17 April 2012 UPDATE: Fifty-one years after the failed attempt to invade Cuba, the Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Justice continue to claim that releasing the final volume of a CIA history of the debacle would “confuse the public” and should therefore remain withheld. The National Security Archive originally requested the document in 2005. Last year, the Archive filed a FOIA lawsuit to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bay of Pigs debacle. That prompted the release of three volumes of the five volume history (one volume was already available at the Johnson Presidential Library); the CIA and DOJ have continued to fight the release of the fifth volume. Judge Kessler, of the US District Court in Washington DC, is expected to soon rule on the case.
In late 2011, the Central Intelligence Agency explained to Judge Kessler of the US District Court in Washington DC that releasing the final volume of its three-decade-old history of the 1961 Bay of Pigs debacle would “confuse the public,” and should be withheld because it is a “predecisional” document. Wow. And I thought that I had heard them all.
On the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the National Security Archivefiled a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for the release of a five-volume CIA history of the Bay of Pigs affair. In response to the lawsuit, the CIA negotiated to release three volumes of the history — the JFK Assassination Records Review Board had already released Volume III– with limited redaction, currently available on the National Security Archive’s website. At the time, the Director of the National Security Archive’s Cuba Documentation project, Peter Kornbluh, quipped that getting historic documents released from the CIA was “the bureaucratic equivalent of passing a kidney stone.” He was right. The Agency refused to release the final volume of this history, and the National Security Archive is not giving up on the fight.