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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Was Bill Harvey in Dallas in November of 1963?

Once again, Jefferson Morley offers up a conspiracy theory with absolutely no evidence. This time he suggests that William Harvey, a CIA officer who was involved in attempts to assassinate Castro and who hated the Kennedys, was in Dallas in November of 1963. There is no good reason to believe his claim.

Morley is on a roll. He just recently suggested that Allen Dulles was at a CIA training facility the weekend right after the assassination. Dulles was supposed to be there but he cancelled to spend the weekend in Washington. Morley has also suggested that Reuben Efron, Deputy Chief of the CIA's HTLINGUAL project, who translated letters, was involved in some sort of operation surrounding Lee Harvey Oswald. There is no evidence to sustain this allegation either.

Here is what Morley says about Bill Harvey:

In November 1963, Mark Wyatt, a State Department official who worked with Harvey in Rome, saw Harvey on a commercial flight to Dallas, which he found curious. On the day of JFK’s assassination, Wyatt heard Harvey make comments that made him believe Harvey had prior knowledge of a plot to kill the president.

Wyatt’s story was first reported by JFK author David Talbot in his book “The Devil’s Chessboard.” In 2017, Talbot sued the CIA for Harvey’s travel records for 1963. The Agency did not provide any travel records and the case was dismissed.

Before he died in 1976, Harvey told his wife to destroy all of his personal papers, which she did.

Mark Wyatt worked for Harvey in the Italian CIA office. It appears that he told his family he had suspicions, but they weren't strong enough for him to testify before the HSCA. Wyatt then supposedly told journalist Fabrizio Calvi that he "bumped into Harvey on a plane to Dallas sometime before the assassination." He allegedly asked Harvey why he was going to Dallas.

It's also interesting that, at the time, Wyatt's supposed comments made no impression on Calvi, as Talbot notes "Calvi himself forgot about Wyatt's remarks until years later."

But there an important footnote in Talbot's book about the story that Wyatt saw Harvey on a flight to Dallas: (footnote to page 477)

Wyatt's daughter believes there was some misunderstanding between her father and Calvi. This means there is very little evidence that Bill Harvey took a flight to Dallas in November of 1963.

Mark Wyatt also spoke to Bayard Stockton, author of the 2006 book, Flawed Patriot: The Rise and Fall of CIA Legend Bill Harvey. Stockton worked for the CIA under Bill Harvey in Berlin for two years and then became Newsweek's bureau chief in Bonn and London.

His book has a chapter entitled "Bill Harvey and the Assassination of President Kennedy." Here is what he said about Bill Harvey and Mark Wyatt: (pages 208 - 209 in the Kindle edition)

Did Harvey play any role in the assassination plot after his arrival in Rome in early July 1963?

By the time of the JFK assassination, Harvey had been stationed in Rome over four months. On November 22, he was at a Mediterranean island stay-behind training site. “Bill Harvey … was unconscious. His drinking had progressed from habit to disease after his exile to Italy…. When the telex noting Kennedy’s murder was received by his deputy, Harvey had to be awakened from a late-day martini stupor. The man who hated the Kennedys … staggered to his feet.” (The news would have hit Italy sometime after seven in the evening.)

“What he is reported to have said to his deputy should be taken with Harvey’s condition in mind; the auditor recorded it for posterity: ‘This was bound to happen,’ blurted Harvey, ‘and it’s probably good that it did.’ Soon, when Harvey discovered that his deputy was spending time helping local officials with condolences, he sent the deputy packing for the U.S. ‘I haven’t got time for this kind of crap, Harvey told him.’” [this story is sourced from Gus Russo's Live By the Sword, page 304]

Mark Wyatt, Harvey’s deputy in Rome who may have been the source of the above account, told me forty years later, “One night, we got the call that JFK might not live. Bill was so pie-eyed drunk, we could hardly get him on his feet. The Italians were saying to him, ‘Mr. Harvey, we have to get you back!’ It was a stormy night, so we had to get back to the mainland by ship.” I have also heard that a high officer put his personal plane at Harvey’s disposal to get him back to Rome.

Wyatt, again, enigmatically: “Harvey said to me later, ‘Mark, we tried so hard, but no one will ever know who shot JFK!’ Bill interpreted it as the Mob getting to Oswald. I felt terrible about it.”

Here is Stockton's footnote about (page 337 - 338)

Mark Wyatt provided me with the information that Harvey flew back to Rome in an official Italian plane, but he omitted the details about Bill’s boozy state at the time of the assassination. The “deputy” cited in the Russo quotation is almost undoubtedly Wyatt, who bore Harvey no goodwill for a series of real and imagined slights. Harvey did terminate Wyatt’s tour of duty in Rome abruptly and earned Wyatt’s undying enmity, but not because Wyatt was telling stories about Bill’s condition at the time of the Kennedy assassination. Mark Wyatt, in conversation with the author, March 13, 2001. Wyatt died in June 2006.

Wyatt never said one word to Stockton about seeing Harvey on a plane to Dallas. Stockton discusses the allegation of Harvey's involvement in the assassination in more detail (page 224) in his book but says that the rumor is "patently absurd." He notes: (pages 225 - 226)

No one in the CIA who knew Harvey at his prime believes, or believed, that he possibly could have been involved in the JFK assassination. No one. Not even those who had reason to dislike him. The very idea was and is to this day, among the still-living, anathema to them. It is also hard to imagine that CG Harvey would have so enthusiastically endorsed the concept of this book if she had the slightest inkling that her late husband had been involved in the crime of the century.

Stockton discusses a variety of allegations made about Harvey over the years, and here is his conclusion: (page 221)

So, does all this prove anything about Harvey’s conjectured participation in, or knowledge of, the plot to assassinate John F. Kennedy? The forthright answer is: No. There are filaments in the glow of suspicion that Harvey was somehow connected with the events of November 22, 1963, but those suspicions are based, to a great degree, on people’s reading of the unpolished character of Harvey—which serves to confirm their own dark suspicions that the CIA and the Agency’s Bad Boy were somehow involved.

Jefferson Morley's Substack has become a vehicle to present all sorts of allegations about the JFK assassination: his belief in a supposed Oswald operation involving George Joannides and Reuben Efron, the whereabouts of Allen Dulles, and allegations that Jack Ruby was a subject of MK-Ultra, Morley is quick to present notions of conspiracy; not so quick with actual evidence.

Previous Relevant Blog Posts on Jefferson Morley

Morley repeats the claim that Dulles was at a CIA training center during the weekend of the JFK assassination. He wasn't.

Morley's claims about Efron are all wrong.

Morley responded to my article "The Truth about Operation Northwoods." Here is my reply.

W. Tracy Parnell is one of the best JFK assassination researchers out there. Here is his look at Jefferson Morley with several important articles.

Operation Northwoods can only understood as being part of the Kennedys' war against Cuba and Operation Mongoose.

And a response from me.

There is no evidence that Dr. West petitioned the court to examine Jack Ruby before his trial.

There is absolutely no evidence that Dr. Louis Jolyon West interfered with Jack Ruby's case.

The phrase 'who shot John' does not refer to the JFK assassination.

Jefferson Morley used a fake Oswald handbill in his press conference for the Mary Ferrell Foundation.

An examination of redactions in the JFK collection of documents.


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