In the first Congressional hearing held on the controversial case of violent Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight invited National Security Archive Senior Analyst Peter Kornbluh to testify on formerly top secret CIA and FBI intelligence reports linking Posada to the October 6, 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner.
In his testimony [PDF], Kornbluh argued that the declassified records demonstrated that Posada had concrete foreknowledge of the bombing; was in possession of a surveillance report on Cuban targets that included the doomed plane; received coded messages immediately after the plane went into the ocean from the men who placed the bombs; and was quickly identified by multiple FBI and CIA sources in Venezuela as one of two masterminds of the attack that claimed the lives of all 73 passengers and crew.
Kornbluh called Posada “one of the most prolific purveyors of political violence in recent history” and said that the evidence in the plane bombing was “more than sufficient” to have detained Posada for acts of international terrorism under the Patriot Act. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales refused to designate Posada as a terrorist and a judge dismissed immigration fraud charges against him last spring. Posada now lives freely in Miami, as does Orlando Bosch, who the CIA and FBI both identify as a co-conspirator in the plane bombing.
“The United States now finds itself in the frankly inexplicable position of having not one but both men who our own intelligence agencies identified as responsible for bringing down a civilian airliner living free and unfettered lives in Florida,” Kornbluh told the Committee.
Kornbluh was joined at the hearing by Dr. Roseanne Persaud Nenninger, the sister of one of the Guyanese teenagers killed on the plane. In her testimony, Dr. Nenninger said she wanted to put a “human face” on the victims of the plane bombing by talking about her brother Raymond Persaud, a 19-year-old science student on his way to Havana with a full scholarship to study medicine. She called on the Subcommittee, chaired by Congressman William Delahunt, to investigate fully how the Bush administration had allowed Posada to go free, so that her family and those of all the other Cuban, Guyanese, and Korean passengers could finally see justice done for their loved ones.
Ann Louise Bardach, who interviewed Posada for the New York Times in 1998 on his involvement in a string of hotel bombings in Cuba, also testified on her extensive research into Posada’s many violent activities.
Declassified Documents Presented at the Hearing:
The National Security Archive is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).