In this world-exclusive video, JFK Facts presents a fascinating interview with C.G. Harvey, the widow of legendary CIA officer William King Harvey. Clara Grace Harvey was a CIA officer herself who worked on Operation Paperclip, the agency’s program to evacuate scientists from Nazi Germany.
Filmed at an Indianapolis senior citizens home in 1999 by Scott and Andy Alderton, Clara Grace Harvey’s comments provide a unique first-hand testimony about how Harvey viewed President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. C.G. Harvey expresses disdain for Robert F. Kennedy and describes the warm friendship she and her husband enjoyed with with Johnny Rosselli, a Las Vegas crime boss.
(The interview was recorded with C.G. Harvey’s permission. The footage was provided to JFK Facts by the Aldertons and is used with their permission. )
Who was Bill Harvey?
Harvey was considered one of the the best, if not the very best, operations officer in the CIA in the early 1960s. He was a squat, balding tank of a man with eyes that bulged because of a thyroid condition.
Richard Mahoney, a diplomat who wrote a penetrating history of the Kennedy years, described him like this:He was a rough man for rough assignments, a “boom and bang” type. He drank martinis to excess, packed a .45 wherever he went, and freely resorted to obscenity in all kinds of company With his aspect of an insolent fat plumber, he was not considered especially bright among the better born, but the appearance was misleading. Trained as an attorney, he had a penetrating command of intelligence work, with ten years experience in the field, and was a former FBI agent who understood the Hoover method of disguising tracks and disposing of enemies bureaucratically or otherwise.
Harvey tarted joined the CIA upon its creation in 1947 and served as its first chief of counterintelligence. According to Mahoney he also “began assembling a squad of assassins recruited from the ranks of organized criminals in Europe.” He went on to run the CIA’s Berlin base in the 1950s, and was credited with a great triumph of digging a tunnel under Soviet military headquarters and tapping their communications, a feat the CIA still celebrates. Along the way, he divorced his first wife and married Clara Grace Harvey, a fellow CIA officer who worked on Operation Paperclip, the agency’s program to evacuate scientists from Nazi Germany.
In 1960 Harvey was put in charge of ZR-RIFLE, the agency’s assassination program, mainly because of his connections to the Italian and Corsican crime syndicates. At the same time he ran Task Force W, the CIA’s project to overthrow Fidel Castro’s leftist government in Cuban. After a shouting match with Robert Kennedy during a tense meeting amid the Cuban missile crisis, Helms transferred him to the Rome station where he was known to win arguments by pointing his pistol at the head of his interlocutor. In The Devil’s Chessboard, David Talbot cites the account of a State Department official who served in Roman saying he saw Harvey on a domestic flight to Dallas in the fall of 1963, and wondered why he would go there. In his memoir, CIA director Richard Helms praised him as “wily, informed perceptive and deeply patriotic, adding “He was deliberately blunt and loudly outspoken, qualities that, with his heavy drinking were eventually to catch up with him.” Before his death in June 1976, he told C.G. Harvey to burn his personal papers when he passed. In handwritten notes on the ZR-RIFLE program, Harvey said that one key in assassination operations was to make sure a communist took the blame.
In 1978 John Whitten, a senior CIA official who worked with Harvey in Berlin, told the House Select Committee on Assassinations that Harvey was “gun nut” and “dangerous. Asked why Harvey might have told his wife to destroy his personal paper, Whitten replied. “He was too young to have assassinated McKinley or Lincoln. It could have been anything.”
That was Bill Harvey, a plausible JFK suspect.
In the two years following Harvey’s death, some investigators on the House Select Committee on Assassinations regarded him as a prime suspect in the assassination of President Kennedy, because of his harsh criticism of JFK’s Cuba policy and the role of Bobby Kennedy in it. Although no proof that Harvey was involved in JFK assassination has ever surfaced, his hostility to the Kennedys bordered on insubordination, as this video shows.
Hundreds of pages of Harvey’s still-secret operations files are due to be released in October 2017.
“The Ghost is the compulsively readable, often bizarre true-life story of American spymaster James Jesus Angleton – the CIA’s poetry-loving, orchid-gardening mole-hunter for almost 20 years. Capturing the extent of Angleton’s eccentricity, duplicity and alcohol-fueled paranoia would have challenged the writing skills of a Le Carre or Ludlum, and Jefferson Morley has done it with flair. This important book depicts the trail of wreckage left behind by Angleton in a CIA career that involved him in virtually every major spy-versus-spy drama of the Cold War and drew him deeply into the mysteries of the Kennedy assassination and the murder of one of JFK’s mistresses.”
—Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act
Click here to pre-order: The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton.