Tag Archives: Bay of Pigs

The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #92

The CIA played a leading role in orchestrating propaganda efforts in the lead up to the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion of April 17, 1960, particularly via its broadcasting front organization, Radio Swan.

“Project officers … consulted with Voice of America and the United States Information Agency on propaganda operations,” Agency internal documents reveal.

“There were many discussions with the Federal Communications Commission on the licensing of Radio Swan and with the Defense Department concerning its cover. The State Department was regularly consulted on political matters.”

 

As the actual Cuban invasion approached “Radio Swan and other outlets were broadcasting 18 hours a day on medium-wave and 16 hours on short-wave. Immediately after D Day, these totals were increased to 55 hours and 26 hours, respectively. Fourteen frequencies were used. By the time of the invasion a total of 12,000,000 pounds of leaflets had been dropped on Cuba.”

Peter Kornbluh (ed.), The Secret CIA Report on the Invasion of Cuba, New York: New Press, 1998, 27, 28, 38.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #68

The failed Bay of Pigs invasion began just before midnight on April 16, 1961, when a group of roughly 1,500 Cuban exiles trained and supported by the CIA landed on Cuba’s south-central shore at the Bay of Pigs.

As author Vitaly Petrussenko chronicles, following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion the CIA sustained significant negative impact. To help restore its luster “and his own image at the top of the Establishment” then-CIA Director “Allen Dulles authorized a big article in Fortune magazine, written by his friend Charles J.V. Murphy.” Classified documents intended to place CIA officials in a positive light and relieve them of responsibility of the failed invasion were turned over to Murphy “with Dulles’s consent.”

Shortly thereafter Dulles became the standard public spokesman for the Agency when he “began cultivating relations with television companies as suggested by Attorney General Robert Kennedy who himself was instructed by his President-brother to re-organize the Agency.” For example, “NBC television was offered the unique opportunity of producing a film about the CIA narrated by David Brinkley, NBC’s star commentator. Naturally, the film vindicated the CIA, and praised its cloak-and-dagger agents.

Vitaly Petrusenko, Trans. By Nocolai Kozelsky and Vladimir Leonov, A Dangerous Game: CIA and the Mass Media, Prague: Interpress, 1977, 23.

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