By Paul Kurtz
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As America remembers the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a Villanova political science professor has a new take on the events leading up the discovery of Castro’s nuclear weapons arsenal.
In his book “Blind Over Cuba”, co-author David Barrett challenges the prevailing view that the Kennedy Administration masterfully handled the crisis. Citing previously declassified documents, Barrett found that the White House had stopped all U-2 spy plane flights, fearing that one of the planes could be shot down and touch off a diplomatic mess.
“So right as the Soviets were putting the missiles and the nuclear warheads into Cuba we went blind over Cuba for about a six-week period,” Barrett said.
The flights resumed after CIA Director John McCone returned to the U.S. from a month-long honeymoon.
“And it took him a while to realize we have no idea what’s going on there,” Barrett adds. “And he went to Kennedy and said ‘I cannot tell you what’s going on there if you won’t let send a U-2 over Cuba’.”
On its October 14th return flight, a U2 discovered the missiles, and two days later JFK was plunged into the biggest challenge of his presidency.