In his 1987 memoir Spycatcher, former British counter-intelligence agent Peter Wright recalled a conversation he had with two legendary counterintelligence officers of the CIA—James Jesus Angleton and William K. Harvey—some time after the Bay of Pigs disaster in Cuba.
Harvey, a squat bald man who looked like a heavier version of Heinrich Himmler sans spectacles, said he was seeking input on British interests in the Caribbean, but Wright sensed he was after something else. Harvey was known to operate a group of assassins plucked from the ranks of criminal organizations in Europe, and the MI5 agent worried that anything he said would soon be “quoted around Washington by the CIA as the considered British view of things.”
After a bit of back-and-forth, it became clear to Wright that Harvey was looking for someone who might be tapped to eliminate Fidel Castro.
“They don’t freelance, Bill,” Wright said bluntly. “You could try to pick them up retired, but you’d have to see Six about that.”
The response irritated Harvey, who seemed to believe Wright was being deliberately unhelpful. Wright decided to throw Harvey a bone.
“Have you thought of approaching Stephenson?” Wright asked. “A lot of the old-timers say he ran this kind of thing in New York during the war.”