Regarding possible conspiracy are the unending allegations and terms of derision made by those who oppose ideas that disturb them. Yet in most cases it is just a matter of hyperbolic disagreement, the people debating feasible conspiracy are not insane. Similarly, those undertaking official activities in the vast majority of cases are sane but some prior undertook operations that were illegal such as the Castro assassination plots. However, all occurred under functioning mental will unimpaired by proven imbalances.
Yet not all from either side of the debate were such men, some the American government relied upon were literally disturbed. Conversely, well-known figures who claimed an improbable large conspiracy based on unproven personal assertions too are highly questionable. There was no excuse for some official activities undertaken and no amount of national security concerns justifies a handful of the worst programs and people used by officials or their fronts.
William Harvey was a controversial figure and the nexus of various illegal clandestine Agency operations and he was a former Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who faced termination due to drinking problems.i He was a key figure in the Castro assassination plots and utilized such methods as the destruction of official documents and planting false documents as well. Harvey was tasked with hundreds of people and significant resources to murder Fidel Castro by clandestine means.
Truly dangerous was Harvey dispatching infiltration teams into Cuba during the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis without orders.ii Harvey was noted to "hate Bobby Kennedy's guts with a purple passion". Eventually the Kennedy administration stripped him of his influence over Task Force W, a militant official group, and Harvey faced reassignment to the CIA station in Rome. This reassignment was ill conceived due to Harvey's gruff style and his drinking quickly increased with the new official assignment. An unnamed CIA source stated, "They could not have picked a bigger bull for a better china shop."
One of Harvey's Agency supervisors offered during this period that Harvey was "sick and coming apart at the seams".iii The drinking led to hospitalization and later Harvey returned to the Agency despite his many proven and alleged transgressions. Stemming from an incident with another Agency operative, Richard Helms determined that Harvey should be relieved of his position. Officially it was due to alcoholism, unmentioned publicly were the repeated illegal and on at least one occasion, unauthorized actions.
Richard Case Nagell is another person of interest to some officials and researchers in the case and he often claimed possessing secret knowledge of the Kennedy case. He threatened the CIA to expose information he controlled to the Spanish authorities and the Agency privately decided if Nagell did so, they would release all information of his mental problems contained in their files.iv The Agency passed information regarding Nagell's mental problems to the FBI under its cryptonym (LNERGO). These documents mention Nagell's military service and being relieved of service "due to mental instability" while serving in Japan.v An article written about Nagel additionally states he erroneously claimed employment by the CIA. Nagell stated, "...the U.S. Government is forcibly keeping him separated from his family" after his release from an East German prison. Nagell was not able to support these claims and no substantial evidence has yet proven a strong connection regarding the assassination.vi
Richard Schlang was a clerk that women repeatedly alleged harassed or molested them and officials allege that Schlang created a story about possessing "secret" knowledge about President Kennedy's assassination in order to minimize these other allegations. An informant notified both the Bureau that he and Schlang had a conversation regarding the claims and Schlang claimed he would deny any such occurrence. Schlang was prior noted to have spent time in mental facilities and these asserted secrets were never verified.vii Schlang is one of many unreliable individuals who offered unbelievable myths to the public and officials.
Among the most speculated upon people in the assassination is David Ferrie who served in multiple anti-Castro groups and participated in repeated operations to arm and train Cuban exiles. He also served G. Wray Gill as a researcher and investigator in exchange for subsequent legal aid. However, Ferrie's rare supporter does not mention the most disturbing allegations regarding his mental state and his "sexual exploitation of younger men would eventually cause him numerous problems."viii Ferrie hosted parties at his home where "liquor flowed freely" and he practiced hypnotism with minors from the Cadet Air Patrol. "A group within the group called the 'Omnipotents,' was allegedly started to train cadets in what to do in the event of a major attack on the United States."ix However, the Omnipotent group also involved one of many episodes of Ferrie illegally offering youths a fatalistic cult mentality.
John Harris reported to the border patrol that David Ferrie had been attempting to purchase arms and aircraft and Ferrie at the time was facing charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Harris told officials "Ferrie had a group of young boys who he supports and controls completely." Harris was endeavoring to have one boy leave the situation without success and Harris alleged Ferrie "was holding something over the boys" that lived with him in his apartment and perhaps was giving them "narcotics".x
Harris believed Ferrie was taking "pornographic pictures" of the boys and using it to blackmail them into complicity and he witnessed Ferrie giving them liquor but did not observe any photographs taken. However, one of the boys involved did state to Harris when police searched Ferrie's apartment the reason they found no photographs was due to him concealing them at his mother's home. Ferrie had additionally provided false passports for some of the boys who were to accompany him abroad.xi One concerned mother described Ferrie's Omnipotent group to requiring swearing oaths to older members and falling under the sway of the "erroneously" described "Dr." Ferrie.xii xiii
Ferrie was repeatedly subject to legal charges based on his associations with young men by their parents, and some who stayed with him were runaway boys. Ferrie in order to contact one boy impersonated a doctor at the New Orleans Detention Center and officials subsequently arrest Ferrie. Three days later Ferrie was arrested a second time for "crime against nature on a 15 year old boy and indecent behavior with three others."xiv A New Orleans police investigation "produced statements from several boys that Ferrie committed indecent acts with them."xv Officials noted Ferrie received aid from Sergio Arcacha Smith and who locally supervised a Central Intelligence Agency funded Cuban exile association the Cuban Revolutionary Council. He wrote a letter to Eastern Airlines and attempted to bargain with the upset parents of one boy staying at Ferrie's apartment.
Their links to the case feasibly emerged from their own creation, criminal associations, or unproven claims, yet disturbed men emerged from both sides. Many offer tales and unsubstantial conclusions regarding some of these men but without the necessary evidence, they remain unproven. The facts reveal the potential of disturbed minds given power or attention despite their actual role in history and these events.
i. David C. Martin, The CIA's Loaded Gun, The Washington Post, October 10, 1976, Weisberg Archive, Hood College, p. C-1
iv. House Select Committee on Assassinations, Segregated CIA Files, Microfilm Reel 55, Noting Nagel Threat to have himself arrested by Spanish Emb. that he will unload his problems and claims on Spanish authorities, March 28, 1969, p. 1, National Archives and Records Administration: 104-10220-10023
v. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Cable Re Richard Nagell's Mental Condition, Box 44, File 97, March 3, 1969, p. 2, NARA ID: 104-10123-10019
vi. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Microfilm Reel 55, Folder G, Richard Case Nagell, February 4, 1964, p. 2, NARA ID: 1994.05.18.11:23:56:720005
vii. President's Commission Document Number 1347, FBI Gemberling Report, Richard Schlang, pp. 176-178
viii. Report of the HSCA, Appendix Volume X, Section XII, David Ferrie, p. 106
ix. Ibid, p. 108
x. HSCA, FBI Subject Files, E-F, No Title, David Ferrie, October 30, 1961, p. 1, NARA ID: 124-10115-10062
xi. Ibid, p. 2
xii. Report of the HSCA, Appendix Vol. X, Section XII, David Ferrie, pp. 106-107
xiii. HSCA, FBI Subject Files, E-F, David Ferrie, October 30, 1961 p. 6
xiv. Report of the HSCA, Appendix Vol. X, Section XII, David Ferrie, pp. 109-110
Edited: December 2017