Saturday, October 13, 2018

PATHFINDER at JMWAVE - 1 - 2 - 3



Pathfinder – the CIA Contingency Plan to Kill Castro that was Redirected to JFK at Dealey Plaza.

As we are familiar with the National Photo Interpretation Center (NPIC) activities during the Cuban Missile Crisis (1) and the two separate incidents when the Zapruder film was worked on at NPIC over the weekend of the assassination  (2), both are important events, but the most significant lead NPIC employees give us is not concerned with photos or films but files – the Pathfinder files.

PATHFINDER was the code name given to a CIA contingency plan to kill Fidel Castro, that I believe was “redirected” to kill JFK at Dealey Plaza.

The “Pathfinder” operation would have gone the way of Jimmy Hoffa, as all documentary records of it disappeared within the purged CIA files, if it wasn’t for three – not one, or two, but three (actually eight) NPIC technicians who blew the whistle when they learned that Congress was interested in the CIA plots to kill Castro and came forward with their information.

According to the CIA no one there today heard of an operation called “Pathfinder,” and they have no records of anything called “Pathfinder,” except for one reference in a file devoted to Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis, who was heavily involved in Cuban activities, but wasn’t an agent or operative of the CIA, but rather US Air Force Intelligence.(3) 

Though its significance was not recognized at the time, we first learned about the Pathfinder files from the Congressional records released under the JFK Act of 1992, when it was recorded on the official record that in 1975 Dino Brugioni of the NPIC informed the CIA top brass that three NPIC technicians who were assigned to the Miami, anti-Castro Cuban JMWAVE station recalled working on the PATHFINDER program that was an assassination plan to kill Castro. (4)

When the Congressional Church Committee was investigating the CIA-Mafia plot to kill Castro, these NPIC technicians, assigned to the JMWAVE station, came forward to make their superiors aware of two CIA contingency plans to kill Castro and one to kill his brother Raoul.

To dispense with the Raoul plot first, it was, according to the NPIC technicians, a “drive by” maritime speed boat attack on a Cuban North Shore estate where Fidel Castro’s brother Raoul ostensibly lived, hoping he was in residence, and that mission may have even taken place. The NPIC JMWAVE techs said that “Rip Robertson,” one of only two American to go ashore at the Bay of Pigs, was connected to this operation.

The other two contingency plans are much more relevant to the assassination of President Kennedy, and according to the JMWAVE NIPIC techs, was given the code name PATHFINDER.

The NPIC technicians said that they not only assisted in the contingency plan for “PATHFINDER,” supplying photos and maps of the target areas, but the PATHINDER files were kept in the NPIC section of the JMWAVE station, rather than in the station’s Operational Files, where they would normally be kept. 

According to the NPIC technicians stationed at JMWAVE, PATHFINDER was a contingency plan to kill Castro with high powered rifles when he drove by in an open jeep near the Bay of Pigs, which apparently became somewhat of a tourist attraction and resort area after the failed invasion in April 1961. It was reported that Castro kept a boat docked there. 

While the PATHFINDER plan was, according to the NPIC techs, “disapproved” by “higher authority” (aka JFK and RFK), another, similar plan was devised to kill Castro in a sniper attack when he drove by in an open jeep to Xandau, the former North Shore Dupont estate, once owned by the Delaware Dupont family, but frequented by Castro. (5) 


The Pathfinder operation and the CIA Pathfinder files cut right to the heart of the matter – where the plots to kill Castro coincide with what occurred at Dealey Plaza – the Dealey Plaza operation, though its significance wasn’t recognized when we first learned about Pathfinder.

Larry Hancock was one of the first to run down this alley and wrote about it in his book “Someone Would Have Talked”, that I reviewed at my blog and quoted extensively, but its significance still escaped close scrutiny, as it has until now. 

If JFK was killed by a deranged lone nut all by himself, then Pathfinder means nothing, but if the President was killed by his enemies in Washington, and what happened at Dealey Plaza was not only a conspiracy, but a very specific and narrowly defined covert intelligence operation, (7)  successfully conducted by a domestic anti-Communist intelligence network, then Pathfinder is the key – the code word for the off-the-shelf contingency plan to kill Fidel Castro that was redirected to JFK at Dealey Plaza.

Before getting into the specifics of the detailed Pathfinder plan -  for a first-class highly trained sniper to kill Castro with a single bullet to the head from a high-powered rifle as he rode by in an open jeep, consider this:

First we begin with the statements of Warren Commission attorney Samuel Stern (who is still alive and practicing in Washington D.C.), who told the HSCA that if they had known about the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro they would have looked into that area thoroughly.

Stern stated that had the Commission learned of the CIA-Mafia conspiracies to assassinate Fidel Castro, “we would have gone much more into Cuba, the CIA, and the Mafia. We would have had a whole host of new avenues calling for investigation. And we would have obviously had to develop some new sources of information – other than the agency.”

And while the Warren Commission didn’t do it, and the HSCA was prevented from doing it, that doesn’t stop us from conducting such a proper investigation of the CIA plots to kill Castro that are entwined with the assassination of President Kennedy.

We first learn of these plots from Washington political columnist Jack Anderson.(9) 

Anderson’s source was John Rosselli, one of the three Mafia bosses who were originally recruited by the CIA’s Robert Mahu and "Big" Jim O’Connell during the Eisenhower administration. (10) 

Of the three, Santo Trafficante, San Giancana and Rosselli, only Rosselli was still in the CIA’s assassination game in 1963, with O'Connell having been replaced by William Harvey as Rosselli’s CIA case officer after the Bay of Pigs. .

Rosselli was one of a number of rich, patriotic Americans who financially supported teams of anti-Castro Cuban commandos that were trained at remote JMWAVE bases in south Florida. The rich Americans thought it patriotic to support the commando teams, even though they were already being financed by the CIA, but the private funding gave them an air of independence apart from the US government. Besides Rosselli two others that I know of who supported JMWAVE commando teams were William Paley and Clare Booth Luce. (11. Clare Booth Luce and Julio Fernandez) 

After his pal Giancana was murdered in his own home shortly before he was to testify before the HSCA, Rosselli testified in Executive Session before a Congressional Committee (Three times) and then visited Jack Anderson to tell him what he said. (12) 


At a COPA Conference in Dallas, former FBI agent and original JFK assassination investigator Bill Turner said:  "We now know to a fairly good degree of certainty what happened at Dealey Plaza. The motives were piling up - the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, the back channel to Cuba, - the motives were piling up to the point they had to assassinate him. I think it’s' pretty obvious, with the compilation of the information we have today, that the mechanism of the crime came out of the allegiance between the CIA and the Mafia. They already had an assassination apparatus set up for killing Castro and they just switched targets and killed Kennedy instead." (13) 

In narrowing down which plot was the specific plan to kill Castro that was redirected to JFK at Dealey Plaza we can eliminate the poisons, the bazookas, the bombs and the poison pen and concentrate only on those contingency plans to kill Castro that utilize a high powered rifle to shoot Castro as he drove in an open car, just as JFK was killed. And Pathfinder fits that bill.

How you learn about such important information – the source, who gives it to you, and what the documentary records show, are all aspects of that must be considered in evaluating its significance as evidence. 


We first learned about Pathfinder from our old friend at NPIC - Dino Brugioni, who we know from his books on Photo Fakery and the Cuban Missile Crisis, and his work on the Zapruder film at NPIC, on the weekend of the assassination, making the first set of briefing boards. (14) 

In this MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD, dated 21 March 1975,

It is noted that:

1)      On 19 March, Dino A. Brugioni, Chief, Western Geographic Division (NPIC), informed me (CIA Operational Division Chief) that three personnel assigned to his division had told him that while serving at JMWAVE, Miami, Florida or in the Imagery Analysis Service in Washington during the 1960’s, they had heard references to assassination plans on Fidel Castro.

2)      On 20 March, I met with the following NPIC personnel who had either served in the Imagery Analysis Service or at JMWAVE on Cuban related problems: Gordon Duvall, Earl Shoemaker, Tom Helmke, Bruce Barrett, Reyes Ponce, George Arthur, Eugene Lydon, and William Hanlon. The purpose of this meeting was to ascertain whether their participation was related to case officer generated materials or bona fide operations.

 [ (16) Note: that's eight witnesses, not three]. 

3)      There appeared to be two plans involving Fidel Castro and an incident that may have been related to Raul Castro…….

4)      The incident involving Raul Castro was not a formalized plan. It consisted of a paramilitary raid on Santiago de Cuba harbor. There was a rumor at JMWAVE that, while exiting the harbor, Raul Castro’s home had been fired upon by a paramilitary case officer named “Rip” Robertson. (17) 

5)      To the best of my knowledge these facts represent the totality of any participation by our personnel in these matters. We have no further knowledge that the Fidel Castro operation ever advanced beyond the planning stage. 

SIGNED Edward S. Cates, Chief, Imagery Exploitation Group,  NPIC

While it may not have officially  “advanced beyond the planning stage” and was not implemented against the original target - Fidel Castro, Pathfinder was an off-the-shelf tactical plan that could have, and I believe was redirected to JFK at Dealey Plaza, and further analysis can prove me right or wrong,

It appears that “Rip” Robertson’s ride-by shoot up of Raul Castro’s home had already taken place, and the two Fidel Castro operations were formalized into distinct plans that, according to the Imagery Exploitation Group at NPIC, didn’t advance beyond the planning stage.

And there were plans to kill Castro known to the NPIC techs  – two of them specifically.

According to this NPIC chief the plans involving Fidel, to the knowledge of our people were: 

(a)    A folder stored in the Photo interpretation area at JMWAVE contained materials relating to a plan to assassinate Castro in the Bay of Pigs resort area where he maintained a yacht and was known to vacation. The plan, possibly with the code word PATHFINDER, apparently had been disapproved and was not under active consideration at the time. Our people did not participate actively in the plan in any regard. 

(b)   While assigned to the Imagery Analysis Service, a number of our photo interpreters supported Carl Jenkins of the DD/P concerning a plan to assassinate Castro at the DuPont Varadero Beach Estate, east of Havana. Castro was known to frequent the estate and the plan was to use a high powered rifle in the attempt. The photo interpretation support was restricted to providing annotated photographs and line drawings of the estate. To our knowledge, this plan also was never implemented.

In a follow up report from Joseph Seltzer at the CIA dated 8 May 1975, in response to the NPIC inquiries regarding Carl Jenkins and PATHFINDER, Seltzer wrote:

[ (18)  1993.08.05.14:4212;750028 - - relPageId=13&tab=page  ]     

SUBJECT: Assassination Plans Against Castro
REFERENCE: Memorandum for the Record dated 21 March 1975 from Mr. Cates, NPIC 

1.      On receipt of reference memorandum, we reviewed the official folder on Mr. Carl Jenkins, a retired Agency employee (19) , and asked the Directorate of Operations for any available information on PATHFINDER. Both efforts were fruitless – no one in the Directorate of Operations recognized the cryptonym PATHFINDER. 

2.      In our search of other files in connection with other staff activities, we came, just by chance, a reference to Pathfinder in an FBI memorandum dated 20 January 1961 concerning Frank Anthony Sturgis. We are unable to offer any speculation, reasonable or otherwise, on its significance in this memorandum or in the NPIC memorandum.

Because these were "in house" agency communications between one division of the CIA and another, and was not shared with the Church Intelligence Committee, the "official folder on Mr. Carl Jenkins" that was reviewed was not subject to the JFK Act and is not in the JFK Collection at the National Archives and available to the public. And because Jenkins is still alive, it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). But because Jenkins is still alive, we can and will try to interview him.(20) .

Three years later, on June 20, 1978, the second chief counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) G. Robert Blakey, wrote to Mr. Scott Brekenridge, Principal Co-cordinator between the HSCA and the Office of Legislative Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, asking a series of requests for documentary records. 

“In connection with its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of President Kennedy, the House Select Committee on Assassinations requests access to the following information:

1.      Any and all reports and documents, including indices and records under any pseudonyms, concerning or referring to Jose Luis Romero. Romero is believed to be a pseudonym. Romero reportedly served in the French military in Algeria in the 1950’s and worked with American intelligence. He was reportedly also an agent of the French secret military organization O.A.S.
2.      Any and all reports or documents concerning or referring to any French nationals or citizens involved in plots or conspiracies to assassinate President Kennedy or Fidel Castro.
3.      Any and all reports or documents concerning or referring to PIERRE OWEN DIEZ DE URE. Ure is reportedly a French national who lived in Cuba in the early 1960’s and assisted American intelligence.
4.      Any and all documents concerning or referring to VALENTIN VASILEVICH BAKULIN. Served at Soviet Embassy in Mexico City in 1959. Referred to in FBI files on Norman Rothman.
5.      Any and all documents concerning or referring to OPERATION PROUDFOOT, including indices.
6.      Any and all documents concerning or referring to OPERATION PATHFINDER, including all indices.
7.      Any and all documents concerning or referring to JAGGERS-CHILES-STOVALL CORP. in Dallas, Texas.
8.      Any and all documents concerning or referring to RICARDO MORALES-NAVARETTE, aka Ricardo Navarette-Morales.

Sincerely, G. Robert Blakey, Chief Counsel and Director HSCA

On 14 July, 1978, Marvin L. Smith, Chief, Operations Group, responded to the HSCA Requests of 20 June 1978.

A.    (S) An intensive search of the files and indices of this Directorate revealed the following information on the individuals and organizations listed in the referenced request, which, unless otherwise indicated, is being forwarded to your Office. Since birthdates were not provided on the individuals, some of the information may not pertain to them.
1.      Jose Luis Romero  - No information
2.      French nationals or citizens involved in plots to assassinate President Kennedy or Fidel Castro – No information.
3.      Pierre Owen Diez de Ure – (a) 201-0327950 (copy)  (b) UFGA-06154 (copy)
4.      Valentin Vasilevich Bakulin – 2 files
5.      Operation Proudfood – No information
6.      Operation Pathfinder – No information
7.      Jaggers-Chiles Stovall Corp. – CI staff has a reference to Chiles and Stoval, Inc., which leads to a document dated 31 January, 1964, filed in 201-189248 (Lee Harvey Oswald) on temporary charge to CI./EXO.
8.      Ricardo MORALES- NAVARETTE, aka Ricardo NAVARETTE-MORALES – 18 files – (a) 201-0285923 (on temporary charge to Barbara Soderquist, CI/EXO) with the others being: DBF-BELL-DIR-HKH-DBA-DCE-DBD-DBC and CSCI files.

B.     (U) Re: Third Party….

C.     (U) It has been determined that none of the individuals listed in the referenced request has been the subject of an FOIA or PA request.

SIGNED  Marvin L. Smith


As the CIA Operations officer told the NPIC official, and the CIA told the HSCA, there are no existing records on PATHFINDER at CIA, and we know why since we have three examples of how the PATHFINDER files were intentionally miss-filed.

 – 1) at JMWAVE where the Pathfinder records were kept in the NPIC section of the station instead of in the Operational Files, where they should have been kept; 2) RFK ordered the JFK assassination records at NPIC to be boxed and sent to the Smithsonian Institute instead of the National Archives, where they belong;  and 3) the NPIC memo on the JMWAVE techs who recalled Pathfinder in 1975 was placed in Frank Sturgis’ file, where it was buried until discovered by the CIA searching for records requested by the HSCA.

While the official investigations of the Pathfinder plans to kill Castro apparently ended there, we can continue the inquiry ourselves, to see where this lead goes, and some of us are doing just that, beginning with Carl Jenkins.

The NPIC technicians at JMWAVE said that “a number of our photo interpreters supported Carl Jenkins of the DD/P (Deputy Directorate of Plans) concerning a plan to assassinate Castro at the DuPont Veradero Beach Estate, east of Havana. Castro was known to frequent the estate and the plan was to use a high powered rifle in the attempt. The photo interpretation support was restricted to providing annotated photographs and line drawings of the estate.”

Where are these annotated photographs and line drawings of the estate today? They should be in the JFK Collection at the National Archives and open to the public but apparently are among the missing Pathfinder records or the NPIC files, boxed and sent to the Smithsonian instead of the NARA.

Ah, yes, and we've learned a good deal more about Mr. Carl Jenkins, the CIA officer who was responsible for training some five shooters assigned to the Pathfinder mission and preparing to implement it, - the contingency plan for a sniper to shoot Castro as he rode in an open jeep at Veradero.

On hearing the NPIC technicians mention Carl Jenkins' name and description as a DD/Plans officer, the CIA Operations chief reviewed a folder on Jenkins. But since that communications with the NPIC’s Brugoni did not involve the Church Committee, that was active and investigating just those issues at that time – the Jenkins folder is not subject to the JFK Act and is not at the JFK Collection at the NARA.

And because Jenkins is still alive, that folder is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). But because he is still alive, we can still talk to him, and will try to do that even though he is very elderly and living with family.

Since the NPIC assassination files were boxed and sent to the Smithsonian in 1964, the Church Committee was unaware of Pathfinder or the NPIC technician’s statements in 1975; and since the failure of the HSCA to pursue Pathfinder in 1978, we have learned a lot about Mr. Jenkins over the years.


In the 1980s Eugene “Gene” Wheaton was one of the first to blow the whistle on what became known as the Iran-Contra affair. Wheaton was not a silly conspiracy theorist, but rather a former military investigator (Army and Air Force), policeman, private security consultant and Mid-eastern agent for Rockwell International, the overseas division of Rockwell-Collins, Inc. a major defense contractor.

Wheaton had received a prestigious presidential medal and award from President Nixon for his service in the Middle-East as a border security and drug smuggling expert.

Wheaton worked closely with Carl Jenkins at National Airlines, a cargo shipment company that may have been a front for the CIA (as described JFKcountercoup: CIAir ). Wheaton apparently owned the airline and hired Jenkins to be his Washington representative. When Wheaton was in Washington he stayed in a bedroom reserved for him at Jenkin’s home, and they were close personal friends and business partners for many years.

Wheaton and Jenkins became entwined in the Iran-Contra affair when their cargo airline was contracted to deliver arms to the Contras fighting the left-wing Sandinistas in Nicaragua in the civil war following the departure of long time dictator Anastiso Somoza, who some called the “Godfather of the Bay of Pigs.”

As Wheaton later put it, that was when he was “recruited into Oliver North’s Network." It wasn't long before Wheaton realized they were wrongfully appropriating hundreds of millions of dollars in military equipment (mainly missiles) and selling them to terrorist nations in the Middle East in exchange for hostages.
Wheaton said they were accumulating a multi-million dollar war chest that was to be used to fund covert intelligence operations without the approval of Congress.

First Wheaton went to President Reagan’s CIA Director William Casey, the last of the old OSS hands to hold that position, and he told Casey the whole story.

Now who gets to waltz right in to the office of the Director of the CIA? Wheaton had that capability and only used it once. Casey said he would look into it, but Wheaton realized that Casey was behind it. They didn’t like Congress deciding what covert ops could be funded and what couldn’t, especially when Congress balked at arming the Contras, and only approved humanitarian medical and food supplies.

So Wheaton then told the story to Dan Sheehan, Esq., the attorney for the Christic Institute who prepared a civil suit indictment against North, General Richard Secord and others involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. Some of North’s arms given to the Contras were used to kill and wound some Americans in Nicaragua. Sheehan represented them and their families, and used them to sue the “Oliver North Network,” that was then being detailed in daily news and media reports.

This was especially so after CIA contract agent and baggage kicker Eugene Hassenfras was captured by the Sandinistas after his plane was shot down. Hassenfras confessed to the CIA support of the Contras and was found to have in his possession, the phone number of covert commando Felix Rodriguez, a Bay of Pigs veteran working with the Contras and friend of George H.W. Bush.

Rodriguez was also one of those named by Wheaton as being an associate of Jenkins and suspected of being one of the "shooters" Jenkins and Harper (and USA Ranger Ed Roderick) trained at the Point Mary, Key Largo training site. 

While Wheaton only got a footnote in Sheehan’s legal brief, he was on the radar, and the case generated even more headlines, but a judge dismissed the suit and fined the Christic Institute enough to put it out of business.

When Wheaton was asked why he blew the whistle on his friends and business partners in regards to the Iran-Contra scandal he responded, “Because I’m a cop.”

And Wheaton did work as a city policeman in Oklahoma for a few years between stints in the military.


Things then went quiet for a decade or so, but Wheaton came out of the woodwork again in the mid-1990s when he learned about the Congressional passage of the JFK Act of 1992. That law, unanimously passed by Congress and reluctantly signed by President Bush, established the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) and JFK Collection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and required all government agencies to release to the public any and all records regarding the assassination of President Kennedy.

Wheaton wrote a letter to ARRB chairman Judge John Tunheim, telling him some basic background, establishing the fact that he was not just another silly conspiracy theorists. He said he had information that might be of interest to the Review Board that they might want to pursue. And the Review Board took him seriously, at first.

Wheaton talked on the phone with ARRB investigator Anne Buttermer, an attorney, and he gave her the basic story as he knew it, and they arranged to meet in person in Washington D.C., when Wheaton gave Buttermer some supporting documents, including Carl Jenkins’ vita-resume and his passport, among other things.

Those items should be open to the public in the JFK Collection at the NARA.


[BK Notes: For Jenkins’ Resume/Vita see: - /  WHEA_pd_GW26005.pdf
and A JFK Counter-Coup Research Feather for your cap to anyone who comes up with Jenkins' Passport.]

As Bill Simpich says, you can't just believe these people, you have to verify what they say from the records and documents, and that we can do. Among the items Wheaton has provided to verify his bonafides are Jenkin's passport, which he wouldn't have unless he was very close to him, and Jenkin's resume, that Jenkins himself apparently composed. There are a number of items in the resume of interest but particularly the fact that Jenkins served as a US Marine Captain in the Pacific theater, possibly when Oswald was there. He also established, as Wheaton claimed, the USMC Reserve unit in New Orleans. And finally Jenkin's resume confirms his association with the Cuban project as a trainer.

1952-53 Paramilitary, Survival, Evasion & Escape Instructor for CIA'

1953-55 Inspector-Instructor of Infantry Reserve Unit, Captain USMCR

1960-61 Chief of Base for Cuban project, first in Florida, then in Guatemala; responsible for selection and training of cadre, assignment of officers for invasion brigade, maritime infiltration and operational management of small teams and individual agents.

1961-1963 Special Warfare Advisor to I Corps Commander, Danag, SVN; Chief of Hoa Cam training cetnr; responsible for counterinsurgency program design & operational activities of 1 “B” & 11 “A” Detachments, U.S. Army Special Forces.

1964-65 Senior Operations Advisor for a still-sensitive Cuban project (Handwritten notation – Castro assassination program)

According to Buttimer's ARRB outside contact report, Wheaton told her "Cuban exiles who were originally trained by the CIA to kill Castro, killed Kennedy instead, considering him a traitor for his failure to support them at the Bay of Pigs." 

Wheaton said that "people above the Cubans wanted JFK killed for other reasons," and that "the matter is not complex, but convoluted."

Buttermer then suddenly quit her job at the ARRB and disappeared, and the Review Board never followed up on Wheaton’s information and failed to get files on the relevant individuals named by Wheaton. He belatedly received a ARRB form letter thanking him for contacting them.


Then at the turn of the century Matt Ehling, a documentary film maker from Public Records Media corresponded with and filmed an extensive interview with Wheaton. Although most of it concerned Wheaton’s role in the Iran-Contra scandal, he does touch on some interesting things – including the Zeta-Diogenes Program.

Wheaton:  “In Italy, in 1962, I was recruited into … I was approached to become part of an assassination network in the intelligence community. I was there (in Italy) from ’61-’63 - as an (Air Force) OSI agent working out of Aviano Air Base…In ’62, shortly after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and the embarrassment of the intelligence community, they … CIA covert operators in conjunction with some people in the Pentagon wanted to set up a secret cell –(a) worldwide cell of intelligence agents that would be called on for, uh, torture, interrogations, and assassinations, if necessary…I was approached.  A man came out from Washington, talked to me, and described it as … in the Air Force - I don’t know if it was that way in all the services and the CIA - but in the Air Force it was called the Zeta-Diogenes Program, and the ‘ZD Program’ for short.  And each agent that was indoctrinated, recruited into it would be given this secret identifier on his master military record in Washington DC, and only another ZD controlling officer would recognize it.  Nobody in personnel or anybody else would know that it was there.” 

“They went looking for young, super-patriotic … um, guys … flag-wavers … with military and police background … uh, above-average intelligence … who could work on their own.  Who would do anything for their country.  They thought.  I was approached because I fit that mold.  Conservative.  Oklahoma.  Big family.  Flag wavers.  Patriotic.  I had been in the Marine Corps before the Air Force, and I’d been a police officer before that.  And I fit the mold.  Because of the compartmentalization, and so forth, I never knew anybody else in that program, except I knew that General Joe Cappucci had been…for the Air Force portion of this thing. In ’65, I transferred from the Air Force to the Army … I don’t know if I was recruited in or rejected … they just came out and interviewed me, and told me what it was about, and if they needed me, the idea was that you’d be sent on temporary duty someplace, and then you’d disappear and you’d go where you were really supposed to go.  And then come back and your temporary duty would continue, and you’d go back to your regular base.  And they could call these individuals out from all over the world.  They wouldn’t be a team - they’d be individuals. The next time I was specifically approached by this - the next generation of these people - was during 1985, when I was being recruited into Ollie North’s network.”

I thought Wheaton was unique in that he served in three branches of the military at different times – the Marines, Army and Air Force, and I could only think of one other person who did that – Oswald’s half brother John Pic, who enlisted in the Marines like his brothers, spent years in the Coast Guard and then joined the Air Force and was in training at Lackland AFB in Fort Worth when his kid brother was charged with killing the President. Larry Hancock however, tells me that is not uncommon for those who make the military a career.

In 2005 William M. Law and Hancock tracked Wheaton down and filmed an interview with him that was presented at the JFK Lancer Conference in Dallas that year, but wasn’t posted publicly until 2018.

[Wheaton Interview with WML: ]

In that interview Wheaton made it clear that he had no personal knowledge of the assassination of President Kennedy, other than what he picked up in private conversations over the years, during dinner and drinking talk among his National Airline partner and housemate Carl Jenkins. Jenkins stayed friends with the Cubans he had trained for the Bay of Pigs and at JMWAVE, and apparently continued working with them operationally, as they did in Nicaragua in the 1980s as part of Oliver North’s Network.

Wheaton: “Chi Chi was a shooter, he was trained by I.F. Harper…Jenkins was from Louisiana and was the CIA’s liaison with  Carlos Marcello, the mafia boss connected in with Sam Giancana and John Rosselli who are on the public record as being part of that crowd – the Mafia guys they say were connected to the Kennedy assassination. …I had been working with Sen. (Hugh) Scott (Rep. Pa.) to see if we could get the record set straight on the Kennedy assassination – get total immunity for those involved. I talked to Senator Scott about it and I told them if you guys just tell the whole straight story you can get immunity.”


Wheaton: “The straight story is that there was a CIA fronted program to assassinate Castro and Carl (Jenkins) was in charge of training the Cubans in Miami to assassinate Castro and it was paid for by the CIA. They would go from Texas down to Mexico and take some convertibles and things into the hills and rocky areas and set watermelons up in the back seat and they had what they called a triangulation shooting team. And they were according to THEM, THEY were the ones that diverted the Castro funds and training for their own agenda to snuff Kennedy. It was a paid element and they were CIA people. They were training to assassinate Castro, but if you are trained to assassinate one person, you can use that training to assassinate anybody with that same training. That’s what they were using – the paid training program to get Castro. The Cubans, because of the imprisonment of those guys and JFK backing off at the last moment in support of the Bay of Pigs invasion, they were still angry, still are to this day. There was another clique above them that was worried about Kennedy not increasing the program for escalating the hostilities in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. So at an extremely high level, I’m talking about the political elite level, the shakers and movers of the country – the top guys in the Pentagon and White House, did not want Kennedy to shut down that war because they were just getting it warmed up and wanted to escalate.”

“Chi Chi and Carl Jenkins were in charge of the main team.  Carl Jenkins was training Chi Chi (Quintero) and several other shooters, about five of them – and I.F. Harper helped train these guys to assassinate Castro. According to THEM, they just went off and decided to get their revenge on Kennedy for his failure to support the invasion of Cuba.”

“Lee Harvey Oswald was just a stooge that Carl and his friends…... Carl you see, back in the early 1950s, when he came back from Korea, he formed the first US Marine Corps Reserve unit in New Orleans. Carl was a Captain in the Marine Corps, and a CIA officer. He formed the first US Marine Corps reserve unit in New Orleans, La., and he was the CIA liaison between CIA Headquarters and Carlos Marcello, the organized crime boss there.”

“Lee Harvey Oswald was a young guy, and because of Carl’s connection with the US Marine Corps reserve, and his involvement in the CIA, helped recruit Lee Harvey Oswald while he was a Marines. Keep in mind this is not somebody sitting down and telling me this, this is over months and years of talking with them and them talking to each other in my presence. It was obvious Lee was a stooge that they set up. You always have what they call an 'Operational Security Plan' for deniability, - something that they put in the plan when they put the covert operation in place.”

In that 2005 interview Wheaton names a number of the Cubans, “Chi Chi” Quintero in particular, and “I.F.” Harper, who Wheaton identified as one of those who, like Jenkins, helped train the Cubans and Contras.
British schoolmaster John Simkin attempted to contact Rafael Quintero via his close friend Don Bohning, but Quintero refused to be interviewed though he did say that Gene Wheaton was telling the truth as "he knew it".

His explanation of Wheaton's story was that he and Carl Jenkins had been lying to him when they said they were involved in the assassination. However, Quintero was quoted as saying: “If I were ever granted immunity, and compelled to testify about past actions, about Dallas and the Bay of Pigs, it would be the biggest scandal ever to rock the United States.”

Now Carl Elmer Jenkins has his own Wiki page:

Carl Elmer Jenkins a Central Intelligence Agency officer closely connected to several key figures behind the JFK assassination.

Jenkins was born in Louisiana and joined the United States Marine Corps during World War II, becoming a commissioned officer in 1948.
CIA career
Jenkins joined the Agency in 1952.
Executive Action
For several years Jenkins was involved with Executive Action, a covert program for instigating regime change in Latin America, including mostly notably the government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in Guatemala. During this time he worked with William "Rip" Robertson and many figures implicated in the JFK assassination, including Tracy Barnes, E. Howard Hunt, David Atlee Phillips and David Sanchez Morales.
Bay of Pigs
On his return to the United States he joined Phillips and Morales in becoming part of Theodore Shackley's JMWAVE station in Miami, Florida. He is also frequently named in surviving documentation from the AMWORLD project (the CIA's codename for its role in the Kennedy administration's plans for overthrowing Fidel Castro).
In the summer of 1963 Jenkins worked closely with Morales in providing paramilitary training for Manuel Artime (MRR) and Rafael 'Chi Chi' Quintero. He also becomes Qunitero's handler.
Jenkins also worked with the Shackley organization in Laos, appointed Plans/Programs/Budget Management Officer in 1969 and served as Chief of Base from 1970 to 1973. Jenkins officially retired from the CIA in 1973 in Laos and moved to Malaysia for a couple of months followed by Australia. Eventually went to the U.S. after the dollar dropped in Australia.
Jenkins played a significant role in the covert efforts to resupply the Nicaraguan Contras in the mid-1980s, in circumvention of Congressional proscriptions, as led by Oliver North and Richard Secord.      


While Jenkins has his own Wiki page, John “ I. F.” Harper is more reclusive, and the only published reference I can find on him is in a Soldier of Fortune article. It would be hard to find a more colorful and elusive “legendary” character than “I.F.” Harper, whose only known mainstream published reference is a single line in a Soldier of Fortune magazine. 


I think the "I.F." is a nickname that stems from the Jewish Kentucky whiskey of the same name "I.F. Harper." 

And I call your attention to the fact that the first published reference to Operation Tilt – aka “The Bayo-Pawley Affair,” was in the very first issue of Soldier of Fortune (SOF), Volume One, Number One, an article and issue that is very rare and hard to get. (Brownie Points for any researcher who comes up with the Bayou-Pawley Article in an issue of SOF.)

That Harper – and Jenkins, and Quintero and some of the Cubans, continued their careers as covert operators after 11/22/63, helps confirm an assumption and the hypothesis that those responsible for the Deale Plaza operation had previously conducted similar missions in the past and continued to do them after Dallas. 

Among the covert ops that involved the Deale Plaza crew and the intelligence network that sponsored them are a number of well known events. Those involved in the JFK assassination – who knew the operational details, had previously worked together on Operation SUCCESS in Guatemala in 1954, the Bay of Pigs in 1961, and after Dallas, they went to the Congo, Dominican Republic, Southeast Asia and Central America and some were caught at Watergate. They were also involved in the Iran Contra affair in the 1980s in cooperation with Manuel Noriega in Panama and Ed Wilson’s outfit in Gadhafi’s Libya.

In the movie “The Shooter,” Levon Helm portrays an aging Amos Heacock, the USMC Vietnam sniper with over 100 kills to his credit. When asked about the Dealey Plaza snipers, he says that they are buried in the desert; having been killed shortly after the mission was completed, just like Oswald. 

In fact, those who participated in the Dealey Plaza operation – and kept their mouth shut, were not treated as “Expendable Agents” and liquidated, but just went on to other, similar missions, "wet" operations in other countries.

And those who kept their mouths shut, like Carl Jenkins and I.W. Harper, are remarkably, still alive today, though Gene Wheaton himself has died.

Wheaton died suspiciously on December 31 – New Years Eve, 2015, of a head injury, apparently an accident at his California home. 

After Jenkins and Harper were confirmed alive, and contact information obtained, Stu Wexler called Harper, but his family said he can’t talk over the phone for health reasons, but does email.

In a brief email exchange, when Wexler asked Harper about Wheaton, Harper called him: “A two-faced Son of a Bitch!.”

But he didn’t call him a liar, or contest the substance of what Wheaton had to say.

As Bill Turner put it, “the mechanism was in place” to kill Castro, and they just switched targets, and instead of shooting Castro they redirected their fire to JFK at Dealey Plaza.

Knowing that, we have now narrowed down the covert operational plans to kill Castro to a few – including Pathfinder that may have been the specific plan that was redirected to “snuff” JFK in Dallas. If it wasn't Pathfinder, it was one very much like it.

Now we will soon know the names of the shooters – the five first-class Cuban mechanic-snipers who were paid and trained by the CIA to kill Castro but one or two of whom shot JFK in the head instead.

Among the most recently released (2017) and long withheld JFK assassination records are thousands of pages and file after file of routine pay stubs for the Cubans who were paid by the CIA to fight Castro, some of whom were paid $100 a month, others $300-$500 a month – good money in those days. Watergate burglar Eugenio Martinez, a JMWAVE boat captain was paid an annual salary of over $8,000 a year to man the Rex and other CIA raider ships that were run out of JMWAVE. The names of the Cubans Wheaton gave us are among those files and pay stubs. 

“I took high powered rifles with scopes to Cuba,” Eugenio Martinez said, “and they weren’t going to be used to hunt rabbits.”

“Chi Chi” Quintero was a shooter, said Wheaton, who also names five or six other Cubans who were on that team, that maritime crew of anti-Castro Cuban commandos who were paid and trained to kill Castro. But when that mission was scrubbed – “disapproved” by “higher authority,” and they learned of the JFK- Castro backchannel negotiations at the UN (from Henry Cabot Lodge), they redirected the Pathfinder target to JFK at Dealey Plaza. And considered themselves patriots for doing so.

Larry Hancock is working intently on the files of the Cubans involved and he may release the results of his study at the JFK Lancer conference in Dallas this November.

Both Jenkins and Harper, will be invited to the CAPA "Last Living Witness" program at the Old Red Courthouse at Dealey Plaza, Dallas on Thursday, November 15, 2018, and given the opportunity to tell their stories and answer some of the outstanding questions. 


[Note: There are various spellings of John Rosselli’s name, as it is not his original birth name, and for the most part I will use that spelling - the one he gave to the Church Committee in 1975]

The CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro were never revealed to the Warren Commissioner, which sparked Commission attorney Sam Stern to tell the HSCA that had the Commission learned of the CIA-Mafia conspiracies to assassinate Fidel Castro, “we would have gone much more into Cuba, the CIA, and the Mafia. We would have had a whole host of new avenues calling for investigation. And we would have obviously had to develop some new sources of information – other than the agency.”

The public and press didn’t learn about those plots until Jack Anderson revealed them years later, using John Rosselli as a source.

So far in this story is populated with characters named “Bishop,” and “Knight,” and some are said to be “pawns,” and in that spirit, to mix metaphors, Johnny Rosselli is the joker of the pack in this game.
Much has been written about Mafia boss John Rosselli, about his immigrant origins, rise in the mob, the Chicago outfit’s man in Las Vegas and Hollywood, movie producer, his love life and bizarre murder after testifying before the Church Committee. But I want to focus on one aspect of his life – his work for the CIA, his association with the anti-Castro Cubans in 1962-63, his covert operational activities at JMWAVE and his allegations regarding the assassination of President Kennedy.

Now they call them the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro, and it was Rosselli who first exposed those plots and added the Mafia part to the equation.

Rosselli has said that he first became involved in the CIA plots to kill Castro  during the Eisenhower administration, when he was approached by former FBI agent Robert Mahu in Las Vegas and introduced to James “Big Jim” O’Connell, his first CIA case officer, at the Brown Derby restaurant in Beverly Hills in September 1960. They discussed killing Castro, and Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana and Santo Traficante of Tampa were advised and brought into the picture, but they faded away after the early poison plots failed. 
With the ascendency of John Kennedy to the Presidency and following the Bay of Pigs in April of 1961, Jim O’Connell was replaced by William Harvey as Rosseli’s CIA case officer and the mechanism of death went from poison to high powered rifle.

William Harvey was brought in to run the CIA’s Cuban Task Force W from his previous posting as chief of the CIA West Berlin station, where he gained fame for the Berlin Tunnell escapade. And he brought some of his German people with him, including his secretary Maggie Crane, Ted Shackley and among others Karl, an “outside” man who dealt directly with the Cubans.

Harvey named the Cuban desk “Task Force W” – reputedly after William Walker, an early 19th Century American soldier-of-fortune, who among other things, took over Nicaragua and was executed by a firing squad of American soldiers. Task Force W, aka “The Tank,” was set up in a corner of the basement of CIA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Those who worked there were ostensibly the puppet masters pulling the strings of the anti-Castro Cubans who were run out of the Miami, Florida JMWAVE station, then the largest CIA forward operating base (FOB) in the world. Harvey installed Maggie as secretary to Ted Shackley, who was named the JMWAVE chief of station (COS), and Harvey himself put in an appearance in Miami every few weeks though he usually worked out of the Task Force W offices at the CIA HQ in Langley.
William Harvey was part of the “Three Martini Lunch” crowd, along with James Jesus Angleton and Kim Philby, who Harvey unmasked as the Third Man in on the Cambridge spy scandal. They were occasionally joined by Maggie, whose husband was also in the CIA and was often stationed overseas. According to Bayard Stockton, Maggie “sat on the floor when she drank martinis, ‘so she wouldn’t fall off the carpet.’ Rita Chappiwicki succeeded Maggie. And then, in the Langley basement, it was Skip. The three knew all the secrets, but they never, ever betrayed Bill’s trust.”

According to Harvey’s official biography “Flawed Patriot – The Rise and Fall of CIA Legend Bill Harvey” by Bayard Stockton (Potomac Books, Washington D.C., 2006, p. 125), “By early Spring 1962 Task Force W’s headquarters staff was in place. Bill’s throne room during the fraught Cuban 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 (on the University of Miami south campus).”

[NOTE: It should be pointed out that “Flawed Patriot” was vetted and approved by CIA, and the author, former CIA officer Bayard Stockson died before the book was published. ]

Stockton wrote: “…The stories about JMWAVE are legion. Among them is the tale of a visit by Robert 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.”

Ted Shackley told Stockton that, “(Harvey) came down to Miami ever four to six weeks, mostly to see Johnny Rosselli….”

As Stockton writes it, “Another popular JMWAVE story is the U-Haul truck deal. Writers like this one because, to them, it proves that the CIA and Harvey provided arsenals to the Mafia. The only known witness/participant to the event is Shackley.”

Shackley: “Bill came down with a list…four or five pages….of equipment he wanted. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary in that. We turned the list over to the JMWAVE warehouse manager, who loaded the stuff into watertight containers. All very standard procedure. I rented a truck through three or four cutouts and drove it into the JMWAVE compound. The stuff was manifested in and out. I drove the truck out of the compound and turned it over. Bill and I followed it to a parking lot in South Miami. The driver of the truck took a hike and caught a cab. Bill and I waited; maybe up to an hour….It was no different from any other odd request for equipment.”

According to Rosselli however, while Harvey approved of and made arrangements for the U-Haul truck load of arms, he recalls O’Connell as being with him on the hour long stakeout of a vacant lot behind a Cuban restaurant in Miami, and watched as Cuban #3 picked up the truck they watched as it was driven away. In his 1975 Church Committee testimony, Rosselli said Cuban #3, who he refused to name, often made runs to Cuba in his powerboat, sometimes depositing teams of commandos and assassins. The U-Haul arms cache, inventoried in a detailed manifest, included high powered rifles with scopes and ammo that Shackley says were packed by the JMWAVE warehouse man in waterproof containers so they could be easily and safely shipped to Cuba.

“During…. the climax of the Cuban Missile Crisis, it looked as if the United States was going to war,” writes Stockton, who quotes Shackley as saying: “American military teams were ready to be infiltrated ….pathfinders and people like that. I was to be in a plane with the airborne commander. The presumption was that the American military would pacify Cuba, and then J-2 – military government would take over. I guess I would probably have been Havana station chief…Then Bobby heard there was a commando team on the water, which he had not authorized, and he called them back.”

“American military teams were ready to be infiltrated….pathfinders and people like that…”
Yes, but these pathfinders weren’t US Army Rangers – who are also known as the “pathfinders,” who are the first to go into a battle, these pathfinders were Cubans, anti-Castro Cuban commandos trained by U.S. Army Rangers – specifically U.S. Ranger Captain Bradley Ayers and U.S. Ranger Captain Edward Roderick.

Both men were reassigned from the Rangers to the CIA by General Krulak to train the Cubans in basic covert operational fundamentals, small craft maneuvering, small arms, explosives and sniper shooting.
“Legendary” explosives and small arms trainer John “I.F.” Harper and US Marine Captain Carl Jenkins assisted Captain Roderick in training the Cuban teams at Point Mary in sniper tactics and “infiltration and exfiltration,” Jenkins’ specialty.

Jenkins trained small bands of Cubans to infiltrate Cuba before the Bay of Pigs, during Moongose and sent out but recalled during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and at JMWAVE in 1963.


In a chapter of “Flawed Patriot” called “Rosselli’s Sub base in the Florida Keys,” Stockton writes; “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 a coral reef. The purpose of the base was to train snipers.”

According to Stockton’s source Mahoney in his book “Sons and Brothers” (Arcade Pub., NY,  1999, pp.166-170), “Rosselli…was the only person who could make the incendiary (Dave) M. laugh. They would drink until the sun came up, usually joined by Rip Robertson, the hard-bitten Texan and decorated veteran of World War II who was the favorite ‘boom and bang’ guy among the exiled Cubans [because he had actually participated in the Bay of Pigs landing operation]. A favorite bar was Les Deux Violins where, according to one of the Cuban operatives, ‘Johnny knew all the help by their first name, tipped hugely, and would tell farcical stories about his days with Al Capone…..According to [a Cuban commander under Rosselli], Colonel Rosselli used the team from time to time for raids and other operations. Rosselli was one of only two Americans authorized to go into Cuba on clandestine missions.”

While the CIA files are suspiciously quiet about Rosselli’s activities at the JMWAVE station, former US Army Ranger Captain Bradley Ayers wrote extensively about it. While those who work for the CIA routinely sign non-disclosure forms that require them to run any manuscripts past them before publication, Ayers never signed such an agreement since he was US Army assigned to CIA for temporary duty.

Stockton’s footnote to these quotes also mentions that, “Mahoney quotes in part Bradley Earl Ayers, “The War That Never Was: An Insider’s Account of the CIA Covert Operations Against Cuba,” (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1976.) Ayers’ book is impossible to find there days. An interesting coincidence is that it was published by Bobbs-Merrill, for whom Harvey worked in Indianapolis until shortly before his death. I have heard one claim that Harvey actually edited the book, but I cannot confirm the story.”

An official CIA Public Affairs officer, in response to a media request as to whether or not Bradley Ayers “was ever a CIA agent,” wrote: “According to our records, he was never an Agency employee. As an Army officer, Mr. Ayers was detailed to work with the CIA from May of 1963 to December 1964. Because he never was an Agency employee – and, as such, never signed a pre-publication agreement with us – any suggestion that the CIA tried to censor or suppress his writings is incorrect.”

While the CIA didn’t vet “The War That Never Was,” it was edited by William Harvey himself, the attorney for Bobbs-Merrell, of Indianapolis, Indiana, primarily a school book publisher who reportedly maintained an office at the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas.

After I read Ayers’ book in the early 1970s, I immediately recognized its significance in regards to the assassination of President Kennedy, and later got know Brad Ayers through numerous long distance telephone conversations. I also got a copy of his second book on the subject, “The Zenith Secret – A CIA Insider Exposes The Secret War Against Castro And the Plot That Killed The Kennedy Brothers,” (Vox Pop, NY, May 2006), a very obscure publisher that was run out of Bronx storefront.

When I talked to Ayers on the phone he said that one of the items edited out of his first book was the name and role of Gordon Campbell, the head of Maritime activities at JMWAVE, who Bill Turner was the first to write about in his book “The Fish Is Red.”Ayers also said he was suing Vox Pop for breach of contract.
In his second book Ayers says that he first heard about “Colonel Rosselli” from his fellow Ranger Captain Ed Roderick, who worked out of the Point Mary base at Key Largo while Ayers trained his cadre of Cuban commandos at the Pirates Lair and Elliot Key, deeper in the Everglades.

In a motel room drinking Scotch, Ayers recalled that, “Rod described an interesting new guy, Colonel Rosselli from Washington with whom he was working in operations.”

Ayers says that Roderick “had been drinking before he got to the house that night…confided, he and the recently arrived Colonel Rosselli were working on plans to ambush Fidel Castro, and they had been on a weekend binge together. They’d become close friends as they spent time together; their drinking friendship was a natural extension of their on-duty relationship.”

“While we ate I discussed my training activities,” Ayers continued, “Rod began to tell me about the new things that were ‘in the air’ at the station….It seemed the administration was ready to begin making an even more concerted effort to unseat Castro…The Special Group had already removed a number of targets from the restricted list, and there were more to go. It was up to the CIA, specifically the Miami station, to plan the new missions, recruit and train exiles, and mount operations to strike the Communist dictator where it really hurt. Other espionage activities were being carried out to coincide with this paramilitary effort, and still more attempts to eliminate Castro were being developed.”

“Then he dropped it,” Ayers says. “He told me Rosselli had high level Mafia and Havana connections. I was speechless. The American government collaborated with organized crime? I couldn’t believe it. I was anxious to meet this guy.”

Just as the Big Con confidence men are either “Inside” or “Outside” guys, the JMWAVE operators were either “Inside” men who worked out of the “Zenith Technical Enterprises” official offices, while the “Outside” guys like Ayers, Roderick, Morales, Jenkins, Harper, et al. al. worked “in the field” and dealt directly with the Cubans.

Ayers worked in Training under the Maritime activities branch head Gordon Campbell, and occasionally had to report to HQ where he sometimes attended briefings of branch chiefs, including one in which he notes: “All the branch chiefs were there as well as Mr. (Desmond) Fitzgerald and Mr. (William) Harvey from Washington accompanied by Ted Shackley and Campbell. Dave Morales introduced Mr. (David Atlee) Phillips who was identified as a coordinator for the new initiatives with the exile political organizations. The briefings were far more interesting and revealing than I anticipated….”

“It was during the period of these briefings (summer of 1963), when I had reason to frequent the operations-branch offices in the building adjacent to mine, that I finally met Colonel Rosselli. While waiting for the briefing to begin, I would usually visit with Bob Wall or Rod (Roderick). One day I walked into Wall’s corner office to see him talking with a dark-haired, sharply dressed man. As I apologized for my intrusion, Wall introduced him as Colonel Rosselli, ostensibly a former Army field grade officer now in service with CIA as a paramilitary specialist. Rosselli greeted me warmly while at the same time eyeing me carefully. He had a charming manner, self-confident, polished, soft-spoken. Just for the hell of it, I threw out a hook and asked him if he’d ever serve with the 11th Airborne Division. He looked at me quizzically, then at Wall, and somewhat embarrassingly said he had not. Rosselli was a presence in and about the operations building for most of the week of briefings and I saw him frequently coming and going from Morales’ office. I also observed him consulting with Rod in the plans room and occasionally walking or driving around the JMWAVE complex with Gordon Campbell and Mr. Phillips, who obviously held a very important position somewhere in the CIA covert operation hierarchy.”

Ayers adds some light flavor to the story in describing the places he saw the Inside men socializing. In a footnote Ayers writes, “I observed Rosselli frequently when I had occasion to visit the operations or intelligence branches…I also saw him with Roderick, Morales, and a case officer by the name of Tom Klines lunching or having cocktails at the State Bar, (a favorite JMWAVE staff watering hole) on U.S.1, not far from the station, and at the Perrine New England Oyster House. I got the distinct impression Rosselli and Morales were quite close and Roderick confirmed this in conversations I had with him. By the middle of summer 1963, it was commonly known that Rosselli was a mobster hit man type hired by the agency to conduct covert operations designed to kill Castro. There was virtually no secret about this at JMWAVE. Following my introduction to Rosselli in Walls’ office, my contact with him was brief, casual, and cordial and did not involve operational matters.”

Besides the State Bar, Ayers also mentions some social occasions with JMWAVE personnel at the Black Caesar’s Forge, and the Green Turtle Inn. From April 13 to 21, 1963 Harvey and “John A. Wallston” – aka Rosselli resided at or ate and drank at the Plantation Yacht Harbor Motel, the Eden Roc and Fontainebleau Hotels in Miami. We know this because Harvey submitted the pay stubs for the CIA to pick up the tabs.
Among Harvey’s “Ops Expenses QJWIN/ZRRIFLE” are $26 for “drinks and dinner for 2” at the Eden Roc, $75 charter fishing boat fee, Islamorada, $200 for Eden Roc hotel rooms, and $1,000 for “ZRRIFLE/MI – No receipt.

[NOTE: Harvey was asked about these recepits when he was questioned by the Church Committee, because he also said QJWIN was not used on any Cuban operation. He said it was just sloppy bookkeeping.]


Ayers says that the administration’s new covert initiatives against Castro and Cuba not only had the approval of the NSC Special Group, but Robert Kennedy the attorney general was brought into the mix personally, meeting with the JMWAVE Inside men at a cocktail mixer in a safe house adjacent to a golf course, and was flown by helicopter to one of the Everglade base camps where he was personally introduced to some of the Cuban commandos who were being trained there.

According to Ayers, he was sent to the “Waloos Glades Hunting Camp” where he observed two helicopters – a military Bell-13 with the tail numbers taped over, and a civilian chopper from the West Palm Beach air service parked next to two Quonset huts. While drinking coffee around a camp fire, “the door to one of the Quonsets sung open and four men emerged. As they moved into the circle of firelight I recognized Gordon Campbell. I had seen him only a few times since my briefing with him but had been impressed with his polished, slightly flamboyant executive manner. I caught my breath at the appearance of the second man. It was attorney general Robert Kennedy.”

“The four men talked in low voices for a few minutes, and then the attorney general came over and shook hands with each of us, wishing us good luck and God’s speed on our mission. Hell, I didn’t even know what my mission was. His white teeth sparkled, and I felt a strange sense of strength and resolve when he grasped my hand. Then he and one of the Cubans went to the civilian helicopter, and in minutes it took off. Now I understood the need for extra secrecy. If the president felt strongly enough to send his brother, something very big was being planned.”

“When the helicopter was gone, the deputy chief of station came over,…In a Quonset hut…illuminated by several Colman lanterns, …charts, maps, and other papers on a table in the center of the room, he said, ‘The reason we’ve got you here and the reason for all the secrecy is that we just got the green light from upstairs to go ahead on some missions we’ve been planning for some time….You’ll be happy to know that the Special Group has finally given us permission to use two-man submarines to strike Castro’s ships in the harbors. Some of your UDT people will be involved in that. And next week Rip’s (Robertson) boys are going to Eglin for parachute training, so an airborne commando raid may not be far off. But right now we’ve got the go-ahead to hit one of the major oil refineries from on the island. All we have to do is get a commando force in shape to do the job.”


The men for these missions were trained at Point Mary, Elliott Key, Plantation Key and the remote Pirate’s Lair, that could only be reached by boat.

While Jenkins, Harper and Roderick worked with the Cubans at Point Mary, a remote area near Key Largo, Captain Bradley Ayers and Case Officer Porter Goss trained another team of Cubans at different locations deep in the Everglades. That team was led by Julio Fernandez, and partially financed - just as Rosselli supported his team at Point Mary, the Ayers/Fernandez team was backed by Clare Booth Luce, wife of the Life Magazine publisher.

Luce wrote a photo feature on her “Cuban Boys” in Life, and on the night of the assassination, she was awaken by a phone call from Julio Fernandez, who told her he had a recording of Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin, as well as photos and other items of evidence. Luce told Fernandez to call the FBI, but he wasn’t heard from again.

Bradley Ayers says that he trained his team of Cubans to attack an oil facility and docking terminal on the North Shore, while the Point Mary team were trained as snipers. That was the team that was being trained to carry out Pathfinder, the plan to kill Castro by shooting him with a high powered rifle as he rode in an open jeep. And it is the Cubans at Point Mary we are primarily concerned with as they are the most likely ones to have turned their guns on JFK in Dallas.

And it is the Point Mary team who became involved with John Rosseli.

On April 14, 1962 in Washington, D.C., Rosselli’s former case officer Jim O’Connell sat in on a Rosselli-Harvey meeting, after which O’Connell was reassigned to Okinawa and Harvey became Rosselli’s case officer and O’Connell went out of the picture.

According to Stockton, Rosselli’s official biographer, “On April 21, 1962, a year after the Bay of Pigs, Harvey and Roselli met at the Miami airport, and the Get Castro enterprise took on a new life. ‘The second phase [i.e., after Harvey took over] appears to lack the high-level gangster flavor that characterized the first phase,” - meaning Giancana and Trafficante were no longer consulted.

“Rosselli remained a prominent figure in the operation, but working directly with the Cuban exile community, directly on behalf of the CIA and directly under Harvey. In fact, immediately after he took over the ZRRIFLE portfolio, Harvey cut Giancana, and most especially, Trafficante out of the operation. It would be rational to assume, however, that Rosselli kept them informed, as a matter of Mob tact and diplomacy.”

“In an internal memorandum dated May 14, 1962,” writes Stockton, “Sheffield Edwards noted a phone call from Harvey, who said ‘that he was dropping any plans for the use of [Rosselli] for the future.’ The comment may have been an accurate indication of intent at the time, but it was not factually correct. Rather it was a conclusive, deliberately misleading signal, obscuring the fact that Bill was tucking the Rosselli/Get Castro operation into his vest-pocket.”

At that point Rosselli got a “crash course in intelligence trade craft, particularly the need for security and perhaps most especially the use of the telephone, counter-surveillance, the use of cutouts, recruitment requirements, and name checking – the usually boring but vital aspects of intelligence work. Most probably, as the circumstances permitted, the two men from worlds apart felt each other out, probed each others’ vulnerabilities and weaknesses – often over a bottle or two – and gradually formed the basis for an enduring partnership.”

Rosselli’s alias was “John Ralston” or “Colonel Ralston.” (also spelled John A. Wallston).

Two JMWAVE officers recalled that Rosselli, “…frequented JMWAVE…sometimes attending staff briefings, but more often engaging in demolition exercises with Ed Roderick, in rounds of cribbage, or heading off…for drinking bouts.”

“Dave M. was assigned to Johnny’s raiders to exert day-to-day control over a group of buccaneers who could have turned a messy situation into a disastrous one. It’s more than possible that the U-Haul resupply caper recalled by Shackley…was actually a resupply mission for Johnny’s ops base in the Keys.”

Sen. Mondale. When you were asked to help arrange for the assassination of Mr. Castro, what was your understanding of who In the United States government wanted you to do this?

Mr. Rosselli. Well, anybody in the U.S. government. My point was if I am recruited in the Army, and I was in the Second World War, it is like being recruited in the Army, and if it comes through from higher authority I don’t ask any questions how high it was as long as there were government people I was satisfied that I was doing a duty for my country. 

Testimony of John Roselli, 24, JUN 1975 157-10014-10001 – p. 62-63 of 97)

“Various accounts place Rosselli physically – sometimes in the uniform of a U.S. Army colonel – at the JMWAVE headquaraters….(but),” according to Stockton, “it is highly unlikely that Rosselli did, indeed come onto the base. Such a visit would have been a severe violation of basic security and would have been anathema to Harvey.”

“Once Dick Helms personally cleared Rosselli for the assassination operation, the mafioso was covered as a colonel in the U.S. Arm and Dave M. moved from the Langley basement (Task Force W) to Florida. Towards 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.”

From the Rosselli Chronology File: “In Key Largo, Roselli was known as “Colonel,” training Cubans as fighters and earning Harvey’s admiration. On midnight missions, these exile soldiers reportedly traveled in twin powerboats to secret landing spots along the Cuban coastline to provide armaments to other anti-Castro conspirators. One JFK file includes a heroic account of Rosselli going along on some of these trips, once saving himself from a sinking boat riddled with bullets after being attacked by a Cuban patrol waiting in the shadows. According to another JFK file, Rosselli was gone for so long on one mission that Giancana worried that he had been killed.”

“Sometime in 1962, the CIA created a file called “Project Johnny” about Roselli’s heroics and kept it locked in a safe. Documents show this file was given a number — 667 270 — though years later it could not be found by congressional investigators, who mentioned looking for it to trace the actions of this mobster spy.” 

As the Cuban Missile Crisis was getting underway, in October 1962 Rosselli said that he talked to Harvey over the phone and Harvey instructed him to go to Florida where he stayed in contact with his Cuban friends for the duration of the Cuban missile crisis, and it was three JMWAVE maritime teams who were on their way to Cuba when they were sent on their way to Cuba by Harvey and Rosselli and then called back on orders of RFK.

Rosselli’s Chronology File reads: “During the Cuban missile crisis, Rosselli was in Chicago. He contacted (William) Harvey at Harvey’s mother’s home in Indianapolis and left his number in Chicago. Harvey then called him, told him to go to Washington, D.C. From Washington D.C., Rosselli traveled to Florida where he stayed for the duration of the Cuban missile crisis. He, at times, would, through his Cuban contacts, attempt to verify the location of the Russian missiles in Cuba. Rosselli claimed that this had been successful. After the Cuban missile crisis, Harvey called Rosselli and told him to stop all contacts with any and all persons involved in past Cuban missions. Harvey never stated why the missions were being called off.”

According to Rosselli, he met with Harvey in June, 1963, the last time they met officially in regards to the Cuban projects, though they remained close friends and social acquaintances. 

What became of the JMWAVE commandos after their plans were "disapproved by higher authority" and the missions they trained for were called off, both the Cuban Missile Crisis Pathfinders, and when the Pathfinder mission was officially “disapproved by higher authority”? 

The National Security Council’s Special Group (Augmented w/ RFK) was responsible for evaluating proposed covert intelligence operations against Cuba, and approving or disapproving them. Sometimes JFK would overrule a covert operation approved by the NSC SGA – such as the leaflet dropping mission.
A leaflet was prepared for release by airplanes over Cuba, and after it was approved by the NSC SGA, President Kennedy ran it past Robert Morrow, whose objections to it led to JFK withdrawing approval. Other covert ops, - such as one to destroy an oil refinery, was rescinded after the oil company objected, hoping to retrieve its Cuban assets in full operating order.

The three “Pathfinder” crews sent to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis by William Harvey, were recalled in route by RFK, - the straw that broke Harvey’s back, as he was relieved as head of the Cuban Task Force W by RFK shortly thereafter, and posted to Rome, as Chief of Station by the CIA.

“Harvey’s removal from Task Force W at Bobby Kennedy’s behest was a watershed event for the CIA,” writes Stockton, “even though it may not have been recognized as such at the time.”

“From October 1962 on – after Helms and McCone replaced Harvey with Desmond FitzGerald, who was far more acceptable to the Kennedys as a person – the CIA was vulnerable to political manipulation. This became evident again in 1967, when (CIA Director Richard) Helms hastily called for the inspector general’s report, in anticipation of the fallout from Drew Pearson’s revelations...(about the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro).”

In Harvey’s place, Desmond FitzGerald was appointed the new head of Task Force W, the Cuban desk at the CIA, and it was FitzGerald who, on September 25, briefed the Joint Chiefs of Staff on CIA covert Cuban operations, especially the ones that were approved by the NSC SGA and required military assistance, that would be provided by General Krulak, whose aide, Colonel Higgins, wrote the memo minutes of that important meeting.

That the anti-Castro Cuban commandos, trained by Ayers, Roderick, Jenkins and Harper continued their – NSC SGA approved covert action missions against Cuba was readily apparent on November 1, 1963 when the New York Times ran a front page article about the CIA raider ship “The Rex,” and a photo of the ship docked at Palm Beach, Fla., not far from President Kennedy’s Southern White House home.

Castro had complained publicly on television, and the New York Times confirmed that the ship had deposited teams of commandos on a North Shore beach, some of whom were captured, with high powered rifles and scopes, and they were paraded on Cuban TV, and acknowledge that the CIA officially approved and supported and trained them. The CIA raider ship “Rex,” the New York Times reported, was leased to “Collins Radio” company of Richardson, Texas.

Collins Radio also made and serviced the radios for Air Force One, all of the executive aircraft as well as the Air Force Strategic Air Command bombers.  The company later merged with Rockwell International, to become Rockwell-Collins, a major defense contractor that hired Eugene Wheaton as a security consultant in the Middle East.

[Note: For some reason, even after the Collins Radio cover was blown by the New York Times in the Nov.1, 1963 cover story, the National Security Agency (NSA) used Collins Radio as a cover story for the construction of its new multi-million dollar headquarters in suburban Virginia, a transparent cover that was easily exposed when a security guard at the construction site was suspiciously murdered. It would be remiss for me not to mention the fact that Bradley Ayers and a former Havana Embassy officer were discredited in their photo identification of JMWAVE officers Gordon Campbell and David Morales at the scene of RFK’s murder, and Ayers recalls meeting with Campbell after an official death certificate was issued for him. Regardless of that, I believe what Ayers says about Rosselli at JMWAVE, as it rings true to what else we know.]

Both Bradley Ayers and Gene Wheaton are like flies on the wall, insiders who saw and heard those covert operators who were engaged in the secret operations that led to the murder of President Kennedy at Dealey Plaza.

On November 22, 1963, as news of the assassination spread around the world, it was early evening in Italy, where William Harvey was awaken from a drunken sleep by his aide (probably Mark Wyatt) and told of the murder, sparking him to mumble, “This was bound to happen, and it’s probably good that it did.” 

John Rosselli told the Church Committee Senators that he was in bed at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, where he was awaken by a phone call from a Hollywood movie producer friend who told him about the assassination.

It was 1:30 pm in Washington D.C. where Desmond Fitzgerald and his associate Sam Halpern were sitting down to lunch at an exclusive and historic Georgetown Club when they were told of the assassination and left immediately. As they walked out, Halpern said, Fitzgerald thought out loud, wondering if his Cubans were involved.

That is something we should all be wondering now, over fifty years later. 

[NOTE: Harvey/Shackley secretary Maggie Crane, Carl Jenkins and John I.F. Harper are all still alive. I have their contacts and will try to see if they will talk about Pathfinder. Support CAPA Research by joining or making a donation to CAPA at ]



1 comment:


Interesting. But the "pathfinder" ops you mention re cuba/missile crisis are more in league with what would have been contrived [then] along the lines of actual Pathfinder operations (as they relate to airborne operations). Harvey was told SPECIFICALLY to "stand down". He did not. He was relieved -- and justifiably. I think you might wish to focus on someone conspicuously missing from all of this...Grayston Lynch! dm