The Best and Brightest in Spycraft

“Mr Cubanazo, meet your CIA case-officer!”

Traditionally the CIA recruited its suits heavily (and almost exclusively for a while) from the Ivy League. Cuba Confidential reports the results:

(In June 1987) Florentino Aspillaga Lombard, head of the intelligence center at the Cuban Embassy in Prague, Czechoslovakia, defected to the US. Aspillaga revealed to the CIA one of Havana’s most closely held secrets – almost every Cuban agent the CIA had recruited since 1961 was actually controlled by Cuban Intelligence.…According to Ernest Volkman, an acknowledged authority on intelligence issues, poor CIA tradecraft and the Agency’s amazing degree of gullibility were critical to Havana’s success.

Gullible?..The CIA?!..Amigas and amigos just talk to any of your friends or relatives involved in Bay of Pigs, Mongoose, etc. They’ll confirm Volkman with bells-on regarding CIA gullibility (and arrogance, usually related.) To wit:

“Don’t worry, Ambassador. We’ve infiltrated Castro’s group in the Sierra. The Castros and Che Guevara have no affiliations with any Communists whatsoever.” (Jim Noel, CIA Havana Station Chief Oct. 1958)

“Me and my staff were all Fidelistas,” Robert Reynolds, CIA’s Caribbean Desk Chief 1957-60)

“Everyone in the CIA and everyone at State were pro-Castro, except ambassador Earl T. Smith. (Robert Weicha, CIA operative in Santiago de Cuba 1957-59)

“All the Cuban politicians I was given to work with (by my CIA superiors) for the Bay of Pigs political organization had supported Castro. I regarded them all as opportunists and shallow thinkers” (rogue right-wing CIA officer, E. Howard Hunt, known as “Eduardo”)

So America’s most vigilant agency against foreign penetration was (literally) penetrated to the hilt by Castro agents…can you imagine Cuban penetration of, say, the U.S. legislature?!….and–gulp–Academia and THE MEDIA?!!!