Jake Esterline – Oral Interview Regarding the Bay of Pigs

President Kennedy Addresses Brigade 2506, December 29th, 1962

President Kennedy Addresses Brigade 2506, December 29th, 1962

This interview was conducted by CIA historian, Jack B. Pfeiffer.  It took place over a 2-day period in November of 1975 in the Virgin Islands.

Jacob “Jake” Esterline was a specialist in guerrilla warfare.  During the Bay of Pigs Operation he was the CIA’s Chief of the Western Hemisphere Branch 7 (WH/4), reporting directly to Richard Bissell.

I find Esterline’s account surprisingly candid.  Of particular note is his flat out refusal to place blame on President Kennedy.  Although Pfeiffer has already made up his own mind that Kennedy was to blame, Esterline does not tow the party line even when he is somewhat enthusiastically encouraged to do so by Pfeiffer.

It would appear that Pfeiffer’s “blame Kennedy” agenda was driven by a “control the written history of the event” assignment.  He was, after all, still employed by the CIA, but Esterline no longer was.

“I am one of those who feel it is very wrong to pick too much on Jack Kennedy because it was Nixon who, if we had kicked off as we had hoped for, between November and January of 60-61, it might not have worked, but it would not have been a major disaster.” — Jake Esterline.

Complete Interview: Jake Esterline and Jack B. Pfeiffer Concerning the Bay of Pigs

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Esterline Complete Interview PDF
Esterline Discusses Nixon Part 1 PDF
Esterline Discusses Nixon Part 2 PDF



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