Home/ Resources / Projects / CIA Pseudonyms / pseudonym: BURNETTE_CYRUS

Pseudonym: Burnette, Cyrus

Definition:
Unknown identity. A dispatch on 3 May, 1954, from Earle N. Bannister (probably John Doherty) mentioned that a cottage was being rented by Bannister in his own name and in that of Burnette and Tranger (John Doherty).
Category:
pseudonym
Status:
Unknown
Discussion:
Cyrus Burnette was part of the KUFIRE (Intelligence) branch of Operation PBSUCCESS. Burnette was also the case officer of Arthur G. Vaivada (Ross Crozier) in March of 1954. Burnette was also involved in a security issue in June, 1954, after Graham L. Page (probably Henry Hecksher) allegedly mentioned Burnette's name to SWALLOW, a CIA asset, before being cleared to do so by the LINCOLN station in Florida. A cable on August 3, 1954, from Guatemala City to Director, requested that Bannister be informed that his two children had been moved to Burnette's home the previous day. Bannister's wife and infant son were still in hospital: https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000920187.pdf Also, a dispatch in September of 1957 was signed by Cyrus E. Burnette either as the Chief of Station (COS), San Jose, Costa Rica, or someone who worked under the COS.
Sources:

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: Persons and Pseudonyms

Page xix: ..."Burnette, Cyrus E. (pseudonym, identity not released)..."

104-10215-10246: COLLECTED DOCUMENTS:CROZIER, ROSS L.

01/28/54: Air dispatch from COS, Guatemala to Chief, WHD: Subject: Operational Arthur G. Vaivada: "1. As has already been reported, Arthur G. Vaivada (Ross Crozier) and dependents arrived in Guatemala City on 2 January 1954. The first of several contacts with him was successfully accomplished on the night of 4 January 1956. Subject currently is living temporarily in an apartment hotel; however, he has already rented a small, inconspicuous apartment located in a middle-class neighborhood. He has purchased a few pieces of inexpensive furniture for the apartment and intends moving his family to the premises within the immediate future. Subject's choice of neighborhoods in which to reside is believed excellent. The apartment is located in a fairly busy section of town, is on a busy street served by public buses which travel to all parts of the city and is of such modest appearance that it will attract no attention. (REDACTION) Cyrus E. Burnette."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000913346.pdf

2/18/54 memo: Burnette discusses a report from ESPOUSER, also known as F-3, an individual within the Communist Party in Guatemala. This source was relying on Victor Manuel Gutierrez and Carlos Manuel Pellecer. The message, designed for "all of Central America", was to "attack the Yankees constantly", with many subsidiary issues addressed.

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000923850.pdf

03/10/54: Air dispatch from COS, Guatemala to LINCOLN: Subject: Operational KUFIRE Tasks, PBSUCCESS: "1. In compliance with the instructions set forth in reference dispatch, there is being transmitted herewith in duplicate the first in a series of the 'Weekly KUFIRE (Intelligence) Operational Reports.' In order to meet pouch deadlines and to keep the last-minute rush on the pouches to a minimum, it has been decided locally to prepare this weekly operational report each Friday. Data set forth in each FT report will accordingly cover the period Friday morning through Thursday afternoon. 2. As will be noted, the name of the officer responsible for each FT has been noted on each FT. As additional FT's come to our attention, advice from your headquarters will be requested. Cyrus E. Burnette." - - - Pages 2-5: "Weekly KUFIRE Operational Report For Week Ending 5 March 1954: ...FT/2: ESCROW: Responsible Officer - Cyrus E. Burnette: ESCROW's numerous contacts within Spanish and Guatemalan groups as well as diplomatic and consular circles continue to afford reporting station with timely information on personalities and groups...Communications between the Case Officer and ESCROW are channeled through the cut-out and there is no present reason to believe the channel is not secure...FT/5: ESODIC: Responsible Officer - Cyrus E. Burnette: Since news of the recent plot against this government was made public, both ESODIC and his older brother, ESODIC-1, have exhibited an attitude of extreme caution...At this writing both brothers are jointly working on a project for Case Officer which calls for evaluating an extensive list of WSBURNT (Guatemala) army officers...At present no communications in written form are passed between either brother and Case Officer..." (CONTINUED BELOW)

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000923850.pdf

03/10/54: Air dispatch from COS, Guatemala to LINCOLN: Subject: Operational KUFIRE Tasks, PBSUCCESS: Page 5: "FT/9: ESPOUSER: Responsible Officer - Cyrus E. Burnette: The above cryptonym was assigned subject at approximately the same time reference dispatch was prepared...Communications between ESPOUSER and the Case Officer consist solely of accepting written notes from him...FT/10: Arthur G. Vaivada (Ross Crozier): Responsible Officer - Cyrus E. Burnette: Direct contact between the Case Officer and Vaivada has been maintained since 4 January 1954. Since 22 January 1954, Vaivada has been in direct contact with ESCROW...The Case Officer and Vaivada meet on the average of twice each week especially on the morning following each meeting between ESCROW and Vaivada. Thus far the security of the meeting between Vaivada and Case Officer is believed good...Vaivada depends on Case Officer for administrative support and as a channel to headquarters..."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000915714.pdf

05/03/54: Dispatch from COS, Guatemala to LINCOLN: Subject: Unintelligible: Pages 3-4: "D. ESPERANCE, as previously reported in HGG-A-1005, encountered certain difficulties on his recent trip to Jutiapa. It is believed, however, that these difficulties were successfully overcome and that he is not regarded with suspicion. In line with our need for EEI data, ESPERANCE has been traveling extensively by jeep and passenger car, both of which belong to him. It is believed that this arrangement is favorable for the time being. E. Through ESPERANCE I arranged for the printing of 250 cards of the non-existent Weaver Lumber Company and ESPERANCE-1, by presenting one of these cards which always bears considerable weight locally, has been able to rent under a fake name the automobile which Razmara is currently using. This car was turned over to ESPERANCE by ESPERANCE-1 and was subsequently turned over to Razmara in a secure manner. I talked the matter over with Page and he agreed to the necessity of purchasing another vehicle, which can be done in the name of this non-existent Weaver Timber Company. At the time the original purchase was made, it appeared likely that the automobile in question would be needed for the King Program and therefore Page authorized that this vehicle be purchased with funds allotted to that program. It now turns out that the vehicle probably will not be needed for the King Program but will be made available to Razmara. F. ESPERANCE has also rented in a phony name a cottage on Lake Amatitlan. Still another cottage is being rented by Bannister in his own name and in that of Burnette and Tranger. Eventually we hope to have approximately 4 or 5 cottages on Lake Amatitlan since the surroundings and cover of this lake are such that surveillance of individuals going to some cottage and then taking off in a boat is extraordinarily difficult if not impossible...Earle N. Bannister (probably John Doherty)."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000915230.pdf

05/16/54: Air Dispatch from LINCOLN to COS, Guatemala: Subject: Operational Notes for Graham L. Page: "1. Attached please find sterile notes for Graham L. Page...2. Please inform Page that his field cryptos are being used in the attached notes. For convenience, ESQUIRE is designated 'Roland.' 3. For the information of Guatemala Station and Page, Headquarters was informed by cable on 14 May of the agreements reached on the K-Program at the 11 May meeting between Bannister, Clower (Joseph G. Sancho), Page and Nutting. it was pointed out in the cable that the K-Program originally comprised intelligence, defection, 'priming' and labor defection, but that it would now, for purposes of security and concentration on key issues, be restricted to intelligence and military defection. Page's assumption of control over ESQUIRE and his high regard for ESQUIRE's ability were noted. (REDACTION)s threefold duties - intelligence, KUGOWN (Psychological and Paramilitary Staff) appeals to the Army and recruitment in Guatemala City garrisons - were listed. It was explained that Burnette would handle the backstopping and commo for Page, and that Burnette's diplomatic status provided Page more protection than Clower, as a bodyguard, could provide. A separate cable was sent on the use of Clower as the case officer on ESCOBILLA, SEMANTIC and SECANT. 4. LINCOLN would appreciate cabled confirmation that Burnette has taken over the backstopping and commo responsibilities for Page. 5. Bannister is hereby informed that the responsibility for coordinating CE information in Guatemala, regarding government knowledge of and counter-plans to PBSUCCESS, devolves on him. He is to coordinate and evaluate both the intelligence reports procured by Page from (REDACTION) and the information obtained by regular Station assets. Jerome C. Dunbar."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000922998.pdf

05/30/54: Memorandum for the record: Subject: Calligeris Net Communication with the Guatemala Station: Reference: GUAT 705: "1. Attached are three diagrams showing the methods of communication between the Guatemalan Station and the Calligeris nets as it has developed since the Calligeris assets were gradually brought under the station's control. 2. Brief sketches of the principal agents involved follow: a. ESCOBILLA - (REDACTION). He has been acting as the (REDACTION) of the Calligeris organization and arrangements are presently being made to open bank account in his name in New York City. The station has attempted to make him the sole channel for passing information and instructions to SECANT and SEMANTIC from the outside and vice versa, although for a long time there was direct contact between SECANT and SEMANTIC. b. SECANT - Retired Guatemalan (REDACTION). He was arrested by the authorities in connection with the (REDACTION) incident, but released and subsequently LCFLUTTER'd favorably. c. SEMANTIC - Used to be connected with ESSENCE in anti-Communist (REDACTION) activities, but replaced (REDACTION) latter fled Guatemala in connection with the (REDACTION) incident. He has been described by Lugton (PS) as 'very impressive, full of vinegar, with a remarkable amount of tradecraft learned through experience.' He is in charge of all political intelligence collection. It is not known how much contact he has maintained with the ESSENCE group since he was detached from them to take over (REDACTION) activities. In the middle of May he approached ESQUIRE on behalf of Calligeris with instructions for ESQUIRE. d. ESQUIRE - (REDACTION) in Guatemala City who has been evaluated by Page (PS) as an excellent operations man. e. Clower - (REDACTION) contract agent in Guatemala City under (REDACTION) cover. Originally scheduled to act as Page cut-out with labor leaders under 'K' Program, but switched to present job when labor aspects of 'K' Program discontinued." (CONTINUED BELOW)

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000922998.pdf

05/30/54: Memorandum for the record: Subject: Calligeris Net Communication with the Guatemala Station: "f. Razmara - (REDACTION) staff agent formerly with (REDACTION) but since 1 May (REDACTION). In charge of all ESSENCE activities. g. ESSENCE - Guatemalan (REDACTION) in charge of PP activities. These activities originally organized by station and Calligeris independently of each other prior to PBSUCCESS operations with final control established by Razmara and station January 1954. h. ESPERANCE-3 - Contact of ESPERANCE, who is former (REDACTION) in Guatemala now conducting business there. Friend of SECANT, but station believes no operational connection. Suggested by Page as replacement for SECANT when there was some doubt of advisability of bringing SECANT back to Guatemala after he had left following his arrest and release, returned, and then left again believing he was again in danger." - - - Page 3: Diagram: Prior 5 May: Station/Burnette, one line to Razmara (PS), then to ESSENCE. From Station/Burnette, a line to ESCOBILLA and then to SECANT. Finally, a line from ESSENCE to SEMANTIC (formerly ESSENCE-3). - - - Page 4: Diagram: Period 5-23 May: Station/Burnette, a line to ESKIMOID, then a line to ESCOBILLA. Then one line to SEMANTIC and another line to SECANT (from ESCOBILLA). - - - Page 5: Diagram: After 23 May 54: Station/Burnette, a line to Clower (Joseph G. Sancho), then one line to the left to ESPERANCE-3, one line down the middle to ESCOBILLA, and one line to the right to Page, and then a line to ESQUIRE. From ESCOBILLA, one line to SECANT, and another to SEMANTIC. There is a line from Page to Burnette with "alternate/emergency" written alongside it. From ESPERANCE-3 there is a line to SECANT. There is a total of three redactions at the bottom of this diagram.

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000922645.pdf

06/07/54: Memorandum from Cyrus E. Burnette to Earle N. Bannister: Subject: SWALLOW/Page Conversation of 6 June 1954: Page 2: "In compliance with your request, the undersigned is setting forth below his comments with regard to Graham L. Page's mention of writer's name to SWALLOW during Page's conversation with SWALLOW on Sunday, June 6, 1954. On one or two occasions prior to Page's conversation with SWALLOW on that date, he had mentioned to the writer it was his belief he, Page, was more or less wasting time in WSBURNT (Guatemala) due to the recent raid on SEMANTIC's home and the subsequent confiscation by WSBURNT authorities of incriminating papers. Page stated due to the resulting arrests and...flight of...SEMANTIC it was his belief high ranking officers would not consider defecting at the present time. For that reason he...was considering returning to PBPRIME (U.S.) but would return if and when it was deemed appropriate by PBSUCCESS officials in PBPRIME. Page stated he believed SWALLOW would prove to be a good source of information for our station here and asked if writer would or could take SWALLOW over if and when he, Page, left the country. Writer stated he personally saw advantages to be gained in retaining SWALLOW (REDACTION)...At no time did writer give Page permission to mention his name to SWALLOW. Writer was of the impression Page planned to eventually submit his idea to Lincoln for approval before he actually made any mention of writer's name to SWALLOW. In the event Page gained the impression he was authorized to mention writer's name to SWALLOW it is because Page misunderstood writer's answer to the original question as to whether or not writer could take over SWALLOW if and when Page left. It is writer's understanding that such a decision should be decided by LINCOLN."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 173. 6/8/54-Telegram From the CIA Station in Guatemala to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida

06/08/54: Telegram from Guatemala Station to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida: "773. Following from Page. 1. K-Program likely remain stalemated until further pattern of PBSUCCESS clearly emerging. 2. Not a ghost of a chance to sway army high command as long as Arbenz regime going through impressive phase of consolidation with oppositional elements fragmentized and subdued. (2) Government firmly convinced U.S. has abandoned all thought of going it alone and effective collective intervention discounted (Toriello to SWALLOW). 3. Recommend K-Program be brought under Station control soonest and Page be authorized return to ZI. (REDACTION) complex can be handled through ESQUIRE. Contact with SWALLOW will be maintained by Burnett. 4. If at any future time, high command members should indicate desire talk terms with U.S. representative and if situation of manifest strength then favoring our cause, dispatch of PBSUCCESS representative would pose no problem security or otherwise. 5. Request approval for Page return to HQ not later than 10 June. ESQUIRE leaving for U.S. o/a 9 June on short visit and most appropriate effect turn over at that time. 6. Report on Page/SWALLOW meeting in 8 June pouch. (3)...(3) Reference is presumably to a June 7 memorandum from Burnette to Bannister. (Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–01025A, Box 100, Folder 1) In a June 8 memorandum, Bannister reported that Page had mentioned his name to a Guatemalan contact, thereby linking the Embassy to Page’s efforts to defect high-ranking members of the Guatemalan military: 'I consider this a violation of Station security, since he directly implicated the Station in an operation over which we had no control and with which this Station certainly did not wish to be identified at least to an unauthorized person.' (Memorandum from Bannister to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters, June 8; ibid.)"

104-10164-10072: R & R SHEET AND PICTURE OF EDWARD BROWDER JR.

12/07/54: Air dispatch from COS, Guatemala to Chief, WHD: "1. Enclosed are pictures of subject furnished by a member of the Comite de Defensa Nacional Contra el Comunismo to Cyrus E. Burnette. The Comite contact stated that subject is regarded as a 'screw-ball and trouble maker', but no further information was volunteered, and it is not known how subject came to the Comite's attention. 2. Travel lists for the past three months have been checked, with negative results, to see if subject recently entered Guatemala. Monroe B. Diffendal." - - - 09/03/57: Air dispatch from COS, San Jose to Chief, WHD: Page 2: Signed Cyrus E. Burnette. https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=191407#relPageId=4

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Gavin McDonald • Bill Simpich

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