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The system was also deployed in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, where on October 27, 1962, it shot down a U-2 overflying Cuba flown by Rudolf Anderson, almost precipitating nuclear war.
originally posted by: starviego
There is one theory that the US deliberately planted a bomb on the plane, so that the incident would derail any thaw in US-Soviet relations and continue the profitable cold war. A meeting between Khrushchev and Eisenhower was cancelled as a result of the incident.
"WE WERE TO PAY FOR THAT LIE"
The president and Dick Bissell were locked in an increasingly intense struggle over the control of one of the biggest secrets of all—the U-2 spy plane. Eisenhower had not allowed any flights over Soviet terrain since his talks with Khrushchev at Camp David six months earlier. Khrushchev had returned from Washington praising the president's courage in seeking peaceful coexistence; Eisenhower wanted the "spirit of Camp David" to be his legacy.
Bissell was fighting as hard as possible to resume the secret missions. The president was torn. He truly wanted the intelligence that the U-2 gleaned.
He longed to bury the "missile gap"—the false claims by the CIA, the air force, military contractors, and politicians of both parties that the Soviets had a widening lead in nuclear weaponry. The CIA's formal estimates of Soviet military strength were not based on intelligence, but on politics and guesswork. Since 1957, the CIA had sent Eisenhower terrifying reports that the Soviet buildup of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles was far faster and much greater than the American arsenal. In 1960, the agency projected a mortal threat to the United States; it told the president that the Soviets would have five hundred ICBMs ready to strike by 1961. The Strategic Air Command used those estimates as the basis for a secret first-strike plan using more than three thousand nuclear warheads to destroy every city and every military outpost from Warsaw to Beijing. But Moscow did not have five hundred nuclear missiles pointed at the United States at the time. It had four.
The president had worried for five and a half years that the U-2 itself might start World War III. If the plane went down over the Soviet Union, it could take the chance for peace with it. The month after the Camp David dialogues with Khrushchev, the president had rejected a newly proposed U-2 mission over the Soviet Union; he told Allen Dulles once again, bluntly, that divining the intentions of the Soviets through espionage was more important to him than discovering details about their military capabilities. Only spies, not gadgets, could tell him about Soviet intent to attack.
Without that knowledge, the president said, the U-2 flights were "provocative pin-pricking, and it may give them the idea that we are seriously preparing plans to knock out their installations" with a sneak attack.
Eisenhower had a summit meeting with Khrushchev set for May 16, 1960, in Paris. He feared that his greatest asset—his reputation for honesty—would be squandered if a U-2 went down while the United States was, in his words, "engaged in apparently sincere deliberations" with the Soviets.