My research suggests that the personal relationships which developed between William Harvey and both James Angleton and John Roselli were of major importance in the ultimate emergence of the conspiracy which killed President Kennedy. I explore those separate and unique associations at length in NEXUS / The CIA and Political Assassination.
In NEXUS I also develop the point that one common operational interest of the three men in the early 1960’s was Cuba and Fidel Castro. While Harvey and Roselli’s roles in regard to Cuba have been widely discussed, there had previously been little attention to Angleton’s role with post-Bay of Pigs intelligence involving Cuba, and even less in regard to his contacts and support of Harvey in his Mongoose era assassination effort against Castro. In fact some authors had portrayed the two men as being at odds (and outs) with each other. We now know that to be false, with a personal bond and correspondence between Harvey and Angleton in place right up to the point of Harvey’s death.
Given Harvey’s and Angleton’s common interests in Cuba and the events of spring, 1963, in Tipping Point (still planned to begin serialization at the Mary Ferrell Foundation this month) I propose that William Harvey’s trip to Florida in April of 1963 may well have been a seminal event in what would later evolve as the conspiracy to kill President Kennedy.
Roselli’s involvement with the Castro assassination efforts was initially orchestrated by the CIA Office of Security, funded by and under the operational responsibility of both the Western Hemisphere Directorate (J.C. King) and Cuba Project Chief (Richard Bissell). However Office of Security Records indicate that William Harvey was operationally assigned as the “case officer” for John Roselli in May, 1962. That followed first Harvey’s assignment to create a political assassination capability for the CIA (hidden within Staff D and the ZR/RIFLE crypt) and then his appointment to head the CIA element (Task Force W) of the new inter-agency effort against Cuba led by Lansdale (Mongoose).
Harvey’s target for political assassination quickly emerged as Fidel Castro and Harvey sought Angleton’s advice both in establishing covers for the project and in regard to how Castro might be deniably assassinated. In the end Roselli returned to the use of John Roselli and Roselli’s connections as a primary tool in the effort, if not the only one. And JMWAVE provided operations support for those activities.
From that point on, during 1962 and 1963, we have few details on the actual operational efforts to assassinate Castro. We have sensational and wild stories about cigars and sea shells and poison during 1962, stories which garnered a great deal of attention from the Church committee. But we know virtually nothing of Roselli’s involvement, nor of a turn to plans for rifle attacks.
When the committee realized that it had not gotten the full story from Roselli (especially in regard to events of 1963), it recalled him for more testimony – he was brutally murdered before that could occur. A shame, because Roselli himself had actually claimed detailed knowledge of the Kennedy assassination, something the committee had totally failed to explore.
The only 1963 operational activity we do know about in regard to Harvey and Roselli comes from a set of Harvey’s expense reports – discovered by researcher Anna Marie Walko and first described in Noel Twyman’s ground breaking work, Bloody Treason. What Anna Marie found was the record of a trip by Harvey to Florida in April, 1963. An extended, weeklong trip which took Harvey not only to Miami, but very covertly on into the Keys, to the vicinity of the CIA’s paramilitary operations bases there. There is good reason to think the trip involved both contacts with Roselli and operations chief Morales, and possibly others during the jaunt into the Keys.
The reason for the trip listed on the expense report was “ZR RIFLE Operations”, yet Task Force W had closed activities months earlier, Harvey himself had been reassigned to Chief of Station in Italy and would relocate during the summer. And the new SAS operations under Desmond Fitzgerald show no signs of having involved Harvey on a continuation of the earlier Castro assassination efforts with Roselli. Yet a newly available CIA document confirms that as of Febrruary, 1963 Harvey had been authorized to continue ZR-RIFLE activities. Another memo of March “extended” the activities and yet more memos of 1963 deal with one of the projects overseas assets (QJ/WIN), who was indeed officially terminated in April, 1963.
Still, none of that appears directly relevant to Harvey’s trip to Florida in April. A trip described as “operational” and one which did take him to the JMWAVE maritime base in the Keys. A trip which also seems to have involved the presence of John Roselli. And a trip that occurred at the same time CIA headquarters high level concerns were focused on the possibility that President Kennedy seemed very interested in positively responding to a brand new outreach from Fidel Castro.
Some have associated the trip with the termination of Roselli from the effort (assuming he was being hidden under the QJ/WIN crypt). Yet given the personal relationship between Harvey and Roselli that certainly would not require a week-long trip to Florida and an “operational” visit to the Keys.
Which leaves the trip as a mystery, seemingly isolated from Desmond Fitzgerald and SAS and buried within an increasingly autonomous activities by Shackley and Morales at JM/WAVE – and an increasing dissatisfaction with the Kennedy Administrations Cuban efforts. A frustration which could only have escalated if Harvey had carried word about JFK’s initial interest in Castro’s outreach to the men he was meeting with in Florida.