- May 18, 2005 - Documents featured on May 17, 2005 edition of
Washington D.C. May 18, 2005 - The National Security
Archive today posted additional documents that show that the CIA
had concrete advance
intelligence, as early as June 1976, on plans by
Cuban exile terrorist groups to bomb a Cubana airliner. The Archive
also posted another
document that shows that the FBI's attache in Caracas
had multiple contacts with one of the Venezuelans who placed the
bomb on the plane, and provided him with a visa to the U.S. five
days before the bombing, despite suspicions that he was engaged
in terrorist activities at the direction of Luis Posada Carriles.
Both documents were featured last night on ABC Nightline's program
on Luis Posada Carriles, who was detained in Miami yesterday by
In addition, the Archive posted the first
report to Secretary of State Kissinger from the State
Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research on the bombing
of Cubana flight 455. The report noted that a CIA source had overheard
Posada prior to the bombing in late September 1976 stating that,
"We are going to hit a Cuban airliner." This information
was apparently not passed to the CIA until after the plane went
There is no indication in the declassified files that indicates
that the CIA alerted Cuban government authorities to the terrorist
threat against Cubana planes. Still classified CIA records indicate
that the informant might actually have been Posada himself who
at that time was in periodic contact with both CIA and FBI agents
June 22, 1976, Report, "Possible Plans of Cuban Exile Extremists
to Blow Up a Cubana Airliner"
October 9, 1976, "Unknown Subjects; Suspected Bombing of
Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados, West Indies, October 6,
Department, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, October 18,
1976, Memorandum, "Castro's Allegations"
Washington D.C. May 10, 2005 - Declassified CIA and
FBI records posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive
at George Washington University identify Cuban exile Luis Posada
Carriles, who is apparently in Florida seeking asylum, as a former
CIA agent and as one of the "engineer[s]" of the 1976
terrorist bombing of Cubana Airlines flight 455 that killed 73
The documents include a November
1976 FBI report on the bombing cited in yesterday's
New York Times article "Case
of Cuban Exile Could Test the U.S. Definition of Terrorist,"
CIA trace reports covering
the Agency's recruitment of Posada in the 1960s, as well as the
FBI intelligence reporting
on the downing of the plane. The Archive also posted a
second FBI report,
dated one day after the bombing, in which a confidential source
"all but admitted that Posada and [Orlando] Bosch had engineered
the bombing of the airline." In addition, the posting includes
several documents relating
to Bosch and his suspected role in the downing of the jetliner
on October 6, 1976.
Using a false passport, Posada apparently snuck into the United
States in late March and remains in hiding. His lawyer announced
that Posada is asking the Bush administration for asylum because
of the work he had done for the Central Intelligence Agency in
the 1960s. The documents posted today include CIA
records confirming that Posada was an agent in the
1960s and early 1970s, and remained an informant in regular contact
with CIA officials at least until June 1976.
In 1985, Posada escaped from prison in Venezuela where he had
been incarcerated after the plane bombing and remains a fugitive
from justice. He went directly to El Salvador, where he worked,
using the alias "Ramon Medina," on the illegal
contra resupply program being run by Lt. Col. Oliver
North in the Reagan National Security Council. In 1998 he was
interviewed by Ann Louise Bardach for the New York Times
at a secret location in Aruba, and claimed responsibility for
a string of hotel bombings in Havana during which eleven people
were injured and one Italian businessman was killed. Most recently
he was imprisoned in Panama for trying to assassinate Fidel Castro
in December 2000 with 33 pounds of C-4 explosives. In September
2004, he and three co-conspirators were suddenly pardoned, and
Posada went to Honduras. Venezuela is now preparing to submit
an official extradition request to the United States for his return.
According to Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Archive's Cuba Documentation
Project, Posada's presence in the United States "poses a
direct challenge to the Bush administration's terrorism policy.
The declassified record," he said, "leaves no doubt
that Posada has been one of the world's most unremitting purveyors
of terrorist violence." President Bush has repeatedly stated
that no nation should harbor terrorists, and all nations should
work to bring individuals who advocate and employ the use of terror
tactics to justice. During the Presidential campaign last year
Bush stated that "I think you can create conditions so that
those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of
the world." Although Posada has reportedly been in the Miami
area for more than six weeks, the FBI has indicated it is not
actively searching for him.
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Luis Posada Carriles had a long relationship with
the CIA. In February 1961, he joined the CIA's Brigade 2506 to
invade Cuba, although the ship to which he was assigned never
landed at the Bay of Pigs. While in the U.S. military between
1963 and 1965 the CIA recruited him and trained him in demolitions;
he subsequently became a trainer of other paramilitary exile forces
in the mid 1960s. CIA documents posted below reveal that he was
terminated as an asset in July 1967, but then reinstated four
months later and apparently remained an asset until 1974. The
documents also show that he remained in contact with the Agency
until June 1976, only three months before the plane bombing.
1: CIA, October 13, 1976, Report, "Traces on Persons
Involved in 6 Oct 1976 Cubana Crash."
In the aftermath of the bombing of Cubana flight 455, the CIA
ran a file check on all names associated with the terror attack.
In a report to the FBI the Agency stated that it had no association
with the two Venezuelans who were arrested. A section on Luis
Posada Carriles was heavily redacted when the document was declassified.
But the FBI retransmitted the report three days later and that
version was released uncensored revealing Posada's relations
with the CIA.
2: FBI, October 16, 1976, Retransmission of CIA Trace Report
In this uncensored version of the CIA trace report, the Agency
admits that it "had a relationship with one person whose
name has been mentioned in connection with the reported bombing,"
Luis Posada Carriles. The CIA file check shows that Posada was
"a former agent of CIA." Although it doesn't say when
his employment began, it indicates he was terminated briefly
in the summer of 1967 but then reinstated in the fall and continued
as an asset while a high level official in the Venezuelan intelligence
service, DISIP, until 1974. Even then, "occasional contact
with him" continued until June 1976.
3: CIA, June 1966, File search on Luis "Pozada"
In this file search the CIA states that Posada has "been
of operational interest to this Agency since April 1965,"
the likely date when he first became a paid CIA agent.
4: FBI, July 18, 1966, "Cuba"
An informant reports to the FBI that Posada is a CIA agent
and is "receiving approximately $300.00 per month from
5: CIA, April 17, 1972, Personal Record Questionnaire on
This "PRQ" was compiled in 1972 at a time Posada
was a high level official at the Venezuelan intelligence service,
DISIP, in charge of demolitions. The CIA was beginning to have
some concerns about him, based on reports that he had taken
CIA explosives equipment to Venezuela, and that he had ties
to a Miami mafia figure named Lefty Rosenthal. The PRQ spells
out Posada's personal background and includes his travel to
various countries between 1956 and 1971. It also confirms that
one of his many aliases was "Bambi Carriles."
During the time that Posada was on the CIA payroll in the mid-1960s,
he participated in a number of plots that involved sabotage and
explosives. FBI reporting recorded some of Posada's earliest activities,
including his financial ties to Jorge Mas Canosa, who would later
become head of the powerful anti-Castro lobby, the Cuban American
FBI, July 7, 1965, "Luis Posada Carriles"
The FBI transmits information obtained from the CIA's Mexico
station titled "Intention of Cuban Representation in Exile
(RECE) to Blow up a Cuban or Soviet Vessel in Veracruz, Mexico."
The document summarizes intelligence on a payment that Jorge
Mas Canosa, then the head of RECE, has made to Luis Posada to
finance a sabotage operation against ships in Mexico. Posada
reportedly has "100 pounds of C-4 explosives and detonators"
and limpet mines to use in the operation.
7: FBI, July 13, 1965, "Cuban Representation in Exile
A FBI cable reports on intelligence obtained from "MM
T-1" (a code reference to the CIA) on a number of RECE
terrorist operations, including the bombing of the Soviet library
in Mexico City. The document contains information on payments
from Jorge Mas Canosa to Luis Posada for an operation to bomb
ships in the port of Veracruz, as well as a description of Posada
and a statement he gave to the FBI in June of 1964.
8: FBI, May 17, 1965, "Roberto Alejos Arzu; Luis Sierra
Lopez, Neutrality Matters, Internal Security-Guatemala"
The FBI links Posada to a major plot to overthrow the government
of Guatemala. U.S. Customs agents force Posada and other co-conspirators
to turn over a cache of weapons that are listed in this document.
The weapons include napalm, 80 pounds of C-4 explosives, and
28 pounds of C-3 explosives.
OF CUBANA FLIGHT 455
9: FBI, October 7, 1976, Secret Intelligence Report, "Suspected
Bombing of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados"
In one of the very first reports on the October 6, 1976, downing
of Cubana Flight 455, the FBI Venezuelan bureau cables that
a confidential source has identified Luis Posada and Orlando
Bosch as responsible for the bombing. "The source all but
admitted that Posada and Bosch had engineered the bombing of
the airline," according to the report. The report appears
to indicate that the Venezuelan secret police, DISIP, were arranging
for Bosch and Posada to leave Caracas, although this section
of the document has been censored.
In the report, the FBI identifies two Venezuelan suspects arrested
in Barbados: Freddy Lugo and Jose Vazquez Garcia. Vazquez Garcia
is an alias for Hernan Ricardo Lozano. Both Ricardo and Lugo
worked for Luis Posada's private security firm in Caracas at
the time of the bombing.
10: FBI, November 2, 1976, Secret Intelligence Report "Bombing
of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados, West Indies, October
The FBI receives information from a source who has spoken with
Ricardo Morales Navarrete, a Cuban exile informant working for
DISIP in Caracas. Known as "Monkey" Morales, he tells
the FBI source of two meetings during which plotting for the
plane bombing took place: one in the Hotel Anauco Hilton in
Caracas, and another in Morales room at the Hilton. Both meetings
were attended by Posada Carriles. A key passage of the report
quotes Morales as stating that "some people in the Venezuelan
government are involved in this airplane bombing, and that if
Posada Carriles talks, then Morales Navarrete and others in
the Venezuelan government will 'go down the tube.' He said that
if people start talking 'we'll have our own Watergate.'"
Morales also states that after the plane went down, one of the
men who placed the bomb aboard the jet called Orlando Bosch
and reported: "A bus with 73 dogs went off a cliff and
all got killed."
11: FBI, November 3, 1976, Cable, "Bombing of Cubana
Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados, West Indies, October 6, 1976"
The FBI reports on arrest warrants issued by
a Venezuelan judge for Posada, Bosch, Freddy Lugo and Ricardo
BOSCH AND ANTI-CASTRO TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS
12: FBI, January 24, 1977, Secret Report, "Coordination
of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU) Neutrality Matters
- Cuba - (Anti-Castro)"
The FBI reports on a plot to carry out terrorist attacks that
will divert attention from the prosecution of Orlando Bosch
and Luis Posada in Caracas. Orders for the attacks are attributed
to Orlando Garcia Vazquez, a Cuban exile who was then head of
the Venezuelan intelligence service, DISIP. (Garcia Vazquez
currently lives in Miami.) The report also provides some details
13: FBI, August 16, 1978, Secret Report, "Coordinacion
de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas (Coordination of United
Revolutionary Organizations) (CORU), Neutrality Matters - Cuba
This FBI report provides a comprehensive overview of CORU which
the FBI describes as "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella
organization" headed by Orlando Bosch. The report records
how CORU was created at a secret meeting in Santo Domingo on
June 11, 1976, during which a series of bombing attacks were
planned, including the bombing of a Cubana airliner. On page
6, the report relates in great detail how Orlando Bosch was
met in Caracas on September 8, 1976, by Luis Posada and other
anti-Castro exiles and a deal was struck as to what kind of
activities he could organize on Venezuelan soil. The document
also contains substantive details on behind-the-scene efforts
in Caracas to obtain the early release of Bosch and Posada from
AND POSADA (A.K.A. RAMON MEDINA)
14: September 2, 1986, Contra re-supply document, [Distribution
of Warehoused Contra Weapons and Equipment - in Spanish with
After bribing his way out of prison in Venezuela in September
1985, Posada went directly to El Salvador to work on the illicit
contra resupply operations being run by Lt. Col. Oliver North.
Posada assumed the name "Ramon Medina," and worked
as a deputy to another anti-Castro Cuban exile, Felix Rodriguez,
who was in charge of a small airlift of arms and supplies to
the contras in Southern Nicaragua. Rodriguez used the code name,
Max Gomez. This document, released during the Congressional
investigation into the Iran-Contra operations, records both
Posada and Rodriguez obtaining supplies for contra troops from
a warehouse at Illopango airbase in San Salvador.
15: May 27, 1987, Testimony of Felix I. Rodriguez Before
the Joint Hearings on the Iran-Contra Investigation [Excerpt]
Retired Air Force Colonel Robert C. Dutton, who supervised
the contra resupply operation beginning in April 1986, identified
Luis Posada as the true identity of "Ramon Medina"
at his appearance before the joint hearings on the Iran-contra
investigation on May 27, 1987.
16: May 1987, Iran-Contra Hearings, Testimony of Robert
C. Dutton, Exhibit 14, "Reorganization Plan"