Save Your Ass

The US government was happy to support the assassination of foreign officials – but not to be seen doing so.

Senator George McGovern showing material sent to him by Castro, 30 July 1975.
Protests against US involvement in Angola, 22 January 1976 © CSU Archives/Everett Collection/Bridgeman Images.

Richard Bissell, the CIA’s former Deputy Director for Plans (DDP) was called to testify in front of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities on 22 July 1975. The DDP was the Agency’s clandestine branch and the Committee was interested in exploring the CIA and Bissell’s involvement in covert operations that included the assassination of foreign officials. Bissell had taken on the role in 1959 and had played a prominent part in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. As part of the fall-out from that fiasco, he had been sacked by President John F. Kennedy.

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