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

Pseudonym: Prisbeck

Definition:
Hede Massing, writer, old-line European Communist turned hard right-winger, deeply involved in espionage. It also appears that she used another pseudonym, Walter James Kearns, with Army Intelligence.
Category:
pseudonym
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
104-10123-10268: In October 1941, she was appointed Assistant Field Representative, CAF-7, Coordinator of Information. 104-10123-10262: In 1954, she was part of Sen. Joe McCarthy's "Foreign Team". 104-10123-10043: On 10/3/58, she was involved in a project in Holland known as SYNCHRONY, to that end she was working with Edward P. Lavell better known as SRS chief Paul Gaynor. 104-10123-10240: In November 1958, Joe Langan reports that Massing has been utilized as "a contact and informant" by the CIA's Security Research Service, a branch of the Office of Security. Also see 104-10123-10090: Follow-up on Massing, Holland and SYNCHRONY during 1959.
Sources:

124-90033-10084: No Title

2/4/64 memo: The Hede Massing story was to expand considerably from this initial report. This report was which only about Martino, the Bayo-Pawley affair of June 63 where 3-4 Soviet scientists were trying to escape Cuba, and three CIA employees held captive in Cuba - ZRCHEST w/David Christ and friends?

104-10121-10377: JOHN MARTINO NAT WEYL ARE COAUTHORS OF THE BOOK " I WAS CASTRO'S PRISONER."

2/12/64 memo re 2/6/64 or 2/7/64 briefing of PRISBECK by OS SRS Helene Finan: "Subject reported on various personalities she heard discussed while she was visiting REDACTED in Florida from 30 December 1963 to 7 or 8 January 1964: "PRISBECK received the impression that the Weyls have disassociated themselves from the Birchites and have completely severed their relationship with the Society and its purposes...Mr. and Mrs. Martino visited the Weyls one evening when PRISBECK was present...PRISBECK, at this point, cautioned the writer to remember that all she was relating regarding the Weyls' remarks were rumors and/or gossip and that Source had no means of checking the truth of their statements...Martino and Nathaniel spoke of a trip that Martino had made to Cuba with an American newspaper woman, one LAPIN and two CIA agents. Nathaniel did not accompany them. It is PRISBECK's opinion that Nathaniel, who is a coward, just welshed on the trip, but that he did finance it. The purpose of the trip was to contact a Cuban who was serving as a liaison for the four Russian Generals (not scientists - as in the previous memo) in charge of training and organizing the Cuban military. The Cuban, who met the group in the water at the edge of a beach in Cuba, told them that the four Generals wanted to escape and seek asylum in the United States. Martino is going ahead with a follow up plan whereby on a given signal, he and a group will sail to Cuba to pick up the Generals..." Also see Warren Commission Hearings, Volume XXVI Current Section: CE 3055 - FBI reports of investigation of allegations made in publication entitled "The Herald of Freedom" (CD 441, ...) - on 1/23/64, Jose Lanusa of the DRE reported that Jack Ruby was in Cuba with a man named Pratkins (note: aka Solomon Praskin) from two sources: The anticommunist group ARAC and from an exiled Cuban attorney Carlos Valdes Fauli who gave the info to Manuel Salvat/AMHINT-2.

104-10121-10377: JOHN MARTINO NAT WEYL ARE COAUTHORS OF THE BOOK " I WAS CASTRO'S PRISONER." (continued)

2/12/64 memo re 2/6/64 or 2/7/64 briefing of PRISBECK by OS SRS Helene Finan: In this interview, Massing reveals stories from John Martino and Nathaniel Weyl about Ruby and the Solomon Praskin story, Oswald going from Mississippi to Cuba, Oswald having a car and a girlfriend in Miami, and Oswald communicating with Cuban intelligence. She said she had "no means of checking the truth of their statements". She concludes with her own observations: "...PRISBECK advised that it is an old gimmick used by the Russians to instruct an American citizen whom they intend to use to go to the American Consul in the city of Russia where he is residing and say that he wishes to return to the United States but does not have the required money for his passage. In this manner, when the American consul furnishes the individual his fare, they ostensibly are giving him a clean bill of health. Source is also advised that no American may work in Russia unless he is a member of the CPUSA...The Party directs the member as to his specific destination in Russia. Source recalls that an espionage training school was located in Kiev and that this school was still in existence in this city in 1937, the last date of contact of Source with Russian Intelligence Service. Source said it is very likely that the CPUSA instructed Oswald to proceed to Kiev for the purpose of attending the espionage school and that likewise Oswald was instructed to act penniless and request passage home from the US consul in Kiev."

Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked (2010 edition), p. 180.

"Jack Ruby was also strongly promoted in post-assassination stories as having been involved with both Oswald and Castro. An example of this can be found in the private remarks between Martino and his friend and co-author Nathaniel Weyl. That conversation was reported (i.e., name redacted, but referenced in one version as Prisbeck) by a female informant who had attended a dinner at Weyl's home in December 1963, she had been a house guest of the Weyls' from December 1963 to January 1964. The informant's report contains the following information: * John Martino and Nathaniel Weyl are co-authors of the book 'I Was Castro's Prisoner'...both John and Nathaniel are deeply entrenched with the anti-Castro forces. Martino claims to have a friend in Miami who keeps him well informed on Cuban matters. * The Cuban friends of the unnamed individual in Miami know that Oswald contacted the Cuban intelligence service by telephone from a private home in Miami. They also know the man who furnished the information on Oswald to the FBI. * From the reports given by the Cubans to this unknown individual, it seems very definite that Ruby went to Havana to make a shady deal with a creature (sic) by the name of Praskin, who works with the Cuban Communists and who is also tied up with call girls in Cuba. * A friend of Nathaniel Weyl, who ran for the presidency of Cuba in 1958, shortly will testify before the Senate Internal Sub-Committee (SISS)...Sourwine of the Committee contacted Nathaniel to get in touch with the individual.

124-90033-10088: No Title

2/27/64 FBI memo from Bill Branigan to Bill Sullivan: "...CIA has furnished a memorandum through Liaison channels (note: it was Austin Horn, see 124-90033-10087) indicating that according to a confidential and reliable source whose sources are unknown, Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly was telephonically in contact with MI-6 (Cuban intelligence) from a private home in Miami, Florida...CIA has confidentially advised that the source of the above data is Hede Massing, a resident of New York City known to the Bureau and CIA has no objection to this Bureau's contacting her and advising that the information furnished by her to CIA had been furnished to the FBI. Bureau files reveal Massing is former Soviet agent who defected in 1938. She has been utilized by CIA and has been a source of information of the New York Office since 1947 concerning Soviet espionage. By letter 2-4-64 captioned 'Foreign Political Matters - Cuba, IS-Cuba', New York submitted information furnished by Massing concerning John Martino and Nathaniel and Sylvia Weyl...Martino has previously been interviewed by Miami, at which time he pretended greater knowledge of Cuban affairs than he actually possessed...he had no firsthand knowledge or information concerning Oswald...New York was instructed to immediately reinterview Massing..."

124-90033-10087: No Title

3/3/64 memo from Sam Papich to D.J. Brennan: After the 2/4/64 memo above was directed to CIA liaison Austin Horn on 2/18/64, Horn responded on 2/28/64 as follows: "An American industrialist, well-known to CIA (note: Horn revealed confidentially it was William Pawley/QDDALE) came to the Agency with the story that four Soviet soldiers could be infiltrated from Cuba. Although we believed that the likelihood of such an operation being a success was very small, in view of the fact that the industrialist intended to use his own boat and own crew, CIA contributed to the operation to the extent of providing some technical and logistical support. It later developed that Martino had developed the operation with the industrialist. CIA advised the industrialist of Martino's reputation. The industrialist decided to proceed anyway. The operation, which was a failure, demonstrated the fact that Martino was making the story up out of whole cloth." This story was circulated to Ray Wannall of the Nationalities Intelligence section.

124-90033-10093: No Title

3/5/64 FBI memo: "NY T-1 in (letterhead memo below) is HEDE MASSING, a source of information of the NYO, who was interviewed by SAS Walter A. Wangenheim and James O. Ingram on 3/2/64. Massing requested that her identity be protected...It is noted that Massing has at times been employed by CIA and is possibly employed at the present time." Story by former FBI agent is also passed on stating that Oswald and the Bircher Bernard Weissman who purchased the anti-JFK ad for the newspaper on 11/22/63 had the same landlady, a woman named Roberts. (Note: Oswald had a manager named Earlene Roberts.) The letterhead memo mentioned above is Commission Document 662 - FBI Letterhead Memorandum of 05 Mar 1964 re: Oswald/Cuba, which repeated many of the assertions of Martino and Weyl without citing the 3/3/64 memo above indicating that Martino made some of these things ups "out of whole cloth". https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=11061#relPageId=2&tab=page

The Fourth Decade, Volume 2, Issue 2 Current Section: Plain Talk About Isaac Don Levine, by Jerry D. Rose

Re March 1964: Jerry Rose's endnote 41: "One piece of 'bait' that (Isaac Don Levine) may have used to attract FBI and Warren Commission attention was a report that he may have been privy to some Oswald correspondence possessed by Ruth Paine before the Warren Commission ever saw the material...(Note: see 124-10129-10137)...the source of this information...was (Hede Massing) 'who is known to the Bureau'. I guess she was known, being one of that stable of professional anti-communist accusers, in the company of better known peers like (Whitaker Chambers), Louis Budenz, Elizabeth Bentley, Bella Dodd and Harvey Matusow, who made lethal careers of 'naming names' of supposed communists. (Citations) She received her greatest notoriety at the time of the second Hiss trial in 1949. Her testimony having been excluded from the first trial because of its supposed irrelevancy, it was admitted at the second trial, and both Hiss and his detractors give her testimony much credit for having convicted him, since she was the only witness, besides Chambers, who would claim actual conspiratorial association with Hiss. She claimed that in 1935 she had had an argument with Hiss whether spy 'apparatus' or that of Hiss would have the services of one Noel Field. (Citations)."

The Fourth Decade, Volume 6, Issue 2 Current Section: Updates: New Developments on Previous Articles

"Without following up here the extended FBI investigation of the opinions of Nathaniel Weyl and John Martino about the assassination - especially in the direction of the argument that the assassination was a Fidel Castro operation - suffice it to say that it was seemingly the FBI's longtime informant Massing who laid at the feet of the Bureau what well may have been a disinformational campaign by these and other operatives."

124-10129-10137: No Title

3/31/64 memo from FBI supervisor Bill Branigan to William Sullivan: "James Hunt, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) furnished the following information to the Liaison Agent on 3/27/64: Isaac Don Levine has been collecting material for a book concerning (Lee Harvey Oswald). This book is scheduled to be published in April 1964. Levine has allegedly spent considerable time with the widow...Hunt explained that CIA's source for this information was Hede Massing, who is known to the Bureau. Massing has been in contact with Levine...Levine allegedly told Massing that Mrs. Ruth Paine had given Levine five letters written by the subject. The existence of these letters allegedly has never been made known to any US government authorities...On 3-31-64, SAC Shanklin advised that Mrs. Paine denied giving any letters to Isaac Don Levine...on 3-6-64 (Mrs. Paine)...advised she had six letters - four personal - written to her from Marina at New Orleans and two short notes written by Marina while Marina and Lee Harvey were living at 214 West Neely, Dallas. She also had a note which she intended to deliver to Marina but never did. All of these were in the Russian language...She stated that they contained nothing of any significance regarding the investigation of Lee Harvey Oswald. One letter, written about June 5 at New Orleans by Marina, indicates that Lee Oswald wanted to send Marina back to Russia. She said she recalled sometime in the latter part of March 1963 Marina told her Lee wanted to send her back to Russia. She said the tone of the conversation and the letter indicated to her that Lee did not intend to return to Russia himself." Paine did not want the letters to be made public, but the Commission insisted and "the letters were read into evidence as part of her testimony." The FBI prepared a note to the Warren Commission stating that the Bureau wanted copies of the letters.

1993.07.21.09:54:30:840620: HEDE MASSING: OS/SAG FILES PROVIDED TO THE HSCA

2/4/70 letter from Hede Massing to her family - discusses how she will be meeting with both Isaac Don Levine and the Weyls that spring, even though she is becoming "rather isolated" in her old age.

180-10143-10404: No Title

6/19/78 notes of Charles Berk, reviewing OS files on "PRISBECK": "PRISBECK - real name Hede Massing...DOB Jan 6, 1900 - POB Austria...occupation writer...file number 172 341, inclusive date 1958-1967, custodial unit OS/SA-5, address 1-13 Washington Square North, New York, New York 10013, tel# 677-2994. Take a look at 104-10123-10094, 12/23/64: "Re ACSI NAC pending in RI which their subject - Walter James Kearns, b 6 Jan 1900, Vienna, lists Hede Manning a reference...as far as Major Burke (SA Engesser - Chief Ops) is concerned, their request can be cancelled." Note that both Hede Massing and Walter James Kearns have the same birthdate and place of birth! Kearns appears to be a pseudonym she used with ACSI.

See Also:
Contributors:
Jerry Rose • Bill Simpich • Larry Hancock

Search Pseudonyms

 

Search tips and techniques

© Mary Ferrell Foundation. All Rights Reserved. |Press Room |MFF Policies |Contact Us |Site Map