INT: That was very good, do you agree with that?
INT: The implications of that are very interesting now... because now, Mr. Graybeal, you know that actually there aren't very many missiles out there [inaudible].
INT: I wanted to ask you about this, because presumably this is a big part of you... I mean, I would guess, a big part of what the CIA would be asking you to do, which is to say, Sidney, how bad is it out there? What does America have to fear in terms of ICBMs?, I mean, is there a good story about the moment at which you go and tell the guy that actually there's only six of these things and that it's not at all what we thought?
SG: Well, the intelligence community, of which I was a part from CIA as Chief of the Missile and Space Division, was required to up-date our estimates of Soviet strategic capabilities about every year. So we would put out an estimate and in that estimate we would estimate Soviet ICBM capabilities. With the satellite photography, we were able to reduce those down from where they had been before to realistic numbers, but the estimate is more than what exists today. The estimate is what is going to happen over the next one, two, five years, so your estimates look out into the future. So again now, we are making estimates based on what we know today, which was really no deployment that we could see, but the Soviets were also testing two new ICBMs. The first generation ICBM was a monster, it was hard to carry, hard to move around. The next two generations, known as the SS-7 and SS-8, were being tested. They clearly were smaller and could be moved easier, so now our estimates had to look at the capability for deploying these missiles versus this very large first generation SS-6 missile. So it was only deployed Plesetsk, it was then used as the booster for their space program and a very successful booster it became. But the ICBM deployment was then moved to the SS-7 and SS-8 ICBM, so our estimates again looked at capabilities for actually deploying these systems and so then you put capabilities for the next five years, then you look at your satellite photography as time progresses to see whether or not there's actual deployments and we started detecting deployments of these missiles with satellite photography, which then began to confirm your estimates.
INT: At the time... Oh that's right, there's a question here which is quite nice which was the question of how was Eisenhower convinced of the powers of the U-2 plane?
SG: Well, I was not personally involved in convincing Eisenhower about the U-2. I was mainly involved in the targeting of the U-2 and analysis of the product. But my understanding, Eisenhower as President was very much interested in arms control. He knew the Soviets would never accept on-site inspection to verify arms control agreements. He was shown photography from the U-2 and he was extremely impressed with this photography and what it could show and then we started flying, with his permission, over the Soviet Union and we showed him pictures - these were not ICBMs pictures at the time, this was the early pictures, peripheral type of pictures - he was so impressed with this, the U-2 impressed Eisenhower so much that this, in my view, was the basis for his Open Skies proposal which he made that for verifying arms control, we'll have Open Skies and you'll be permitted to fly airplanes like this, which then could verify arms control agreements when the Soviets would never let you go into their facilities and look at on-site inspections. So, I think he was impressed with the quality, he was impressed with the potential of the U-2 and he approved the program and he personally approved each mission that we flew.
INT: Good, is that OK.
INT: Was there a particular thing that he was shown? I mean... No, that was Kennedy, wasn't it....
SG: I do not know specifically what pictures he was shown. I know he was shown pictures taken both over the US and over other parts of...
INT: Tell me about Eisenhower and the U-2. Also you made a later reference to later ICBMs and I wouldn't do that, I'd stick in the spirit of Eisenhower.
SG: Um, I was not personally involved with attempting to convince Eisenhower of the advantages of the U-2. But it's my understanding that Eisenhower was shown...
INT: I accept your caveat, but if you would just begin... Eisenhower was show...
SG: In regard to Eisenhower and his approval of the U-2, it is my understanding that Eisenhower was shown photography taken by the U-2 over the US, over other parts of the world. He was very impressed with the quality of this information, so that Eisenhower actually approved the U-2 progressing, approved the U-2 flights over the Soviet Union, and it's my understanding that the U-2 and its capabilities were the primary reason that President Eisenhower pushed his Open Skies proposal, which Open Skies proposal would permit the verification of arms control agreements which he was very interested in, but knew the Soviet Union would not approve any on-site inspection, where the U-2 would provide ability to verify arms control if it were permitted to fly over the Soviet Union.
INT: Excellent... I'm now going up to the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I'm not going beyond it, I'm not on satellites. My understanding, from what you're saying, is that you by the late fifties, by the very early sixties had the capability, thanks to the U-2s, of seeing from the air Soviet missile sites and you had your radar that would tell you... and your communications intelligence that would tell you a little bit more about them. How starved were you of information about, as it were from a human intelligence point of view, from knowing what the procedures were with these rockets, with these missiles? And to what extent was Oleg Penkovsky able to fill in the gaps in your understanding? Again I'm talking about during the Cuban Missile Crisis, because I know he was passing these manuals and information on before then, I think. So how starved were you of information and how relieved were you, as it were, by what Penkovsky could tell you? Did he fill in gaps that you were really dying to know?
SG: Well, in the late fifties and early sixties, our knowledge of the Soviet ballistic missile program was based primarily on the photographic information by the U-2 of the test ranges. The test range would show you the characteristics of the launch site. We then had telemetry information, which were signals sent from the missile to the ground while it's in flight and with that information we were able to determine the characteristics of the missiles. So now we knew its launch site, we knew its characteristics, we knew how far it could fly, how much payload it could carry, but we did not know exactly how it would be operated in the field, specifically how long would it take a crew to set up a missile, to fuel a missile, to spin up the giros and to be able to launch that missile. Now, Penkovsky was a really outstanding, excellent source in acquiring and providing us with detailed manuals on how the short and medium-range missiles operated in the field, not the ICBMs, but he gave us manuals which told us, essentially a manual that you would give to an army battalion to go out and say, here's the procedures you have to go through, you bring the missile out, you put it on the erector, you erect the missile, you fuel the missile, you spin up the giros, you have to have a pre-survey point to know where you are, so these manuals essentially filled in an essential gap in terms of how would the missile operate in the field.
INT: Were you just...
INT: Just tell me about when you were told yourself, I mean can you remember being told yourself about we had a source that might be able to help you in strategic matters, of how, in fact to make a missile to, you know, work. I mean, do you remember the moment when somebody came up to you and said...?
SG: I don't remember the precise moment. I was Chief of the Missile and Space Division at CIA and I was working very closely with a man named Jack Maury, who was head of the Soviet Division in the covert side of the Agency and we'd been working together on several different programs...
SG: As Chief of the Space Division CIA, I was working very closely with a man named Jack Moray, who was head of the Soviet Division in the covert side of the agency. We had been working together on many aspects of learning about the Soviet missile program, including exploiting Spanish returnees in Madrid, exploiting people coming out of the Soviet Union, so when he became knowledgeable and they'd acquired the Penkovsky as a source, he informed me of this and then we started working together on drafting our draft requirements, what type of information did we really need from Penkovsky and, of course, he was working with the British and the US agents who were running Penkovsky. I was not directly involved in that aspect, but I was involved in preparing the requirements for Penkovsky in evaluating Penkovsky's reports and we were always looking carefully to the quality of his information to see that if he is being compromised, because once the Soviets learned about an agent, they will start then planting information and it looked like it's good information, but part of the problem is determining whether this is new and unique or is this something that already know or is not important. And late in Penkovsky's career some of those reports caused myself and Dr. Scovill, who I worked with, to become suspicious about Penkovsky, that he might have been compromised.
INT: That's very interesting. I'm going to break that down a little bit and ask you to tell me what opinion you formed before that stage. What opinion before that stage was reached later on, about the value and, if you like the bravery of Penkovsky then, what an extraordinary thing, suddenly a guy's handing you the very thing that you want and is able to respond to questions, I mean, what did you think?
SG: Well, there... are many different types of agent that you run into when you're in the intelligence area. Penkovsky, without trying to go into his motivations, but Penkovsky was providing extremely useful information which was filling a gap in our knowledge about the Soviet missile program, specifically the data that he was acquiring from Soviet manuals was telling us how medium-range ballistic missiles were actually operated in the field, both the missiles' operational characteristics, nuclear warhead, where it was stored, did it move with the missile units or not, so his information filled an essential gap in our knowledge about the Soviet ballistic missile program. Now, one should remember in this time frame the Soviets were deploying hundreds of medium-range missiles in the western part of the Soviet Union that would actually be capable of hitting Europe. So, during this period the question is Europe is really threatened by Soviet ballistic missiles and this information told us how those missiles operated. In my personal view, since the Soviet ICBM program was not near as great as we thought, the Soviets had tremendous numbers and experience in medium-range missiles which they had deployed in the hundreds threatening Europe, so the Soviet Union was essentially holding Europe hostage until they could get their ICBM program up to speed where it could threaten the United States and of course, when we get into the Cuban Missile Crisis, you will see that if they had been successful in deploying the missiles in Cuba, they would essentially double their ICBM capability to threaten the United States.