This same day, CI-SIG's Ann Egerter (Legend Maker #5) was tipped off that when FBI liaison Sam Papich asked CIA liaison Jane Roman about the extent of Agency interest in Webster,
he was told that "there was some back in May 1959, but not now", and
added that the Office of Security has no record of any security
clearance for Webster. Curiously, Webster's boss Jim Rand recounts that
May 1959 was when Webster was in the midst of getting his security clearance, which was granted on June 5. That security clearance may have come from Air Force intelligence.
On October 22, Major Robert Cochran of the Office
of Special Investigations contacted the CIA Cleveland field office and
assured them that things were not as bad as initially feared. The word
was that Webster had no access to any classified military information. Webster is obviously a big deal for the CIA, as he's one of only ten out of 117 American defectors to the USSR that the CIA admits having contact with. Nonetheless, things settle down for Webster for awhile.
As discussed earlier, Oswald announced upon his arrival into the USSR that he was a radar operator with the Marines and he knew some "classified things" that he was going to give to the Soviets.
Oswald was watched very quietly during his first year in the USSR.
Although he was put on the Watchlist and his mail was opened pursuant to
Angleton's HT LINGUAL program, Egerter only opened up a 201 file on
Oswald near the end of 1960 when the State Department starting asking
pointed questions about defectors to the USSR.
probable reason for Oswald's arrival is that while Oswald was a radar
operator in Asia, Col. Pyotr Popov was a top double agent for the CIA,
providing important Soviet military intelligence to Angleton's
CI/SIG under the code name ATTIC. In April, 1958, Popov heard a drunken
colonel brag about the "technical details" that the KGB had on a new
high-altitude spycraft that America was flying over the USSR. Popov
concluded that the leak of such details came from within the U-2 project
itself. While in Berlin, Popov passed this U-2 leak to the Agency and
then returned to Moscow.
thinking here is that Angleton and Egerter used Oswald himself in a
dangle to observe how the Soviets responded to Oswald. Angleton's
biographer Tom Mangold wrote that the execution of Popov accelerated
Angleton's belief that "Popov could only have been betrayed by a mole
buried deep within Soviet Division.". Mangold found Angleton misguided,
stating that "Popov was actually lost to the Soviets because of a
slipshod CIA operation; there was no treachery." David Robarge, in a
very thoughtful piece that should be read in its entirety, agrees that
Popov's capture marked the time when Angleton became "fixed on the mole".
arrival was on the same date as Popov's arrest. Although Angleton and
his men probably knew that Popov was compromised, the date of Oswald's
arrival may have been a simple coincidence. Based on the extremely odd
manner of Oswald's method of arriving into Moscow, it does appear that
Oswald's arrival may have been sped up due of the ongoing drama
On March 30, 1960, R. Travis at the Domestic Contacts division writes to Rocca, chief of CI research and analysis (CIRA), asking if his division had any interest in Webster. Rocca then sends a note to Soviet Division/9 asking "any interest"?
Over the next six months, Webster made it clear that he wanted to return home but the Soviets will not let him. On April 15, 1960 the CIA got word that Webster was going to be in Moscow for the May Day parade and was hoping to visit the American embassy during that time. That would be a possible way of defection, but a long and complicated affair to get him out of the country.
On April 26, 1960, 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, 1960, the CIA Miami chief
Gleichauf gets word that Henry Rand, his associate George Bookbinder,
and their colleague Dan Tyler Moore are heading for Moscow. Like Rand
and Bookbinder, Moore is ex-OSS. Moore is also Drew Pearson's
brother-in-law, and may try to smuggle Robert Webster into Rand's car and out of the USSR. Gleichauf ends by saying that he wanted to give "some warning that an accident may be on its way to happen".
On May 1, 1960, the U-2 is shot down. The USSR shut down Rand's company. Rand lost contact with Webster, and thus the plan to get him out of the USSR never materialized.
Fain passed on three key items of false information
On May 12, 1960, Fain sent off a memo with several items of false information. As mentioned in Part 3 of this series, the most immediately explosive item was the false claim that Oswald had renounced
his citizenship, which resulted in Oswald's undesirable discharge from
the Navy three months later during this period where Oswald was
incommunicado. By August, 1961, the FBI was forced to agree that Oswald
had never renounced his citizenship, but the Navy refused to budge.
On the same day as Fain's memo, Egerter sent a letter under Angleton's name to FBI liaison Papich hinting about Rand's plan to bust Webster out of the Soviet Union. An accompanying routing slip indicates that Angleton reviewed Egerter's work a week later and signed off on it. Next to Angleton's name, the routing slip includes a careful reference to "Webster, Robert Edward". Angleton's office at headquarters maintained its interest in Webster, and Egerter continued to watch Webster while he was stuck in the USSR for another two years, finally emerging within a week of the Oswald family.
A second false item in Fain's 5/12/60 memo is when he refers to Lee Oswald's father as "Edward Lee Oswald", and his mother as "Mrs. Edward Lee Oswald".
The real name was "Robert E. Lee Oswald", spelled out as "Robert Edward
Lee Oswald". Webster's full name was "Robert Edward Webster". The
phrase "Edward Lee Oswald" was a marked card designed to find out who
had wrongfully obtained access to the set of files dealing with Oswald
and Webster, and the Fain memo in particular.
The most important story that emerges from Fain's 5/12/60 memo is Marguerite's supposed description of her son: Five feet ten, 165 , hair is light brown and wavy, eyes blue.