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Cuban missile crisis, 1962, value of photo intelligence,

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been stated by the Department of Defense, that all offensive missiles and bombers known to be in Cuba were withdrawn soon thereafter. . . Reconnaissance has not detected the presence of offensive missiles or bombers in Cuba since that time." Referring to the alleged storage of missiles in caves, McCone said, "All statements alleging the presence of offensive weapons are meticulously checked. So far the findings have been negative. Absolute assurance on these matters, however, could only come from continuing, penetrating on-site inspection."" The statement still did not defuse the issue.  The Secretary directed his military assistant, Colonel George Brown, USAF, who would go on to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to take me under his charge for the remainder of the day and ensure that I was at the State Department by 4:00 p.m.  
        
 By 3:30 p.m., we were ready. The graphics had been checked and rechecked, classifications removed or covered, and some descriptive annotations added. Colonel Brown and I arrived at the State Department at 4:00 p.m. The auditorium was larger than I had expected, and the viewing screen-at least 12 feet by 8 feet-towered above the stage. This screen would enhance and display the photographs to maximum advantage. To tell the story effectively, however, I had to be able to point to photographic details that would be well beyond reach. I contacted my special assistant, Captain Billy R. Cooper, USAF, at the Pentagon about the problem, and he was more than equal to the challenge. He grabbed a roll of tape, securely joined two long fishing poles, and rushed to his car. I had this tailor-made pointer in hand and was set and ready to go at 5:00 p.m.  
    
In my appearance with Secretary McNamara before the House Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations on 6 February, the Secretary reviewed each phase of the Soviet buildup since the spring of 1962. To set the stage for my classified presentation to the subcommittee of the most important photography, the Secretary described the role of reconnaissance in some detail. Immediately after my presentation, the President decided that the photographic evidence had to be declassified and shared with the American people.   
          
   The air was charged in the auditorium. The press was out in full force, and McNamara was to the point:    
Briefing the Nation      
      
          
Shortly before noon, Secretary McNamara informed me that I was to present the briefing to the nation that evening on national TV from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. I was to make the presentation in the State Department Auditorium to an audience of journalists and photographers assigned to the White House, State Department, and Defense Department. The briefing requested by the President included photos, charts, and tables that would document clearly the discovery of the Soviet ballistic missiles, their assembly and operational readiness, and their dismantlement and removal from the island. The photos were selected from among the best available and reflected the superb quality of the photography regularly provided by our reconnaissance jets.         
  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. In recent days questions have been raised in the press and elsewhere regarding the presence of offensive weapons systems in Cuba. I believe beyond any reasonable doubt that all such weapons systems have been removed from the island and none have been reintroduced. It is our purpose to show you this afternoon the evidence on which we base that conclusion.   
        
  Since 1 July, over 400 reconnaissance flights have been flown over the island of Cuba by US military aircraft. These reconnaissance flights provided the essential basis for the national decisions taken with respect to Cuba in October. They provided the basis for the military preparations necessary to support those decisions. They provided the evidence we were able to present to the world to document the basis and the rationale of our action.   
      
Secretary McNamara told me that he would introduce the presentation and take the follow-on questions. He asked to see the text of my briefing and was surprised when 1 told him that there was no written text because I had committed the briefing to memory and that the sequence of the photographs and charts would shape and pace the presentation.     
        
          
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Posted: May 08, 2007 08:59 AM
Last Updated: May 08, 2007 08:59 AM