Len Scott – The CIA and the Cuban Missile Crisis

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Event Date: 29 April – 1 May 2011
East Midlands Conference Centre
University of Nottingham  
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RJ



Landscapes of Secrecy: The CIA in History, Fiction and Memory


Professor Len Scott (Aberystwyth University) – The CIA and the Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban missile crisis is one of the mostly intensely studied events of the twentieth century, and one in which secret intelligence played various, and arguably, crucial roles. The role of the Central Intelligence Agency in the events of October 1962 illuminates many of the central issues in the study of the subject, from the gathering, analysis and exploitation of intelligence, to covert action, to the public dissemination of raw intelligence, to ideas of success and failure. The paper focuses on key aspects of the agency’s role, including that of the Director of the CIA, John McCone, the role of human intelligence, and in particular Oleg Penkovsky, and how ‘revelations’ – specifically concerning the operation of the US naval blockade – raise prospects for future enquiry.

Len Scott is Professor of International Politics at Aberystwyth University where he is Dean of Social Sciences. He was the founding Director of the Centre for Intelligence and International Security Studies. Before his appointment at Aberystwyth he worked in Westminster and Whitehall, including as Political Adviser to the Rt Hon Denis Healey, Shadow Foreign Secretary. His recent publications include: The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Threat of Nuclear War: Lessons from History (Continuum Books, 2007); Exploring Intelligence Archives: Enquiries into the Secret State (Routledge, 2008), co-edited with R. Gerald Hughes and Peter Jackson; and Intelligence and International Security: New Perspectives and Agendas (Routledge, 2011), co-edited with R. Gerald Hughes and Martin Alexander.

Contact details: Centre for Intelligence and International and Security Studies, Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3FE.

E-mail: lvs@aber.ac.uk

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