American Scandal

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Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.

Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we’re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.

The Cuban Missile Crisis | Bay of Pigs | 1

The Cuban Missile Crisis | Bay of Pigs | 1

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 07:01

Fidel Castro seizes power in Cuba. President Kennedy authorizes a coup, but sets in motion an unexpected chain of events.

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To listen to American scandal one week early and add free, join Wondry Plus in the Wondri app. Download the Wondri app in your Apple or Google Play mobile app store today. It's July 1960 in Washington, D.C. On a street near the United States Capitol, a man wearing a three-piece suit steps into a building. He adjusts the lapels of his jacket and straightens his tie. Glancing at his own reflection in a window, the man smiles. He looks put together, and with a press pass dangling from his neck, anyone who sees him is bound to believe he's just another journalist covering politics in the nation's Capitol. But this appearance is all an elaborate ruse. The man is not a journalist. He's an undercover agent with KGB, the intelligence agency for the Soviet Union. And he's come to Washington not to work as a reporter, but to pull off a delicate operation. He's going to try to sway the outcome of a presidential election. Soon the agent steps into a busy office, and as he looks around, he spots dozens of people on the phone talking excitedly. There's a group of volunteers huddled together, reviewing a campaign poster. And at the end of the hall is a private room whose door is shut tight. The Soviet agent narrows his eyes as he gazes at that private office. It belongs to Robert Kennedy, the man leading this presidential campaign, and the brother of the Democratic candidate, John F. Kennedy. The agent's handlers in Moscow want to see Kennedy win the election. It's not that they have any special love for the Democrat. He is an American. But Moscow believes that if Kennedy wins the election, his presidency could change the course of the Cold War and give the Soviets an upper hand. The geopolitical considerations are complicated. But in a lot of ways, it all comes down to just one issue, missiles. Moscow has been publicly claiming to have more nuclear weapons than the United States and more advanced technology. It's common wisdom that the Soviets have the advantage in the so-called missile gap. And that gives the country political power. But the truth is the missile gap is a fiction. Soviet missiles are old and in short supply. And while Moscow has managed to keep a tight lid on the facts, they may not be able to control the narrative forever. America's current vice president, Richard Nixon, is part of a government effort that's close to exposing this truth. And Nixon is running against Kennedy in the upcoming election. So as far as Moscow is concerned, Nixon has to be beaten. Kennedy must win the election. It's the only way to keep the truth about the missile gap from spilling out and humiliating the Soviet Union in front of the world. The KGB agent walks through the campaign headquarters and heads to the private office in the back. He knocks quietly on the door. And when it opens, he comes face to face with Robert Kennedy. Normally, Kennedy has a bounce in his step and big, bright eyes. But today, he looks tired and demoralized. Yeah. Can I help you? Well, Mr. Kennedy, I'm with the Moscow Express. I'm here for the interview. There's a flash of recognition in Kennedy's eyes. Oh, yeah. Of course, come on in. The agent steps inside the office and Kennedy lowers the blinds. So, uh, we're doing an interview for your paper, huh? Well, I apologize for the cover story. But it does help me blend in and avoid unwanted attention. I appreciate that. And before we get started, Mr. Kennedy, I want you to know you can trust me. You can trust Moscow. And why should I believe that? Moscow understands your brother wants peace. Well, that's what we want. His opponent, Richard Nixon, dangerous man. We want your brother to win the election. Well, yeah, except teaming up with a foreign country. I have a word for that. At best, it's called collusion. We prefer collaboration. We'll call it what you want. If people find out my brother's not going to lose the election, he's going to lose his career. I promise, no one will find out. The only question is whether you want in. Kennedy turns away, apparently wrestling with the decision. But after a long pause, he looks back and nods. Well, okay. Let's collaborate. I want to show you something. This is how you could help. Kennedy pulls back a curtain revealing a map of the United States that's covered with notes. This is our polling data. Now, what it shows is that Nixon is vulnerable on one issue, the missile gap. But Nixon, it's a hawk. How is he weak on this issue? That's the thing. The American people don't like opening the newspaper and reading that you Soviets are beating us in the arms race. They want someone to blame. Well, Mr. Kennedy, I think that's the strategy. We can help you hammer Nixon in the media. Every chance we get, we'll talk about the missile gap and how we're beating America. And then you tell people Nixon is asleep at the wheel. Well, I agree. That's a good strategy. If people believe that message, there's a chance we can win. That would be a win for all of us. So, Mr. Kennedy, give me the final word. Do we have a deal? Do you want us to get to work? For a moment, Kennedy stares at the polling data, looking conflicted. The agent wouldn't be surprised if he's still backed out. For an American politician teaming up with a foreign country to sway an election is a huge risk. But something changes in Kennedy's expression. And with a big grin, he reaches out for a handshake. It's a deal. The Kennedy campaign will secretly partner with the Soviets. As the agent leaves the room, he silently celebrates, marveling at what just happened. He got the job done. The Soviets are going to sway the outcome of a presidential election. And if all goes according to plan, Kennedy will emerge the winner. And no one will mount a serious challenge to the Soviets. Or their mighty arsenal of nuclear weapons. American scandal is sponsored by the new audiobook Killing the Legends, the 12th audiobook and the multi-million-selling Killing series from Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dewgard, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and Muhammad Ali. Three icons known everywhere in every nation across every culture. They had everything. Fame, money, the admiration of millions, but their lives spun out of control at the hands of those they most trusted. Killing the Legends explores the lives, legacies, and tragic deaths of these three legends. Each experienced a men's success, then failures that forced them to change. Each faced the challenge of growing old and fields that privileged youth. And finally, each became isolated, cocooned by wealth, but vulnerable to the demands of those in their innermost circles. 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In the early 1960s, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a battle for global dominance. The Cold War took many shapes, including proxy conflicts and a fierce competition over culture and political ideology. But one of the most heated battles involved the development of nuclear missiles. These weapons of mass destruction allowed both countries to assert military power and sway politics and regions across the world. And with global influence on the line, America and the Soviet Union launched an arms race, with each country trying to gain the upper hand in the development and number of nuclear weapons. But this competition didn't just take place at factories and missile silos. In October of 1962, America and the Soviet Union engaged in a game of deadly bringmanship. Both countries launched a series of dangerous covert operations, political leaders motivated by self-interest, issued fiery rhetoric in public. And as tensions reached a breaking point, the world confronted the unthinkable possibility of nuclear war. The event came to be known as the Cuban Missile Crisis and has been called the most dangerous moment in human history. Millions of lives were at stake. American children would learn to duck and cover under their school desks, trying to save themselves from a fiery nuclear end. And the world would watch in horror, hoping and praying that their political leaders would make the right decisions and avert the disaster. This is Episode 1, Bay of Pigs. It's September of 1956. It's late at night in a parking lot in southern Texas, and a 30-year-old man is sneaking through the shadows. His body is sopping wet from his long beard down to his feet, and with every step he leaves behind a wet footprint, a mark that quickly dries on the warm concrete. Soon the man reaches the entrance of a hotel and then pauses. He doesn't exactly look like a paying customer. He just swam from Mexico to the United States all the way across the Rio Grande and he's sopping wet and very dirty. But the man doesn't care much about appearances. Fidel Castro is a revolutionary, an aspiring political leader, and tonight all that matters to him is accomplishing a secret mission and charting a new future for his country, Cuba. For years Castro has dreamed of being at the center of political change. He was born into a wealthy family, but Castro grew up alongside Cuba's poorest farmers. He saw first hand how brutal life could be, and as he got older Castro grew more radical and came to understand the depths of greed and corruption among Cuba's business and political leaders. So Castro began planning for a revolution, meeting people, organizing, laying out strategy. But he's not naive. Castro knows that to lead a revolution you need more than big ideas, you need money. Which is why Castro swam across the Rio Grande and snuck into the US. He's about to meet someone with deep pockets, and if Castro does a good job selling his plan, he might come away with enough money to fund his revolution. Castro squeezes the last of water from his hair and heads into the hotel. He arrives at room 215 and knocks on the door. When it opens he greets Carlos Socaraz, a light-skinned man with an expensive suit and a thick mustache. Staring at Castro Socaraz gives a mean scow. He himself used to be the president of Cuba, ruling the country like a dictator, and Castro often spoke out against him criticizing his leadership. It's clear that there's no love-loss between the two men, but they do have one thing in common. They both despise the current president of Cuba, Fulhencio Batista. Castro views Batista as another corrupt dictator and a puppet of the United States, one that should be overthrown. He also knows that Socaraz, the former president, feels the same way. Batista ousted him from power just four years ago, and it was a bit her coup. Castro knows that if he wants to unseat Batista from power, he could get support from the former president. So Castro steps into this hotel room in Texas and tells Socaraz that he's not going to waste his time. Castro is here looking for funding. His goal is to topple Batista, and Socaraz's money could make that happen. Socaraz laughs at the pitch, and he tells Castro that he would love to see Batista driven out with a pitch for it, but there's no chance he's going to throw away his hard earned money on a fool's errand. Castro nods, but he's being diplomatic. He's not going to remind Socaraz that his hard earned money was stolen from the people of Cuba. Instead, Castro makes another plea, saying this isn't a fool's errand. The money would pay for a real uprising, covering the cost of guns, boats, and other supplies. Socaraz again scoffs, and reminds Castro that Batista has a whole army backing him. A few guns and motorboats aren't going to do a thing. And Castro knows Socaraz is right, but it's also no secret that Cuba's army is weak, and Batista is wildly unpopular. With enough funding, Castro believes he could rally thousands of people to march on Havana and overthrow the government. Castro lays out his case, but again Socaraz pushes back, saying this revolution is doomed to fail. He's not going to hand over his money. Castro has nothing else to say. But as he stands, gazing at Cuba's ex-president, he notices something start to shift, a twinkle in Socaraz's eyes, and quietly, almost to himself, Socaraz mutters that Cuba does need a revolution. Someone has to kick out Batista. And without Castro saying another word, Socaraz stands, and heads over to a safe. He unlocks the door, and takes out his checkbook. He scribbles down a figure, signs it with a flourish, and tears off a check, returning to Castro with his hand outstretched. Castro looks down, his eyes wide with excitement. Socaraz just wrote a check for $50,000 in an enormous sum. And although he wants to leap with joy, Castro manages to contain himself, and Tell Socaraz's payment is very generous, it'll go a long way in helping fund the revolution. It's January 28, 1961, five years later. Inside the White House, Alan Dulles stands smoking a pipe, waiting for President John F. Kennedy to emerge from a meeting. Dulles blows out a plume of gray smoke and gazes at the door of the Oval Office. It feels like he's been waiting for hours, and as head of the CIA, Dulles doesn't have time to stand around. But Dulles also knows he's dealing with a president of the United States. He has to be patient, even if Kennedy is new to the job, and still a young man. So Dulles takes a seat and tries to calm himself down. As he sits waiting, he reviews the plan he's about to present to the commander in chief, a risky operation that Dulles believes is vital for American security. Less than two years ago, the revolutionary Fidel Castro took control of Cuba by force. He kicked out American businessman and has been delivering fiery speeches about the evils of the United States. He's even been executing his enemies. With thousands of Cubans now fleeing their own country, he became apparent to Dulles that America had to take action, just like it had in countries like Guatemala and Iran. It was time for America to lead a coup and remove Castro from power. Working with his partners at the CIA, Dulles developed a plan, and he knows it'll work. But he still needs authorization from President Kennedy, who was just worn into office only a week ago. Dulles knows Kennedy may not like the plan, but the CIA chief is hoping he can influence the young president and convince Kennedy that it's time to orchestrate a regime change in Cuba. After what seems like another eternity, the door to the Oval Office finally opens. And when he steps inside, Dulles finds President Kennedy seated at his desk. Oh, Alan, thanks for coming in. I know things are busy over at Langley, and they are here too. Well, that's the nature of the job, Mr. President. I imagine you're still getting used to life in the White House, but just so you know, I'm always at your back in cold. Well, thank you. I'll need all the allies I can get. But why don't we dive in? Tell me about Cuba. Well, absolutely, sir. The bottom line is Castro cannot stay in power. Well, Fidel Castro is the leader of a sovereign nation. So that's out of our hands. Well, Mr. President, we do have the means to secure the kinds of changes that would benefit America. You're suggesting we do something to remove Castro? Am I hearing you right? Mr. President, I know we differ politically. Some people might see me as just a holdover from Eisenhower's administration, but with respect, sir, you kept me on because I have what you don't experience in foreign policy. Well, that's about the least amount of sugar-coating I've ever bitten into. Mr. President, I have great admiration for you in this office. But I have spent a lifetime on these issues. And you have to trust me. We can't have a madman like Castro, just 90 miles from Florida. I hear you. I do. And I don't think we're as dissimilar as you might imagine. But we can't overthrow the government of Cuba. That was part of my campaign pledge, better relations with Latin America, only using the military when it's absolutely necessary. But Mr. President, it is necessary. Castro threatens our country security, and I have a plan that could neutralize it. Now, would you at least like to hear what I have to say? Kennedy pauses. Okay, I'm listening. Well, thank you, Mr. President. Now, there's underground opposition to Castro all over the island. All we have to do is arm them, a few hundred, and that's it. We'll provide support for a guerrilla operation, and the rest of the Cuban people will flock to the cons. Now, what do you mean we'll provide support for? Well, the Cubans need backup on land and in the air. Alan, you're telling me you want American troops on the ground in Cuba with backup from the Air Force? Assert. No, Alan, look, I'm sorry. I've heard you out, and I support getting rid of Castro, but invasions? No. My decision's final. Well, Mr. President, if you'll general. I suggest you go back to Langley and take a couple of weeks, and come up with something else. Can you do that? Dolas nods, feeling a sting at defeat. He knows Kennedy is wrong. The new president is young and naive, and he seems more interested in his public image than in doing what's right for the country. But Dolas knows that that's just the chain of command, and at this point he doesn't have another option. So, Dolas is going to have to go back to the drawing board to find some other way to remove Fidel Castro. Six weeks later, Alan Dolas is again in the Oval Office. He takes a seat across from President Kennedy and a handful of the President's advisors. After steadying his nerves, Dolas prepares to deliver what should be a foolproof plan to get rid of Fidel Castro. For weeks, Dolas has been pouring over the details of the new operation. The CIA director has been working side by side with analysts gaming out every possible scenario. And while there's always more he could do, Dolas felt he couldn't wait any longer. Fidel Castro is a threat to the United States. Dolas knew he had to get President Kennedy's support for a coup. Sitting in the Oval Office, Dolas explains that he has a fully fleshed out plan, one that would lead to a regime change in Cuba. It begins with a force of 1400 Cuban refugees. The U.S. will arm this guerrilla force, and Dolas' confident thousands more will quickly join the fight. But Dolas adds that even with strengthened numbers, the Cuban uprising will need some backup. Dolas knows that President Kennedy doesn't want to use the American Air Force, but Dolas says support from U.S. bombers is crucial. It is the only way to knock out the Cuban defenses. Hearing the mention of the Air Force, President Kennedy leans forward with a look of anger. He tells Dolas that his position has not changed. He has no intention of sending American planes flying over Cuba. Dolas knew the President might not soften on this particular issue, so he came prepared with a solution. Dolas tells Kennedy that no one will know that they're U.S. bombers. The CIA can paint Cuban flags on the side of the planes. It'll be like camouflage. On top of that, they'll stage the beginning of the operation from a remote location. Dolas' team found a quiet beach on an inlet known as the Bay of Pigs. The refugees can land there and then easily make their way to the nearby mountains and recruit people to the cause. Before Castro even knows it, the rebellion will be powerful enough to take over whole cities. Within no time at all, Castro will lose his grip on power. Dolas pauses and surveys the room. He can tell he's one of some of the President's advisors, but the President himself is still mulling the plan over. And for a long minute, the Oval Office remains tense and silent. Kennedy finally looks up and says he has an important question. If U.S. bombers strike the Cuban Air Force, what time of day will the operation take place? Dolas tells the President it'll be first light. Kennedy snaps at Dolas and says if he authorizes anything, it'll have to happen at night. It doesn't matter if the planes are painted over with Cuban flags. Kennedy won't risk anyone recognizing U.S. bombers. On top of that, Kennedy won't allow any ongoing air support. The American bombers will get one chance and one chance only to take out the Cuban Air Force. Dolas suppresses a groan. With these limitations, Kennedy is taking the teeth out of the plan. But the President holds firm, saying the image of the United States matters. America cannot be seen as the perpetrator of coos and sovereign nations. So Dolas can take this version of the plan, or he can leave it. Dolas nods and then says he'll take it. With that, Kennedy ends the meeting. As Dolas strides out of the Oval Office, part of him is still enraged. He cannot believe Kennedy is so naive. To pull this off, the Cubans need ongoing air support. Any half measures could doom the mission. And America could be humiliated in front of the entire world. Exactly what Kennedy says he's trying to avoid. But Dolas tries to look on the bright side. This isn't the plan he wanted. But it is a plan. And if they're careful, and if the CIA can get this right, they'll push Fidel Castro out of power. And America will have a new ally in Cuba. America's scandal is sponsored by Sins of the Founding Father, available exclusively unscripted. If you paid attention to our series on Watergate or any headlines in the last few years, you'll know the issue of executive privilege is a hot topic. Before Biden, before Trump, before Nixon, what the president can and can't do has been debated all the way back to Washington. In 1791, the aftermath of a disastrous battle in the Ohio Valley led President George Washington to face a congressional inquiry into his conduct and decision-making. In response, Washington called the country's first cabinet meeting and then decided not to cooperate with Congress, citing for the first time executive privilege. This is the story told by the latest script original Sins of the Founding Father by narrative historian Peter Stark. It's part wilderness adventure, part commentary on today's American politics and history. And it's available in e-book and audiobook exclusively unscripted. One of the world's largest digital libraries. With instant access to e-books, audiobooks, magazines, podcasts, and more, all in one subscription, all for one price. So start reading Sins of the Founding Father along with me today with a free 60 day trial at slash AS. That's try.s c r i b d dot com slash AS to start reading with a free 60 day trial. American scandal is sponsored by Babel. In high school, I took German and maybe that was a mistake. Living in Texas, it should have seemed a much smarter choice to learn Spanish and there have been plenty of times I wish I knew more than Uno Masturvesa Porfavor. But high school is behind me, right? And I've lost my chance. No. Now there's Babel, the language learning app that sold more than 10 million subscriptions. It's a fun and easy way to learn a new language so you can travel abroad, connect with family, or just enjoy learning a language to use in the real world. It's bite size lessons allow me to learn real Spanish I can use, not just many items. I can learn on the go with 15 minute lessons designed by language experts, not some AI, like some other language learning apps. And you can choose from 14 different languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, and German and learn with confidence because Babel comes with a 20 day money back guarantee. Start your new language learning journey today with Babel. Right now, save up to 55% off your subscription when you go to slash AS. That's slash AS for up to 55% off your subscription. Babel, language for life. It's April 17, 1961. It's late at night and a small ship cuts through the choppy waters off the southern coast of Cuba, moonlight sparkling off the waves. On the ship's deck, a Cuban exile gays us out at the horizon looking for any sign of land. It's a dark night, and there's not a lot that's visible. But if they navigated correctly, the ship will soon arrive at the Bay of Pigs, an isolated inlet off the southern coast. And once they land the boat, the Cuban, acting as a sergeant, will lead a few dozen of his fellow exiles as they storm the country and lead a revolt that could topple Fidel Castro. It's a nerve-wracking mission, and the sergeant knows there's a good chance he and the men won't survive the night. They could face a counterattack in the mountains, and there's always the possibility that the Cuban government caught wind of the invasion and already has forces mobilized. But while the sergeant is tense and anxious, he's not going to back down. Like the other soldiers aboard the ship, he's been living in exile ever since Fidel Castro took power. Castro quickly established himself as a brutal leader, and all in the name of revolutionary politics, Castro's men ran the sergeant's family off their farm, leaving them in poverty. With his life threatened, the sergeant fled his homeland, and ever since he's been pining to return to Cuba and get revenge. It's the same story for all the other men leading this invasion. They want to return to their native land and extract revenge on Castro, and with the support of the United States government, tonight they make their chance. The sergeant turns and surveys the other ships following in their way. They're moving quickly because even though the Americans offered to support the invasion with airstrikes, it's a limited offer. Once the sun rises, those planes will turn back and leave the men all on their own. So the sergeant is about to order the ship to speed up. But suddenly there's a loud thud and a grind of metal. The boat shudders to a halt. The sergeant loses his balance and hits the deck. Lying days to the pool of saltwater, he looks up and finds one of his lieutenants standing over him. Are you all right, sir? I'm fine. Just help me up. The lieutenant offers his hand. What the hell just happened? I think we hit a coral reef. When you meet a coral reef, CIA flew over this water. They took photos. They said the dark patches were seaweed. That doesn't matter what they said. We hit coral. We can't get through at least not here. What do you want to do, sir? The sergeant tries to think quickly and figure out a plan. All right, well, we have the landing boats. They're smaller and more agile. We'll load them up with equipment and take them to shore. That'll take hours. That might be, but we don't have many other options. Sir, we could scrub the mission. No, not a chance. This is as ready as we're ever going to be. Radio the other ships and relay the plan. We're taking the landing boats. But, sir, excuse me, this is reckless. Lieutenant, you have your orders. Now move. The lieutenant nods and begins radioing the other ships giving instructions. The invasion is still on. They'll gather up supplies, transfer everything to the smaller boats. And when they're ready, they'll sail full speed toward the Bay of Picks. Two hours later, the sergeant and his men finish loading everything into their smaller boats. Guns, ammunition, food, tents, and clothing. And after a final check, the sergeant orders the flotilla to take off. When as soon as the boats begin gliding through the water, the sergeant realizes he's made a terrible mistake. The landing craft are too light for the waves this far out. They're getting battered. And soon boats begin tipping over with soldiers and guns sinking to the bottom of the ocean. It's a devastating loss. But at this point, it is too late to back out. So the sergeant orders them to continue on. They have to reach the remote beach at the Bay of Pigs and continue the invasion. So for about an hour, the group of landing boats thrash through rough waters. And overhead, there's the sound of planes in the distance. Most likely, the American bombers on their way to strike the Cuban airfields. The sergeant checks his watch. 90 minutes until dawn. If they hurry, they might still be able to make it with American support. But as the flotilla approaches the shore, the sergeant is shocked to see that often the distance the beach is flooded with search lights. The Bay of Pigs was supposed to be an isolated inlet, and they were supposed to arrive without anyone noticing. Castor's army must have somehow caught wind of the invasion, and troops must be waiting for them. The moment the rebels arrive, they'll be surrounded and outnumbered. The sergeant looks around at the faces of his men. He can see they look frightened and beaten down. This is not a real army. And the sergeant realizes his lieutenant might have been right. Maybe they should have called this whole thing off. Seven months later, President John F. Kennedy strides across the stage at the headquarters of the CIA in Langley, Virginia. He steps up to a podium, and as cameras begin to flash, the president holds up a shiny gold medal in Grins. Kennedy is about to present the national security medal to Alan Delas, the outgoing CIA chief. The medal is an honor, a symbol of outstanding accomplishment for those who work in intelligence gathering. But although Kennedy is smiling at Delas and putting on a good show, inside the president is seething. For months, he's been mocked as an inexperienced leader. The press have called Kennedy a hypocrite in his foreign policy, and people believe he's a liar who made America look weak in front of the entire world. The humiliation has been endless, and while Kennedy has been the target, as far as he's concerned, it's his CIA chief Alan Delas who deserves the blame. From the moment Kennedy walked into the White House, Delas began pressing his case for an invasion of Cuba. Kennedy was initially skeptical, but eventually the president agreed to Delas's plan. The CIA covertly trained a small army of Cuban exiles. The agency provided the Cubans with weapons and other supplies, and in the dead of night, the exiles landed their boats at the Bay of Pigs on the southern coast of Cuba, prepared to recruit their fellow countrymen for an uprising. But the mission was a disaster. Castro's army spotted the invading rebels, and surrounded the exiles with 20,000 troops. The US was supposed to offer support with airstrikes, but those attacks failed to neutralize Cuba's air force. Kennedy could have stopped the operation then and there. But Delas argued that America needed to double down. The CIA chief convinced Kennedy to authorize another round of airstrikes this time during the day. Kennedy was still deeply skeptical, and he knew it could tarnish his presidency. Back when he was campaigning, Kennedy promised to improve relations with Latin America. But again, Kennedy deferred to his CIA chief and authorized the second strike. This time the attack didn't just fail to neutralize Cuba's air force. Two American planes were shot down, and even with Cuban flags painted on them as camouflage, it wasn't hard to tell that the planes were American. News quickly leaked that America had supported a failed invasion of Cuba, one that caused the deaths of hundreds of rebels, and Kennedy was disgraced. With a steady drumbeat of negative press, President knew he had to act. So Kennedy made Delas an offer. If Delas agreed to resign, the president would give him the prestigious national security medal. Delas took the deal. And now, standing on stage at CIA headquarters, Kennedy just has to get through this painful ceremony and give Delas his token medal. Then he can finally wash his hands of his CIA chief and the Fiasco in Cuba. So Kennedy puts on a grin as he looks on at Delas and praises him for his decades of government service. He gets in a few jokes about Delas' bow ties and wooden pipe, and then Kennedy does the honor. He pins the medal on Delas' code jacket and the two men pose for pictures, shaking hands one last time for the camera. There is a brief round of applause, and soon Kennedy and Delas walk down the hall together side by side, appearing happy to be in each other's company. But as soon as they round a corner, Delas does away with the facade. He tells Kennedy it was a nice ceremony, but he's changed his mind. He's not going to resign as head of the CIA and the deal is off. Kennedy shakes his head, astonished by the audacity of this power play. He tells Delas there's no going back on the deal, his days at the CIA are over. Delas furrows his brows with menace. He lets out a stream of insults, calling the president young and naive. Delas says Kennedy doesn't know what it actually takes to keep America safe. He doesn't have the vision and he doesn't have the experience. Kennedy stares back at Delas, watching the overman work up a sweat. He's not surprised by the insubordination. He expected something like this and Kennedy came prepared. Reaching into his pocket, Kennedy pulls out a piece of paper, hands it to Delas. To letter announcing Delas' termination, President explains Delas can either sign a resignation letter and leave with dignity, where he can be pushed out the door. Delas pauses. Then he gives a curtain nod and mutters that he'll resign. They don't need another PR disaster. Kennedy nods and without saying another word, he turns and walks down the hall, leaving Delas behind by himself. Kennedy feels relieved to be done with his old CIA chief. It's the end of a tortured era. But Kennedy also knows this isn't entirely a clean break. The botched invasion of Cuba is going to continue to cast a shadow over his presidency. Then while the next election is still a few years away, Kennedy knows he's going to have to do something to rehabilitate his image. Something big. Something brave. Americans scandal a sponsor by sleep number. Eat work sleep. Eat work sleep. There are times, which I think that's all I seem to do. Eat work sleep. But could that be because they're so important? I'm not going to tell anyone to skip fun or relaxation. But you should definitely pay attention to how you eat, how you work, and how you sleep. For that last one, choose proven quality sleep from sleep number. Sleep number beds adjust from feather soft to supportive and firm. And you can set each side to the perfect sleep number setting for both of you. Sleep number smart beds not only adjust to your ideal firmness, but their sleep IQ app tracks how well you sleep. It measures your best sleep hours, heart rate, breathing, and movement. And these sleep IQ data show sleepers who use their 360 smart bed technology 30 minutes more restful sleep per night. That's up to 170 hours per year. So why choose proven quality sleep from sleep number because every great day starts the night before. Discover special offers now for a limited time at your local sleep number store or slash AS. It's December 2nd, 1961 in Havana, Cuba. In a large auditorium in the nation's capital, Cuban President Fidel Castro stands backstage with a group of advisors. The men are huddled together behind a curtain that has Castro peers out at the stage. He can see the crowd beginning to swell, waiting for him to give a speech. Castro has been in power for over two years, and he's proud to be the revolutionary leader of his native country. But he'll admit that with these kind of speeches he still gets a little nervous, especially when he has to step into politically sensitive territory. Several months ago the Americans supported a failed bid to overthrow his government. And since then Castro has been bragging about defeating a global superpower. But despite all the bravado, Castro knows the truth is he got lucky. The invasion was poorly executed, and if America ever attacked in full force, it could wipe out Cuba in the blink of an eye. That kind of threat isn't just hypothetical. The invasion at the Bay of Pigs proved that America wants to force Castro out of power, and the Americans next attempt may be more than just a bungled operation with a group of Cuban exiles. It's an existential risk for Castro and his administration, but Castro isn't going to roll over and let the Americans have their way. He and his advisors had devised a plan, one that could increase Cuba's defenses and ward off the Americans for good. While Castro has often flirted with the rhetoric of socialism, that political ideology was never his top interest. But the invasion at the Bay of Pigs changed Castro's mind. Today, he wants to make a big announcement that Cuba is becoming a communist nation. The pilot isn't ideological, it's strategic. If Cuba becomes a communist country, it can develop a partnership with the Soviet Union. The Soviets would be a powerful ally and they could defend Cuba against America. But at the same time, the United States government is full of anti-communist fanatics. Castro is sure they will never tolerate a communist nation just 90 miles from their shore. But Cuba already has a target on its back. America tried to topple the Castro administration already, and while that plan failed, the Americans are bound to try again. Cuba is vulnerable, and the Soviet Union can offer protection for aid packages and military alliance. America would never try another invasion of Cuba if they were risking an all-out war with the Soviets. So Fidel Castro adjusts his uniform, stands tall, and strides out on stage to change the balance of power across the globe. It's May 1962, six months later, and the key to the Cruschev, the leader of the Soviet Union, is strolling through a park in Bulgaria. It's a warm and sunny afternoon, and Cruschev smiles as he looks off at the Black Sea. The water is glittering, and seagulls are circling overhead. It's a perfect spring day, the kind of day you don't get much of in Moscow. Still, Cruschev doesn't put much stock and good weather or scenic vistas. As the premiere of the Soviet Union, Cruschev is the most important politician in his country. He may even be the most influential government leader in the world. Four years into his term, Cruschev has become the face of global communism. He relishes the role, having spent his entire life fighting to spread what he believes is a better and more just form of government. Even as a child, Cruschev was taken in by the promises of communism. He watched his father toil away in coal mines, and Cruschev himself worked in a factory. Those experiences taught him that working people deserved better lives. So, Cruschev spent decades fighting for these beliefs, and after climbing up the ladder, gaining better and better positions in the communist party, finally he reached the top, joining the ranks of communist luminaries like Vladimir Lenin. But while Cruschev is proud of his accomplishments, recently the work has taken a dark turn. The nuclear arms race poses a grave risk to the Soviet Union and the world. To keep the Soviets on top, Cruschev has pushed a narrative that the Soviet Union has more nuclear weapons than the Americans, and that their technology is superior. This so-called missile gap is key to the Soviet's foreign policy. It allows them to project power around the world and increase their sphere of influence. It's common wisdom that the Soviets are the world's leaders when it comes to nuclear weapons. And Cruschev hammered home that message in his tour of bold garya, giving a thunderous speech to several hundred thousand people, claiming the Soviets were churning out missiles like sausages. But Cruschev was lying. Soviet missiles are old and in short supply. The missiles they do have take hours to launch and can't travel a long distance. American missiles on the other hand can be ready to fire in a minute or less and travel much farther. Making matters worse, Turkey and American ally agreed to house US nuclear weapons within their borders. Those missiles are now pointed at Moscow, and if Cruschev doesn't figure out some kind of defense, the Soviet Union will be held hostage to the Americans. Millions of lives could be at stake. As Cruschev walks through the seaside park, he turns to one of his aides. You know, we're in a dangerous position. We have to do something. I assume you're referring to Turkey. Of course, I'm referring to Turkey. The Americans opinion this against the wall. They could decimate the entire country before we could even launch a single weapon. Well, Premier Cruschev, I think you are right. We must do something. I'm glad to hear that, but don't just agree with me. Offer a solution. Yes, sir. What if we start building new missile factories and we allow the Americans to see them from their spy clades? You want us to build empty factories to give the appearance that we have more weapons than we actually do? I understand the intent, but you need to understand. We need more than the appearance of power. We need actual power. But we don't have the weapons. Give me another option. The age shuts his eyes thinking another option would be to double down on the bluster and we can claim that there's a new secret missile in development far better than anything the Americans have. That is not real power. That is again the appearance of it. Posturing. I want to plan and I want results. Yes, Comrade. I'll get on it. I'll have something for you soon. Cruschev stops at an overlook and stares out at the Black Sea. Let's move on to issues we actually control. Tell me about Cuba. Well, Cuba. That lunatic Castro, he wants money in military aid and a lot of it. You call him a lunatic? I made a commitment to him. I said I would support communist nations everywhere in the world. I don't support Cuba. I'll look like a neighborhood. That might be trusser, but where does the money come from? At a certain point, we have to ask ourselves what's more important. Building up our own nuclear defense. We're spending our money propping up some tiny island country in the Caribbean. To me, sir, the choice is not hard. Cruschev sighs suddenly feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of these decisions. The chess game of geopolitics, where each piece has to be moved slowly and carefully with millions of people's lives on the line. It's enough for Cruschev to feel paralyzed within decision. But as his mind wanders, Cruschev is struck with a sudden epiphany. His aid is making it sound like a binary choice. You can either support Cuba or defend the Soviet Union. But maybe that's not the case. Cruschev realizes that they could build a Soviet military base in Cuba, install nuclear missiles right there, 90 miles away from America. It would solve all their problems at the same time. They could offer Castro his military support. Cruschev would look like a communist hero like Marx or Lenin. And with Cuba, so close to the United States, the Soviet Union would have a real demonstration of power. It wouldn't matter that their missiles are outdated or ineffective. The Soviet Union would have something to balance the scales. The Americans have their missiles in Turkey, the Soviets have theirs in Cuba. It's the only way to protect the Soviet Union and take the lead in the cold water. From wandering, this is episode one of the Cuban missile crisis from American scandal. In our next episode, the Soviet Union develops a scheme to sneak atomic missiles into Cuba, but an unwelcome discovery by the United States complicates their plans and forces them into a desperate gamble. If you'd like to learn more about the Cuban missile crisis, we recommend the books Nuclear Folly by Serhi Pluhi and One Minute to Midnight by Michael Dobbs. This episode contains reenactments and dramatized details. And while in most cases we can't know exactly what was said, all our dramatizations are based on historical research. American scandal is hosted, edited and executed produced by me, Lindsey Graham for Airship, audio editing by Molly Bach, Sound Design by Derek Ferrance, Music by Lindsey Graham. This episode is written by Sam T. edited by Stephen Walters. Our senior producer is Gabe Riven. Executive producers are Stephanie Jenns, Jenny Lau, Rebecca and Marsha Louis for Wondering. Hello, I'm Florence Given, the best selling author of the book, Women Don't Are You Pretty and Girl Crush, and this is my podcast exactly. Join me as I connect with fascinating guests from authors, cultural commentators, doctors, thought leaders to psychologist, celebrities and comedians. And guess what? We're back to do it all again in season two with the likes of the holistic psychologist, Victoria Skohn and Iona David to name a few. Season two of exactly podcast out now wherever you get your podcasts.