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William Harvey and the CIA 1967 Secret Report


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I have managed to obtain a copy of the CIA report on the “Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro” by the CIA’s Inspector General, J. S. Earman (declassified in 1994). The report was commissioned as a result of an article by Drew Pearson on 7th March, 1967, about the CIA involvement in the plot to kill Castro.

Earman concludes that Pearson got the information from a variety of possible sources (Robert Maheu, Johnny Roselli, Tony Varona, Juan Orto, Edward Morgan). However, Earman points out that one aspect of the story (State Department meeting on 10th August where the assassination of Castro was discussed) did not come from these suspects. Earman speculates that William Harvey passed this information to Pearson (probably via Roselli).

“If Drew Pearson had a single source, and if Pearson’s immediate source is the ultimate source of the leak, and if compartmentation was not violated, then Harvey emerges as the likely candidate. He was the only person we found in the course of the inquiry who knew all four of the key facts at the time the Pearson columns appeared. We preferred not to think that Bill Harvey was the culprit. We could find no persuasive reason why he would wish to leak the story deliberately, and we doubted that he would be so indiscreet as to leak it accidentally.”

It is interesting to speculate on Harvey’s motive. Could it be that in was in the interests of people involved in the assassination of JFK to leak this story in 1967. Was it an attempt to direct attention towards organized crime. Dick Billings seemed to be playing a similar role in Jim Garrison’s investigation. Along with G. Robert Blakey he did the same thing during the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigation. In both cases, the intention seemed to direct attention away from anti-Castro Cubans.

Jim Garrison refused to follow this route and as a result Billings published stories linking him with organized crime. Gaeton Fonzi (staff investigator of the HSCA) also resisted this attempt to move him off track and intended to interview Harvey but was cheated of this opportunity when he died as a result of complications from heart surgery in June, 1976.

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Is that the actual title, John? Also check out US State Dept electronic reading room (scroll down for CIA collection)

http://foia.state.gov/SearchColls/Search.asp

Juan Orta worked with June Cobb, under Castro Rev. Govt and both intertwined in intel ops Cuba and Mexico City lore. Just passing along in case you didn't know.

June Cobb can be added to the list of "spooky and fascinating dames."

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Is that the actual title, John? 

That is the title that appears at the top of the report (dated 23rd May, 1967). My copy comes from a publisher in Australia called Ocean Press. It appears in a book called CIA Targets Fidel. The report has a commentary by General Fabian Escalante, the former head of Cuba's counterintellence unit. It also has an introduction by Mirta Muniz and and interview with Escalante.

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I also find the report fascinating. It's available for download from a number of sites. I find the discussion of Harvey, and Garrison's meeting with Rosselli, particularly of interest.

Since this document was never meant to see the light of day and was hidden in Helms' safe even from Nixon, it has a credibility too many other documents lack. Particularly on the point of Robert Kennedy's knowledge of the CIA hits on Castro. Earth to Max Holland and Gus Russo etc BOBBY DIDN'T ORDER THE HITS ON CASTRO!!!!! I KNOW HE WAS AN OBNOXIOUS BRAT, BUT FACE-UP! THE CIA LIED TO HIM. THEY LIED TO MCCONE. THEY LIED TO EVERYONE. THEY WERE A ROGUE ELEPHANT. Why is this so hard for some historians to grasp??

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The CIA Inspector General conducted an internal investigation which was forwarded to Lyndon Johnson, who told newsman Howard K. Smith: “I’ll tell you something that will rock you; Kennedy was trying to get Castro, but Castro got to him first.” In March 1967, columnist Drew Pearson wrote, “President Johnson is sitting on a political H-bomb—an unconfirmed report that Senator Robert Kennedy (Dem. N.Y.) may have approved an assassination plot which then possibly backfired against his brother.” The source for the Pearson article was the original mafioso hired by the CIA to kill Castro, Johnny Roselli, through his attorney, Edward Morgan. The spin being placed on this new round of stories was, like the Oswald promotion, aimed at leading the public to believe that Castro was behind the conspiracy in Dallas. Roselli had revealed to Pearson that, “One of our assassination teams was captured and tortured until they told all they knew about our operation which they said was ordered by the White House.” Roselli asserted that “the team was turned around, you know, brainwashed, and sent back into our country to kill Kennedy.” All good lies contain a measure of truth, and such may be the case with Roselli’s attempt at history-making. Although this colorful rendition is compelling, given the source, it should be recognized that contained in this version is the admission that it was an anti-Castro hit team that had killed Kennedy. But the “team” would hardly have required anything so exotic as brainwashing to retarget its skills against the President. By November of 1963, Kennedy was clearly a foe to the extreme anti-Castro elements; he had betrayed the cause so fundamentally at the Bay of Pigs, then compounded that betrayal by giving the no-invasion pledge, and finally sealed the antipathy by shutting down the exile camps and beginning negotiations directed toward the normalization of relations with Cuba.

When Roselli’s well-connected lawyer asked how he had contained such explosive information, Roselli noted that “all phases of this operation were approved by Allen Dulles and President Eisenhower.” He questioned why neither Dulles, who was a member of the Warren Commission investigating the Kennedy assassination, nor Eisenhower, who had full knowledge of the plots, ever came forward. “So what was I supposed to think?” He inferred that the President “wanted to keep the lid on.” Roselli speculated that perhaps Johnson “thought it’d be bad for the country to know about this operation—you know, the government of the United States involved with the so-called Mafia to kill the leader of a foreign country and then it boomerangs.”

A possibility that may never be resolved is Johnson’s notion that some action taken by Bobby Kennedy “backfired against his brother.” There is ample evidence of Bobby's continued encouragement of anti-Castro efforts during a period of time when his brother, the President of the United States, was pursuing a very contrary policy. Because of the closeness of the brothers it is generally assumed that Bobby was fulfilling one aspect of a multi-track approach on the part of the President. While it is understandable that some token support for the exiles might be considered prudent as a way of co-opting more radical elements, the extent to which one approach represented the direct undermining of the other presents a historical conundrum regarding the brothers’ coordination of authority. The possibility must be considered that Bobby crossed the line of plausible deniability into a realm in which he was acting in his own highly unofficial capacity apart from any expressed interest of the President’s. Was he like King Henry II’s henchmen, acting on his own to eliminate his brother’s Becket?

John - I believe Pearson could have obtained all of the information he utilized from Edward Morgan, Roselli's attorney. We know that William Harvey and Johnny Roselli were very close, and held a public farewell lunch in D.C. before Harvey's departure for Rome in 1963. In 1967, it was Roselli who was needing to gain leverage because of his legal problems.

Tim

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Dear Mr. Carroll, The Kennedy brothers were playing classic  good cop - bad cop IMHO. RFK working with anti-CASTRO Cubans who did in terror  attacks yes, assassination , no.  THANKS STEVEN GAAL

Mr. Gaal:

What would the result be of a "good cop - bad cop" approach with "RFK working with anti-Castro Cubans" who went off their reservation and assassinated the president? Wouldn't it be just what happened, especially regarding Bobby's quiescence? I hate to think it's true because I really love Bobby. I originally didn't believe David Heyman's claim that Kenny O'Donnell said Bobby had been talking about bringing down a civilian airliner and blaming it on Castro. But when you read the Operations Northwoods plans and then hear the tape recordings of the first day of the Missile Crisis, when Bobby literally quotes the Northwoods playbook when he talks about creating a "Sink the Maine" pretext to invade, it is clear that Bobby had gotten a bit nuts about Castro.

Following incidents in March of 1963 when powerboats manned by anti-Castro exiles roared into Cuban harbors shooting up two Soviet freighters, President Kennedy began to take official steps to terminate U.S. support for groups like Alpha 66 that had become out of control. When Bobby Kennedy wrote his brother a memo concerning new efforts to “cultivate” an “internal breakup in Cuba,” the President uncharacteristically did not respond. Apparently the brothers held a private discussion which led to an immediate turn-around, reflected in a presentation to the National Security Council in which Bobby dutifully played his prescribed role of informing the President that “a decision had been made to formulate a plan to shut down the hit-and-run attacks from Florida locales.” The following day, the President publicly declared that he would “take every step necessary” to terminate the exile raids against Cuba. Shortly thereafter, mirroring the Kennedys’ earlier turn against the Mafia, the Justice Department began prosecuting exile leaders, such as Frank Sturgis, for “violating U.S. neutrality laws.” At the same time, the CIA was ordered to cut off funding for the groups, leaving them to fend for themselves or draw on other sources.

Bobby Kennedy held a meeting to formulate plans to implement the new policy. It included two FBI agents, officials of the CIA, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Navy, Coast Guard, Customs Service, the Internal Security Division of the Justice Department, and the State Department. He explained that the President “wanted to put a halt to the exile raids” and that “sixteen of the officials present” were to leave immediately for Miami “to decide what measures could be taken.” Among the steps later taken were serving restriction notices on certain exile leaders to prevent them from leaving the United States, refusing reentry to the United States to any exile who went beyond the 3-mile limit offshore, increased surveillance by the Coast Guard of the Florida coastline, and intensified FBI intelligence coverage of Cuban exile groups to ascertain and abort plans for future raids.

Following the Miami conference, the combined forces of the federal government clamped down on the same anti-Castro groups and activities that had previously been given such encouragement and support. Numerous raids were conducted in which agents of the FBI closed down exile training camps, seizing large amounts of weapons, ammunition, and explosives. While it is clear that the President was serious about doing nothing to disturb the fragile peace following the Missile Crisis, and had great reason to fear provoking disclosure of the Secret Deal by Khrushchev, it is not so clear that his brother was going along fully. Having little choice but to support the President’s policy publicly, there is ample evidence that in private he continued to support the proscribed activities.

The no-invasion pledge and withdrawal of support for exile activities ushered in a particularly bitter season of discontent within the anti-Castro Cuban community. A flyer dated April 18, 1963, and decorated with a profile of the Alamo, was distributed to Cubans in Miami’s Little Havana. It stated: “Only through one development will you Cuban patriots ever live again in your homeland as freemen, responsible as must be the most capable for the guidance and welfare of the Cuban people.”

Tim

Edited by Tim Carroll
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Tosh:

The most current and particular issue I would like to ask you about is the Barry and the Boys photo, especially since our new Director of the CIA, Porter Goss, is purported to be seated with other members of Operation 40. I would appreciate your sharing all details of the photo of which you are aware, date, place, identities, as well as any information about Operation 40. If you believe the subject deserves its own thread I would welcome that.

Tim

Edited by Tim Carroll
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good to see you here, Tosh

Hope this forum will be kinder and gentler to you, while you tell your story. I think there are better manners here.

The debate tonight must seem a bit odd given the candidates. Hung on to many of the words then couldn't listen anymore and took dog for walk. Wink

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I have that book, read it few years ago. Pathetic when the collection overtakes you, be careful- the books and files expand with this JFK Cuba stuff.

Found this Cuban site last night. Fascinating in that it mentions this report then gives names and dates. Some it may be unrecognizable, but it's significant to the US Cuba secret war, covert ruckus, whatever you call it. Too much of Cuba is wrapped up in JFK, unfortunately.

Very important that guys like Tosh are visiting forums and telling their stories. He knows a great deal of this early history in Cuba and Florida. There is much for researchers with an open mind. Sources all different, each need consideration.

One problem I have with guys like Escalante is that he speaks from Cuban Intelligence. Great on one hand because you hear adversarial(?) detail. But a bit like taking Dulles' word on history. Just my grain of salt.

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