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Cuban missile crisis, 1962, value of photo intelligence,

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Trapezoid            
             
Pigs disaster still fresh and with the politically charged US concern over Fidel Castro's consolidation of communist power in Cuba and the growing Soviet military presence there, the USIB focused on Cuba in its estimates. At the same time, the Intelligence Community tracked and recorded the entry of Soviet weapons by type and capability.     level of risk in US-Soviet relations than the USSR has displayed thus far, and consequently to other areas and other problems in East-West relations.4 
       
   DCI McCone personally was not persuaded that the Soviet buildup was essentially defensive. Fate, however, would have him in Europe on an extended honeymoon when the crisis began. His messages to the President from Europe in mid-September advising that the evidence pointed to Soviet preparations for introducing offensive weapons into Cuba could not compete with the contrary judgment of the formal NIEs that the missiles would be for defensive purposes.
         
Two NIEs       
         
NIE 85-2-62, The Situation and Prospects in Cuba, was issued by the Board on I August 1962. It underlined Castro's political primacy, the loyalty of the Cuban armed forces to Castro and his brother Raul, the provision of Soviet Bloc military equipment and training to Cuban Forces, and the deepening commitment of the Soviet Union to preserve and strengthen the Castro regime.2  
      
  Following the discovery of the defensive SAMs in late August, the President warned Khrushchev that the US would not permit the introduction of offensive weapons. The Soviet leader's responses through several channels from Moscow to Washington repeated the official Soviet position that only defensive weapons were being introduced into Cuba. In his news conference on 13 September 1962, the President delivered a clear statement of the US position on Cuba and on the possibility of Soviet offensive weapons being deployed there.
         
As of I July 1962, the monitoring of Soviet military deliveries indicated that there were 160 tanks, 770 field artillery and antitank guns, 560 antiaircraft guns, 35 jet fighters, 24 helicopters and 3,800 military vehicles of various types in Cuba.3 On 27 July, Castro announced that Cuba would soon have new defenses against the US. On 29 August, as the weaponry continued to roll off Soviet ships in Cuban ports, a CIA U-2 photographed the first SA-2 SAMs. Human intelligence sources in Cuba were reporting the sightings of rockets on the island. We concluded that these rockets were not MRBMs/IRBMs.    
       
   Soviet Buildup   
       
   The Intelligence Community continued to monitor the rapid buildup and assess its implications. From July to 1 November 1962, the number of tanks would grow from 160 to 345; the field artillery and antitank guns from 770 to 1,320; the antiaircraft guns from 560 to 710; the jet fighters from 35 to 101; the helicopters from 24 to 70 or more; the military vehicles from 3,800 to between 7,500 and 10,000. And through late August, September and early October we continued to identify new categories of weaponry: the construction of 24 SAM sites with 500 missiles by I November; the introduction of some 24 to 32 Free Rocket Over Ground (FROG) rockets; the installation of four cruise missile sites and 160 air defense radars; and the arrival of 12 Soviet KOMAR-class cruise-missile patrol boats at Cuban ports.5
         
On 19 September 1962, in NIE 85-3-62, The Military Buildup in Cuba, the Intelligence Community reiterated its belief that the USSR would not introduce offensive strategic weapons into Cuba. Its key conclusion stated:   
         
 The USSR could derive considerable military advantage from the establishment of Soviet MRBMs and IRBMs in Cuba, or from the establishment of a submarine base there. As between these two, the establishment of a submarine base would be the more likely. Either development, however, would be incompatible with Soviet practice to date and with Soviet policy as we presently estimate it. It would indicate a far greater willingness to increase the      
          
             
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Posted: May 08, 2007 08:59 AM
Last Updated: May 08, 2007 08:59 AM