Thursday, May 3, 2012

"America's James Bond" at JMWAVE

America’s James Bond” – William Harvey at JMWAVE

From Flawed Patriot (Potomac Books, 2006) by Bayard Stockton.

Bayard Stockton (1930-2006) was recruited by the CIA while still an undergraduate at Williams College. He was posted to Berlin in 1951, where he served under Bill Harvey for two years…Stockton resigned from the CIA in 1957 and became Newsweek’s bureau chief in Bonn an later London….Bayard Stockton died shortly after completing final revisions to Flawed Patriot.


(“Flawed Patriot” Bayard Stockton, 2006, p. 119)

President Kennedy’s curiosity had been aroused by what he had heard of the tunnel maker, an he asked to meet Harvey. The story goes that Harvey and his shepherd were waiting for the signal to enter the Oval Office. The escort leaned over to Bill and said, “You carrying?” Bill is alleged to have grunted and to have reached into this shoulder holster. He very slowly proffered his revolver to the Secret Service duty agent, butt first. Everyone relaxed. A few moments later, Bill grunted again, shifted his bulk, reached behind him, under his suit jacket, and extracted another, smaller weapon, which he also offered to the security man. In a few moments, the pair was called into the office. The chaperone is alleged to have said, “Mr. President, I’d like to introduce you to America’s James Bond.” Harvey later told a fascinated listener that he actually had a third weapon on his person when he went into the Oval Office.” 


Richard Goodwin, one of President Kennedy’s key staff members, wrote a White House memo, effective November 30, 1961, calling for a “command operation” under the attorney general “to unify the U.S. government against Castro…get rid of Castro and the Castro regime.” … When Helms succeeded Bissell as deputy director of plans, effective February 1, 1962, Harvey was appointed head of what became a supranational, all-out anti-Castro effort….

Harvey named his bailiwick Task Force W. The “W” was Bill’s memorial to another maverick, William Walker, a colorful freebooter who could not stay away from Central America in the 1840s and 1850s. Walter mounted three expeditions of adventures from San Francisco; fought in and over Baja California; became president of Nicaragua; and tangled from afar with New York power brokers, particularly Commodore Vanderbilt, and with the laws of the United States. He was eventually executed by American soldiers because he refused to reclaim American citizenship even though he was facing a firing squad…

Task Force W officially came into existence on February 1, 1962, and at about that time, the group moved from the dank and crumbling Quarters Eye into the basement of the new building Allen Dulles had planned and built out at Langley, Virginia. The task force offices took up about a quarter of the Langley basement floor, which had originally been designed as a storage area for the Map Division, whose low, flat metal cases ranked against the wall.

(Bill’s secretary).... sat on the floor when she drank martinis “so she wouldn’t fall off the carpet.” Rita Chappiwicki succeeded Maggie. And then, Skip (Who Sam Halpern described as)…  “Middle-aged, lain looking, hard as nails, precise, but a good worker. She probably had a last name, but I never knew it. The three knew all the secrets, but they never, ever betrayed Bill’s trust….


By early spring 1962 Task Force W’s headquarters staff was in place. Bill’s throne room during the fraught Cuba days was, of course, in the Langley basement, but his empire was in Miami, masquerading as Zenith Technical Enterprises on two thousand acres of CIA-leased property. In the Agency the Miami station was called JMWAVE, and it was the largest operational base ever theretofore assembled by the Agency, bested only by Saigon during the Vietnam War and by the CIA’s operations base in Baghdad during the Iraq War.

JMWAVE was a body of men and women, case officers, contract agents, administration and support personnel, mostly in an around Miami. But Cuban operations were not confined to Florida. Considerable activity originated in the American embassy in Mexico City, which had its share of CIA personnel, and Task Force W had officers all of over the world, milking air crew, merchant seamen, diplomats, and other intelligence services.

Star Murphy, who went to Berlin in the 1950s, when her husband was assigned to BOB (Berlin Operating Base), has a vivid personal recollection of Harvey’s main outpost. “It was almost run by Berliners…Ted Shackley, Jack Corris, who ran admin., and a lot of others…In November 1963, a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy was to visit Miami and speak to the Cuban refugees. I was asked to list those Cubans we thought untrustworthy or suspicious. JMWAVE and Secret Service officers babysat them during the president’s visit…Then, when it was announced that Lee Harvey Oswald had been arrested, I ran down to the registry card files. Sure enough, there were two cards on Oswald from Mexico City station. Both were from liaison and cited Oswald as having entered the Soviet embassy in September 1962. This scared the hell out of me, and I scurried to get the [the information] to those in charge of communicating to headquarters.”

JMWAVE’s priority was intelligence gathering. This priority was emphasized by the appointment of Ted Shackley as base chief….Harvey and Shackley did business double-talking on a normal, commercial telephone line that didn’t go through the Agency’s secure switching system, and they also bypassed the Agency’s cable secretariat, which otherwise saw everything….

Years later Shackley set the record straight, “JMWAVE was actually six hundred people [some estimates ran as high as a thousand], but it was not particularly dominated by former Berliners...There was a lot of standard FI stuff going on….networks, singleton operations…We were reasonably successful. Our communications with the island were good. The product was sound.”

The stories about JMWAVE are legion. Among them is the tale of a visit by Bobby Kennedy to JMWAVE – an incursion that in itself must have put Harvey into something south of a slow burn because CIA operating premises were off-limits to non-Agency personnel, regardless of rank or stature. As Kennedy roamed the building, he heard a telex machine chattering away. He ambled over to it, ripped the message out, and began to read it. Incensed beyond courtesy, Harvey, in turn, ripped the copy from the attorney general’s hands and thundered words to the effect that Kennedy was not cleared to read classified Agency correspondence. Both smoldered. The incident naturally became legendary and was symptomatic of relations between the two men.

Shackley recalls… “[Harvey] came down to Miami every four to six weeks, mostly to see Johnny Rosselli.” …In Florida, Bill sometimes went deep sea fishing with Shackley… “By the time of JMWAVE, [Harvey] s a binge drinker. We’d go out on a boat, and he’d drink all morning, and by one or two o’clock, he’d be drunk. But then he’d sleep it off in the afternoon, and be ready to go again.” Ted makes the comment matter-of-factly, there is no criticism in his voice. Harvey drank. Period….

Some of Ed Lansdale’s requirements, imposed in response to General Taylor’s misgivings, drove Harvey up the wall… “…In April we had to schedule for June, which didn’t take into account any of the variables, like the nature of the team to go in, the length of time they had to be in isolation, the type of transportation, the weather, the condition of the beaches…all those things that went into an operation. And we had to submit detailed plans…thirty to forty pages. An inch-thick documents, In detail!...In some case, the guys were actually in the boats, near to landing, when the operation was canceled, and no reason was given…” Whether Shackley was referring to a particular wave of landings or to boat operations in general is not clear. …

Harvey approved the dispatch of six three-man teams to Cuba, on either October 21, or 22, 1962, as the missile crisis heated up. The missions were launched at the specific request of the Pentagon, as part of the standing interagency Command Relationship Agreement. The military was reckoning with an invasion of Cuba by air and sea; it s forces needed support on the ground to help the landings. Harvey did what was right operationally….the climax came at a top-drawer meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House on October 26….Harvey chose to tell the Kennedy brothers what he thought of them and their handling of the situation. “If you hadn’t fucked up the Bay of Pigs, we wouldn’t be in this fucking mess!”

ZRRIFLE is a digraph…The Castro assassination effort was contained in and covered under an existing activity. ZR was a digraph for Division D, Cryptological Procurement. It seems to have served purposely to confuse the Castro hit ops with Earl Harter’s closely held series of operations to procure cryptographic materials by breaking-and-entering target premises. Very few, even in D., knew what Harter’s boys did;….Precisely because Division D was so secure and already involved in matters gentlemen preferred not to know about, it was the logical administrative compartment in which to house CIA’s newest and touchiest activity, the projected assassination of political leaders whose further existence impinged on U.S. interests…

The CIA IG’s report, cataloguing the Agency’s actions regarding the Kennedys’ passion for the assassination of Castro, concludes with a section titled “Discussion of Assassination at High-Level Government Meetings.” There were two such discussions: one “was in the Secretary’s Conference Room at the Department of State on 10 August 1962” and the second meeting was on July 30, 1964, and it did not include Harvey.

The purpose of the Special Group Augmented (SGA) in 1962 was to overthrow the Castro regime in Cuba…The SGA meetings on MONGOOSE, the external code name for anti-Castro operations, were about as high-level as a U.S. government meeting could get without the presence of the president or his brother. The cast included Secretary of State Dean Rusk and his deputy, U. Alexis Johnson, as well as Richard Goodwin, a high-level national security advisor; the White House sent Gen. Maxwell Taylor and McGeorge Bundy, pinch-hitting for Bobby Kennedy; Robert McNamara, his deputy, Roswell Gilpatrick, and chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer. Attended by Brig. Gen. Ed Lansdale, came from the Pentagon; Edward R. Morrow was present from USIA; the CIA weighted in with…John McCone and Bill Harvey. Tom Parrott of the CIA was secretary of SGA

The individual most deeply involved in the attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, even before Bill Harvey, was Johnny Rosselli…The fifteen-year relationship between Harvey and Rosselli is the source of some fascination, but so is the considerable speculation that Harvey was somehow involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. If there is a link between Harvey and the assassination, it almost definitely runs through Rosselli…The actual transfer of Rosselli from the Office Security to ZRRIFLE started out at the Savory Plaza Hotel in New York on that April 1962 Sunday evening…

Joe Shimon, the former Metropolitan Police officer whose background remains obscure and whose presence on the periphery of the Castro operations is inexplicable, …reminisced about the early 1960s and the CIA Cuban operations to the investigative journalist and author Anthony Summers. “The thing [Castro assassination plot] wasn’t going too well. They sent a few teams and they never came back. Well, then Harvey was assigned to direct the show instead of Jim O’Connell [who was assigned to Okinawa]…Johnny was in a safe house for about six weeks with Harvey…”

According to Ted Shackley, Harvey came to Florida periodically while Shackley was head of JMWAVE, primarily to see Johnny. Rappleye and Becker say that in Miami Johnny “frequented JMWAVE…sometimes attending staff briefings, but more often engaging in demolition exercises with Ed Roderick…” Various accounts place Rosselli physically – sometimes in the uniform of a U.S. Army colonel – at the JMWAVE headquarters….

The only description I have found of Rosselli’s paramilitary activities against Cuba comes from Richard Mahoney. Once Dick Helms personally cleared Rosselli for the assassination operation, the Mafioso was covered as a colonel in the Army and Dave M. moved from the Langley basement to Florida. Toward the end of May 1962 the CIA built a small base for Rosselli’s unit on Point Mary, Key Largo, clearing out an acre or so of the thick mangrove forest for rough-hewn sheds and two crude structures. A floating dock was anchored on coral reef. The purpose of the base was to train snipers…

Elsewhere in the accounts of JMWAVE’s activities in Florida is mention of considerable CIA activity in the Keys, where live firing exercises could be conducted without fear of compromise and fast boats could slip out to sea and return without question. These accounts may all be based on the same source, a colorful account attributed to Col. Bradely Ayers….

Harvey was in Miami again February 11-14, 1963, well after he had been officially removed from Task Force W…Rosselli would remain in loose contact with the principle agent, Varona…During another set of meetings in Florida in April, Harvey and Rosselli agreed on official termination and Johnny signed a quit claim. Bill and Johnny went out to sea in a chartered boat on two consecutive days, April 18 and 19, 1963, during which time they presumably discussed matters of mutual interest under circumstances that made surveillance of any kind almost impossible…According to some expense account records for ZRRIFLE/QJWIN from April 13 to 21, 1963, Harvey was at the Plantation Yacht Harbor motel/marina in Plantation Key, Florida…around the middle of June 1963, Bill picked up Johnny at Dulles Airport…

Harvey testified to the Church Committee, “It is quite conceivable that [the Rosselli plot to kill Castro] had been penetrated.” There is considerable reason to believe that Santo Trafficante was a double-agent and continued to ingratiate himself with Castro by reporting on the CIA and Cuban exile activities….

History may yet judge the veracity of the speculations of those theorists who doubt Lee Harvey Oswald, the only confirmed shooter, acted on his own.


The spokesman for theory 1 is G. Robert Blakey, a professor of law at Notre Dame University and chief counsel to the 1978 House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Blakey believes that the assassination was a Mafia operation, specifically engineered by Santo Trafficante, the Miami boss, with the active support of Carlos Marcello, the New Orleans Capo. Oswald was a dupe, recruited by Trafficante’s or Marcello’s people as a shooter and a fall guy…


Theory 2, propounded by James Hiram Lesar, chatelaine of the Assassinations Archives and Research Center in Washington D.C., and supported by others, excludes the Mafia as participant but implicates the CIA very, very deeply. Lesar’s theory is predicated on the assumption that restless Agency officers who had tasted political blood in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic and had suffered through the Bay of Pigs fiasco either plotted to murder the president or acquiesced in a plot devised by Cuban students in exile in Miami.

The key figure in theory 2 is legendary CIA political and psychological (PP) officer David Atlee Phillips. Further, the theory involves the right-wing, anti-Castro Cuban student group, the DRE, and the manipulation and use of the hapless patsy, Oswald. It implicates high-level Agency officers who were involved in paramilitary operations against Cuba, specifically Dick Helms, Tom Karamessenes, Ted Shackley, a case officer named George Joannides, and David M., the paramilitary officer who was at the Florida Keys base with Rosselli. The Lesar theory is anchored in a single question: Who had the capability to assassinate JFK? His proffered answer is: only the military and the agency.

The Harvey connection in theory 2 is straightforward. Davie Phillips was a Harvey subordinate when he was in charge of CIA’s covert PP operations out of Mexico City, which fell under Task Force W. Phillips was in close touch with JMWAVE,and Shackley, chief of JMWAVE, was especially close to Harvey. Phillips later was head of the Western Hemisphere Division of the CIA’s Clandestine Services and was a founder of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), which to this day reveres his memory…

The CIA conducted its own internal investigation of Agency involvement with the assassination in late 1963 and early 1964. As far as I know, the results of that scrutiny have never been released. It may be assumed that the investigation at some point looked into Harvey… Jim Harvey, the keeper of some papers and at least one artifact from his father and stepmother’s home in Indianapolis, who, perhaps not surprisingly, prefers reserve to open discussion of his father. My several attempts to secure Jim Harvey’s cooperation proved fruitless….

The supposition – what I above call the Lesar Theory – that the CIA was somehow involved in the JFK plot is based on the Agency’s links to anti-Castro groups in Miami, New Orleans and elsewhere and on the possibility that the Agency was in touch with Oswald.

Right-wing Cuban exiles in Miami whispered about a momentous event due in mid-November 1963. Some of them were students grouped under the banner of the rabidly anti-Castro Directio Revolutionario Estudiantil de Cuba. If the DRE students knew something, their gossip would have spread through little Havana like an oil fire on water. According to David Corn, “Shackely’s station did not unearth any significant information in this regard…Shackley believed that since the CIA did not have primary responsibility for probing Oswald and the assassination; his station ought to have debrief thoroughly all its sources.” In his autobiography, Shackley dismisses the DRE without mentioning the Kennedy assassination aspect.

But the possibility remains that Oswald was in touch, in one way or another, with the CIA, and the murky relationship between Oswald and the Cuban students remains unclear….Most of the heat that has built up around DRE surrounds its activity in 1963, at least six months after Harvey was removed from Cuban operations. Still, it is worth pushing the examination a bit further.

Dan Hardway, was a first year law school student when he joined HSCA in July 1977,…Hardway readily admitted he was gunning for Harvey from the get-go. “…Harvey was a natural suspect. He had the assassination teams. He was in charge of JMWAVE. I was convinced that Bill Harvey was involved in the assassination. I wanted to investigate Harvey vigorously…I was determined to prove his complicity in the assassination, if I could. … We had operational action information… operational criteria which didn’t fit into the rules of evidence but, I thought, were enough to make probable cause.”

Hardway now says,…”It was an active disinformation operation. [The CIA] moved so fast after the assassination (it) must have been planned in advance.” Suddenly, the scent he had been following so avidly dissipated when the Agency simply shut down Hardway’s access to documents of the time…The key to the sudden shutdown was the CIA liaison officer who had at first been so forthcoming to the young investigators but then stonewalled them. The officer’s name was George Joannides.


The story of George Joannides and his possible involvement in the Kennedy assassination is the result of many years’ work by Jefferson Morley, the Washington Post reporter. More may well be revealed as a result of a federal court case that Morley and Jim Lesar of the Kennedy Assassination Archives (sic – Assassination Archives and Research Center – AARC) are pursing to force more documents that they now know exist, out of the CIA. Those documents may indicate that Joannides knew of an assassination plot by students of the DRE against John F. Kennedy. Such a sensational revelation will certainly lead to more speculation that Harvey was knowledgeable as well because he was Joannides’s superior, albeit several levels removed.

Morley provided me with a copy of his exhaustive piece documenting the link between Joannides and the Cuban exile group in New Orleans. It contains much information that was only partially available to Dan Hardway in 1978 and makes bleak reading for anyone who wants to believe there was no CIA involvement in the JFK assassination. The details are complex and are not overly relevant here, but they are part of the Harvey background, and so deserve some attention.

Morley credits his knowledge of the link between Joannides and the JFK assassination to Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, which caused a stir when it appeared in 1991 and led to the JFK Assassination Records Act, which “created an independent panel with unique powers to declassify JFK files, even over the objections of federal agencies. Between 1994 and 1998, when its funding ran out, the panel, known as the Assassinations Records Review Board, dislodged four million pages of classified documents.”

…In July 1998 Joannides came out of retirement to handle liaison with Hardway and other congressional investigators.

The crux of Morley’s accusation is that Joannides was the CIA case officer on the DRE, which was at one time “the single most popular exile group in Miami…It had been receiving funding, training  and logistical support for its leaders, thanks to a CIA officer named David Atlee Phillips…The Agency was giving the group’s young leaders $25,000 each month.”

The DRE students were difficult. Morley quotes Joannides’s predecessor as saying, “they were scarcely less hostile to the President than to Castro.” Ted Shackley wired Washington “that DRE’s attitude toward US policymakers ‘was one of contempt, repeat contempt.’” Yet DRE happily continued to accept CIA subsides.

Then DRE got into a publicity flap that went to Helms personally.

Morley: “For [DRE case officer], Helms selected up-and-coming political action officer, George Efythron Joannides, who had been transferred to Miami earlier that year, and was working as deputy chief of psychological warfare operations against the Castro government….”

As CIA case officer on the DRE, Joannides had knowledge of Phillips’s operations in New Orleans in 1963-64. Thus, if Phillips were involved in a JFK assassination plot, Joannides had a personal as well as professional interest in covering up what really happened. Again, all this transpired after Harvey had been sacked, but it had roots in the time when Bill was in charge.

“As [Joannides] worked with congressional investigators [Hardway among them], he betrayed nothing about his own participation or knowledge of the events of 1963… nothing to suggest that he knew of the DRE’s contacts with Oswald.”

“I worked closely with Joannides,” says G. Robert Blakey, former general counsel of the HSCA. “None of us knew that he head been a contact agent for the DRE in 1963.” Another investigator, Gaeton Fonzi, told Morley, “We got the runaround, from day one, on the DRE.”

…Morley says, “Tom Crispell, spokesman for the CIA, insisted that the Agency is ‘absolutely not stonewalling.’ While declining to answer questions about Joannides actions in 1963 and 1978, Crispell said the CIA has made public ‘all known records’ about Joannides that are relevant to the Kennedy assassination story’”  - at least in the CIA’s judgment. Later developments proved this and previous statements were false.

….Somewhere in the more than three hundred thousand pages of documents turned over by the CIA to the HRSCA (sic HSCA or ARRB) there may be one or more leads that connect Harvey directly to the murder of John F. Kennedy. The papers have not been fully indexed; perhaps they never will be. To put mildly, the CIA is disinclined to be helpful. And it is increasingly doubtful that the Agency actually did turn over everything in its files on the JFK assassination….

Rosselli said it was also his theory that Castro was behind The Assassination, along with Trafficante. He said he knew that a team head been sent to kill Castro, had been captured and tortured, and he believed Castro may have formed an alliance with Trafficante to kill Kennedy…

…As Bill and CG established a new life in Indiana, Sally Harvey grew into her teenage years. Today she recalls, “Bill found the job editing law decisions for Bobbs-Merrill drudgery! He needed stimulation – a challenge. And he didn’t have that in Indianapolis…There was no one here for him to connect with.”

Bradley Ayers, in The Zenith Secret (VoxPop, 2006, p. 175) wrote: “…only the Bobbs-Merrell Company of New York and Indianapolis was interested (the book about JM/WAVE The War that Never Was). In 1973, the manuscript was under review by the managing editor, Tom Gervasi. Unbeknownst to me was that upon retirement from the CIA, Bill Harvey went to work for Bobbs-Merrell. Apparently, my manuscript was intercepted and the book’s contents carefully reviewed by the agency and some of its entities. For the next two and a half years, I made revisions and rewrites of the manuscript at the suggestion of Gervasi. The pattern was one of whittling away at those parts that were the most sensitive or potentially embarrassing to the agency. Gervasi explained that Bobbs-Merrill could not accept the libel risks that portions of the book presented. One of the requirements set by Gervasi was that I change all the names of major figures. Also excised was text on David Morales, Rosselli, (and Gordon Campbell), the use of toxic chemical agents against Cuba, Karl’s death, and Ferrie’s presence at JMWAVE. By 1974 I was beaten down trying to make a living and hold my life together. With my marriage to Lee falling apart, I agreed to what Gervasi asked. After all that it had cost, just getting the book into print was better than no book at all… Bobbs-Merrill’s interest in promoting The War That Never Was diminished, and it was left to me to arrange publicity for the book on my own….Now, as I was doing my best to promote The War That Never Was, in an effort to bring the JMWAVE perspective to public attention, Rosselli disappeared…In August, his body was found in a steel drum, floating in a Florida canal…Baffled by Bobbs-Merrill’s handling of my book, and now reconsidering what I’d agreed to in the ‘editing’ process, I pondered why the publisher went ahead with the contract and book in the first place. My contemplation led me in a rather sinister direction…My eyewitness account of the Kennedy White House Special Group having authorized and micromanaged JMWAVE covert paramilitary operations put the CIA in a different light. Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s presence at JMWAVE on two occasions that I observed in 1963 flew in the face of the notion the CIA was engaged in unauthorized activities. Kennedy’s presence showed that the agencies activities were fully sanctioned by the White House.” 

CIA letterhead 3 August 2005

“….According to our records, (Capt. Bradley Ayers) was detailed (From US Army Rangers) to work with the CIA (training Cubans commandos at JMWAVE) from May of 1963 to December 1964. Because he never was an Agency employee and, as such, never signed a prepublication agreement with us – any suggestion that the CIA tried to censor or suppress his writings is incorrect…”

[Flawed Patriot, from which these excerpts were taken however, was written by a former CIA agent who had approved the book, so it could be viewed as an official 2006 response to Morley & the CIA case.]

For more on William Harvey see: William K. Harvey : Biography

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