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The assassination plots against Fidel Castro resulted from the request and suggestion of multiple leaders in the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. The Central Intelligence Agency privately collaborated with several militant Cuban exile groups, domestic paramilitary associations, and the Mafia to undertake these operations. Most Agency leadership did not anticipate other groups might undertake similar hostile operations and turn such methods to their advantage. Ranging from the use of poison to military trained snipers, the plots were extensive, illegal, and violated multiple international treaties. President's Commission member Allen Dulles authorized the original clandestine assassination plan; he later withheld his role and the evidence from the President's Commission investigation.


                               Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro

                             Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro

  PICTURED ABOVE ARE SOME OF THE CIA OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES INVOLVED IN THE CASTRO ASSassination PLOTS: (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT) DIRECTOR ALLEN DULLES, OFFICER Desmond Fitzgerald, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR PLANS RICHARD BISSELl, AGENT ROBERT MAHEU, and William K. Harvey the CIA's Case OFFICER for Project ZRRIFLE, LEADER OF TASK FORCE W, AND Chief of STAFF D

PICTURED ABOVE ARE SOME OF THE CIA OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES INVOLVED IN THE CASTRO ASSassination PLOTS: (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT) DIRECTOR ALLEN DULLES, OFFICER Desmond Fitzgerald, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR PLANS RICHARD BISSELl, AGENT ROBERT MAHEU, and William K. Harvey the CIA's Case OFFICER for Project ZRRIFLE, LEADER OF TASK FORCE W, AND Chief of STAFF D

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PHASE I (1960-1961): 
The CIA initiates a series of plots that included suggestions for the use of poison, gangster style assassination, and explosives among other exotic means to murder Fidel Castro. This stage of the plots included collaborating with Mafia leaders Santos Trafficante and Sam Giancana, Cuban exiles, and training anti-Castro militants. The Agency initiates contact using its employee Robert Maheu to meet with Mafia notable Johnny Roselli. A few exotic methods were attempted but failed to be successful.
Phase I Related Documents:
Castro Plots List: Reveals the authorization and foreknowledge of the Castro plots by Allen Dulles and select members of the CIA and Mafia. (National Archives and Records Administration Identification Number: 1993.07.01.10:13:43:620800)
List of additional individuals connected to the Castro Plots and other assassination planning: Another extensive list of people related to the plots regarding Fidel Castro and other world leaders during the planning and execution stages. (NARA ID: 157-10005-10320)
Chronology and Issues of Thomas A. Parrott: A document which offers a biographic data on Thomas A. Parrot Chief of the CIA Section for the Special Group of presidential advisers. It notes comments of interest recorded by Parrot regarding assassination plans against Cuban leaders and Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba. (NARA ID: 32202042)
Castro Poison Cigar memo excerpt: Commentary from Agency officials scoffing at focus on the poison cigar plot considered but reportedly never used. (NARA ID: 32202321)

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PHASE II (1962-1963): 
William K. Harvey is appointed to further develop a task force under the guidance of the Kennedy administration's Special Group Augmented. Officials make Harvey the Case Officer designated to lead this stage of the Castro assassination plots; he contacts Mafia notable Johnny Roselli and militarizes the plots into assassination and sabotage groups. Harvey is later replaced and is reassigned to the CIA's Rome Station. Multiple sabotage missions were undertaken but no feasible assassination plot materialized against Castro. 
Phase II Related Documents:
The Matahambre Operation:
A file that discusses a lost or failed sabotage team the CIA intended to infiltrate the Cuban mainland for sabotage operations. (NARA ID: 178-10002-10490)

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PHASE III (1963-1965): 
Agency officer Desmond Fitzgerald subsequently replaces William Harvey as the Chief of Task Force W and assumes control of the AMLASH operation. Years prior, the Agency began contact with Cuban official Rolando Cubela Secades (AMLASH-1) to develop him as a potential assassin. Fitzgerald meets with Cubela in multiple times in late 1963 to arrange providing him with caches of arms and explosives to assassinate Fidel Castro. Cubela subsequently meets with Agency funded exile leader Manuel Artime to expand his influence and they strike a mutual agreement to collaborate against Castro. Two of Cubela's allies, Jorge Carlos Robreno Marieguez (AMLASH-2) and Alberto Blanco Ramirez (AMLASH-3) additionally support his proposed operation and one of them likely betrayed the plot to Castro. Cubela is later apprehended in Cuba and sentenced to lengthy prison term, but his release years early and comments he made while in prison lead some officials to support he was a possible double agent. This Phase included multiple sabotage operations but plots targeting Castro himself were unsuccessful.  
Phase III Related Documents:
Contact with AMLASH 2: A document reports some of the plans and activities of Rolando Cubela and his closer associates. (NARA ID: 104-10216-10175)
AMLASH File Review: A brief summary of the AMLASH operation related to concerns that undertaking the operation simultaneously might have affected the CIA's response to the investigation of President Kennedy's assassination. (NARA ID: 32202181)
The Testimony of Nestor Sanchez: He was a CIA employee that acted as an interpreter and participated in meetings with Rolando Cubela. Sanchez testimony discusses additional details he observed from the AMLASH plot including Cubela refusing the delivery of a poison pen and requesting weapons and explosives instead. (NARA ID: 178-10002-10335)
AMLASH-1 Cuban communications memo: A document that reveals the woman receiving messages from the CIA for Rolando Cubela was Ernestina Acosta. (NARA ID: 104-10183-10215)
Background and Operational Summary of Cubela Activities: A biography an list of Rolando Cubela's actions related to the AMLASH operation. (NARA ID: 104-10102-10010)
Plans to Assassinate Cuban Leaders: An FBI interview of Victor Domindador Espinosa Hernandez who associated with AMLASH plot member and Cuban official Albert Blanco meeting in Paris. (NARA ID: 145-10001-10265)
AMLASH File Summary: A timeline with summarized details of various selected portions of the AMLASH plots that includes a section that suggests Fidel Castro was long aware of the them. (NARA ID: 157-10004-10292)
Senate Select Committee Business Meeting Transcripts: A meeting transcript covering the related business of the Senate Select Committee that includes discussion about the AMLASH related matters. (NARA ID: 157-10002-10179)

Castro Plots Notes, Reports, Summaries, and Timelines:
Gambling Syndicate Collaboration Summary: Portions of a related CIA document with a brief summary regarding the Castro plots. (NARA ID: 1993.07.12.08:32:18:030530)
Castro Plots and President's Commission Timeline: A document listing some of the major various plots targeting Fidel Castro authored by the Central Intelligence Agency and leading United States officials. These operations are combined with a timeline detailing official actions before and following President Kennedy's assassination. (NARA ID: 180-10142-10036)
The 1967 CIA Inspector General's Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro: A report constructed at the request of the Director of Central Intelligence by the Inspector General's office. The Report inspects the Castro Assassination Plots and related matters. (NARA ID: 104-10213-10101)
CIA Plans to Assassinate Foreign Leaders: A section of the President"s (Rockefeller) Commission regarding assassination plots targeting Fidel Castro and others in his regime. (NARA ID: 178-10004-10116)
HSCA Staff Draft Report on the Castro Assassination Plots: The lengthy report discusses the evolution and implications of multiple Central Intelligence Agency conspiracies targeting Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. (NARA ID: 180-10142-10486)
HSCA Staff Summary Notes concerning the Castro Assassination Plots: Summarized quotations and notes culled from the 1967 CIA Inspector General's report reviewing by HSCA Staff member Leslie Weizelman. (NARA ID: 180-10141-10406)
Assassination Plots and Methods Summaries: A series of operational plan summaries and lists of CIA officials related to multiple
assassination plots including an expanded list of officials connected to the plots against Fidel Castro. (NARA ID: 157-10002-10004)
1960-1963 Castro Plots Chronology: A timeline of selected official meetings related to the Castro Plots and connected officials. (NARA ID: 157-10002-10027)
1960 to 1965 Chronology of all related Castro plots: A brief chronology of with some major instances that occurred during the course of Phase I, Phase II, and the AMLASH portion of the CIA's assassination programs. (NARA ID: 157-10004-10147)


Deputy Inspector General Scott Breckenridge faced a Congressional inquiry regarding the Castro plots. During his testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, discussion commenced on the issue of whether or not a recorded Castro plot session existed. The possible tape sought by the Committee would potentially include Agency leaders Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell, and Sheffield Edwards discussing the Castro plots in 1960. Breckenridge states it is possible that such a tape exists. Unmentioned is the possibility of other taped sessions as well.

The Agency possessed taping facilities that officials installed in various areas before the Castro plots began. If the conversation occurred in the offices of the Director or Deputy Director of Central Intelligence it faced taping systems. Similarly, if a meeting took place in the offices of the Director or Deputy Director of Security it faced possible recording. The Inspector General's office also possessed a recording system.

Allen Dulles and Richard Bissell were Director and Deputy Director of the Agency; both were verifiably involved in the Castro plots. The Director of Security was James O' Connell among those who also participated in the Castro plots. The Inspector General's office would later review the matter of possible tapes. It is reasonable to conclude that one of multiple systems would likely have recorded one of the plotting sessions. The destruction of such items would again constitute the suppression of relevant evidence.

The Central Intelligence Agency responded to the Congressional inquiry regarding the existence of a taped meeting. The Agency states, "Records of tapes in our Office of Security has no information which would indicate whether or not a tape recording was made of "the meeting between Messrs. Dulles, Bissell, and Edwards in September 1960 when the Mafia operation against Castro was discussed."

Yet the prior memo suggests that subsequent Agency Director Richard Helms may have destroyed the Castro tapes. The memo addressing the matter states, "Will we supply a copy of the report of such reviews as were made by the Inspector General of the destruction of tapes at the time Mr. Helms was preparing to leave the Agency?" It is likely Helms cast the tapes into bureaucratic oblivion. 

Castro Tapes Related Documents:
Senate Select Committee Requests Memo:
 The document presents the responses of CIA Deputy Inspector General Scott Breckenridge to investigating officials regarding possible tapes of some Castro assassination plot meetings. (NARA ID: 104-10303-10006)
Recording System Operations: A list of the various locations in CIA Headquarters that maintained recording devices and their installation dates. (NARA ID: 104-10303-10006)
Office of Security negative response: The CIA's Office of Security was unable to obtain information on the location or existence of taped recordings that were related to various Castro assassination plots. (NARA ID: 104-10303-10006)

Related Articles:
The Death and Times of a Gangster
Exiled Cuban Crusaders
The Autonomous Groups
Cuban Relations

Related Podcasts:
The Castro Plots Phase III

Research by: C.A.A. Savastano