Suspicious JFK deaths: CIA colleague suspected Bill Harvey in mobster murder

John Whitten, a top CIA official in 1963, had suspicions about a colleague.

One of the suspicious deaths of JFK assassination witnesses recounted in Richard Belzer’s best-seller “Hit List” is the murder of Sam Giancana, a Mafiia boss. Giancana was shot to death in his home in suburban Chicago on June 19, 1975, apparently by someone whom he admitted to his house. Giancana was scheduled to testify to the House Select Committee on Assassinations about his knowledge of events leading the death of President Kennedy.

Defenders of the official story deride Belzer’s thesis but suspicions that JFK witnesses faced retribution reached high into the CIA. In 1978, one veteran of the clandestine service testified under oath that he thought another CIA official might have been the killer of Giancana.

John Whitten, a retired CIA employee, said that he suspected his colleague William K. Harvey, one-time head of the CIA’s assassination program, might have been involved. Whitten was a rare CIA hero in the JFK story. He was deeply involved in the CIA’s first investigation of Oswald, only to be ousted for seeking to investigate Oswald’s Cuban connections. Whitten also knew Harvey well from their time working for the CIA in Europe in the 1950s.

Harvey served as chief of the CIA’s program to overthrow Fidel Castro in 1961-62 and openly derided Attorney General Robert Kennedy for what he regarded as the Kennedy administration’s weak Cuba policy.

Harvey also knew Giancana. In 1961, he enlisted Giancana and other organized crime leaders in a conspiracy to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Whitten, who served as chief of the Mexico desk in the clandestine service in 1963 told investigators in closed-door testimony in 1978 that, “Harvey was really a hard-boiled unsubtle, ruthless guy who was, in my opinion, a very dangerous man.”

Whitten went on:

Flawed Patriot

A biography of Harvey by a former colleague.

“I have wondered–I wondered if the government ever looked into the possibility that Harvey did not knock off Giancomo [Giancana]. He lived in the same area when he retired. He was a great one with guns. I read it in the newspaper. I was overseas and I said to myself I wondered if they looked into Bill Harvey.”

Harvey lived in Indianapolis at the time of Giancana’s murder.

Bayard Stockton, another former CIA colleague turned journalist, wrote a critical biography of Harvey that examined allegations that he might have been involved in the JFK’s assassination. After an extensive review of the evidence, Stockton concluded that Harvey’s connection “to the assassination cannot be proven or disproven.”

Harvey died on June 9, 1976.

 

8 comments

  1. jeff pascal says:

    That really is interesting.In Hit List & the book JFK & Sam, family members and Associates are wondering the same thing, thst is- the mob didn’t kill Giancana.I’ve always thought the plots to kill Castro were extremely important in understanding the Assassination of JFK and are often overlooked.

  2. John Kirsch says:

    Another good, informative post. I have long sensed that Harvey is one of the overlooked figures in the events surrounding 11/22.

  3. John Kirsch says:

    This may be too far afield but I got to thinking about what might have caused hardcore right-wingers to become involved in assassinating JFK and I remembered that Kennedy used the phrase “peace in our time” in his American University speech — almost exactly the same phrase — “peace for our time” — that Neville Chamberlain used to describe the Munich Agreement with Hitler. The plotters may have seen JFK as an appeaser, just as some members of the British government saw Joe Kennedy as a defeatist when he was ambassador to Britain.

  4. Alan Dale says:

    The murders of high-profile mob figures and associates during the brief period of official congressional investigations made news. It would hardly be unreasonable to conclude that those notorious figures may have been killed because of what they might have been able to reveal.

    Or, maybe it was just made to look that way.

    It’s reasonable to note that a figure such as William King Harvey would have been one of a very few to have had unguarded access to someone such as Sam Giancana. I believe they shared a rather exclusive familiarity with important secrets. So, the fact that Angleton was busying himself making sure to promote the “Look what the mob did because of the Church Committee” explanation, I have to wonder if there was an ulterior motive.

    There aren’t many people around whom Sam Giancana felt he could turn his back in his pajamas while frying sausage and peppers.

  5. LMB says:

    Santo Trafficante would have been my first suspect since he had a reputation for getting rid of anyone in anything he didn’t like or if it could implement him.

  6. Philip Zozzaro says:

    I believe that in Bloody Treason by Noel Twyman, the author states that Robert McNamara believed that a CIA employee most likely Bill Harvey killed Sam Giancana

  7. Shirley anne moore says:

    William King Harvey in the late forties or early fifties. Hid my mother and I, giving us fake documents, including a fake marriage certificate, with the date he resigned from the FBI,

  8. Harvey died on June 9, 1976.

    No he didn’t! He died of a heart attack the year 1993 in New Rochelle, New York witnessed by E Howard Hunt both men were my friends.

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