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Tue, 04 Oct 2022 07:01
The CIA discovers evidence of a growing threat in Cuba. President Kennedy plans a limited military response, in an effort to prevent war.
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Wondering. It's late September 1962 in Langley, Virginia. John Mccone, the director of the CIA, steps into a meeting with a group of agency analysts. Macon's manner dressed conservatively in black suits and ties, and as he takes a seat, maccone can tell everyone seems to be in a calm and easy mood. But from a comp, that's a problem. The situation in Cuba appears to be spiraling into chaos. Mccone was just on his honeymoon, but he spent the entire time reading top secret cables, painting a picture of a rapid military buildup on Cuban soil. The news wasn't entirely a surprise. Ever since President Kennedy took office, the relationship between the US and Cuba has gone downhill. Kennedy authorized a mission to remove Fidel Castro from power, but after the invasion at the Bay of Pigs fell apart, Castro pivoted and sought an alliance with the Soviet Union. Ever since then, Cuba has become a proxy battle between the US and the Soviets. The hostilities have steadily ratcheted up and just recently the CIA discovered the Soviets were sneaking anti aircraft missiles onto the island. Kennedy then upped the ante, calling up 150,000 reserve troops. But apparently the show of force hasn't had the intended effect. The cables maccone read on his honeymoon describe a swarm of new activity in Cuba, soldiers blocking off roads and highways, convoys of military trucks moving equipment deep into the jungle. It's all added up to something troubling, a looming confrontation between the US and the Soviets. And with a sense of crisis mounting, maccone ditched any pretense that he could have a nice time away with his wife. The CIA chief flew back to Washington and was determined to get to the bottom of the issue. Sitting alongside his top analysts, Maccone looked at his men with a scowl. Well, this is a precarious situation. Who can give me facts about Cuba? A young analyst chimes in. Well, Sir, from everything we've seen, I don't think there's anything to worry about. Our Navy's been monitoring the Soviet ships docking in Cuba. We don't have any evidence of man or military equipment on board. Well, what about the reports of men and military equipment hidden below deck? How do you square those with your assessment? Why, I'd say the reports are unreliable. I mean, you can't hide that many people or that much military equipment. It doesn't fit below the deck. The ship and the stories of convoys in the jungle, trucks hauling heavy equipment. Well Sir, with respect and the anti aircraft missile spread across the island. I I'm not dismissing any of that. I just think we need to consider the source of these cables you've been reading. What does that mean? The analyst shoots a sideways look at one of his colleagues. Well, director Mccone, those cables start with Cubans in the country. I mean, farmers, they're they're not well educated. They talk to people in the city, and those people call their relatives in Miami. And finally it gets to us. It's a big game of telephone, except every report is saying the same thing. Well, Sir, I think we have to put some trust into our intelligence apparatus, not some chain of Cuban dissidents. Your intelligence apparatus didn't help us with the Bay of Pigs, though, did it, Sir? That, that, that. It's different. How so? We had experts, we had intelligence and we managed to screw it up. Well, Sir, in that instance, there were a lot of variables we were not able to put into consideration. No, no, no, no. I don't want anymore false promises of certainty and no more excuses of variables. We are not invincible, but we may be suffering from hubris. There's a reason Alan Dulles isn't sitting in this room, the same reason I now have his job. This is America's top intelligence agency, and I expect top trade work. If all you want to do is applaud yourselves for a job well done, even though we're sitting here in the dark, I'm going to ask you the tenure. Your resignation. The analysts go silent, looking rattled, and for a moment Mccone gazes across the room, waiting for someone else to push back. But despite the heated exchange, consensus forms in the room and the CIA analyst signaled their support, Marconi is right. Something troubling is happening in Cuba, and they're going to have to get to the bottom of it. It could only be a matter of time for the Soviets. Make a bigger move and the US could be under threat. American scandal is sponsored by Peacock, presenting the original limited Series A friend of the family, based on the true story of the Jan Broberg kidnappings from Nick Antosca, executive producer of the Act, and Candy and Eliza Hittman, director of never, rarely, sometimes always comes a dark and compelling look at the harrowing story through a new lens. 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Like the night manager by John le Carre. Listen with me, start your free 30 day trial at audible.com/AS or texting AST to 505 hundred. From wondery, I'm Lindsey Graham, and this is American scandal. By the early 1960s, the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union had blossomed into a global conflict. The two superpowers jousted for geopolitical control and influence, and while the fight played out. In a number of venues, much of the struggle hinged on who had the most and best nuclear weapons. Conventional wisdom held that the Soviets were ahead in the arms race, but the truth was that Soviet missiles were in poor shape and leaders in the USSR were desperate to level the playing field. In the summer of 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev hatched a plan to place nuclear missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. If the operation was successful, the Soviets would have the ability to fire nuclear warheads at major American cities, an ability Khrushchev believed would restore the international balance of power. But secrecy and speed were paramount, because if Americans discovered the installation of the missiles before they were operational, America might be able to strike the bases under construction. And perhaps. Even take the whole of Cuba in an invasion. It was a risky gamble and when the US caught wind of the Soviets installation of anti aircraft missiles on the island, President Kennedy decided to respond with force, sending a clear message that America wouldn't be bullied. This is episode 3, the discovery. It's early October 1962. John Mccone is sitting in the cabinet room with the White House, waiting impatiently for President Kennedy. The CIA chief glances at his watch. He's been here almost half an hour, and from the intelligence he's gathered, maccone is certain that the US is on the brink of an International Crisis. But as usual, President Kennedy is nowhere to be found. McCown sinks into a chair and rubs his eyes. For months, he's been trying to get the president to take action on Cuba. Macon warned Kennedy that the Soviets were most likely sneaking offensive weapons into Cuba and what could be the prelude to a larger military buildup. But despite all the warnings, Kennedy wrote off Mccone as an alarmist Republican, a hawk clamoring for war. But Cohen shakes his head. That characterization isn't fair. He isn't looking to start a fight with the Soviets. His only goal is to keep America safe. Still, McComb believes that when there is a threat on the Horizon, America shouldn't run from it. But he believes that's exactly what President Kennedy has chosen to do. Kennedy has called off all missions involving spy planes flying over Cuba, worried that they could lead to a deadly confrontation with Cubans firing anti aircraft missiles at American pilots. Mccullen pushed back, believing the risks were worth it. Without flying planes over Cuba, there's no way to find out what the Soviets are really up to. But Kennedy has remained obstinate. So Mccohen is hoping that in today's meeting he can finally change the president's mind. But first, Kennedy needs to show up. After what feels like an eternity, the door swings open to the cabin room, and Kennedy and several foreign policy advisers step inside. A cone stands to greet the president as his other advisers take their seats. Mr. President, thank you for your time. We have a lot to go through. So I thought, John, take a seat, relax. You got back from your honeymoon. How was it you 2 actually stepped outside of the hotel room? Wendy's advisers laugh, and McComb forces a smile. It wasn't half bad, except for all the cables I kept receiving about Cuba. You're telling me you're lying in bed with your new bride and you spent your time reading agency memos? Mr. President, it's rather serious. It's always a serious incident. Well, go on, John. Lay it out. What's happening? Well, thank you, Mr. President. The situation is we're getting reports that the Soviets have been sneaking men and heavy equipment into Cuba. What kind of heavy equipment? We're talking about. But we don't know, Sir. There's only so much we can glean from our sources. Well, I'm. I'm sensing a wind up. What's your pitch? Mr. President? We have to resume the U2 flights over Cuba. Sorry, John, that's out of the question. The islands bristling with anti aircraft missiles. We've been over this. We can't take that sort of risk. But we're in the dark and I'm telling you, we need better intelligence. My gut tells me something big is happening. Now. Your gut could be growing for a sandwich for all I know. But the decision is final. We're not risking. Another instant like the Bay of Pigs. Macone pauses. It's time to remind the President of his own public statements. Well, Mr. President, after we discovered the anti aircraft missiles, you told the world there was a bright red line. You would meet any Soviet aggression with force. You mobilized 150,000 reserve troops. I take it that was not an idle threat. No, of course it was not. But we don't know if the Soviets have crossed the line. And we won't know, Sir, unless we keep flying planes over Cuba. Mr. President. You're blind. Give us back our sight. Kennedy shakes his head. And feeling backed into a corner, Mccone isn't sure what to do. By taking this timid approach, Kennedy is putting America at risk. Moscow could be turning Cuba into a fortified military base, a Soviet outpost capable of launching an attack on America. If that's the case, McComb believes the US must take action. But it would be foolish to lead any kind of countermeasure without first getting good intelligence. But Kennedy isn't willing to authorize even a basic flyover. Maccone is about to begin another round of arguments when the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, steps into the conversation. McNamara says he's also been troubled by the reports coming out of Cuba, and he believes he has a solution. McNamara says the Air Force could send a pilot on a U2 flight from California to Florida. The pilot could slip into Cuban airspace and snap a few photos. If he got shot down, they'd have plausible deniability saying it was just a training mission for the pilot and he made a mistake flying into Cuban airspace. It would be a headache for the Air Force and not the CIA, and that would mitigate much of any kind of international uproar. For a long minute, the room remains silent as the president considers a plan. And then finally Kennedy. Mods Macon and McNamara should workout the details, and when they're ready, Kennedy will give the green light. Five days later, U2 spy planes soared through the clouds 72,000 feet above the ground. It's a little before 7:30 AM and inside the cockpit, US Air Force pilot Richard Heiser peers through the window. He can see an approaching landmass. It must be Cuba, and while so far this has been an uneventful 6 hour flight, soon the mission could grow perilous. Kaiser knows that somewhere down below are anti aircraft missiles powerful enough to shoot his plane right out of the sky. While highs are doesn't know why he's been sent on this mission. He is aware that America's relationship with Cuba has grown fraught. There must be some important reason Heiser was sent on this mission and instructed to shoot photographs of Cuban soil. As Heizer enters Cuban airspace, he braces himself. He's got a high-powered camera system with advanced lenses, and he can do this quickly. He just needs to get his shots and bang the plane away, getting as far away from Cuba as he can. As Heiser approaches land, he begins scanning for what pilots refer to as popcorn bursts of white smoke that appear when missiles are fired from the ground. But so far, Heiser doesn't see anything, so he flips a few switches and feels a rumble as photography equipment begins buzzing in the belly of the aircraft. The system finishes deploying, and while the automated cameras do their work, hyser keeps the plane steady and continue scanning the ground for any puffs of smoke. Eyes are exhales, keeping himself calm. Everything seems to be going well, and soon he'll be back in Florida and head home to his wife and kids and put this mission behind him. But right as Heiser starts to relax, he sees something large puff of white from the ground. Heizer tenses up and snaps into action. He begins frantically searching the control panel for a warning light, but Heiser can't find the indicator. He's not used to flying a U2, and although he got a crash course just a few days ago, his mind is suddenly blank and he can feel himself seizing up and panic. Eyes are tries to steady himself and focus. They gave him instructions. He knows this. And then Heiser remembers. Up and to the left. Heiser's eyes darted over to the warning light, looking for any sign of an incoming missile. But it's not blinking. Eyes are then glances again at the popcorn below, trying to make sense of what he's seeing. He looks exactly like the white smoke of a missile. Maybe it's moving too fast. Maybe it's some kind of new technology his radar can't detect. Fear begins to overtake him in. Heiser considers hitting the eject button, but just then he realizes his mistake. It's not popcorn, it's just a low level cloud. Eyes are rubs his eyes and laughs. He was being paranoid and soon Heiser will have completed his run, taking all the photos he was ordered to. Then he can fly far away from Cuba and let the people in Washington take over from here. The next day, CIA photo analyst Dino Brugioni pushes back from his microscope and lets out a deep yawn. It's 3:30 in the afternoon in Washington, and Brugioni has been going for hours without a break. He's hungry and tired and ready to stop. But Brugioni was given orders review all 928 images from yesterday's flight over Cuba. His job is to pour over every square centimeter of every photograph, peeking out any details that might look suspicious. So far, though, it's been nothing but tedium. Brugioni has stared at an endless sequence of farms and ranches, baseball diamonds and residential streets. Everything looks benign. Brugioni hasn't seen anything worth noting. No tanks, no helicopters. And as far as he can tell, Brugioni is just wasting his time. So when his boss calls to check on Progress, Ruschioni doesn't hesitate to speak candidly. He says he believes there's nothing suspicious in these photos from Cuba, and if they want to protect national security, they should move on to more pressing matters. But his boss, Arthur Lundahl, won't hear it. He's the head of the National Photographic Interpretation Center, where Brugioni works. Lundahl has partnered closely with the Kennedy administration, and he's certain something is going on down there. So if Brugioni doesn't find anything on the 1st pass, he and his team will have to review all the images one more time. Brugioni stifles a groan and, with a heavy heart, accepts his instructions and returns to his desk. He's probably going to be here all night for the next several hours. Brugioni toils away, gazing at one innocuous photo after another. But then, in between cornfields and grain silos, brugioni notices something trucks and heavy machinery. Piles of dirt everywhere, and in the center of 1 photo is what looks like a long trench. Brugioni increases the magnification of his microscope. At first glance it looks like an irrigation ditch, but it's not dug into the ground. It's rising up from it. And suddenly Brugioni realizes what he's looking at a giant cylinder lying on its side. There's no way it's an anti aircraft missile. Those are much smaller. Something this large can only be one thing, a nuclear missile. Ruggiano's heart begins to pound as he leaves for the phone. He dials his boss, and when Lundahl answers, Brugioni shares the news. There's no mistaking it. Yesterday's flight found evidence of a nuclear missile base. It appears to be close to operational, and judging by the map, it's no more than 100 miles from American soil. American scandal is sponsored by better help in drama. In the stories we read or watch, it's very rarely a real problem. That's the problem. 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Elp.com AS hey there, fellow podcast listener. It's Elena and Ash, and we are taking you back to the days before streaming services. You know when you would come home from high school? And it was only a few hours until that TV show that everyone was watching was about to come on. Well, in 1999, that show was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In our new podcast with Wondery 3 Watcher Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we are taking it back to 1999, so get out your knee high. Foods and paste that poster of Angel on the wall or spike or Angel it is time to enter the Buffy verse. Join us as we slay our way through Bucky's drama, action and Romance episode by episode. Enter the Buffy verse with us. Listen to the re Watcher Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you're listening right now. You can also listen early on Amazon Music or early and AD free by subscribing to WONDERY plus. On Apple Podcasts or on the Wondery app. It's October 16th, 1962, when Washington, DC President John F Kennedy is making his way through the White House. Surrounded by a gaggle of aides and advisers, the president staff are giving him updates on the busy day ahead, a meeting about healthcare policy, one-on-one sit downs with Middle Eastern heads of state, updates from Capitol Hill, and of course, the upcoming discussion about Cuba. Kennedy knots trying to maintain a look of confidence and ease. This job can be overwhelming, and Kennedy sometimes struggles with the pressure, the responsibility to make decisions about the most sensitive issues in the country. People have said that Kennedy is too inexperienced, that he isn't built for the most important job in the world. Those kind of criticisms great on Kennedy. He knows his critics are wrong to question his leadership. But while Kennedy doesn't blink an eye at issues like healthcare policy, if he's being honest, he is worried about Cuba. The growing proxy battle with the Soviet Union is proving to be Kennedy's biggest test, and everything appears to be growing more complicated. Kennedy just received a phone call hinting that Cuba was turning into a full-fledged crisis. He doesn't have the details, but if he understands where this is headed, Kennedy could be approaching the most important moment of his presidency and I'll have to make some excruciating decisions. When Kennedy reaches the White House cabinet room, he's greeted by some of the top officials in his administration. Kennedy orders the men to take a seat. They've only got 30 minutes and need to start with the most pressing developments from the CIA. The agency's photo chief, Arthur Lundahl, stands to make a presentation. With his salt and pepper hair and deep set eyes, Lundahl gives off an air of gravity and expertise. But as he approaches an easel, one doll suddenly looks very weary, like he's about to announce the end of the world. The photo chief gestures to a picture on the easel. He announces that his team made a shocking discovery, evidence that nuclear missiles are being housed in Cuba. Based on their aerial photo intelligence, there appear to be several missiles spread across the country. The room immediately erupts in commotion. The Attorney General and the president's brother, Bobby Kennedy, shouts out above the commotion, saying he can't make heads or tails of what they're looking at. In the photo. It almost looks like the Cubans are digging a ditch or getting ready to build a basement. But the CIA's photo chief says he's positive this is a missile base and the cylinder shapes in the dirt are nuclear weapons. Bobby Kennedy begins to challenge Lundahl again, but the president cuts him off. He asks what he believes is the most important question. How far can these missiles travel? Wandall pauses, and speaking quietly, he tells the president that most likely these missiles could reach Washington or New York. It would only take about 10 minutes. The room again erupts an argument, but President Kennedy remains silent. This is a horrifying development, and the timing couldn't be worse. Just this morning, former President Dwight Eisenhower called Kennedy weak on foreign policy. Now it's possible the biggest foreign policy debacle since World War Two has been dumped in Kennedy's lap. Kennedy glances at the clock. He only has 15 minutes before his next meeting, so he opens the floor for debate one last time, desperate for a solution. But Kennedy's officials can't agree on the best path forward. Some think it's better for the administration to gather more intelligence. Others want Kennedy to speak with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to try to engage in diplomacy. And in the midst of the back and forth, Bobby Kennedy leaps to his feet and shouts that diplomacy won't accomplish anything. There is only one response. The President should use the 150,000 troops they've already mobilized. America should invade Cuba and get rid of Fidel Castro once and for all. It would be an extreme measure, and the room goes quiet as Kennedy grapples with his brother's proposal. Kennedy does want to project strength, but he also has no illusion about the potential consequences of an invasion. It could lead to a dangerous confrontation with the Soviet Union, one that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons. Kennedy is not going to order an invasion because of a photograph. So for now, the President has no solution and they've run out of time. It's now 12:30 on the dot, and Kennedy has to get to his next meeting. One of his officials, though, asks why Kennedy doesn't just cancel the meeting, given the enormity of the situation in Cuba. But Kennedy reminds the room that if he cancels, the press will know something is up, they'll start snooping around. And above all, the President does not want word of this mess leaking to the public. The news could cause widespread panic. Kennedy tells everyone to clear their schedules for the evening. They're going to return to the cabinet room and figure out exactly what to do then. In the meantime, everyone needs to think hard about the best plan. Millions of lives are at stake, and there is no room for error. 5 1/2 hours later, President Kennedy hurries back into the captains room where he finds his top officials looking grim and beaten down. Kennedy takes stock of the room. He knows everyone is probably scared and overwhelmed. They're operating with imperfect information and the stakes could not be higher. So Kennedy takes his seat at the head of the table and asks whether anyone has a sane and viable strategy to bring this crisis to an end. It's a familiar argument between those who want to solve the problem using military force and those who favor a more diplomatic approach. The arguments grow louder and more heated, and with the room descending into chaos, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara calls out to the president asking for the floor. Kennedy nods. McNamara is the top official of the military. Kennedy wants to hear what he has to say. The room quiets down as McNamara rises from his seat, addressing the other officials. The Defense Secretary says he knows many in this room favor an air strike. They'd like to attack the nuclear bases in Cuba and eliminate the threat, but McNamara thinks that's a mistake. Kennedy raises an eyebrow. He'd been under the impression and air strike was an effective and conservative option, destroying the missiles and minimizing any loss of life or the chance of a full scale conflict. McNamara acknowledges that theoretical benefits of an air strike, but it reminds the president that these missions rarely go as smoothly as planned. The fiasco at the Bay of Pigs is a perfect example, and on top of that, the US still doesn't know exactly how many nuclear missile bases have been installed in Cuba. If even just one missile survives the strike, the Soviets could launch a weapon aimed right at the White House. But the Defense Secretary goes on saying there is one option that could mitigate the risk of all out war the US could impose a naval blockade and prevent any more Soviet ships from reaching Cuba. McNamara explains that the US doesn't have any evidence the Soviets have delivered nuclear warheads to arm the missiles, and if they don't have warheads, the Soviets don't have functional weapons. President Kennedy takes in the suggestion trying to game out the larger strategy. McNamara is essentially proposing a defensive maneuver. the US would block Moscow from delivering the most important components of the missiles, and that would theoretically keep America safe from an attack launched from Cuba. But Kennedy and his advisers are still operating with imperfect information. They don't have evidence the Soviets have delivered the warheads, but they also don't know they haven't. There could be functional nuclear weapons in Cuba, or there might not be. And that means the US can't be certain a naval blockade will work. McNamara admits it's a complicated situation and full of uncertainty. Hearing his Defense Secretary hedge on his own plan, Kennedy leans back, mulling over the options in front of him, a naval blockade. Would be conservative, and it could be prudent, but Kennedy isn't going to commit to anything. Until he has more information, it's time to get the U2 spy planes back in the air. Kennedy orders missions to resume over Cuba, and the US will learn once and for all whether the Soviets have nuclear weapons capable of striking American soil. A few days later, Soviet Colonel Ivan Sidorov steps out of his tent in a jungle in the Cuban wilderness. The air is hot and humid and full of swarming insects. As Sidoroff pushes past a tangle of vines, he buttons up his uniform and wraps a bandana around his neck. He'll do anything to protect himself from more mosquito bites. Sidoroff continues down a dirt path and surveys the trucks and heavy equipment lying in the shade of a palm tree. As a military officer for the Soviet Union, Sidorov was deployed to Cuba to finish construction of nuclear missile base. It's been a hellish experience in the Cuban jungle. Consider off and his man have put in countless hours of backbreaking labor. But despite the blood and sweat and long days, the launchpads still aren't ready and Siderov has grown increasingly nervous. The nuclear warheads are supposed to arrive any day now. Moscow wants this base up and running before American spy planes figure out what they're doing. It's sidoroff's mission to finish construction of the missile base, and he's well aware that if he fails, he'll be disgraced or even arrested. So acid or off walks into camp. He looks for his men and gets ready to make a speech. He needs to get them motivated to work harder and faster, but when he approaches one of the launch pads, he discovers his men standing around, not doing a thing. Their eyes are bloodshot like they've been drinking, and several men are ********* pistols holstered to their belts. Sidorov knows he has to act fast. And what is all this? What's going on? Blonde soldier with a scar on his neck steps forward. I want to go home. We all do, and so do I. But no one is going home until this base is finished. Counted 20 maggots in my breakfast this morning. I can't relieve myself without stepping on a poisonous plant. There are mosquitoes everywhere. I can't sleep. Why did they send us this hell hole during the hottest month of the year? The soldier is fuming and Siderov can see the other men are on his side. This could easily turn into a mutiny. Siderov needs to find a way to deescalate the situation. Listen, I eat the same rotten food. I've got the same rashes and the same mosquito bites. I'm just as tired and I want to go home too. How is that supposed to make me feel better? Because we're in this together. What are we doing together? Why are we here? Soldier? Remembered the sworn oath. To defend the Soviet Union, not some God. Forsaken Island halfway around the world. We do not belong here. There's nothing for us here. We should be getting the hell out. And I know everyone around me feels the same way. The other men begin shouting out, raising their guns in the air, and as more soldiers joined the fray, Sidorov can tell he's losing control as men are about to desert. So Sidorov walks over to his tent and grabs a heavy sack lying on the ground. He returns to the group of men and tears open the sack, dumping out 40 pounds of dirt. The soldier stared at him, confused. Sidoroff explains that he was going to save this for a celebration, but it's clear they all need a reminder now. This dirt is from home, the Soviet Union. Now it's mixed with the soil of Cuba. It's a reminder that the two countries are united, fighting the same war against the same enemy, the United States. By standing up for Cuba, the Soviet soldiers are standing up for themselves. Strong pauses, gazing at his men, several seemed to be calming down, and with the mood a little more level headed, Sidorov delivers his final remarks. He tells the man they can't despair, they cannot quit. They have to finish the launch pads, as tough as the working conditions may be, because soon nuclear warheads are going to arrive in Cuba, and when they do, the Soviets will turn the tide of the Cold War, striking fear into the heart of every American. The men begin to nod, taking in the impassioned rhetoric and despite the sweltering. Meat and the swarming cloud of flies and mosquitoes. Sandra's man agreed to get back to work, picking up their tools and returning to their trucks. When the work site is back in action, Siderov breathes a sigh of relief. He's managed to buy a little more time, and what he said is true. If he and his man continue working, they will keep their promises to Moscow, and the Soviets will soon have nuclear missiles 90 miles from Florida. If you're into true crime, the generation Why podcast is essential listening. We started this podcast over 10 years ago to dissect some of the craziest and most notable murders, crimes, and conspiracy theories together and we'd love for you to join us. Generation Y is one of the longest running true crime podcasts out there and we are still at it, unraveling a new case every week we break down infamous cases like the evil Genius bank robbery and lesser known cases like the case of Kimberly Rico. Did she actually kill her husband after they took part in a murder mystery? We cover every angle, breaking down theories, diving deep into forensic evidence, and interviewing those close to the case. And with over 450 episodes, there's a little something for every true crime listener. Follow the Generation Y Podcast on Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts, or you can listen ad free by joining wondery plus in the Wondery app. It's Saturday, October 20th, 1962 and late at night in the White House. President John F Kennedy takes a seat in the Oval Office alongside a group of advisers and cabinet officials. As usual, the man looked fatigued and on edge. In what's now become a familiar routine, Kennedy tries to steady his nerves as he prepares for another contentious and high stakes argument about Cuba. Two days ago, American spy planes uncovered a second missile base on the island, and assets for the CIA have reported seeing what looked like atomic warheads being unloaded from ships. At this point, Kennedy has little doubt the Soviets have built up fully operational nuclear missile bases in Cuba. The threat to America is no longer hypothetical. The question now is how forcefully Kennedy should respond. Kennedy looks out over the room as he kicks off. The meeting situation in Cuba is only growing worse, but I want us all to remember that we do have a tactical advantage. The Soviets don't know what we've learned. We have an ability for a preemptive strike to take out the bases. The director of the CIA, John Mccone, lets his hand. Yeah, John, what is it? Well, Mr. President, you're right that we have an upper hand in intelligence, but I need to hear the rationale for an air strike. It's it's a big move and is a big move, and I believe the right one. If we launch an attack preemptively, we can wipe out the Soviet threat without risk. Well, Mr. President, I I don't oppose air strike, but I don't know if it can go forward without risks. John, what's this sudden about? Face? You were the one pushing me to take Cuba seriously, but now you want me to back off? I'm not telling you to back off, Sir. But we can't strike the Soviets without giving warning. We want us to send the Soviets notice that we're bombing them. Yes, Sir, I do. But they'll hide the missiles before we can strike them, or they'll withdraw from Cuba. By the way, we can't afford to be the aggressors like Japan was in Pearl Harbor. Kennedy grits his teeth. He didn't expect this kind of pushback, and as he looks around the room, he can see other advisers nodding in agreement. John at Pearl Harbor, Japan, attacked without provocation. But the Soviets are threatening us. That might be the case, Sir, but the outcome will be the same. A preemptive air strike could kick off a global war, but this time the rest of the world could be against us. John, you don't know. That's how our allies would respond, Mr. President. I don't. I know you want to appear tough, and I respect that, but if you act rashly, we could lose our standing in the international community, not to mention risking war. OK, John, I hear you. And if I'm reading the room right, I'm in the minority. So that leaves us with a naval blockade. We can contain the threat and trap any Soviet troops already in Cuba. Maybe we can force the Soviets to the negotiating table. This is not my first choice, so we'll take a vote, air strike or blockade. There's a moment of silence as Kennedy's advisers considered the two choices in front of them. But when it's time for a vote, the tally is overwhelming. Kennedy's aides support a naval blockade. Kennedy size. He doesn't like this outcome, but he also believes in leading by consensus. So Kennedy tells the room it's decided they'll set in motion and naval blockade. They just need to figure out when it will go into effect and how the White House will communicate the message to the public. It's the evening of October 22nd, 1962, two days later. In a house in Miami, a 7 year old girl named Marta Creeps to the edge of her living room. As she peers around a corner, she spots her parents sitting in front of the TV. They look scared and upset, and her father keeps cracking his knuckles as he watches the news. Marta doesn't know why her parents seem so bothered. At dinner, they said something about a speech from the President, something about Cuba. Both her mother and father sat at the table, grim faced, and even though Marta asked them to explain what was going on, neither would say much more. They just sent Marta to her room and told her to go to sleep. But Maria was too curious to see what was happening. She knows Cuba is a sore subject. Her parents used to live there, and they say this man, Fidel Castro, is the reason they had to leave their home country and come to Miami. Sometimes the conversation turns into a fight. Some of Martha's other family members Love Castro and say he's made Cuba a better place. It's all very complicated, and for the most part, Marta has grown used to it but still doesn't understand. Still, tonight seems different. The upcoming speech by President Kennedy has made her parents quiet and tense. She wants to find out what's going on. So she creeps around a corner into the living room, finding a quiet place to hide and watch the TV, and soon, in black and white, President Kennedy appears on screen. This government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet military buildup on the island of Cuba. Within the past week. Unmistakable evidence has established the fact. That a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation. On that imprisoned island. The purpose of these bases? Can be none other. Then to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere. Marta strains to listen as the President starts talking about weapons in Cuba, and without thinking, she blurts out a question asking what's a nuclear warhead? Her mother's head whips around and without missing a beat, she tells Marta to go up to her room and get back in bed. But Marta doesn't move. She repeats the question. What is a nuclear warhead? What's happening in Cuba? Martha's father jumps up from the couch and stalks toward his daughter, and before she can say another word, he scoops her up in his arms and carries her back into her bedroom. Mortar thrashes her legs, crying out, demanding to know what's happening. Her father muttered something about how the police are probably going to come kick down their door. They're going to get taken to an internment camp, just like the Japanese. Martha's mother yells out from the other room, trying to silence Marta's father, but he doesn't listen. He keeps repeating the bad things are coming to Cubans in America. When they reach the bedroom, Mary's father lays her on her mattress and pulls the sheets over her and bringing his face close, Martha's father says she needs to pray. Everything is about to change. Everything is about to get bad. And if they want to survive a war between America and the Soviets, they'll need nothing less than divine intervention. From wondering this is episode three of the Cuban Missile Crisis from American scan. In our next episode, Soviet and American military forces go toe to toe in Cuba. The deadly attack on Cuban soil pushes the two superpowers to the brink of nuclear war. If you like our show, please give us a 5 star rating and leave a review and be sure to tell your friends. I also have two other podcasts you might like American history tellers and business movers follow on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, or wherever you're listening right now. Or you can listen to new episodes early and add free by subscribing to wondery plus in Apple Podcasts or in the Ondrey app. You'll also find some links and offers from our sponsors in the episode notes. Supporting them helps us keep offering our shows for free. Another way you can support the show is by filling out a small email@example.com/survey to tell us what topics we might cover next. You can also find us and me on Twitter. Follow me at Lindsey Agraham Lindsay with an A middle initial A and thank you. If you'd like to learn more about the Cuban missile crisis, we recommend the books nuclear folly by Sergei Plocki and one minute to midnight by Michael Dobbs. A quick note about our reenactments. In most cases, we can't know exactly what was said, but all our dramatizations are based on historical research. American scandal has hosted, edited and executive produced by me. Lindsey Graham for airship. Audio editing by Molly Bock. Sound design by Derek Barons. Music by Lindsey Graham. This episode is written by Sam Keene, edited by Stephen Walters. Our senior producer is Gabe Ribbon. 2nd producers are Stephanie Jens, Jenny Lauer Beckman and Marsha Louie for wondering.