The man who wanted JFK killed

My mission to kill Fidel Castro was funded and supported by a CIA agent who also introduced me to Oswald in Dallas

Published July 15, 2017 3:00PM (EDT)

John F. Kennedy   (AP)
John F. Kennedy (AP)

Excerpted with permission from "Trained to Kill" by Antonio Veciana with Carlos Harrison. Copyright 2017, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and IndieBound.

I don’t know who killed John Kennedy. I know who wanted to. He was with the CIA. He introduced me to Lee Harvey Oswald. In Dallas. Two months before JFK died.

By then, he had already taught me to be an agent, in Cuba. By then, I had already tried to kill Fidel Castro, the first time.

The man I knew as Maurice Bishop supplied the training. He supplied the money. He supplied the weapons.

I found the men. I found the place. I failed.

But I didn’t give up. Neither did Bishop.

The Beast Side

The CIA has repeatedly denied that one of its highest-ranking officials used the cover name of Maurice Bishop. Confessing that David Atlee Phillips used that pseudonym would connect the agency—or at least one of its most important functionaries—with Oswald. And that, by extension, would link it to Kennedy’s death.

The very fact that they do deny it proves to me they know something. There’s no need for a cover-up when you’re innocent.

David Atlee Phillips rose to be the CIA’s chief of Western Hemisphere operations. He hadn’t reached that level yet when I met him, but he was clearly powerful. He could order Castro’s death and supply the means to do it.

When it came time to spirit me out of Cuba, he provided me with a job, working for the United States government in Bolivia. But still, even there, my target was Castro.

Again, the man I knew as Bishop—and years later by his real name—supplied the money. He supplied the intelligence. But I have no idea how he would’ve reacted if I had been caught when I smuggled the weapons he provided into Chile. I didn’t tell him that I had piled my three children and my wife into the car for the trip. For them it was a vacation. For me it was cover—what border guard would ever suspect a family on a road trip? With three small children squealing excitedly, and a young wife in the passenger seat.

That was the first time I unthinkingly—perhaps selfishly, or blindly—put my family’s lives at risk in my zeal to kill Castro. It wasn’t the last.

Bishop knew I was responsible for the arsons that destroyed some of Havana’s best-known department stores, which led to something I could never forgive myself for, the death of an innocent mother of two. Bishop knew I was the one responsible for sparking the mass exodus of thousands of Cuban children known as “Operation Pedro Pan”—disguised as orphans, and with the help of the Catholic Church. Bishop knew I came close to collapsing Cuba’s economy with a rumor campaign meant to sow panic.

And even though I know there are those who suspect it was Bishop, not Castro, who hired the hit man who tried to put the bullet in my head, and even though I know it might have been Bishop, not Castro, who set me up and sent me to prison, I defended him. When I was called before the House committee reinvestigating the Kennedy assassination, I said nothing. When I met him face-to-face in the hall outside a CIA luncheon, I said nothing.

Now I will.

I have been written about. I have been questioned. My book, "Trained to Kill," is the first time I tell the story for myself. The whole story.

Why now? In the past, I knew that Castro, and others, wouldn’t hesitate to do away with their enemies by putting a bomb under their car. I was well aware of what could happen as I traveled with my wife and children. Now I’m old. My wife is gone. My children are grown. I have survived cancer and a heart attack. Now I can reveal the truth about my double life.

My name is Antonio Veciana. I am an accountant by training, a banker and a businessman by trade. Some call me a patriot. Some call me a terrorist. Only one knew I was a spy, with a single mission—destroy Castro. My CIA handler, the man I knew as Maurice Bishop. The man whom congressional investigators later identified as master spy David Atlee Phillips. The man whom I saw meeting with Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas.

By Antonio Veciana

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Book Excerpts Cia Cuba David Atlee Phillips Fidel Castro Intelligence Jfk John F Kennedy Lee Harvey Oswald Spy