– White House Situation Room & Tazewell Shepard. According to historian Arthur Schlesinger, JFK figured that one reason the
Bay of Pigs
failed was that he got only secondhand updates on the situation. Mr.
Schlesinger writes in his book "A
Thousand Days" that Kennedy and national security adviser McGeorge
Bundy wanted a place where they could get the same real-time info the
Pentagon and the CIA got, and
where the chief executive and his closest advisers could weigh this data in
confidence and come to their own conclusions. In retrospect, lack of timely updates
may have played a minor role in the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
But in the weeks between the Bay of Pigs and May 15,
Kennedy's naval aide Tazewell Shepard enlisted a bunch of Seabees and
turned part of the West Wing basement "into a facility that some political
scientists say changed the fundamental nature of the presidency," writes
Michael Bohn, a former situation room director, in his 2003 book "Nerve