WASHINGTON - October 6 - On the 30th
anniversary of the first and only mid-air bombing of a civilian
airliner in the Western Hemisphere, the National Security Archive
today posted on the Web new investigative records that further
implicate Luis Posada Carriles in that crime of international
terrorism. Among the documents posted is an annotated
list of four volumes of still-secret records on
Posada's career with the CIA, his acts of violence, and his
suspected involvement in the bombing of Cubana flight 455 on
October 6, 1976, which took the lives of all 73 people on board,
many of them teenagers.
The National Security Archive, which has sought the declassification
of the Posada files through the Freedom of Information Act,
today called on the U.S. government to release all intelligence
files on Posada. "Now is the time for the government to
come clean on Posada's covert past and his involvement in international
terrorism," said Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Archive's
Cuba Documentation Project. "His victims, the public, and
the courts have a right to know."
Posada has been in detention in El Paso, Texas, for illegal
entry into the United States, but a magistrate has recommended
that he be released this week because the Bush administration
has not certified that he is a terrorist.
Among the documents posted today are four
sworn affidavits by police officials in Trinidad
and Tobago, who were the first to interrogate the two Venezuelans--Hernan
Ricardo Lozano and Freddy Lugo--who were arrested for placing
the bomb on flight 455. (Their statements were turned over as
evidence to a special investigative commission in Barbados after
the crime.) Information derived from the interrogations suggested
that the first call the bombers placed after the attack was
to the office of Luis Posada's security company ICI, which employed
Ricardo. Ricardo claimed to have been a CIA agent (but later
retracted that claim). He said that he had been paid $16,000
to sabotage the plane and that Lugo was paid $8,000.
The interrogations revealed that a tube of Colgate toothpaste
had been used to disguise plastic explosives that were set off
with a "pencil-type" detonator on a timer after Ricardo
and Lugo got off the plane during a stopover in Barbados. Ricardo
"in his own handwriting recorded the steps to be taken
before a bomb was placed in an aircraft and how a plastic bomb
is detonated," deputy commissioner of police Dennis Elliott
Ramdwar testified in his
The Archive also released three declassified FBI intelligence
reports that were sent to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
after the bombing. The updates, classified "secret"
and signed by director Clarence Kelly, focused on the relations
between the FBI legal attaché in Caracas, Joseph Leo,
Posada, and one of the Venezuelans who placed the bomb on the
plane, to whom Leo had provided a visa. One
report from Kelly, based on the word of an informant
in Venezuela, suggested that Posada had attended meetings in
Caracas where the plane bombing was planned. The document also
quoted an informant as stating that after the plane went into
the ocean one of the bombers placed a call to Orlando Bosch,
the leading conspirator in the plot, and stated: "a bus
with 73 dogs went off a cliff and all got killed."
Another State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research
report to Kissinger, posted again today, noted that the CIA had a source in Venezuela
who had overheard Posada saying "we are going to hit a
Cuban airplane" and "Orlando has the details"
only days before the plane was blown up off the coast of Barbados.
Both Bosch and Posada were arrested and imprisoned in Venezuela
after the attack. Posada escaped from prison in September 1985;
Bosch was released in 1987 and returned to the United States
illegally. Like Posada, he was detained by immigration authorities;
over the objections of the Justice Department, which determined
he was a threat to public security, the first President Bush's
White House issued him an administrative pardon in 1990.
Still-secret intelligence documents cited in the file review
released today suggest that the CIA assigned several cryptonyms
to Posada when he was working for them, first as an operative
and trainer in demolitions and later as an informant based in
the Venezuelan secret police service DISIP. In 1965 he was assigned
the codename "AMCLEVE-15." In 1972 he "was given
a new crypt CIFENCE-4," according to a still-unreleased
CIA document, and later referred to as "WKSCARLET-3."