Tracy Barnes

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Charles Tracy Barnes (August 2, 1911 – February 18, 1972) was a senior staff member at the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), serving as principal manager of CIA operations in the 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état and the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion.


Tracy was born in Manhasset, Long Island, New York to parents Courtlandt Dixon Barnes (June 13, 1881 in Stonington, Connecticut - ?) and Katherine Lansing Barney (February 6, 1885 in New York City - ?), siblings were Courtlandt Dixon Barnes, Jr. (December 26, 1907 - 1997) and Katharine Lansing Barnes (February 27, 1909 - ?). He was educated at Groton School and Yale University, where he became a member of the Scroll and Key secret society[when?]. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1937 and was hired by William Harding Jackson as an associate (1937-1939) at the Wall Street firm of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn.[1][2] As WW-II began, Barnes was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant, and was one of the first persons to attend the US Army-Air Forces Air Combat Intelligence School at Harrisburg, PA (June 1942) along with his '2nd cousin' John Hay 'Jock' Whitney. Barnes was married to Janet who was born June 10, 1913 in Providence, Rhode Island. At the Intelligence School, they began a lifelong friendship with the Whitneys. When Jock Whitney served as US Ambassador to Great Britain, Barnes served as CIA station chief in London.[3]

During World War II he served first with United States Army Air Forces intelligence, then with the Office of Strategic Services. He was awarded France's Croix de Guerre and the US Silver Star. After the war, he returned to legal practice.[4]

In 1950 he went to Washington to serve as special assistant to Under Secretary of the Army, Archibald S. Alexander. He also served as deputy director of the Psychological Strategy Board during the Korean War.

In 1951 he joined the CIA.

In 1953, he was appointed Special Assistant for Paramilitary Psychological Operations, under Frank Wisner, and was the principal case officer in the CIA operation leading up to the 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état.[5]

From 1954 to 1956, he was appointed Chief Of Station (COS) in Germany.

From 1957 to 1959, he was appointed Chief Of Station (COS) in United Kingdom.

In 1960, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Director for Plans, under Richard M. Bissell Jr., with direct responsibility for the CIA operation leading to the Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961.[6][7]

In 1962, he was made head of the CIA's Domestic Operations Division.

In July 1966 new CIA Director Richard Helms had Desmond FitzGerald fire Barnes from the CIA.

In June 1970, Tracy Barnes suffered a serious stroke. His recovery was slow and on 18 February 1972, he had a heart attack and died at his home at Saunderstown, Rhode Island, at age 60.


  1. ^ Currier, Vic. Good-bye, Lord, I'm Going to New York: The Secret Life of Belle Meade's William Harding Jackson; 2015 Xlibris (p. 324 & 386); ISBN 978-1503547735.
  2. ^ Ellis, Francis M. & Clark Jr., Edward F. Clark; A Brief History of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn; 1988: Peter E. Randall, New York, publisher; (p.175) law firm internal publication
  3. ^ Kahn Jr., E. J. 'Jock: The Life and Times of John Hay Whitney'; 1981 Doubleday & Co. Inc, New York; (pp. 146-147) ISBN 0-385-14932-8'
  4. ^ "C. Tracy Barnes, 60, High Level CIA Official". The Washington Post. February 19, 1972.
  5. ^ Higgins (1987)
  6. ^ Hunt (1973)
  7. ^ Bissell (1996)

Additional References[edit]