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Constructing CassandraReframing Intelligence Failure at the CIA, 1947-2001$
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Milo Jones and Philippe Silberzahn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804785808

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804785808.001.0001

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The Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis

(p.135) The Cuban Missile Crisis
Constructing Cassandra

Milo Jones

Philippe Silberzahn

Stanford University Press

This chapter presents an overview of the CIA's analysis of events prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. It documents the scale and scope of the intelligence failure concerning Soviet intentions and actions. It then describes how the CIA's internal culture and collective identity shaped the Agency's view of the USSR and Cuba during each stage of the intelligence cycle before the Crisis. It also details Soviet security measures and deception techniques, and the intelligence collection methods used to watch Cuba at the time. It contrasts mainstream Agency analysis of the Cuban situation with those of a Cassandra, DCI John McCone, whose contrary opinions his own analysts discounted. It documents how the CIA's collective identity and internal culture led to a fundamental misunderstanding of Soviet intentions in 1962, and thus created the proximate conditions for an intelligence failure that led to the most dangerous crisis of the Cold War.

Keywords:   John McCone, maskirovka, Fidel Castro, Nikita Khrushchev, John F. Kennedy, MRBM, IRBM, Killian Report, Stennis Report

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