CIA's Clandestine 'Midwest' Arms Depot Located in Texas

Monday, 05 May 2014 06:47 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The arms storage center used by the CIA for secret operations dating back to the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion is believed to be Camp Stanley, a U.S. Army facility north of San Antonio, Texas, The New York Times reported.

Long referred to as the "Midwest Depot" in Central Intelligence Agency communications, the agency probably in reality maintained its arms cache in Texas.

Weapons intended for anti-Castro forces in Cuba during the Kennedy years, anti-communist fighters in the long Angolan civil war, opponents of the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua until the 1990s, and Islamist gunmen fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan until 1988 would all have been funneled through the Texas facility, according to the Times.

Missiles bound for Iran, part of the 1986 Iran-Contra affair, might also have passed through Camp Stanley, the Times reported. Over the years other references to the "Midwest Depot" also tied it to transport of C-4 plastic explosives.

In July 2013, the Army sought to buy 2 million bullets suitable for AK-47 rifles for delivery to Camp Stanley, the Times reported. The CIA began providing lethal aid to anti-Assad rebels in Syria in September of last year, The Washington Post reported.

The inconspicuous Camp Stanley is home to several characterless warehouses that can be seen from its perimeter fence. It also houses bunkers further into the base, the Times reported.

The site first came to public attention during a 2011 lawsuit by a former CIA employee, Kevin Shipp, who alleged that he and his family were made ill due to environmental contamination of the base.

Meanwhile, another former CIA employee, Allen Thomson, separately concluded that the Texas facility was the agency's long secret armory.

Thomson believes it is important to know more about the history of the depot. "I have worried about the extent to which the U.S. has spread small arms around over the decades to various parties it supported," he told the Times.

"Such weapons are pretty durable and, after the cause du jour passed, where did they go? To be a little dramatic about it, how many of those AK-47s and RPG-7s we see Islamists waving around today passed through the Midwest Depot on their way to freedom fighters in past decades?"

Shipp's son Joel said his family had been housed at Camp Stanley, which he described as "a secret base which had been used for illegal arms running and chemical weapons storage," the Times reported.

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