Before there was 9/11, there was the winter of 1962. It was an eerie precursor to what would tragically traumatize New York City nearly four decades later. The National Archives’ 2017-18 release of long-suppressed JFK files provided the forum, much of which deals with the CIA’s Mafia-outsourced operation to take out Fidel Castro.
But there’s also this: Castro wanted revenge for all those assassination attempts. The details are chronicled in Thomas Maier’s “Mafia Spies.” Among them: a payback plan to wreak havoc in New York for the Christmas holiday season. A well-trained terrorism expert, Roberto Santiesteban Casanova, posed as a United Nations diplomatic attaché. He was the ringleader of an elaborate sabotage plot to bomb Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Gimbel’s—plus the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station, the 42nd Street Port Authority Bus Terminal and military bases and oil refineries in nearby New Jersey.
BTW, “Mafia Spies” is a good, riveting read and another reminder that America’s had dark chapters before the chaos and existential threat of this Administration. But, imagine if that had been President Trump during the October missile crisis.