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Cryptonym: PLUTO

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This operation appears to be a Pentagon plan for air operations, and not strictly speaking a CIA cryptonym. It appears to be only a part of the CIA-led Operation Zapata, which entailed the landing of troops on the Zapata Peninsula in Central Cuba.
Pluto is not necessarily a CIA designation although it may refer CIA Air Ops. It may well be a code the Joint Chiefs assigned when asked to review the plan, in particular the Air Plan. I'm more inclined to think its a Pentagon level designation. Highly suspicious that Richard Gibson knew the name of Operation Pluto in April 1962 - it indicates that he may have been working with military intelligence in order to know the name of the operation.

After Action Report on Operation Pluto: http://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB29/docs/doc04.pdf

"On 28 March 1961 the LCI's BLAGAR and BARBARA J. departed Stock Island, Key West, Florida for Puerta Cabezas, Nicaragua, arriving on 2 April 1961. The two case officers of the ships, Mr. William Robertson of the Barbara J. and Mr. Grayston Smith of the Blagar and the two ships' captains Mr. Ryberg of the Blagar and Mr. Shane of the Barbara J., had been told they were to land and direct the landing phase of the coming invasion of Cuba which would be staged from Puerta Cabezas and all the details of the operation would be given us in Puerta Cabezas."

Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume IV: The Taylor Committee Investigation of the Bay of Pigs Current Section: 1. Introduction

"This volume critically examines the investigation of the Bay of Pigs operation conducted by General Maxwell D. Taylor at the behest of President John F. Kennedy during the period from 22 April-13 June 1961...the failure of the anti-Castro Operation PLUTO would mark the definitive break between the Kennedy and Eisenhower Administrations."

Howard Hunt, Give Us This Day (Arlington House, New Rochelle, NY, 1973), pp. 213-214

"...(T)he President appointed a fact-finding body comprising his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, retired General Maxwell Taylor, and Allen Dulles. Within the government this group was called the Green Committee, and Colonel J.C. King emerged as its general factotum. Its stated purpose was to review the Cuban operation with a review to ensuring that never again would the United States be drawn into so freewheeling an adventure. However, its unannounced aim became clear: to whitewash the New Frontier by heaping guilt on CIA...Gleeful much was made of exposing the operation's supposed code name: PLUTO. CIA files, however, reflected no such project usage, and the search for substantiation ended when someone recalled that the cross-channel pipeline used by Eisenhower in the invasion of France had the acronym PLUTO, derived from Pipe Line Under The Ocean. So perhaps the Pentagon referred to the Brigade invasion as PLUTO. CIA did not."

Operation Pluto: https://owlcation.com/humanities/Operation-Pluto-Brigade-2506-Invades-Cuba-at-the-Bay-of-Pigs-April-17-1961

"Operation Pluto was the mission name to covertly train Cubans who hated Castro in Nicaragua and Guatemala at special American bases."

Fidel Castro's Climb to Power: http://www.autentico.org/oa09358.php

"Operation Pluto, as Mario Lazo pointed out in Reader's Digest in 1964 and a subsequent book, was essentially an air operation that demanded that Castro's air force be first knocked out on the ground. That is exactly what didn't happen." For more of Lazo's analysis, see: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GPO-CRECB-1972-pt4/pdf/GPO-CRECB-1972-pt4-1-2.pdf The book itself is at: http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/book/Dagger-in-the-Heart.pdf

Dr. Joe F. Leeker, Air America at the Bay of Pigs. (2008) http://www.utdallas.edu/library/specialcollections/hac/cataam/Leeker/history/BayOfPigs.pdf

Page 23: "The 'Trinidad Plan' was rejected by the Department of State, because to them, it looked like a World War II invasion and would be too obviously attributable to the United States. So on or about 11 March 61, President Kennedy decided that it should not be executed and that possible alternatives should be studied. As according to the new plan any tactical air operations were to be conducted out of an airfield on Cuba, to whom those operations could then be attributed, the Zapata Peninsula of Central Cuba with the new airfield at Playa Girón was chosen, that is the actual Bay of Pigs...Page 29: On Saturday morning, 15 April 61, a strike force of 8 B-26s, piloted by exile-Cuban aircrews, took off from Puerto Cabezas to start Operation Pluto, i.e. to bomb Castro’s air force at “Campo Libertad” west of Havana, at San Antonio de los Baños Airbase located south of Havana, and at Antonio Maceo Airport at Santiago de Cuba. A 9th CIA owned B-26 from “Happy Valley”, painted as “FAR 933” in the colors of Castro’s air force, landed at Miami the same day, posing as a defective Cuban pilot who said to have bombed some Cuban airfields before fleeing to the United States, to give a cover story to the real air strikes flown in Operation Pluto. But immediately after the attacks, Raúl Roa, the Cuban Foreign Minister denounced the US involvement before the UN General Assembly, and when the US Ambassador denied Roa’s charges showing a photo of “FAR 933”, Roa pointed out that, while all real Cuban B-26s had plexiglass noses, “FAR 933” had a solid nose, so wasn’t a Cuban aircraft. This failure to make the world believe in the cover story of a rebellion inside the Cuban Air Force caused President Kennedy to immediately call off all air strikes for the next 48 hours."

John Prados, Safe for Democracy (Ivan R. Dee, 2006), p. 211

Jake Esterline and Richard Drain put together a plan that became known as "A Program of Action Against the Castro Regime" dated March 16, 1960. "The essence would be 'to induce, support and so far as possible direct action, both inside and outside of Cuba, by selected groups' with whom the CIA already had contact...the concept received the name (JMARC, changed in December 1960 to JMATE); the Pentagon would know it as Project Pluto."

124-90147-10041: No Title

4/13/62 memo from SAC, New York (97-1792) to FBI HQ (97-4196): "On 4/12/62, in the course of a contact on another matter, Frank McCarthy, UPI Latin American editor who has been extremely cooperative with the Bureau in the past, evinced interest in the FPCC and curiosity concerning Robert Taber's present relationship to that organization. Aware of the Bureau's continuing interest in the disruptive and counter-intelligence phases of its investigations, the occasion was seized to foster the opportunity for exploitation of the divisive factors inherent in the present relationship of Taber vis-a-vis the FPCC and Richard Gibson. An impression was planted in McCarthy's mind that a story of public interest could be obtained through successful interviews of Taber and Gibson...(Richard Gibson) stated that the Cuban invasion of April, 1961, had the code name 'Operation Pluto', and that at present another invasion of Cuba is planned and prepared under the code name 'Operation Condor'.

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Bill Simpich

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