Coup Plotters Asked for US Government Permission Three Months Before Guinean President's Death, Secret Documents Detail

Captain Camara
On the 25th of December, 2008, The New York Times reported that people in Conakry -- the capital of the West African nation of Guinea -- were "resuming their lives, playing soccer, going shopping." Just days earlier, Lansana Conté, Guinea's long-time strongman, had died from "an illness and with no publicly announced succession plans."  

Soon after Conté's death, a group of junior officers swept into the scene and consolidated power into the hands of one Captain Camara. Though the coup was condemned internationally and by senior officers, the Times reported that most of the senior military personnel "seemed to have either capitulated or gone underground." From the way the Times detailed the situation, people were happy with the coup and the junior officers had previously been ferocious; thus the senior officers were afraid of them and the citizenry. 

However, a classified document sent by Guinea's chargé d’affaires, Elizabeth Raspolic, to the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, detailed in September, nearly three month's before President Conté's death, that junior officers had a detailed plan in place to execute a military coup d'etat. The secret document goes on to detail that a core group of junior officers met with the US defense attaché, informing the US government of plans to "orchestrate" a coup in the "coming weeks," with the US thus becoming an accessory, supporting them by not informing their host government.
Though Captain Camara [rank mentioned as equivalent to major in Pentagon documents] did not attend the meeting with the US defense attaché, Raspolic details that he had intentions to do so, but was unable to because he was kept under constant surveillance by Guinean intelligence. 

The information provided by the coup plotters to the US government was quite extensive, even their plans to close off the airport and prevent the son of President Conté, described as a major drug trafficker in the document, from resisting the assault. When the junior officers, called the 19th Promotion in other classified documents,  met with the US defense attaché on the 26th of September, they still had not decided President Conté's fate. They were "divided" on whether to "ask" him to resign.

Most shockingly, the classified documents detail that the US Embassy in Conakry was kept appraised of multiple failed coups beforehand, and even of attempts by the 19th Promotion to influence members of the Red Berets, the President's security guard; men who could easily poison Conté. 

President Conté
On the 20th of October, embassy officials met with Thierno Balde, a youth leader who told the US that it was possible the coup plotters would wait until President Conté "dies" before "stepping in." By the end of October, the US Embassy began seeing a surge in applications for urgent-travel visas by a large number of senior military officers. Apparently the French Embassy in Conakry is kept under a certain measure of surveillance, with a contact telling the US that other senior officers were also going there to apply for visas. 

In November there was silence, and then in December, just before President Conté's death, Thierno Balde told the US Embassy that he would organize a grass-roots movement, instead of trying to arrange a coup. Fortunately for Thierno Balde, the 19th Promotion, and their contacts in the Red Berets, the President mysteriously died and the coup was able to be swiftly executed without the need for a mass social uprising. 

Camara would go on to rule for less than a year, with his legacy tarnished by a massacre of more than 150 people in the capital, Conakry.  Shortly after the massacre, Camara was shot in the head by his aide-de-camp, cutting short what was likely to be a long period of authoritarian rule not much different from his predecessor. Captain Camara survived the shooting that killed his bodyguard and driver, but had to go into exile for medical treatment.

Guinea, one of the world's top producers of bauxite, continued exporting the mineral after the coup and after Camara fled, stunting any real opposition in the international community to the political instability in the country. 
Source: Wikileaks; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 [Warning to US personnel: public disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents' classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents.]