Posada Carriles Built Bombs for, and Informed on, Jorge Mas Canosa, DIA Records Reveal
CIA misjudged Posada as "not a typical boom and bang type" militant
Proposed Posada for "responsible civil position" in post-Castro government
Declassified Documents identify Posada's Agency Handlers
by Peter Kornbluh
Washington, D.C., October 6, 2009 - On the 33rd anniversary of the bombing of Cubana flight 455, the National Security Archive today posted recently obtained CIA records on Luis Posada Carriles, his ties to "the Company" and role as an informant on other violent exile groups. The documents provide extensive details on a collaboration between Cuban-American militant Jorge Mas Canosa, who rose to become the most powerful leader of the hardline exile community in Miami, and Posada—codenamed AMCLEVE 15—who volunteered to spy on violent exile operations for the CIA.
The documents include a July 1966 memo from Posada, using the name "Pete" to his CIA handler Grover Lythcott requesting permission to join the coordinating junta for four violent exile groups, including RECE run by Mas Canosa. "I will give the Company all the intelligence that I can collect," Posada wrote. "I will gain a more solid position between the exiles and, because of that, I will be in a better position in the future to perform a good job for the company."
Posada, the documents show, had been reporting to the CIA on Mas Canosa's activities since mid 1965. In July of that year, Posada reported that he had completed two ten-pound Limpet bombs for a Mas Canosa operation against Soviet and Cuban ships in the port of Veracruz, Mexico, using eight pounds of Pentolite explosives and a pencil detonator.
In a memo, Grover Lythcott described Posada as "not a typical 'boom and bang' type of individual" who was "acutely aware of the international implications of ill planned or over enthusiastic activities against Cuba." A CIA personnel record suggested that Posada would be "excellent for use in responsible civil position in PBRUMEN"—a codename for Cuba—"should the present government fall."
Both CIA and FBI intelligence records identify Posada as a mastermind of the bombing of Cubana airline flight 455, also using a pencil detonator, that took the lives of all 73 passengers and crew on October 6, 1976. Posada has publicly admitted ties to a series of hotel bombings in Cuba in 1997; in November 2000 he was arrested in Panama City for plotting to blow up an auditorium where Fidel Castro would be speaking. He is currently living freely in Miami, awaiting trial in El Paso, Texas, early next year on charges of lying to immigration authorities about his role in the hotel bombings, and as to how he illegally entered the United States in the spring of 2005.
"The documents show Posada has a long history of trying to ingratiate himself with the CIA," said Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Cuba documentation project at the National Security Archive, "perhaps attempting to buy himself a degree of protection as he engaged in a career of terrorism." He called on the CIA "to release its entire operational file on Posada Carriles and his activities, to clarify the history of anti-Castro violence and advance the cause of justice for Posada's many victims."
The documents were obtained from the CIA pursuant to a FOIA request for records on Posada and his code-name, AMCLEVE 15. In recent years, the CIA has declassified the documents as part of the Kennedy Assassination Records Act.
Read the Documents
Document 1: CIA, July 21,1966, Memorandum, "AMCLEVE /15."
This document includes two parts-a cover letter written by Grover T. Lythcott, Posada's CIA handler, and an attached request written by Posada to accept a position on new coordinating Junta composed of several anti-Castro organizations. In the cover letter, Lythcbtt refers to Posada by his codename, AMCLEVE/I5, and discusses his previous involvement withthe Agency. He lionizes Posada, writing that his ''performance in all assigned tasks has been excellent," and urges that he be permitted to work with the combined anti-Castro exile groups. According to the document, Lythcott suggests that Posada be taken off the CIA payroll to facilitate his joining the anti-Castro militant junta, which will be led by RECE. Lythcott insists that Posada will function as an effective moderating force considering he is "acutely aware of the international implications of ill planned or over enthusiastic activities against Cuba." In an attached memo, Posada, using the name "Pete," writes that if he is on the Junta, "they will never do anything to endanger the security of this Country (like blow up Russian ships)" and volunteers to "give the Company all the intelligence that I can collect."
Document 2: CIA, August 29, 1966, "TYPIC/INTEL/AMCLEVE-15, Source Authentication for AMCLEVE-15."
This document announces that Posada is officially "associated with the Cuban Representation in Exile (RECE) and the 'Coordination of Forces' which RECE is organizing." Moreover, the document explains that Posada, codenamed AMCLEVE-15, "will be reporting on this alliance of activist organizations."
Document 3: CIA, July 1, 1965, Cable, "Plan of the Cuban Representation in Exile (RECE) to Blow Up a Cuban or Soviet Vessel in Veracruz, Mexico." (previously posted in May 2005)
Document 4: CIA, July 24, 1965, Cable.
Based on reporting from Posada, referred to as AMCLEVE-15, the CIA learns details about the limpet-type bombs Posada is building for. "A-15 working directly with Jorge Mas Canosa," the cable states. The CIA instructs Posada "to disengage from activities."
Document 5: CIA, September 27, 1965, Memorandum, "AMCLEVEI15, 201300985."
"PRQ Part II," or the second part of Posada's Personal Record Questionnaire, provides operational information. Within the text of the document, Posada is described as "strongly anti-Communist" as well as a sincere believer in democracy. The document describes Posada having a "good character," not to mention the fact that he is "very reliable, and security conscious." The CIA recommends that he be considered for a civil position in a post-Castro government in Cuba (codenamed PBRUMEN).
Records reveal CIA view of accused Cuban terrorist
by Laura Wides-Muñoz
MIAMI — Recently released CIA files from the mid-1960s show Cuban exile and accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles informed on the violent Miami-based efforts to attack Fidel Castro's fledgling Cuban government even as he was deeply involved in helping them.
In the files, the CIA also appeared confident that Luis Posada Carriles was a moderate force who would never embarrass the agency or the United States.
"A15 is not a typical kind of 'boom and bang' individual. He is acutely aware of the international implications of ill-planned or overly enthusiastic activities against Cuba," Posada's CIA handler, Grover T. Lythcott, wrote in a July 26, 1966, memo, using a code name for the Cuban exile.
Lythcott goes on to stress that Posada has informally exercised his influence to discourage exile activities that would embarrass W.O. Lady, a code name for the U.S.
Another declassified memo describes Posada as very loyal to the U.S., of "good character, very reliable and security conscious."
But Posada would later be accused of masterminding the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976, a hotel bombing in Havana in 1997 and other alleged crimes. He is currently facing charges of immigration fraud in Texas, as well as charges in the airliner bombing. He declined to comment.
The documents were made public on the 33rd anniversary of the airliner bombing that killed 73 people. They come from a group of CIA papers declassified between 1998 and 2003 and made public Tuesday by Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive. Kornbluh obtained them under a Freedom of Information Act request.
In the early 1960s, the CIA directly trained and funded efforts to overthrow Castro government. But the CIA had backed off its efforts in the wake of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Kornbluh said he was amazed at the CIA's abject failure in its assessment of Posada, noting the numerous terrorism-related accusations against him. Posada was convicted in a 2000 plot against Castro in Panama but was later pardoned. Previously, he had escaped from prison in Venezuela while awaiting a retrial in the airliner case. He sneaked into the U.S. in 2005 and was arrested on immigration fraud charges after he gave a press conference in Miami.
"In the last three years since Posada has been in the U.S., he has been one of the most embarrassing former assets that they've ever had."
Other memos detail Posada's report on alleged bomb plots planned by several early exile groups.
Jorge Mas Canosa, who went on to found the Cuban American National Foundation in the 1980s and became one of the most influential lobbyists in Washington through the Clinton administration, is described in one document as possessing 125 pounds of the explosive Pentolite. The memos also describe proposed sabotage of ships off the coast of Veracruz, Mexico, which Mas Canosa organized and planned to finance. It is unclear from the documents whether the plot ever took effect.
Posada has called Mas Canosa a great friend. And in a 1998 interview, he said Mas Canosa had financed many of his activities over the years. He later recanted, saying he named Mas Canosa to protect others because the Cuban exile leader had passed away the previous year.
Following that interview and a subsequent 2005 interview with immigration officials in Texas, Posada has maintained that his English is faulty, and that he misunderstood questions directed at him in English.
In a declassified 1965 document, Posada's handler writes that "He speaks and understands English."
Participó en una operación terrorista planeada contra buques soviéticos en Veracruz
Posada Carriles espió a sus aliados para la CIA, que le prometió un puesto en un régimen poscastrista
Desclasifican documentos al cumplirse 33 años del atentado contra el vuelo 455 de Cubana
por David Brooks
Nueva York, 5 de octubre. Luis Posada Carriles, identificado en documentos anteriores de la Agencia Central de Inteligencia, (CIA, por sus siglas en inglés) y de la FBI como autor intelectual del estallido del vuelo 455 de Cubana de Aviación en el que perecieron las 73 personas que iban abordo justo hace 33 años este martes, también espió contra su aliado Jorge Mas Canosa y otros líderes del exilio anticastrista en Miami desde mediados de los años 60 del siglo pasado, y participó en una operación terrorista contra buques soviéticos en el puerto de Veracruz, revelan nuevos documentos oficiales de la CIA desclasificados por el Archivo de Seguridad Nacional.
Tal vez lo más sorprendente de lo revelado este lunes es que Posada espió a Jorge Mas Canosa, considerado el líder más prominente de esa comunidad, entre otros dirigentes de agrupaciones militantes y violentas.
Peter Kornbluh, director del Proyecto Cuba en el Archivo de Seguridad Nacional, organización independiente de investigación y documentación sobre política exterior de Estados Unidos que divulgó los documentos, explicó que "Posada tiene una historia de congraciarse con la CIA, tal vez en un intento por comprarse un grado de protección al desarrollar su carrera de terrorista".
Un memorando de julio 1966 enviado por Posada a su "manejador" en la agencia, Grover Lythcott, solicita permiso para sumarse a una junta de coordinación de cuatro agrupaciones violentas del exilio en Miami, incluida la Representación Cubana en el Exilio (Rece) encabezada por Jorge Mas Canosa (pocas semanas después la agencia confirma su ingreso a éstas). En una carta a otros oficiales de la CIA junto con este memorando, Lythcott, quien se refiere a Posada por su nombre en código AMCLEVE/15, comenta sobre su trabajo anterior para la agencia, el cual califica de "excelente" y argumenta que su participación en la junta coordinadora tendrá un efecto "moderador", ya que está consciente de "las implicaciones internacionales de actividades mal planeadas o demasiado entusiastas contra Cuba". Posada comenta, en este documento, que si es autorizado por la agencia a sumarse a la junta, se asegurará que "nunca hagan nada para poner en peligro la seguridad de este país (como volar buques rusos)". Sabía de lo que hablaba.
En un documento de la CIA fechado un año antes, el primero de julio de 1965, la agencia informa sobre un plan de la Rece propuesto por Jorge Mas Canosa para volar una nave cubana o rusa en Veracruz. En el documento, una fuente de la inteligencia estadunidense informa de un pago de Mas Canosa a Posada para financiar la operación de sabotaje contra naves rusas en México, y detalla que Posada ya tiene "100 libras de explosivo C-4 y detonadores" como bombas tipo limpet. En otro cable de la CIA, fechado 24 de julio de 1965, la agencia instruye a Posada a desvincularse de estas actividades.
El mismo tipo de detonadores mencionados por Posada en esta operación, fueron utilizados en el bombazo del vuelo 455, el 6 de octubre de 1976.
Otro documento de la CIA fechado 27 de septiembre de 1965 elogia el "buen carácter" de Posada y su "confiabilidad", y la agencia recomienda que sea considerado para un puesto civil en un régimen poscastrista en Cuba.
Kornbluh, del Archivo de Seguridad Nacional, llamó a que la CIA divulgue todos sus archivos sobre Posada Carriles "para clarificar la historia de la violencia anticastrista y promover la causa de la justicia para las muchas víctimas de Posada".
Los documentos desclasificados podrán ser revisados a partir de este martes en el sitio de Internet del National Security Archive: www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/