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TAC Files Lawsuit Against State Department Over Venezuelan ‘Bay of Pigs’

The State Dept hasn't provided any documents on the embarrassing coup fiasco led by a former U.S. Green Beret in May.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during his weekly briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, on September 2, 2020. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In May, former U.S. special operations soldier Jordan Goudreau led an attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro. The plan was for 300 heavily armed volunteers to sneak into Venezuela, raid military bases, and inspire a popular rebellion that would lead to Maduro’s arrest. Instead, the embarrassingly amateurish plot was quickly foiled.

The bizarre tale raised a lot of serious questions about the competence of Pompeo’s State Department and the Trump administration’s intelligence services. When The American Conservative requested documents related to the coup under the Freedom of Information Act, the CIA and State Department failed to make anything available.

On Friday, The American Conservativefiled a lawsuit against the State Department in the U.S. District Court of Columbia.

The Trump administration has denied any involvement with coup leader Jordan Goudreau and his private security firm Silvercorp. According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “there was no U.S. government direct involvement.”

Yet, according to reports, President Trump’s bodyguard Keith Schiller knew of the plans before the coup was attempted. The coup plotters say they were met at the Trump Doral by two members of the Trump administration who expressed support for the plot. And mere days before the launch of Operation Gideon, and on the first anniversary of a separate failed coup attempt in Venezuela, former National Security Advisor John Bolton cryptically tweeted, “Morning is coming to Venezuela – again.”

In the months leading up to Operation Gideon, the Trump administration placed a bounty on the heads of President Nicolas Maduro and a dozen current and former Venezuelan officials. They also upped sanctions on the socialist country and sent the largest fleet ever to the Southern hemisphere, reportedly to interdict drug trafficking from Venezuela.

These steps, which appeared to be placing the U.S. on an inexorable path towards regime change, were approved by Elliot Abrams, special envoy on Venezuela at the State Department at the time. Abrams has a long history of supporting disastrous foreign policy schemes. He was involved in the Iran Contra scandal and pled guilty to lying to Congress about America’s role in foreign policy failures—twice.

In August, a Venezuelan court sentenced Airan Berry and Luke Denman, two former US special-forces soldiers captured during the failed attempt to overthrow the Maduro government, to 20 years in prison. 

To what extent was the U.S. government involved in Operation Gideon? Were U.S. taxpayers funds used in the plot? Why was nothing done to stop this before it embarrassed the U.S. government and its supporters in Venezuela? There are dozens of still unanswered questions in this story. With this lawsuit, The American Conservative hopes to be able to provide Americans some answers.

American Conservative files suit by Barbara Boland on Scribd

about the author

Barbara Boland is TAC’s foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered, a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill UK Spectator, and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania.  Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC.

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