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Cryptonym: GUIDE-223

Definition:
Most likely Robert E. Webster, who became a American defector to the USSR after the end of the American Exhibition in Moscow in Sept. 1959. Webster defected two weeks before Oswald in 1959, and returned two weeks before Oswald in 1962. Both Webster and Oswald were described as 5 foot 10, weight 165 pounds.
Status:
Probable
Discussion:
Ordinarily the guide is a reference to "guideline" used by the contact with OO. June 1959 memo refers to "Guide 223", no differentiating Webster among the four men given ad hoc security clearances. The 10/20/59 memo re the need for "a list of persons whom Rand is sending to the USSR in order to avoid contacts with such people as Webster and Ted Korycki as Guide 223 or Lincoln Leads respectively." This is a direct reference to Webster as "Guide 223", treating it as a cryptonym or nickname. See Reel 17, Folder S, p. 35: Henry Rand was a well-respected CIA source, see analysis report cover sheet Rand prepared for the Agency’s Domestic Contacts Division after Webster's return, and pp. 81-84, naming Rand as contact and source in case 29267. Webster had two cases - Case 29267 from 10/8/59 to as late as 6/15/62 (Reel 17, Folder S, p. 38) Case 38246 is his debrief -104-10322-10042, 8/14/62: A joint report of CIA, Air Force, and Foreign Technology Division. Description of Robert E. Webster as 5 foot 10, 165 pounds: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=67108&relPageId=2 False description of Lee Harvey Oswald as 5 foot 10, 165 pounds: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=6665&relPageId=8 For Priscilla Johnson's description of Robert E. Webster in October 1959 as a "good-looking six-footer": https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=136823&relPageId=35 For Priscilla Johnson's description of Lee Harvey Oswald during November 1959 as a "nice-looking six-footer": https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=103934&relPageId=43 Reel 17, Folder S, p. 22: shows Webster's DCD number as A-79930; his file is F-79930. See 104-10181-10127: DCD interviewed Dr. Allen Kent, Western Reserve University - worked with Rand & was quite upset by the "Robert Webster case". Wikipedia credits Allen Kent as a pioneer in encoding information technology. Kent advised JFK on how to build a national information storage and retrieval network.
Sources:

124-10197-10416: No Title

1957: Plastic chemist Robert E. Webster was seeking government work. He described himself as 5 foot 10, weight 166 pounds.

Bill Simpich, THE JFK CASE: THE TWELVE WHO BUILT THE OSWALD LEGEND (Part 7: The hand-off from De Mohrenschildt to the Paines): https://aarclibrary.org/the-jfk-case-the-twelve-who-built-the-oswald-legend-part-7-the-hand-off-from-de-mohrenschildt-to-the-paines/

1958-1959: "(Ruth Paine and Michael Paine, the family that housed Marina Oswald during 1963) probably had a handler within the intelligence community in 1959, whether they knew it or not. Based on their background with the World Federalists and Ruth’s work with the Quakers and Soviet-American friendship committees, (covert actions chief) Cord Meyer is the logical candidate...(In 1958) Frederick Merrill at the State Department put his stamp of approval on the East-West Contact Committee program organized by the Quakers that Ruth had worked on – the following year (1959) Merrill worked on the Robert Webster defector case that was linked to the Oswald defector case. Did some combination of Meyer, AID and the State Department somehow persuade the Paines to keep an eye on this defector family, or were they simply manipulated into position? Ruth had other intelligence operatives in her family – such as her sister Sylvia Hoke and her brother-in-law John Hoke – who could play a role in helping to convince her. Michael Paine’s family also had access to talent in the intelligence arena. Michael’s mother had a close friend named Mary Bancroft who was an OSS spy that slept with Allen Dulles."

Bill Simpich, State Secret, Chapter 1: https://www.maryferrell.org/pages/State_Secret_Chapter1.htmlhttps://www.maryferrell.org/php/crypsuedit.php?type=crypt&id=GUIDE-223#

On September 30, just as his visa was about to expire, Webster wrote the American embassy and told them that he was staying in the USSR. On October 6, a diplomat at the American embassy sent a memo to the State Department, tipping them off that Webster was defecting. The memo included a handwritten memo sizing up Webster, possibly from a photograph, describing him as "hgt 10.5, light, looks 165". To read the memo, see 104-10276-10032. That same description was falsely applied to Oswald after his defection - see 104-10428-10253, p. 8. Note 124-10210-10354, p. 8: FBI memo, 9/21/59: "Rand cooperates with Air Force Intelligence on technical intelligence projects... had responsibilities regarding recent U. S. Exhibition in Moscow...(Webster) is a technician and is not witting or involved in ATIC (Air Force Technical Intelligence Center) activities." See 104-10322-10276 - p. 93 - Webster had disappeared on 9/10/59. See 104-10181-10088, a 10/8/59 memo entitled "Guide-223 - Robert Edward Webster". A redacted copy has marginalia stating "copy filed in support case 29267 - Crowley's" -https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=55065&relPageId=67 See 104-10181-10089, a 6/3/1959 memo to R.S. Ritterburg, Cleveland RA, from Index (Thorne) states "GUIDE-223, State Leads - Security Division has granted ad hoc clearances thru confidential on the following - Andrew Robel, Earl Doyle Robinson, Louis Rubik, Robert Edward Webster - Security Checks Will Be Completed. See 104-10273-10185, a similar clearance was given to Jerry Hemming in a different context.

124-10197-10415: No Title

10/19/59: Priscilla Johnson's article about Webster is picked up by UPI, where she describes Webster as a "good-looking six-footer". The next month, she describes Oswald as a "nice-looking six-footer". See https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=103934&relPageId=43

104-10181-10100: CROWLEY- RITTENBURG TELECONS ON 19 OCT AND 8 OCT 1959

10/20/59 memo from R. S. Rittenburg, Cleveland RA, CIA to Chief, Contact Division, Support: Crowley. Discusses a NASA security man in Cleveland - probably all about the plastic product - during the Crowley-Rittenburg telecons of 10/8 and 10/19.  The following sentence indicates that Rand may have been "Guide 223" to Robert Webster and "Lincoln Leads" to Ted Korycki. "It might well have been of value to have obtained from ATIC (Air Force agency) or the coordinator for the Solonicki Fair a list of persons whom Rand is sending to the USSR in order to avoid contacts with such people as Webster and Ted Korycki as Guide 223 or Lincoln Leads respectively. This might be something to note for any such future operation." (Doris O'Donnell), who wrote the lead article for the News, is a source of Jay Gleishauf. Mid-October 1959, Doris O'Donnell wrote article for Cleveland News referred to in 104-10181-10100, the Crowley-Rittenburg telecons. To see it, go to 1994.05.09.11:03:47:690005 - Reel 17, Folder U - ROBERT EDWARD WEBSTER. See 104-10181-10129 for another version of this document with more marginalia. Although Rittenburg wrote the memo, note the signature line was for "James R. Murphy", probably the head of the CIA's Cleveland Resident Agency. Note that while working with X-2 in Europe after World War II, James Angleton had worked closely with "James R. Murphy" on numerous occasions regarding Jewish escape routes to Palestine. Kevin Conley Ruffner, Draft Working Paper, Eagle and the Swastika, https://cryptome.org/2016/01/cia-nazi-collaboration.pdf Murphy was chief of Angleton's X-2 branch in the 1946-1947 period: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/BISHOP,%20ROBERT%20%20%20VOL.%202_0014.pdf

Bill Simpich, State Secret, Chapter 1: https://www.maryferrell.org/pages/State_Secret_Chapter1.html

4/15/60-5/1/60: On April 15, the CIA got word that Webster was going to be in Moscow for the May Day parade with the hope of visiting the American embassy. The plan was to begin a lengthy and complicated affair to get him out of the country. On April 26, Rand called the CIA Cleveland field office and told them that he and Bookbinder were heading to Moscow in the next ten days to try to get Webster out. On April 28, the CIA Miami chief got the word that Rand, Bookbinder, and their colleague Dan Tyler Moore were heading for Moscow. Like Rand and Bookbinder, Moore was ex-OSS. Moore was also the brother-in-law of Washington Post columnist Drew Pearson, and had the savvy to put together a plan to smuggle Robert Webster into Rand's car and out of the USSR. The Miami chief ended his message by saying that his note was "some warning that an accident may be on its way to happen". The plan was to smuggle Webster out on May 4. On May 1, 1960, the U-2 was shot down. This caused an international incident that broke up the peace summit that was about to begin between President Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Oswald was familiar with the U-2, as he had picked up its signal when he worked at the Atsugi base in Japan. Upon his arrival to the Soviet Union, Oswald had announced that he was a radar operator with the Marines and he knew some "classified things" that he was going to give to the Soviets. Yet Oswald was never punished for making these disloyal statements. In the wake of the U-2 incident, the Soviet government told Rand to close down his Moscow office. Rand lost contact with Webster, and thus the plan to get him out of the USSR never materialized.

104-10181-10120: OFFICE MEMORANDUM: SUBJECT - ROBERT E. WEBSTER - GUIDE 223

4/18/60: Memo from Rittenburg, Cleveland RA, CIA to Acting Chief, Support Branch (Travis) - Subject: Robert E. Webster - Guide 223: Henry James Rand said that Webster seemed unaware of the difficulties involving in getting him back to the USA...Dr. Allen Kent at the Center for Documentation and Research at Case Western University has had little success getting permission from the State Dept for Webster's return to the US.

104-10276-10034: PROCESS SHEET FOR 00/C COLLECTIONS

6/4/62 Process Sheet for OO/C Collections, Subject: Leningrad Scientific Institute for Polymerized Plastics. Webster provided a sketch to the Domestic Contact Service. The contact and source was Robert E. Webster. "Copy of sketches sent to (CIA officer) Rudy Balaban". C/S B. K. Stewart, Field Office: R. K. Starling, Editor: Dooley. "Field remarks: Sketches are gifts. This report could qualify for an OO-K but we are submitting as an OO-B. If desired, you may change it to a K." Balaban later helped conduct the debrief of Webster.

104-10428-10253: FUNDS TRANSMITTED TO RESIDENTS OF RUSSIA

On 5/12/60, based on an alleged description of Oswald as 5/10, 165 pounds - the same as Webster Bill Bright now successfully shoehorned the Webster-like description of Oswald into the CIA’s indexing system. Thanks to Bright focusing on this particular page to be indexed – rather than another page that did accurately describe Oswald’s citizenship status - the CIA now had quick access to an inaccurate description of Oswald’s citizenship status as having "renounced his citizenship" - which led to his dishonorable discharge - and an inaccurate physical description of Oswald.

104-10181-10128: SUBJECT: ROBERT EDWARD WEBSTER, PROJECT LONGSTRIDE

One of the coordinating officers who played a role in this decision to prevent Johnson from becoming a CIA officer in 1958, still known only to us as SR/COP/FI, coordinated with East-West Contacts officer Frederick Merrill at the State Department during the defection of Robert Webster during 1959. "About 21 September 1959 Mr. (Robert) Crowley of OOCD informed me that REDACTED, Chief East West Contacts OO had received word that Mr. (Frederick) Merrill, East West Contacts State Department, that inquiry was being made by Rand Corporation of State Department to determine the whereabouts of Mr. Webster who had departed his office without notice to the parent company...to the best of our knowledge (Webster was not carrying out a CIA clandestine task and) Mr. Webster had not been briefed by and was unknown to either DDP or OO offices."

104-10182-10065: DEBRIEFING OF ROBERT EDWARD WEBSTER.

4/16/63 report: Ned Bennett is listed on the bottom as one of the participants in the debriefing of Webster in 1962. In 1967, Bennett was the one who "pulled together" the memo on "countering criticism of the Warren Report" and offered a game plan on how to discredit these researchers. 104-10404-10376, p. 2 (handwritten portion).

104-10408-10347: MFR: LEE HARVEY OSWALD FBI REQUESTS POLYGRAPH OF ALVARADO

12/3/63 memo by C/CI-SIG Birch O'Neal re polygraph of Gilberto Alvarado. Margainalia, when looked in a mirror, states "Ask Ashcraft - OO on Oswald" (bleed-through on upper right corner of the 12/3/63 Alvarado document). One analysis is that it was appropriate to ask E.M. Ashcraft, chief of the Domestic Contact Division - also known as Office of Operations or OO - about Oswald, because if anyone knew about Oswald, Ashcraft was in the right place as chief of Domestic Contact Division. Joan Mellen's analysis: "This is how it might have worked. Ashcraft would have called Thomas Casasin or Richard L. Winch or Donald E. Poole at SR6. This person in turn would have talked to Rudy Balaban (SR6 Research). Balaban, code name “Valentino,” would have consulted with Reed, who then called OS, the Office of Security, requesting permission to debrief Oswald. OS would pass the request on to Personnel Security Division, who would give a green light or a red light. On occasion Balaban and Reed would do debriefings together." Mellen also states: "This document was perused by historian, John Newman. Newman looked at a signature on the upper right hand corner, a signature that apparently had leaked off or burned off from another document, because it’s in reverse, as if it were viewed through a mirror. Newman concluded that the signature belonged to “Andy Anderson” because “00 Oswald” was written beneath it. The 00 Oswald were clear, but the signature was not that of Andy Anderson! This signature, revealing who ordered the debriefing of Oswald, in fact belongs to one E. M. Ashcraft, Chief of the Contact Division. He and Robert Crowley, OSB/CI (Domestic Contacts Division, Operational Support Branch, Counter Intelligence), were on the same level." For Newman's analysis, see 104-10331-10237.

See Also:
Contributors:
Bill Simpich • Joan Mellen

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