Caleb Young, an Einstein-educated physicist and chief science officer for the CIA, is introduced to William Forde at the DOJ building at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue in early December 1963. Nicholas Katzenbach has appointed Forde to do a deep dive into what Caleb knows about secret CIA ops and the Kennedy assassination. He thinks Caleb has passed secrets about US subs to the Soviets when he was at several Pugwash Peace Conferences.
Caleb Young arrived early at the office deposition in December 1963. He wanted to arrange the sixty-eight neatly indexed binders in chronological order across the huge conference room table at the Department of Justice (DOJ). He had been debriefed by CIA agents Sidney Graybeal, 13 Chief of the Guided Missile and Space Division, and field agent Joseph Bulik.
He now knew the Justice Department was primarily concerned with what involvement the CIA may have had in the Kennedy assassination, but they also wanted to know what communications he’d had with a Soviet GRU agent, Colonel Oleg Penkovsky, at the ten Pugwash Conferences from July 1957 through September 1962. Penkovsky had not attended the first conference in July 1957, and Young needed to set that record straight. The Justice Department also wanted to do a deep dive into Young’s mental status. His abrupt resignation from the CIA had taken everyone by surprise. There were unsubstantiated reports regarding his involvement in the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. And then there was his disagreement with Director McCone over the involvement of the National Security Council and three generals in the Kennedy assassination. It had raised many eyebrows.
Young’s refusal to consider continuing his role with the CIA when Vice President Lyndon Johnson suddenly became President earned him an “invitation” to visit with the Justice Department. In addition, he had been identified as the probable source of a leak out of the National Security Council about the enhanced likelihood of a nuclear war and the advice to build bomb shelters— not good. The American public was scared.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Forde trudged up seven flights of stairs toward the meeting room and reflected on the previous day’s conversation with CIA Director McCone and Deputy Attorney General Katzenbach. McCone’s comments seemed strange at the time. “Bill, you’ll have your hands full with this guy. You will need your degree in psychiatry and all your legal experience to deal with Dr. Young. He is extremely bright and loyal to a fault, but we just can’t have our people going around scaring the hell out of our population, telling them to build fallout shelters only thirty days after Kennedy’s assassination. We don’t want to 14 prosecute him because of the sensitive nature of his position over the years. The last thing we need right now is to have a trial with a judge deciding what should and should not be made public, so see if you can reason with him. We have given you most everything we have, but if you need more, let us know.”
When Forde opened the door to his office, the receptionist pointed toward the conference room without looking up. “Good morning, Dr. Young,” Forde said. “I see you came fully prepared.” “Wouldn’t be necessary for more than half of these binders if your boss had granted me transactional immunity as I asked,” Young said. “But I’ve only been granted use immunity. I’ve kept a daily journal since age twelve and have summarized or copied every unclassified document I have seen during my service to our country, and I plan on going through all of them. As I understand it, you are somewhat interested in my communications with Colonel Penkovsky during the Pugwash Conferences.” “Well, there’s a little more to it than that. Katzenbach is especially interested in your knowledge of the OSS, CIG, and OSO,” Forde said. I really do not need this tiring oaf of a man consuming my time. I hope he gives us something good.
“I believe we will need to see a full history of the Agency. To be clear, I understand you are waiving your right to have your attorney present during this interrogation.”