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George Bush Sr. secretly worked with the CIA during the Bay of Pigs


Updated: 2008/02/08 PM 3:56:09   Comment

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There is much evidence that George Bush Sr. worked with the CIA in some capacity during in the early 60s when he was running his private oil drilling company "Zapata Offshore Oil".

FBI and CIA memos

Two FBI memoranda have been offered to show connections between the CIA and George H. W. Bush during his time at Zapata. The first memo names Zapata Off-Shore and was written by FBI Special Agent Graham Kitchel on 22 November 1963, regarding the John F. Kennedy assassination at 12:30 p.m. CST that day. It begins: "At 1:45 p.m. Mr. GEORGE H. W. BUSH, President of the Zapata Off-Shore Drilling Company, Houston, Texas, residence 5525 Briar, Houston, telephonically furnished the following information to writer. .. BUSH stated that he wanted to be kept confidential. .. was proceeding to Dallas, Texas, would remain in the Sheraton-Dallas Hotel."

Memo from FBI Special Agent in Texas, regarding call by "GHW Bush of Zapata Off-Shore Drilling Company" received 75 minutes after JFK's murder

Memo from FBI Special Agent in Texas, regarding call by "GHW Bush of Zapata Off-Shore Drilling Company" received 75 minutes after JFK's murder

A second FBI memorandum, written by J. Edgar Hoover, identifies "George Bush" with the CIA. It is dated 29 November 1963 and refers to a briefing given Bush on 23 November. The FBI Director describes a briefing about JFK's murder "orally furnished to Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency. .. [by] this Bureau" on "November 23, 1963.

Memo from J. Edgar Hoover, referring to "Mr. George Bush of the CIA", briefed 24 hours after JFK's murder

Memo from J. Edgar Hoover, referring to "Mr. George Bush of the CIA", briefed 24 hours after JFK's murder

When this second memorandum surfaced during the 1988 presidential campaign, Bush spokespersons (including Stephen Hart) said Hoover's memo referred to another George Bush who worked for the CIA.  CIA spokeswoman Sharron Basso suggested it was referring to a George William Bush.  However, this G. William Bush swore an affadavit in federal court denying that Hoover's memo referred to him:

"I have carefully reviewed the FBI memorandum to the Director, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State dated November 29, 1963 which mentions a Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency. ... I do not recognize the contents of the memorandum as information furnished to me orally or otherwise during the time I was at the CIA. In fact, during my time at the CIA, I did not receive any oral communications from any government agency of any nature whatsoever. I did not receive any information relating to the Kennedy assassination during my time at the CIA from the FBI. Based on the above, it is my conclusion that I am not the Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency referred to in the memorandum." (United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Action 88-2600 GHR, Archives and Research Center v. Central Intelligence Agency, Affidavit of George William Bush, September 21, 1988.)

Allegations by former CIA staff

US Army Brigadier General Russell Bowen wrote that there was a cover-up of Zapata's CIA connections:

Bush, in fact, did work directly with the anti-Castro Cuban groups in Miami before and after the Bay of Pigs invasion, using his company, Zapata Oil, as a corporate cover for his activities on behalf of the agency. Records at the University of Miami, where the operations were based for several years, show George Bush was present during this time. [Page 11]

Joseph J. Trento quotes four former U.S. intelligence officials saying Bush was involved with the CIA prior to the Bay of Pigs in his book, Prelude to Terror:

Robert T. Crowley and William Corson of the CIA:

Bush was officially considered a CIA business asset, according to Crowley and Corson. "George's insecurities were clay to someone like Dulles," William Corson said. To recruit young George Bush, Robert Crowley explained, Dulles convinced him that "he could contribute to his country as well as get help from the CIA for his overseas business activities." [Bush] was, according to Corson, "perfect at talent spotting and looking at potential recruits for the CIA. You have to remember, we had real fears of Soviet activity in Mexico in the 1950s. Bush was one of many businessmen that would be reimbursed for hiring someone the CIA was interested in, or simply carrying a message." --Chapter 2 page 14

John Sherwood of the CIA:

Bush was at first a tiny part of OPERATION MONGOOSE, the CIA's code name for their anti-Castro operations. According to the late John Sherwood, "Bush was like hundreds of other businessmen who provided the nuts-and-bolts assistance such operations require... What they mainly helped us with was to give us a place to park people that was discreet." --Chapter 2 page 16

An anonymous official connected to "Operation Mongoose":

George Bush would be given a list of names of Cuban oil workers we would want placed in jobs... The oil platforms he dealt in were perfect for training the Cubans in raids on their homeland. --Chapter 2 page 16

John Loftus, in his book Secret War quotes former U.S. intelligence officials reporting the same story:

The Zapata-Permargo deal caught the eye of Allan Dulles, who the "old spies" report was the man who recruited Bush's oil company as a part time purchasing front for the CIA. Zapata provided commercial supplies for one of Dulles' most notorious operations: the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

--Chapter 16 page 368  Secret War

Finally, according to Cuban intelligence official Fabian Escalante in The Cuba Project: CIA Covert Operations 1959-62, Jack Crichton and George H.W. Bush raised funds for the CIA's Operation 40:

"Tracy Barnes functioned as head of the Cuban Task Force. He called a meeting on January 18,1960, in his office in Quarters Eyes, near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, which the navy had lent while new buildings were being constructed in Langley. Those who gathered there included the eccentric Howard Hunt, future head of the Watergate team and a writer of crime novels; the egocentric Frank Bender, a friend of Trujillo; Jack Esterline, who had come straight from Venezuela where he directed a CIA group; psychological warfare expert David A. Phillips, and others. The team responsible for the plans to overthrow the government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 was reconstituted, and in the minds of all its members this would be a rerun of the same plan. Barnes talked at length of the goals to be achieved. He explained that Vice-President Richard Nixon was the Cuban "case officer," and had assembled an important group of businessmen headed by George Bush [Snr.] and Jack Crichton, both Texas oilmen, to gather the necessary funds for [Operation 40]. Nixon was a protege of Bush's father [Prescott], who in 1946 had supported Nixon's bid for congress. In fact, [Presott] Bush was the campaign strategist who brought Eisenhower and Nixon to the presidency of the United States. With such patrons, Barnes was certain that failure was impossible." --Page 43-44  The Cuba Project: CIA Covert Operations 1959-62

Fabian Escalante was in the Department of State Security (G-2) in Cuba in 1960. At the time of the Bay of Pigs, Escalante was head of a counter-intelligence unit and was part of a team investigating a CIA operation called Sentinels of Liberty, an attempt to recruit Cubans willing to work against Castro. His information about Bush apparently comes from a counterintelligence operation against Tracy Barnes of the CIA.

The involvement of a former CIA officer in the foundation of Zapata

On January 8, 2007, newly released internal CIA documents revealed that Zapata had in fact emerged from Bush’s collaboration with a covert CIA officer in the 1950s. According to a CIA internal memo dated November 29, 1975, Zapata Petroleum began in 1953 through Bush’s joint efforts with Thomas J. Devine, a CIA staffer who had resigned his agency position that same year to go into private business, but who continued to work for the CIA under commercial cover. Devine would later accompany Bush to Vietnam in late 1967 as a "cleared and witting commercial asset" of the agency, acted as his informal foreign affairs advisor, and had a close relationship with him through 1975.

Alleged involvement in the Bay of Pigs

George Bush on Zapata oil rig, c.1963

George Bush on Zapata oil rig, c.1963

The CIA codename for the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961 was "Operation Zapata".  Through his work with Zapata Off-Shore, Bush is alleged to have come into contact with Felix Rodriguez, Barry Seal, Porter Goss, and E. Howard Hunt, around the time of the Bay of Pigs operation.

CIA liaison officer Col. L. (Leroy) Fletcher Prouty alleges that Zapata Off-Shore provided or was used as cover for two of the ships used in the Bay of Pigs invasion: the Barbara J and Houston. Prouty claims he delivered two ships to an inactive Naval Base near Elizabeth City, North Carolina, for a CIA contact and he suspected very strongly that George Bush must have been involved:

They asked me to see if we could find -- purchase -- a couple of transport ships. We got some people that were in that business, and they went along the coast and they found two old ships that we purchased and sent down to Elizabeth City and began to load with an awful lot of trucks that the Army was sending down there. We deck-loaded the trucks, and got all of their supplies on board. Everything that they needed was on two ships. It was rather interesting to note, looking back these days, that one of the ships was called the Houston, and the other ship was called the Barbara J. Colonel Hawkins had renamed the program as we selected a name for the Bay of Pigs operation. The code name was "Zapata." I was thinking a few months ago of what a coincidence that is. When Mr. Bush graduated from Yale, back there in the days when I was a professor at Yale, he formed an oil company, called "Zapata," with a man, Lieddke, who later on became president of Pennzoil. But the company that Lieddke and Mr. Bush formed was the Zapata Oil Company. Mr. Bush's wife's name is Barbara J. And Mr. Bush claims as his hometown Houston, Texas. Now the triple coincidence there is strange; but I think it's interesting. I know nothing about its meaning. But these invasion ships were the Barbara J and the Houston, and the program was "Zapata." George Bush must have been somewhere around.

John Loftus writes: "Prouty's credibility, however has been widely attacked because of his consultancy to Oliver Stone's film JFK." but notes on page 598 that: "While his credibility has suffered greatly because of his consultancy to Oliver Stone's film JFK, his recollections about the CIA supply mission have been confirmed by other sources."

But Prouty's details are still much in doubt.  Researcher James K. Olmstead claims to have discovered a CIA memorandum which states that the boats were leased, not purchased, by the Garcia Line Corporation with offices in Havana and New York City. The owners were Alfredo Garcia and his five sons. The CIA was using the Rio Escondido for "exfiltrating anti-Castro leaders......prior to 1961 BOP planning." It had brought out Nino Diaz, and Manolo Ray. Its captain Gus Tirado was well known to the CIA. Eduardo Garcia met with two CIA agents in NYC and D.C. to arrange the use of the Garcia ships for the invasion. The alleged price was $600.00 per day per ship plus fuel, food and personnel.

Eduardo selected and hired 30 men who were "executioners for Batista" Miro Cardona of the Frente and the CIA did not like the choice of men hired to protect the Garcia ships. "Nobody questioned that Eduardo was coming along with the expedition. "I'm going to be in charge of my ships", he said.

Memorandum From the Chief of WH/4/PM, Central Intelligence Agency (Hawkins) to the Chief of WH/4 of the Directorate for Plans (Esterline) The Barbara J (LCI), now enroute to the United States from Puerto Rico, requires repairs which may take up to two weeks for completion. The sister ship, the Blagar, is outfitting in Miami, and its crew is being assembled. It is expected that both vessels will be fully operational by mid-January at the latest. In view of the difficulty and delay encountered in purchasing, outfitting and readying for sea the two LCI's, the decision has been reached to purchase no more major vessels, but to charter them instead. The motor ship, Rio Escondido (converted LCT) will be chartered this week and one additional steam ship, somewhat larger, will be chartered early in February. Both ships belong to a Panamanian Corporation controlled by the Garcia family of Cuba, who are actively cooperating with this Project. These two ships will provide sufficient lift for troops and supplies in the invasion operation.


Kevin Phillips discusses George Bush's "highly likely" peripheral role in the Bay of Pigs events in his book, American Dynasty. He points to the leadership role of Bush's fellow Skull and Bones alumni in organizing the operation. He notes an additional personal factor for Bush: the Walker side of the family (who initially funded Zapata Corporation) had apparently lost a small fortune when Fidel Castro nationalized their West Indies Sugar Co. Edwin Pauley was "known for CIA connections," according to Phillips.


  1. [1]
  2.  Michael Hasty (February 5, 2004). Secret admirers: The Bushes and the Washington Post. Online Journal.
  3.  Adios, Zapata!: Colorful company founded by Bush relocates to N.Y.. Houston Business Journal (April 23, 1999).
  4.  Zapata Oil Files, 1943-1983, George Bush Personal Papers, George Bush Presidential Library
  5.  Nicolas King, George Bush: A Biography
  6.  John Fitzgerald Kennedy. American Patriot Friends Network.
  7.  Bush called FBI when JFK died. The Houston Chronicle (December 21, 1991).
  8.  George Bush: World Class Monster
  9.  [2]
  10.  (1991) [[3]title=The Immaculate Deception: The Bush Crime Family Exposed {{{title}}}]. 
  11.  Prelude to Terror Joseph J. Trento
  12.  [4],[5],[6]
  13.  See Beschloss, p.89
  14.  [7]
  15.  in the book, UNDERSTANDING SPECIAL OPERATIONS (1989) and on his website
  16.  [8]
  17.  [9]
  18.  American Dynasty
  19.  White
  20.  [10]
  21.  [11]

Public records

  • SEC filings of Zapata Corporation
  • Zapata Offshore Annual Reports, Microform Reading Room, Library of Congress.
  • Transcript and audioof a "smoking gun" tape of Nixon telling Haldeman and Ehrlichman about the "Bay of Pigs" and "Texans."
  • National Security Archives documentation of GHW Bush's CIA involvement in the early 1960s.
  • United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Action 88-2600 GHR, Archives and Research Center v. Central Intelligence Agency, Affidavit of George William Bush, September 21, 1988.
  • George Bush personal papers


  • "Adios, Zapata! Colorful company founded by Bush relocates to N.Y.," Houston Business Journal, April 26, 1999
  • Franklin, H. Bruce, "Net Losses", Mother Jones, March 2006 - extensive article on role of Menhaded in ecosystem and possible results of overfishing. Retrieved 21 February, 2006

George Bush


  • Robert T. Crowley of the CIA (Quoted by Joseph J. Trento) Prelude to Terror (2005)
  • William Corson of the CIA (Quoted by Joseph J. Trento) Prelude to Terror (2005)
  • John Sherwood of the CIA (Quoted by Joseph J. Trento) Prelude to Terror (2005)

Prelude to Terror Chapter 2 pg. 13 Recruiting George H. W. Bush[15]

  • Richard Bissell, Reflections of a Cold Warrior, (Yale University Press, 1996).
  • David Atlee Phillips, The Night Watch.
  • E. Howard Hunt, Give Us This Day (New Rochelle: Arlington Press, 1973)
  • Michael R. Beschloss, The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-63 (New York: Edward Burlingame Books, 1991), p. 89 refers to "Operation Zapata" as the codename for the Bay of Pigs operation.


  • Leroy Fletcher Prouty, The Secret Team (1973).
  • Michael Maholy (of Yankton, SD), [16]
  • Daniel Yergin, The Prize, (1991).
  • Rodney Stich (former FAA investigator) Defrauding America (1994), and The Drugging of America (1999).
Zapata Corporation. (2008, January 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:54, February 8, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Zapata_Corporation&oldid=183477683

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