Hopefully Bill Simpich and Zach Robertson may find time to collaborate on a fully discussion of Hal Feeney but for the moment they have given me permission to use their research in an expanded discussion of the diverse efforts that occurred during the secret war on Cuba, something we often only discuss in terms of the CIA’s involvement. We need to remember that the US military was very much involved in the secret war against Cuba, not only in a support role for the CIA but in its own intelligence work and contacts with the Cuban exiles. For example Army intelligence was very interested in obtaining eastern bloc and Russian weapons and in that effort made ongoing contacts with Alpha 66, working though Antonio Veciana in 1962 and 1963.
Earlier than that, Naval intelligence was connecting to Cuban exiles via the base at Guantanamo. In particular it appears that Hal Feeney, as the head of ONI at the installation, contacted, encouraged and supported an independent group effort to attack Fidel Castro. On the surface that effort appears to be the same one that David Phillips mentions in his own book, distancing himself from it of course but given that Veciana was involved I would question just how distant Phillips (well in his Maurice Bishop incarnation) really was from that abortive effort
Feeny was detailed from ONI to work with the Cuban exile Brigade, his role in that is nebulous but he apparently was in the training camps there and might have been one of the unnamed Americans who encouraged the Brigade commanders to proceed with the plan even if it was aborted at the last minute by Washington? What investigation has shown is that Feeney was indeed very close to some of the most militant exiles, whom he had helped exfiltrate back though Guantanamo after the Bay of Pigs disaster.
Later in 1962 Feeney worked with David Morales, supporting JMWAVE’s ongoing maritime activities against Cuba. But by 1963 he had moved into a position with the DIA, assigned to its work on the secret war against Cuba. At that point in time the Kennedy Administration had become less than confident in the CIA and the military was being given a preeminent position in new covert operations against both Cuba and North Vietnam.In his new role, Feeney continued to prepare plans for regime change in Cuba, the programs were serious enough that they were being prepared for circulation though the Joint Chiefs to the Special Group of the NSC by late 1963. In his obituary Feeny was described as having been a consultant to the NSC.
This is all important information in regard to establishing the context of events in 1963 and Bill and Zach are doing some great work on it. In addition it helps all of us understand how complex shadow warfare can be and how many parties are involved in it, often with very different ideas of how it should be pursued.