President Kennedy Authorizes Operation Mongoose

The Cuban Project (also known as Operation Mongoose or the Special Group or the Special Group Augmented) was a program of CIA covert operations developed during the early years of US President John F. Kennedy.

On November 30, 1961 aggressive covert operations against the communist government of Fidel Castro in Cuba was authorized by President Kennedy. The operation was led by Air Force General Edward Lansdale and went into effect after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.

Operation Mongoose was a secret program of propaganda, psychological warfare, and sabotage against Cuba to remove Castro from power; which was a prime focus of the Kennedy administration, according to Harvard historian Jorge Domínguez. A document from the US Department of State confirms that the project aimed to "help Cuba overthrow the Communist regime", including its leader Fidel Castro, and it aimed "for a revolt which can take place in Cuba by October 1962". American policy makers also wanted to see "a new government with which the United States can live in peace". (Source: US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States 1961-1963, Volume X Cuba, 1961-1962 Washington, DC.)

In November 1961 Kennedy approved Operation Mongoose, a secret plan aimed at stimulating a rebellion in Cuba that the United States could support. From November 1961 to October 1962 a Special Group (Augmented), whose membership was the same as the Special Group plus Attorney General Robert Kennedy and General Taylor (as Chairman), exercised responsibility for Operation Mongoose, a major covert action program aimed at overthrowing the Castro regime in Cuba. When President Kennedy authorized the program in November, he designated Brigadier General Edward G. Lansdale, Assistant for Special Operations to the Secretary of Defense, to act as chief of operations, and Lansdale coordinated the Mongoose activities among the CIA and the Departments of State and Defense. CIA units in Washington and Miami had primary responsibility for implementing Mongoose operations, which included military, sabotage, and political propaganda programs.