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Bay of Pigs Pilots Recruited by CIA During Eisenhower Administration

Mar. 11, 1963 - The Chicago Sun-Times said today most of the American pilots who volunteered for the Cuban Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 were recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency before President Kennedy took office. (Pictured below is a B-26 shot down by Cuban defense forces during the invasion.) In a dispatch from Thomas B. Ross of the newspaper’s Washington bureau, the Sun-Times said a partial timetable shows the Eisenhower Administration was formally committed to the undercover pilot plan six months before Mr. Kennedy’s inauguration. The Sun-Times related that “reliable sources said the Eisenhower Administration ordered the recruitment to start in July 1960, and the CIA had signed up 18 American pilots and co-pilots by Nov. 18 of that year. Six more fliers signed their contracts on Jan. 26, 1961. That was six days after President Kennedy took the oath of office and well in advance of the time the CIA informed him of the full ramifications of the invasion operation.” The Sun-Times said “the recruitment timetable was advanced as evidence of the extensive Cuban commitments which Mr. Kennedy inherited from the Eisenhower Administration.”


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