During the 1960s, Maurice Bishop was the alias used by an infamous CIA officer in Mexico City, whom conspiracy theorists believe met Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before President John F. Kennedy was murdered in 1963. The alleged meeting is cited as clear evidence that CIA officers were somehow involved in Kennedy’s assassination.
I knew Maurice Bishop, whose real name was David Atlee Phillips. A long time ago, he got me into the agency. I know for certain that the CIA did not kill President Kennedy. Yet Castro’s Secrets: The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine, a recent book by former CIA analyst Brian Lattell, has taught me many things I did not know about our shadow war against the tiny, communist nation. And it has provided context and overwhelming evidence for many of our intelligence failures vis-à-vis our Cuban counterparts. Namely, that the claims against Phillips and the CIA are the products of a decades-old Cuban disinformation campaign, and that over the past 50 years, Castro has shown himself to be among the greatest spymasters in modern history.
Castro’s Secrets begins like a slow murder mystery then builds damning fact after damning fact into a conclusive, ground-breaking portrait, based on firsthand sources, of how the Cuban strongman—in all his evil brilliance—frequently ran circles around the CIA. Readers who start Lattell’s book with the now widespread image of Castro as a slightly avuncular, foolish caudillo will likely finish it wishing that President Kennedy had followed through during the Bay of Pigs and rid us of this sociopath and his murderous, corrupt regime.
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