Fifty years ago this weekend, the Central Intelligence Agency launched a covert attack on Cuba in what became known as The Bay of Pigs. The three day assault, which was carried out under the auspices of a Cuban rebel group, was a fiasco. The rebels were captured and killed, along with a handful of CIA intelligence officers. It was just three months after John F. Kennedy took over the White House, and while the plan had been initiated under Dwight D. Eisenhower, it was Kennedy who signed off on the operation.
"Victory has a hundred fathers, and defeat is an orphan," President Kennedy admitted to the press days later — without acknowledging the full extent of the CIA's actions. But while his approval ratings shot up, the Bay of Pigs were the crucial backdrop for Kennedy's caution during the Cuban Missile Crisis - and have affected to this day how presidents deal with covert intelligence operations.
Joining The Takeaway is Evan Thomas, author of "Robert Kennedy: His Life," who is currently working on a biography of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.