Castro's Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, The CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy [NOOK Book]

Overview

In CASTRO'S SECRETS, highly acclaimed author and intelligence expert Brian Latell offers a strikingly original view of Fidel Castro in his role as Cuba's supreme spymaster. Based on interviews with high level defectors from Cuba's powerful intelligence and security services, long-buried secrets of Fidel's nearly 50-year reign are exposed for the first time. They include numerous assassinations and attempted ones carried out on Castro's orders, some against foreign leaders. More than a dozen ranking Cuban secret ...

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Castro's Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, The CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

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Overview

In CASTRO'S SECRETS, highly acclaimed author and intelligence expert Brian Latell offers a strikingly original view of Fidel Castro in his role as Cuba's supreme spymaster. Based on interviews with high level defectors from Cuba's powerful intelligence and security services, long-buried secrets of Fidel's nearly 50-year reign are exposed for the first time. They include numerous assassinations and attempted ones carried out on Castro's orders, some against foreign leaders. More than a dozen ranking Cuban secret agents embraced by the CIA and FBI speak in these pages; some have never told their stories on the record before. Latell also probes dispassionately into the CIA's most deplorable plots against Cuba - including previously obscure schemes to assassinate Castro - and presents shocking new conclusions about what Fidel actually knew of Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Latell (After Fidel), senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies, draws on his nearly four decades of tracking Castro for the CIA for this authoritative exposé of “the mysteries and crimes of Cuban intelligence over the last half century.” To augment his extensive knowledge of Castro’s Cuba, the author conducted extensive interviews with defectors from Cuba’s elite intelligence and security services, interviewed CIA officers, and read thousands of pages of declassified CIA documents. Much of what he reports confirms existing knowledge: the details of Kennedy’s “bloody covert war against Fidel”; the CIA’s efforts to assassinate Castro; and Castro’s support for guerrilla movements in Latin America. Latell also uncovers some occasionally shocking new information: that Castro quickly developed an elite spy agency and managed to keep the CIA “ignorant of Cuban capabilities” for decades; that Castro himself was Cuba’s “supreme spymaster”; and that Castro knew about Lee Harvey Oswald’s plan to assassinate Kennedy. Despite his best efforts to link Castro to the assassination, however, Latell manages only to show that the dictator knew more about Oswald than he has admitted. While he documents Kennedy’s obsession with Castro, he fails to ask why. Even so, Latell provides a lively and revealing account of the long intelligence war between the U.S. and Cuba. Agent: Sterling Lord, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

“Attention-getting… point[s] to crucial unresolved questions that still trouble our national soul.”--Slate

“Brilliant . . . This unique book not only traces Fidel Castro’s extraordinary intelligence service and its acts against the U.S., but it also analyzes America’s — and especially the overeager Kennedy boys’ — attempts to kill Castro . . . informative (and wonderfully readable) . . . Latell’s book, enhanced by the author’s rich experience, radar-like understanding of the peculiar people involved and mastery of history, is an important contribution to understanding this crucial period that changed us much more than we imagine.”--Georgie Anne Geyer, The Columbus Dispatch

“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 . . . The most interesting parts of his narrative revolve around how much Castro knew about the plot to kill Kennedy, and a parallel attempt, on the part of the CIA, to assassinate the Cuban dictator . . . One of the successes of Castro’s Secrets is that it offers readers a view of both sides of the shadow war.”--The Daily Beast

"A fascinating study of Castro’s intelligence network and its early battles with the CIA to secure Castro’s hold on power.”--The Sunday Times

“Britan Latell, for four decades the CIA’s ranking authority on all matters Castro and Cuban, has ripped the shroud off the circumstances behind one of the more flagrant instances of journalistic malpractice ever in the Washington media.”—The Washington Times

“Authoritative exposé …[and] a lively and revealing account of the long intelligence war between the U.S. and Cuba.”--Publishers Weekly

"[Latell] offers considerable information about how the U.S. government tried continually to overthrow the Castro regime, including plans that could have led to the assassination of one or both Castro brothers. In addition to information about assassination plots, Latell explains how a small island nation built an impressive spy agency . . . An insider's account." --Kirkus Reviews

“An insider's look at Castro's Cuba, and its tortured relationship with America, from one of the most knowledgeable Cuba experts around. Brian Latell draws on exclusive interviews with Cuban spies and troves of declassified documents to provide the most authoritative account yet of the decades-long U.S. Cuba intelligence war.”--Michael Dobbs, author of One Minute to Midnight: JFK, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War

“I have been waiting more than 35 years for this book. Since my service as a member of the Senate’s Church committee I have never believed Fidel Castro’s denials of prior knowledge of the Kennedy assassination. Brian Latell has performed a national service by writing a book that lays bare the duplicity of the Cuban government.”--Robert Morgan, former US Senator

"No one knows more about Cuban intelligence than Brian Latell. In this page-turner, he not only tells compelling stories that reveal the strength of Cuban actions in Le Carre's world of spy vs. spy but raises unsettling questions about Lee Harvey Oswald's Cuban connections. By the end, the reader is asking, What did Fidel know and when did he know it?"--Timothy Naftali, Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism

"A remarkable look at Fidel Castro's intelligence machine. This is a must read for anyone curious about the long history of Fidel Castro's intelligence preoccupation with the U.S. "--Frederick P. Hitz, former Inspector General of CIA and author of The Great Game  

“Castro’s Secrets is a must read for anyone who cares about how JFK died, how Fidel Castro lied to a congressional investigating committee, and whether the CIA is still covering up crucial knowledge.”--G. Robert Blakey, Former Chief Counsel and Staff Director to the House Select Committee on Assassinations

"In this provocative book, Brian Latell brings to bear all his experience and knowledge as a former intelligence analyst on Cuba for the CIA. This is a book that should be read, regardless of whether one agrees with Latell about Castro’s complicity in JFK’s assassination."-- Max Holland, author of The Kennedy Assassination Tapes

“[CASTRO’S SECRETS is] the first substantial study of Fidel Castro’s intelligence operations. Based on interviews with Cuban spies who defected as well as declassified documents from the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon and other national security organs, it contains a good deal of material likely to stir controversy . . . Latell’s book makes some new revelations and adds detail to older ones in making the argument that Castro played at least an indirect role in the assassination [of JFK].” –The Miami Herald

Library Journal
Former CIA national intelligence officer for Latin America and Cuba specialist Latell follows his successful After Fidel with a riveting look inside Cuban intelligence and at the spymaster himself, Fidel Castro. Using declassified government documents and interviews with intelligence operatives on both sides, Latell weaves a story of espionage and double agents worthy of the pages of Tom Clancy or John Le Carré. Much of his story comes from defector Florentino Aspillaga Lombard, who turned in 1987. Lombard's insights alone make for a fascinating tale, but Latell backs his narrative with other sources just as useful. The author's conclusions reveal a Cuban intelligence community that outsmarted their American counterparts time and again. He asserts two debatable points yet supports them with credible sources—that Castro knew of Oswald's plot to assassinate John F. Kennedy and that the Cuban leader pushed for Soviet premier Khrushchev to engage in a nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. VERDICT An outstanding read for Cuba watchers and those who follow Castro's continued machinations against America.—Boyd Childress, formerly Auburn Univ. Lib., AL
Kirkus Reviews
An analysis of Fidel Castro focusing on Cuban spy activity, by a retired CIA officer who specialized in tracking the Castro brothers. Latell (After Fidel: The Inside Story of Castro's Regime and Cuba's Next Leader, 2005) was bound by his employment contract to submit this book to CIA censors, and he claims they asked for only a few minor changes. Many of the fresh allegations about Castro, his crackerjack spy agency and U.S. efforts to undermine him are based on conversations between the author and Florentino Aspillaga Lombard, "the most knowledgeable Cuban defector ever to change sides." That means the credibility of many of these allegations depend heavily on Aspillaga's credibility, though Latell states that he has no doubt about Aspillaga's memory or the purity of his motives. Perhaps the most dramatic revelation is that Fidel Castro, and presumably his brother, a key member of the Cuban revolutionary autocracy, knew ahead of time that Lee Harvey Oswald would assassinate President Kennedy in Dallas. Latell does not sugarcoat the reasons for the anger of the Castro brothers aimed at Kennedy; rather, the author offers considerable information about how the U.S. government tried continually to overthrow the Castro regime, including plans that could have led to the assassination of one or both Castro brothers. In addition to information about assassination plots, Latell explains how a small island nation built an impressive spy agency. Though the author does not find the CIA wanting, he acknowledges that sometimes the information gathered turned out to be outdated or incorrect. An insider's account that by definition is difficult for outsiders to evaluate because the author and many of his key sources are trained dissemblers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137000019
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/24/2012
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 764,278
  • File size: 981 KB

Meet the Author

BRIAN LATELL began tracking Cuba for the CIA in the early 1960s. Today, as Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami, he continues as one of the most distinguished and frequently quoted experts. For a quarter century he taught Cuba and Latin America as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. A former National Intelligence Officer for Latin America and Director of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence, he has written for the Washington Post, Miami Herald, Wall Street Journal, Time, and many other American and international publications. His After Fidel has been published in eight languages.



Brian Latell is the author of After Fidel, which has been published in eight languages. He began tracking the Castro brothers for the CIA in the 1960s. His articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Miami Herald, and The Washington Quarterly. Currently senior research associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami, he previously taught for a quarter century at Georgetown University. He lives in Lancaster, Virginia.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Author's Note ix

1 Better Than Us l

2 On Fidel's Orders 23

3 Rooftop Stories 43

4 Come to Cuba 63

5 At Daggers Drawn 83

6 Tyrannicide 105

7 Mouth of the Lion 127

8 Whiplash 149

9 The Big Job 171

10 Great Minds 193

11 Conspiracy of Silence 213

Afterword 235

Notes 249

Index 266

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 3, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    THE INSIDE TRACK ON CASTRO INC.'S ENDURING SURVIVAL

    For those who have wondered how the Cuban despot and his family and friends have survived this long, Latell's slim volume goes a long way in highlighting the extraordinary security and intelligence apparatus undergirding the regime. While many of the details in the book have appeared in other tellings, this book helps to pull the strings together to form a more cohesive picture starting from the hijaking of the revolution by Fidel until today's octogenarian hacks and their Supremo. Latell spends too much space on the Cuban complicity in the Kennedy assasination given the confessions of former Cuban intelligence operatives. And he weaves back and forth in non-linear chronology which made me loose my way. I had hoped for a fuller and more complete picture of the Castro regime's intelligence history and maybe we can hope this will be Latell's next project. On a side note: One of the bonuses of this reading is to remind us how the regime has adroitly exploited the "true believers" abroad who mistakenly simpathized with the despotic regime, taken in by their skillful propaganda. Perhaps novelty tourists thinking of going to Cuba will think twice when they realize that 90% of every dollar they spend there goes directly to support the Castro regime. Small crumbs for the people suffering on that island.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2012

    Highly recommended

    Castro was about the most compelling person in the twentieth century. He even thwarted his huge neighbor ninety miles north. One president tried to sponsor a an armed revolution. It was defeated. The next president had to blockade the island to get a European superpower to withdraw his nuclear tipped missiles. Ten presidents tried, one way or the other, to get rid of him. The author, a one time CIA agent leads us through the history. Tis said "nice guys finish last." Fidel was not a nice guy. He was one of the world's most malicient despots, but he perserved, beloved by his citizens and admired by those who loved to see a small country stand up to a larger and much more powerful one. The book takes a bit of patience and re-reading. It's hard to follow with so many characters one tends to confuse Cubans with CIA agents. And with so many defections, on both sides, so did our guys and their guys.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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