New JFK Files: CIA drags its feet on compliance, failing to release 12 documents

Tony Cuesta

Tony Cuesta, anti-Castro fighter with a JFK story

The National Archives’ long-awaited release of JFK assassination files, which began on Monday, has some holes in it.

At least 12 CIA documents that were supposed to be released online Monday are still in the possession of the Agency, according to the Archives.

Among the missing documents are ten pages of notes on the FBI/Army Intelligence file of Tony Cuesta, an anti-Castro militant who implicated a Cuban exile marksman in the assassination of JFK.

The CIA also retains a 47-page file on Cuesta, which is supposed to be released this year, according to the National Archives online database.

The omission of the Cuesta file and 11 other documents from this week’s release was inadvertent, according to archivist James Mathis.

In an email to JFK Facts, Mathis wrote.

“The documents in question have been released in full by the CIA.  Unfortunately, when we did our scanning, we discovered we did not have the originals; those are still in the possession of the CIA.  We have been working with them to get the documents.  Such instances should have been removed from this release, and this was an oversight on our part.”

The Archives announced its latest JFK release on Monday.

The government will make public 3,810 previously secret JFK documents, including 441 that have been withheld in full, and 3,369 documents previously released with portions redacted.

The JFK release will be complete by October 26, according to the Archives.

Tony Cuesta’s story

Tony Cuesta’s story is known to JFK investigators in the United States and Cuba.

Cuesta, described by the New York Times, as “a legend among anti-Castro Cuban exiles,” was wounded and captured by the Cuban government during a raid on the island in 1966. While in prison in Cuba, Cuesta told Cuban officials and a fellow inmate that a Cuban exile named Herminio Diaz, had boasted of being involved in JFK’s assassination.

Diaz was killed in the raid where Cuesta was wounded.

Reinaldo Martinez, who was friends with Diaz and served in prison with Cuesta, recounted Cuesta’s story to journalist Anthony Summers and to G. Robert Blakey, chief of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA).

Martinez said that Diaz was a professional killer who had been involved in political assassinations in Cuba and Central America.

[Martinez tells the story in this video.]

Cuban government officials also heard Cuesta’s story.

Fabian Escalante, retired chief of Cuban counterintelligence, said Cuesta had implicated Diaz in Kennedy’s assassination while under interrogation.

“He gave us this information and in 1978; we didn’t know if it was true or not,” Escalante told a conference of JFK researchers in 1995.

Escalante said there is a written record of Cuesta’s interrogation in the files of Cuban intelligence that has never been made public.

After Cuesta was released from prison in 1978, he returned to Miami where he died in 1992.

 

 

 

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