Drawing from recently declassified documents from the CIA and insider accounts from the agents who were there, CIA Declassified peels back the curtain to tell the real stories behind the manhunts and covert operations that delivered lethal justice.
Runtime: 50 minutes
CIA Declassified - Luis Posada Carriles - Netflix
Luis Clemente Posada Carriles (February 15, 1928 – May 23, 2018) was a Cuban exile militant and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent. He was considered a terrorist by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Government of Cuba, among others. Born in Cienfuegos, Posada Carriles fled to the United States after a spell of anti-Castro activism as a student. He helped organize the Bay of Pigs Invasion, and after it failed, became an agent for the CIA. He received training at Fort Benning, and from 1964 to 1967 was involved with a series of bombings and other covert activities against the Cuban government, before joining the Venezuelan intelligence service. Along with Orlando Bosch, he was involved in founding the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, described by the FBI as “an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization”. Posada and CORU are widely considered responsible for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. Posada later admitted involvement in a string of bombings in 1997 targeting fashionable Cuban hotels and nightspots. In addition, he was jailed under accusations related to an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000, although he was later pardoned by Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso in the final days of her term. He denied involvement in the airline bombing and the alleged plot against Castro in Panama, but admitted to fighting to overthrow the Castro regime in Cuba. In 2005, Posada was held by US authorities in Texas on the charge of being in the country illegally: the charges were later dismissed. A judge ruled he could not be deported because he faced the threat of torture in Venezuela. The US government refused to repatriate Posada to Cuba, citing the same reason. His release on bail in 2007 elicited angry reactions from the Cuban and Venezuelan governments. The US Justice Department had urged the court to keep him in jail because he was “an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks”, a flight risk and a danger to the community. The decision was also criticized within the US; an editorial in the Los Angeles Times stated that by releasing Carriles while detaining a number of suspected terrorists in Guantánamo Bay, the US government was guilty of hypocrisy. Posada died in May 2018 in Florida. He is considered “a heroic figure in the hardline anti-Castro exile community” in Miami. Reporter Ann Louise Bardach called him "Fidel Castro's most persistent would-be assassin, while Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive has referred to him as “one of the most dangerous terrorists in recent history” and the “godfather of Cuban exile violence.”
CIA Declassified - Early years (1928–1968) - Netflix
Posada was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba on February 15, 1928. His family was relatively affluent. He had four siblings. The family moved to Havana when Posada was 17 years old, where he studied medicine and chemistry at the University of Havana and worked as a supervisor for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. He worked initially in Havana, and was transferred to Akron, Ohio, after the Cuban Revolution of 1959. As a student he had come in contact with Fidel Castro, who had become a figure of some significance in the student politics of the time. Posada later said that Castro was three years ahead of him at university. Misgivings about the Cuban revolution led Posada to become an activist in open opposition to the new government. After a spell in military prison Posada sought political asylum in Mexico. By 1961, Posada had relocated to the United States where he helped to organize the failed Bay of Pigs IGuerrilla warfarenvasion of Cuba. The rest of Posada's family remained in Cuba, and continued to support the Cuban revolution; Posada's sister eventually rose to the rank of Colonel in the Cuban army. When asked in a 1998 interview why he had opposed the Revolution, he stated “All communists are the same. All are bad, a form of evil.” Posada was stationed in Guatemala, where he was supposed to participate in a second wave of landings in Cuba. However, the initial attack on Cuban soil failed, and the operation was called off before Posada's force was to take part. After the failure at the Bay of Pigs, Posada attended officer candidate school at the United States Army's facility in Fort Benning. There, he was trained by the CIA in sabotage and explosives at the between March 1963 and March 1964. While at Fort Benning, he served in the same platoon as Jorge Mas Canosa, later the founder of the Cuban American National Foundation: the two men would become fast friends. He graduated from the training program with the rank of Second lieutenant, and left the army along with Mas Canosa when they recognized that the US was unlikely to visit Cuba again. In a 1998 interview, he stated that “The CIA taught us everything [...] explosives, how to kill, bomb, trained us in acts of sabotage.” Posada received further training in guerrilla tactics in Polk City, Florida. He worked closely with the CIA in Miami and was active in the CIA's Operation 40. He later described his role as that of the agency's “principal agent”, informing the organisation about political movements within the exile community and operating anti-Castro activities. In Florida, Posada trained members of the JURE, Junta Revolucionaria Cubana, an anti-Castro militant organization. He was also associated with other militant groups, including RECE (Cuban Representation in Exile). CIA files indicate that Posada was involved in a 1965 attempt to overthrow the Guatemalan government. The same year, the CIA reported that Posada was involved in various bombing plans in association with Mas Canosa. Posada also supplied information about the Cuban exile community to the CIA, and unsuccessfully attempted to recruit his brother to spy for them. In 1968, relations frayed with the CIA when Posada was questioned about his “unreported association with gangster elements”. Posada's other associates at the time included Frank Rosenthal, described as a “well-known gangster”. Posada relocated to Venezuela, taking with him various CIA supplied weapons including grenades and fuses.
CIA Declassified - References - Netflix