Oct. 23, 1962 - Behind the decision to impose a blockade on Cuba lies a clandestine program of aerial reconnaissance in which high-powered cameras, several miles from the Cuban coast, were used to follow the activities of Soviet technicians, even down to the tracks left by their trucks. For the past week, American military reconnaissance planes equipped with cameras described as being able “to spot a golf ball on a putting green from 40,000 feet,” flew scores of sorties off the coasts of Cuba. Thousands of photographs were examined by photo interpreters looking for telltale clues of a new scar on the Cuban landscape, a peculiar pattern of buildings, or a distinctive tail fin on a rocket. Out of this round-the-clock project came conclusive proof of the existence of Soviet ballistic missile bases that led to President Kennedy’s decision to invoke a blockade against Cuba.
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