The phoenix program - səhifə 32
i. In August 1966 the CIA's paramilitary adviser in Quang Ngai, Reed Harrison, unwittingly sent USAID employee Dwight Owen into an ambush outside Tu Nghia. The guerrillas who killed young Owen were from the Forty-eighth VC Battalion.
ii. In June 1988 Quang Ngai Special Branch chief Kieu participated in a Vatican ceremony which elevated Catholics killed in Vietnam to the status of martyrs.
CHAPTER 25: Da Nang
Jerry Bishop served in the Da Nang City Phoenix program from July 1968 until March 1970. An ROTC and Fort Holabird graduate, he arrived in Vietnam with thirty other lieutenants in August 1967 and was assigned to the Huong Thuy DIOCC near Hue. Shortly thereafter, in July 1968, he was transferred to Da Nang, where he became Major Roger Mackin's deputy in the Da Nang City Intelligence and Operations Coordination Center.
Like many young men who wound up working for the CIA, Bishop felt constrained by the military and preferred the company of freewheeling agency officers like Rudy Enders, who had married PVT's [i] sister and had formed the Da Nang City PRU as a means of providing his in-laws with draft deferments and steady employment. Working undercover in the CIA motor pool, the Da Nang City PRU specialized in deep-penetration operations into the jungle area in the districts outside Da Nang where the ARVN feared to go. Said Bishop: "We relied on the PRU and the U.S. Special Forces Mobile Reaction (Mike) Forces, [ii] because the Regional and Popular Forces could not be trusted. Also, it was hard to convince the Vietnamese to run operations which is why having the PRU was so important."
The Da Nang City PRU were the subject of much controversy. They were the only PR U team assigned to a city in all Vietnam and did not have the approbation of Captain Pham Van Liem, the Quang Nam PRU chief, or of Major Nguyen Van Lang, the national PRU commander, who made his living selling "PRU-ships" and resented the fact that PVT had gotten his job for free. In fact, when Bishop arrived in Da Nang in July, his boss, Roger Mackin, was embroiled in a dispute with Police Chief Nguyen Minh Tan over the mere presence of the PRU in Da Nang. And while Enders was home on leave, Liem transferred PVT to Quang Ngai Province. When Enders returned to Da Nang, he brought PVT back and assigned him and his PRU to the newly created IOCC as the action arm of Phoenix in Da Nang. Tan was transferred to the newly created Central Phung Hoang Permanent Office in Saigon, and the controversy over the Da Nang City PRU simmered.
Meanwhile, Bishop stepped in as deputy Phoenix coordinator in Da Nang City, in which capacity he coordinated the various Vietnamese intelligence agencies in Da Nang. The city, incidentally, was strictly off limits to U.S. troops living in nearby military bases. Apart from Phoenix personnel, only a few military policemen, CID investigators, SOG spooks, and CORDS advisers were permitted within the city proper.
Bishop's top priority was collecting data on VCI infiltrators living in the shantytowns on the outskirts of the city .He did this by reading translated Special Branch reports provided by Dick Ledford, the senior CIA Special Branch adviser headquartered at the Da Nang Interrogation Center with his Vietnamese counterpart, Lieutenant Colonel Tien, and the PIC chief, Major Mao. Ledford used Bishop to interrogate high-level VCI prisoners, whom Bishop would isolate and humiliate in order to make them lose face with the other prisoners, on the theory that breaking a man's spirit was the quickest way to get him to talk. In hard cases Bishop administered drugs to disorient his prisoners, then offered a return to sanity in exchange for information. Business was brisk. The Da Nang PIC held five hundred prisoners, most supplied by the PRU, which did their interrogations there. The PIC,[iii] in Bishop's words, was the "cornerstone" of anti-VCI operations in Da Nang, while Phoenix was "just coordination."
Phoenix operations in Da Nang, like those described by Shelby Roberts in Saigon, consisted mainly of the National Police cordoning off neighbor- hoods where VCI activity was suspected, then searching homes and checking IDs. The city was ringed by police checkpoints which Bishop, carrying photographs of VCI suspects, regularly visited in the company of Special Branch personnel. Bishop also worked closely with the Public Safety adviser to the Da Nang Field Police, which Bishop described as "mobile riot cops riding around in trucks with truncheons and shields," enforcing the 10:00 P.M. curfew, arresting suspects, putting them in CONEX garbage containers and hauling them off to prison. Bishop called Phoenix operations in Da Nang "an example of big brother police state tactics."
As Phoenix coordinator Bishop also worked with the MSS, an outfit he likened to the Gestapo and said included "the kind of people who torture people to death." While the police had Da Nang City as their beat, the MSS operated primarily in the districts outside town. Each of Da Nang's three districts had its own IOCC and Phoenix coordinator. The Third District IOCC -- located across the bay in a rural area -- was advised by an Army lieutenant, but neither he nor the other two DIOCC advisers, one of whom hailed from the Food and Drug Administration, were intelligence officers. They averaged twenty-two or twenty-three years old and were unable to speak Vietnamese.
Another part of Bishop's job was working with the Military Police recovering property -- mostly jeeps and trucks -- stolen from the U.S. Army, and he often met with Army and Marine commanders to obtain helicopters for joint operations. At times these operations had nothing to do with the VCI. "We had problems with deserters, mostly blacks near the Marine air base, hiding out in the shantytown across the bay," Bishop explained. "They were trying to make noodles and stay underground, but they were heavily armed and, at times, worked with the VC. So we had cordon and search operations to round them up. After the MPs started taking casualties, though, we used American military units, airborne rangers provided by General Lam, and the Nung Mike Force from Special Forces."
Bishop also ran operations against the local Koreans, who "had their own safe houses and their own black-market dealings." The Koreans "were selling weapons to the NVA through intermediaries and were shipping home U.S. Army trucks, which is what finally brought the MPs and Police Chief Duong Thiep together. But the Koreans were too tough -- they all had black belts in karate -- for the police to handle by themselves." So Bishop used the Da Nang City PRU to raid the safe house where the deals were being done. "We confiscated their vehicles, which they did not take lying down. They were so pissed off," Bishop recalled, "that they later tossed a grenade in my jeep."
Despite his trouble with the Koreans, Bishop and the other Americans in Da Nang frequented the Korean social club, which was located next door to the CIA's embassy house on Gia Long Street. It was a favorite spot for Americans because the Vietnamese had outlawed dance halls. On the other hand, the Vietnamese maintained a number of opium dens in Da Nang. "The Vietnamese didn't give a damn about drugs," Bishop explained, "so we left them alone. That was Public Safety's problem."
In late 1968 Roger Mackin left Vietnam, and Jerry Bishop assumed command of the Da Nang City IOCC, and in early 1969 Dick Ledford bequeathed the I Corps Phoenix program to Colonel Rosnor, the Phoenix region coordinator. As part of the MACV takeover, Rosnor was forced to move Phoenix region headquarters out of the CIA compound into the mayor's office. And shortly thereafter Rosnor was himself replaced by Colonel Daniel Renneisen, a Chinese linguist brought in from Taiwan to assuage the Vietnamese. With Renneisen's approval, Bishop built a new IOCC "off the harbor road three blocks from the water." Promoted to captain in early 1969, Bishop became Renneisen's deputy and liaison to Lieutenant Colonel Thiep.
The CIA's pullout from Phoenix had a big impact on Bishop. "Previously," he explained, "I would see Ledford for coordination; I would go to the PIC, get the hot information, and bring it into the Da Nang City IOCC, which was important, because the Special Branch wouldn't share its information with the Vietnamese police or the military. But once Ledford was gone, we had no more access. The new people coming in were lost." Phoenix, said Bishop, "became a mechanism to coordinate the Vietnamese, while the CIA began running its own parallel operation .... The problem," Bishop explained, "is that the CIA sees itself as first. You're supposed to give your agents and your information to them, and then they take over operational control. So everyone tried to keep something for themselves." Bishop, for example, ran his own secret agent, whom he had recruited from the local Chieu Hoi center.
Not only had Bishop lost access to Special Branch information, but he had also lost his major source of funding, and he had to find a way to involve the Vietnamese more directly in the program. His response was to give PVT money from the Intelligence Contingency Fund, which PVT used to throw a party for the top-ranking Vietnamese officials every two or three weeks. PVT would hire a band and invite high-ranking officers from the mayor's office, the MSS, the National Police, and Special Branch, and everyone would make small talk and share information. It was an informal way of doing things which, Bishop pointed out, reflected Vietnamese sensibilities.
"The people in the villages," Bishop pointed out, "had no concept of communism. They couldn't understand why we were after the VCI, and they didn't take sides. They'd help the guerrillas at night and the GVN during day." In Bishop's opinion, "We were helping the wrong side. The GVN had no real sense of nationality, no real connection to people. They were trained by the French to administer for the Saigon regime. Those who worked with Chieu Hoi and RD understood communism somewhat, but the GVN had no ideology. Just negative values."
Over time the parties organized by PVT evolved into formal Phung Hoang meetings held in the mayor's office. PVT acted as translator (Americans wore headsets) and facilitator, setting the agenda and making sure everyone showed up. The Phung Hoang Committee in Da Nang consisted of the mayor and his staff and reps from the MSS, Special Branch, National Police, Census Grievance, RD Cadre, and Chieu Hoi-nine to ten people in all. They had never gotten together in one spot before, but from then on the Phung Hoang Committee was the center of power in Da Nang, even though it was split into opposing camps, one led by Thiep, the other by Mayor Nguyen Duc Khoi, Thiep's business rival.
Bishop was aligned with Thiep, and in order to strengthen Thiep's hand, he persuaded Colonel Renneisen to persuade General Cushman, the American military commander in I Corps, to ante up a helicopter, which Bishop and Thiep then used to visit each of I Corps's five PIOCCs on a circuit-rider basis.
The Special Branch representative on the Phung Hoang Committee reported (but always on dated information) to Mayor Khoi -- a former MSS officer who had at one time been Diem's security chief. As the agency with the closest ties to the civilian population, the Special Branch had the best political intelligence and thus was a threat to the I Corps commander, General Lam. For that reason, when General Khiem had become prime minister in early 1969, he appointed his confidential agent, Lieutenant Colonel Thiep (an MSS officer from Saigon) police chief in Da Nang, with cognizance over the Special Branch. Thiep reported to General Lam and was able to post an MSS officer in the region PIC. However, PIC chief Mao -- in fact, a Communist double agent -- isolated the MSS officer, leaving Phung Hoang Committee meetings as the only means by which Thiep could keep tabs on the Special Branch.
The CIA's region officer in charge in 1969, Roger McCarthy, and his deputy, Walter Snowden, retreated from sight, leaving Renneisen and Bishop to fend for themselves. But MACV was not providing sufficient funds to maintain either the Da Nang PRU or existing agent nets, and so Bishop began issuing special passes to the Special Forces team in Da Nang in exchange for captured weapons, which he traded to the Air Force for office supplies, which he gave to Thiep for his Phung Hoang headquarters. When Bishop learned, through PVT, that the Navy Civic Action center was in possession of stolen jeeps, he confiscated the jeeps, painted them green and white at the PRU motor pool, forged legal papers, and gave them to Thiep. One of Bishop's confrontations with the local MPs occurred when Marine investigators tried to recover the stolen vehicles but found they now belonged to Thiep and the National Police. Tension between the Da Nang Phoenix contingent and Marine investigators mounted because, according to Bishop, "People got corrupted by Phoenix."
With the loss of CIA funding, the Phoenix program in Da Nang suffered other setbacks. The Da Nang City PRU were suddenly on their own. PVT , the indispensable link between the Americans and Vietnamese, began to worry, so Bishop was forced to take action. "We heard through PVT what really went on," Bishop said. But in order to keep PVT as an asset and carry out the attack against the VCI, it was necessary to maintain the PRU in Da Nang. "Our PRU were English-speaking and could translate documents and act as interpreters for us," Bishop explained. "We couldn't get along without them." Knowing that the Da Nang Phoenix program was on the verge of collapse, Bishop wrote a letter to Prime Minister Khiem, asking that the PRU be retained as draft-exempt employees of the Da Nang City Phung .Hoang program, working as auto mechanics in the motor pool, paid through the MACV Intelligence Contingency Fund.
The letter was not well received by PRU commander Lang in Saigon. Nor was the 525th MIG thrilled at the prospect of shelling out money for a program that was coming under increasing criticism. "The PRU were hated by everyone," Bishop explained. "They were considered worse than the MSS Gestapo."
Colonel Renneisen did not want to get involved either, "But we needed interpreters," Bishop said, "and the letter was signed by Thiep, and Thiep arranged for PVT to meet with Colonel Pham Van Cao at the Phung Hoang Office in Saigon. Cao wrote a letter to the director general of the National Police, who approved it, as did General Lam after prodding from Renneisen. And so on the condition that they be directed only against the VCI, the PRU were allowed to stay in Da Nang."
The establishment of the Da Nang PRU as an official arm of the city's Phung Hoang program coincided with the transfer of PRU national headquarters to the National Police Interrogation Center in Saigon, and the transfer of PR U logistical support was transferred to Colonel Dai and the National Police. While the PRU had been paid directly by the CIA before, as of 1969, funds were channeled through intermediaries -- usually Phoenix -- while uniforms and equipment came through the Field Police.
Having profaned the sacred chain of command with his letter to Khiem, Bishop soon found himself in hot water. "A red-haired guy from Saigon, a young kid, came up to Da Nang and replaced me at the Da Nang City IOCC with a major from the Third Marine Amphibious Force," Bishop recalled. "I was kicked upstairs and became Renneisen's full-time deputy, and the major-responding to General Cushman, who was upset because vehicles kept disappearing -- decided to get rid of all renegade vehicles in the PRU motor pool. The last I heard, the steering wheel fell off his jeep while he was driving around the city."
Jerry Bishop left Vietnam in March 1970 and returned to college, badly disillusioned. Colonel Renneisen was transferred to Saigon as operations chief at the Phoenix Directorate. A new I Corps Phoenix coordinator settled into the job. In Quang Nam Province, the Phoenix adviser was Lieutenant Bill Cowey; Captain Yoonchul Mo was the Korean liaison; and the PRU, under Major Liem, were advised by Special Forces Sergeant Patry Loomis. The Da Nang City PRU continued to be advised by PVT. Major Thompson ran the Da Nang City IOCC, and the DaNang PIC was advised by Vance Vincent.
The question this book has tried to answer is, was Phoenix a legal, moral, and popular program that occasionally engendered abuses or was it an instrument of unspeakable evil -- a manifestation of everything wicked and cruel? Consider the case of William J. Taylor. A former Marine Corps investigator and veteran of three tours in Vietnam, Taylor now owns his own detective agency, one of the foremost in the country. He served as chief investigator and consultant in the Karen Silkwood, Three Mile Island, and Greensboro murder cases. He was also involved in the investigations into the My Lai massacre, the Atlanta missing and murdered children case, and the Orlando Letelier assassination. A man who has been shot and stabbed in the course of his work, Taylor is tough as nails, but when we met in the fall of 1986, it was in an attorney's office, in the presence of a witness; for what he had to say lent credence to all the horror stories ever told about Phoenix.
Bill Taylor enlisted in the Marines in 1963. He did his first tour in Vietnam in 1966 as a member of a unit guarding a mountaintop radio relay station that monitored enemy and allied radio traffic in the valley below. When the post was attacked and overrun by an NVA unit, Taylor was nominated for a Silver Star for his gallantry in action.
Taylor returned to Vietnam in 1968 as an investigator with the Marine Corps Criminal Investigation Division (CID). His duties involved investigating robberies, arsons, murders, rapes, fraggings, race riots, and other serious crimes committed by American military personnel. Taylor transported dangerous prisoners, acted as a courier for classified messages, and maintained a network of informers in Da Nang. In 1969 Taylor returned to Da Nang as a CID investigator with the Third Marine Amphibious Force. He resided at the Paris Hotel and worked, half a mile away, with a team of Marines in the Army's CID headquarters. Taylor's supervisor was Master Sergeant Peter Koslowski.
"Pete liked me." Taylor laughed. "He was always mad at me, but he liked me."
It was through Koslowski that Taylor first heard about Phoenix. "Koslowski said Phoenix was a great organization and that it would right a lot of wrongs over there," Taylor recalled. "
He said it was necessary, sometimes, to cut throats and that it was also important, for psychological reasons, that sometimes it be made to look like the Communists had done it. That included terrorist activities in Da Nang and Saigon, which were Phoenix projects."Expressing his own disgust with such a policy, Taylor said, "I was young and didn't understand political realities. That's what Koslowski said. Well, now that I'm mature, I understand them less."
Taylor's account of Phoenix is set in Da Nang in July 1970. The incident occurred on a Sunday morning. As was his habit, Taylor was rummaging through the garbage cans in the alley behind the White Elephant restaurant near the Da Nang Hotel, loading the back of his jeep with discarded fruit, vegetables, and bread, which he gave to Vietnamese members of his informer network who were having a hard time making ends meet. Some of these people worked at Camp Horn; others, for the mayor of Da Nang. Most he had known since 1968.
While poking around in the trash, Taylor saw a U.S. Army intelligence officer, accompanied by a Korean intelligence officer, pass by in a jeep. Taylor had been investigating the American for several months, so he quickly dropped what he was doing and followed them. Taylor had opened the case when a number of his Vietnamese sources began complaining to him that an American military officer, in cahoots with the Koreans, was murdering Vietnamese civilians for the CIA. The American officer was regularly seen at the Da Nang Interrogation Center, assaulting women prisoners and forcing them to perform perverse acts. He had a reputation as a sadist who enjoyed torturing and killing prisoners. A psychopath with no compunctions about killing people or causing them pain, he was the ideal contract killer.
That the CIA should recruit such a man was not unusual. Taylor himself had investigated a racial incident in which four blacks threw grenades into the Da Nang enlisted men's club while a movie was being shown. One of the blacks told Taylor that a CIA "talent scout" had offered to get him and his comrades off the hook if they would agree to perform hits for the CIA on a contract basis, not just in Vietnam but in other countries as well.
Taylor's principal source was a Vietnamese woman who knew where the American assassin lived. Together they watched the house, and when the man emerged, Taylor recognized him immediately. The man was the Da Nang Phoenix adviser, in which capacity he periodically appeared at the CID compound dressed in the uniform of a U.S. Army intelligence officer.
"The guy was crazy," Taylor explained. "He was my height, slightly taller. He had dark hair and a runner's build. He had three or four names and eyes you'd never forget -- like he was acting at throwing a tantrum. Like Jim in Taxi. He was angry all the time," Taylor continued. "When he walked through a crowd of Vietnamese, he just pushed people aside. The first time I saw him, as a matter of fact, was outside Koslowski's office. A Vietnamese sentry blocked his way, so he slammed the guy up against the guardhouse. Right then and there I knew that someday we were going to fight.
"He didn't look or act like a military officer," Taylor added. "That's why I started watching him."
Over the next few months Taylor compiled a comprehensive dossier on the man, with more than a hundred pages of notes and twenty rolls of film, including pictures of the Koreans and American civilians with whom he met. When Koslowski discovered what Taylor was doing, he tried to dissuade him. But Taylor persisted. He continued to surveil the Phoenix agent, noting that much of his contact with other Americans occurred at the Naval Claims Investigation building, a "gorgeous mansion" that served as a "CIA front." Known to Jerry Bishop as the Civic Action center, it was the place where Vietnamese went to collect indemnities when their relatives were accidentally killed in U.S. military operations or by U.S. military vehicles. Although there were only six claims adjusters, the building had dozens of spacious rooms and doubled as a beer hall on Saturday nights. Taylor and his colleagues would party there with the intelligence crowd, local American construction workers, and reporters from the Da Nang Press Club. At these parties Taylor watched while the Phoenix agent met and took instructions from civilians working undercover with the Da Nang Press Club.
Sensing he was on to something unusual, Taylor wrote to L. Mendel Rivers, a congressman in South Carolina. "A few weeks later," he noted, "Koslowski hinted that maybe I shouldn't be writing to politicians."
Taylor began to feel uncomfortable. Thinking there was an informer in Rivers's office, he began mailing copies of his reports and photographs to a friend in Florida, who concealed the evidence in his house. What the evidence suggested was that Phoenix murders in Da Nang were directed not at the VCI but at private businessmen on the wrong side of contractual disputes. In one case documented by Taylor, Pepsi was trying to move in on Coke, so the Coke distributor used his influence to have his rival's name put on the Phoenix hit list.
Taylor's investigation climaxed that Sunday morning outside the White Elephant restaurant. He followed the Phoenix adviser and his Korean accomplice as they drove in smaller and smaller circles around the northwest section of Da Nang. Satisfied they weren't being tailed, the two parked their jeep, then proceeded on foot down a series of back alleys until they reached an open-air cafe packed with upper-middle-class Vietnamese, including women and children. Taylor arrived on the scene as the two assassins pulled hand grenades from a briefcase, hiked up the bamboo skirting around the cafe, rolled the grenades inside, turned, and briskly walked away.
Taylor watched in horror as the cafe exploded. "I saw nothing but body parts come blasting out. I drove around the burning building and the bodies, hoping to cut them off before they reached their jeep. But they got to it before I did, and they started to drive away. They passed directly in front of me," Taylor recalled, "so I rammed my jeep into theirs, knocking it off the road.
"After the initial shock," he continued, "they reached for their weapons, but I got to them first. I wanted to blow them away, but instead I used my airweight Smith and Wesson to disable them. Then I took their weapons and handcuffed them to the roll bar in the back of my jeep. I drove them back to the CID building and proceeded to drag them into Koslowski's office. I got them down on the floor and told Ski they'd killed several people. I said that I'd watched the whole thing and that there were witnesses. In fact, the crowd would have torn them apart if I hadn't brought them back fast.
"Meanwhile, the American was screaming, so I stepped on him. I'd taken the cuffs off the Korean, who was trying to karate-chop everything in sight, so I cuffed him again. Then Ski told me to go back to my office to write up my report. Ski said he'd handle it. He was mad at me."
It was soon apparent why Koslowski was upset.
"While I was in my office across the courtyard, in another wing of the CID building," Taylor said, "one of the other CID agents came in and asked me if I had a death wish. 'No,' I replied, 'I have a sense of duty.'
"'Well,'" he said, "'nothing's gonna get done.'" By this time reports describing the incident as an act of Vietcong terrorism were streaming into the office. Fourteen people had been killed; about thirty had been injured.
"Then," Taylor said, "a second CID agent came in and said, 'Ski's letting them go!' I charged back to the main building and saw the American Phoenix agent walking down the hall, so I started bouncing him off the walls. At this point Koslowski started screaming at me to let him go. A Vietnamese guard came running inside, frantic, because there was a lynch mob of Koreans from the Phoenix task force forming outside. One of the CID guys grabbed me, and the Phoenix agent screamed that I was a dead man. Then he took his bloody head and left.
"I really didn't care." Taylor sighed. "Sanctioning of enemy spies is one thing, but mass murder ... I told Ski, 'If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to get those guys.'"
Shortly thereafter Koslowski received a phone call and informed Taylor that "for his own safety" he was being restricted to his room in the Paris Hotel. Two marines were posted outside his door and stood guard over him through the night. The following morning Taylor was taken under custody to the Third MP Battalion and put in a room in the prisoner of war camp. Now a captive himself, he sat there for two days in utter isolation. When the Koreans learned of his whereabouts, and word got out that they were planning an attack, he was choppered to a Marine base on Hill 37 near Dai Loc on Route 14. Taylor stayed there for two more days, while arrangements were made for his transfer back to the States. Eventually he was flown back to Da Nang and from there to Cam Ranh, Yokohama, Anchorage, and Seattle. In Seattle he was relieved of his gun and escorted by civilians posing as personal security -- one was disguised as a Navy chaplain -- to Orlando, Florida.
"When I got to Orlando, where my family was waiting," Taylor recalled, "there was still mud on my boots. I had five days' growth of beard, and I was filthy. I cleaned up, contacted Marine headquarters, and was told to stand down. Nothing happened for about forty-five days, at which time I was ordered to Camp Lejeune, where I was debriefed by a bunch of military intelligence officers. I was told not to tell anyone about what had happened. They said I could go to jail if I did."
And so Bill Taylor's account of Phoenix came to an end. Almost. Within a month of his return to the States, his friend's house was broken into and the incriminating evidence stolen. In a predictable postscript Taylor's service records were altered; included in the portion concerning his medical history were unflattering psychological profiles derived from sessions he never attended. He never got the Silver Star either. Yet despite his losing battle with the system, Bill Taylor still believes in right and wrong. He is proud of having brought the Phoenix assassins in for justice (never dispensed), for having torn the masks off their faces, and for putting them out of business temporarily in Da Nang.
Nor has the Phoenix controversy ended for Taylor. He has seen the fingerprints of the "old Phoenix boys" at the scene of a number of murders he has investigated, including those of American journalist Linda Frazier and Orlando Letelier. The "old Phoenix boys" Taylor referred to are a handful of Cuban contract agents the CIA hired after the Bay of Pigs fiasco to assassinate Fidel Castro. Some served in Vietnam in Phoenix, and a few operate as hired killers and drug dealers in Miami and Central America today. Taylor included the CIA case officers who manage these assassins in his definition of the "old Phoenix boys."
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