“If it gets out that this is all involved, the Cuba thing, it would be a fiasco. It would make the CIA look bad, it’s going to make Hunt look bad, and it is very likely to blow the whole Bay of Pigs thing…”
As heard on the 'smoking gun' Watergate tape of 1972, the phrase ‘Bay of Pigs’ was used by President Richard Nixon as a euphemism for the U.S. government's secret war against Fidel Castro in the early 60s, of which the Bay of Pigs invasion was one aspect. In 1960, the project had commenced at the behest of then-Vice-President Nixon as a key part of his campaign strategy against his opponent, Senator John Kennedy, and it resulted in the CIA recruiting the Mafia to assassinate Cuba's head-of-state. These plots - which soon drew in the Howard Hughes empire and an intemperate army of Cuban exiles based in Florida - were subsequently approved and intensified by President Kennedy. This program of counter-insurgency quickly took on a life of its own, and the constant threat of its exposure had a catastrophic impact on both Kennedy’s and Nixon’s aborted presidencies.