIA's attempts to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Begun nearly as soon as Castro rose to power in 1959, some of the plots and ideas were of the James Bond variety - poisoned pills, an exploding seashell, and a planned gift of a diving suit contaminated with toxins. But despite the levity and outlandishness of some of the plots, there was a deadly seriousness at work - other assassination attempts involved high-powered rifles outfitted with telescopic sights.

In the wake of Pelosi's remarks that the CIA lied to her, the general reaction from mainstream media and several of her colleagues in Congress was one of shock and "stern rebuttal." However, this Starting Point, and its accompanying materials demonstrates that obfuscation of the truth is part and parcel of the intelligence community, and that the lessons learned 30+ years ago have a limited shelf life.

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