“William King Harvey is worthy of our attention,” writes Alan Dale. In 1962, Harvey served as chief of Task Force W, the CIA’s anti-Castro operation, and then lost his job after an argument with Attorney General Robert Kennedy. When Congress investigated JFK’s assassination in the 1970s, the CIA pulled a 123-page file on Harvey’s operational activities.
All of that file remains secret, according to the National Archives online database.
Dale writes of Harvey:
“His role inside Staff D, as the sole proprietor of ZR/RIFLE, as a free-wheeling loose cannon who developed close professional and personal relationships with infamous Mafia executives, who controlled and dispensed unauthorized anti-Castro guerrilla teams at the peak of the Cuban Missile Crisis when any such provocations were dangerous and destabilizing to the authority of our government’s executive branch, and whose career was effectively ended by the stroke of a pen set in the hand of the 37-year-old Attorney General of the United States, [makes him], in my opinion, not a completely unjustifiable suspect in the assassination of President Kennedy.”
One CIA colleague who knew Harvey well did not disagree with that assessment. In 2006, Bayard Stockton, a former CIA officer who worked with Harvey in Berlin and went on to become a Newsweek correspondent, published a critical but fair biography of the man. Once an admirer of Harvey, Stockton concluded that he ultimately became a menace. The book offers a careful assessment of Harvey’s possible role in JFK’s assassination.
I recommend “Flawed Patriot” to anyone interested in the CIA during the Kennedy years.