In a prequel of sorts to the emerging war between President-elect Trump and the CIA, the War on the Rocks blog, reviews the latest revelations from the declassified history of the CIA’s disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961.
Why is something that happened 55 years ago relevant to power politics in today’s Washington?
Because the the power struggle that followed the CIA’s first public defeat would shape and hone the interventionist mission of the secret agency. Now the CIA faces the wrath of a commander in chief who mistrusts its prerogatives and sympathizes with its adversaries in Moscow and, according to the CIA, was aided by them.
This matters because those who have approached these reports and histories thus far, from the National Security Archive to the press, have tended to celebrate their victory in exposing the CIA’s embarrassment while failing to explain why agency officials feel embarrassed and what their embarrassment reveals. They have missed the most dramatic part of the CIA’s early organizational history, when Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Allen Dulles and others debated what kind of intelligence service the agency