Harvey Point Defense Testing Activity, Hertford

Harvey Point is along the Atlantic Coast near the Outer Banks and Kitty Hawk. Originally established in World War II as a base for blimps conducting surveillance operations along the coast, it is now where the CIA conducts training exercises for its paramilitary forces.

Harvey Point is where the CIA sends its agents to learn paramilitary skills, such as use of explosives, advanced firearms and weaponry, sabotage techniques, “personnel snatches” (such as hostage rescue or kidnapping), and unconventional transportation methods (for example, use of jet skis for water transportation), techniques for being “inserted” and removed from hostile territory, and how to live off naturally occurring food sources and materials. In addition to individual training, guerrilla warfare training exercises are conducted here. In fact, Harvey Point is where the CIA trained Cuban exiles for the unsuccessful 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.


Residents of nearby Hertford have become accustomed to being awakened by the sounds of explosions and low-flying aircraft and yes, many are black, unmarked helicopters.

Harvey Point is surrounded by water, heavily wooded in places, and in a lightly-populated area, all of which makes for an ideal training environment. Many trainees are flown into and out of Harvey Point and have zero or minimal contact with local residents. When trainees are bused in through Hertford, they are usually in buses with blacked out windows. Unmarked trucks with U.S. government plates are also a frequent sight passing through Hertford.

What’s There: Satellite photographs show landing strips, numerous buildings, and a network of roads through the facility. In addition to woods, there are several open areas.

Getting a Look Inside: Don’t even think about it, okay?

Unusual Fact: While ordinary American citizens can’t get a look inside Harvey Point, some foreign citizens can. For example, the New York Times reported in 1998 that security forces for the Palestinian Authority in other words, Yasser Arafat’s homeboys have trained at Harvey Point. And, of course, there is absolutely no possibility whatsoever that those trainees later passed along their new skills to suicide bombers or other terrorists.

Getting There: Harvey Point is located about nine miles southeast of Hertford; the road ends at a guardhouse and a sign reading “Harvey Point Defense Testing Activity.” That’s as far as you can go.

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