On the day died, the CIA was working to kill
with a poisoned pen. Mr Kennedy was assassinatedб in Dallas in 1963, but Mr Castro survived a plot to kill him with a lethal ballpoint pen. In the end, the Cuban leader outlasted his American rival by more than five decades. The machinations against CubaБs communist leader are revealed in a new batch of declassified documents relating to Mr KennedyБs assassination. The National Archives has been steadily making thousands of documents available to the public, helping to illuminate both the governmentБs scramble to investigate the PresidentБs death and the Cold War geopolitics playing out around them. The poison pen plot is striking for its synchronicity. According to a recently released document, on 22 November 1963, a CIA officer in Paris passed a Cuban asset a pen rigged with a hypodermic syringe. Half a world away, tragedy was engulfing America. БThe evidence indicates that the meeting was under way at the very moment President Kennedy was shotБ, the documentб says. But it is clear that the attempt, while eerie in its timing, is far from unique. The 1967 document laying it out, entitled Б Б, shows killing Mr Castro was a recurring obsession for the American president. БWe cannot overemphasize the extent to which responsible Agency officers felt themselves subject to the Kennedy administrationБs severe pressures to do something about Castro and his regimeБ, the report says.
Among the other plots described are an effort to have Mr Castro ingest poison pills, which were supplied to members of a gambling syndicate working on behalf of the CIA and then passed to a Cuban exile leader in Florida; gifting Mr Castro a poisoned skin-diving suit; and boobytrapping Бan unusually spectacular sea shellБ so it would explode when the Cuban leader lifted it. Some plans were hatched before the Bay of Pigs debacle, in which an American-backed invasion of Cuba was easily repelled in a humiliating setback for the Kennedy administration. Early ideas included poisoning the air of a radio studio Mr Castro used and having him smoke a contaminated cigar before a speech, which would make him disoriented and undermine his credibility as he made Бa public spectacle of himselfБ. He wasnБt the only world leader the CIA targeted. A previously released summary of Б Б revealed that Dominican leader Rafael Trujillo was also in the agencyБs sights. б But documents underline the CIAБs intense focus on disrupting Cuba and undermining Mr Castro.
Many of those efforts sought to foment a popular uprising that would topple the revolutionary leader. They also encouraged bloodshed as a means to that end. A references setting up a monetary bounty system for killing Cuban communists, part of an effort to Бput pressure on Cuban communists by creating distrust and disunityБ. The proposed rewards ranged as high as $100,000 for killing a government official. Concerns that Oswald was KGB agent ne of the most intriguing parts of the tragic episode was the role of Yuri Nosenko. The Russian was, on the surface at least, a senior KGB defector. Nosenko had told Warren Commission that Oswald, who lived in the Soviet Union in the late 1950s and early 1960s before traveling to Mexico City and then to Dallas, had acted on his own and was never an agent of the KGB. But not everyone was convinced. According to the New York Times, Richard Helms, then head of the C. I. A. \’s espionage operations, and later director of the entire agency, testified to the House Committee on Assassinations that he found Nosenko\’s claim strained credulity. I have not been able to swallow it. Another sceptic was Tennent H. Bagley, who was one of Mr. NosenkoБs main handlers as chief of counterintelligence for the C. I. A. Бs Soviet division. б One of the released files is a letter from Bagley to the Committee on Assassinations. б б If Nosenko is a KGB plant, as I am convinced he is, there can be no doubt that Nosenko\’s recited story about Oswald in the USSR is a message from the KGB. That message says, in exaggerated and implausible form, that Oswald had nothing whatever to do with the KGB, not questioned for his military intelligence, not even screened as a possible CIA plant.
By sending out such a message, the KGB exposes the fact that it has something to hide. That something may be the fact that Oswald was an agent of the KGB. Б Oswald was a БmaniacБ and the SovietsБ reaction In another file, Mr Hoover outlines what the agency knew of the Soviets\’ reaction to the assassination. The document appears to support Nosenko\’s claim that Oswald was viewed as mentally unstable. б According to our source, Soviet officials claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald had no connection whatsoever with the Soviet Union. They described him as a neurotic maniac who was disloyal to his own country and everything else. They noted that Oswald never belonged to any organisation in the Soviet Union and was never given Soviet citizenship. Бб