Friday, April 4, 2014

Infamous Cold War Blunder: US Embassy Riddled With Bugs

On this date back in 1987, the United States government memorably accused the Soviet Union publicly of riddling the newly constructed US embassy in Moscow with hidden listening devices.

According to a  New York Times article that you can read HERE,  "the security problems in the new embassy building stem from a decision in 1972 to have much of the building assembled from prefabricated modules manufactured at a Soviet site not open to American inspection."

The building was infamously scrapped at a result, and a new embassy building was ultimately constructed, finally opening in the year 2000, long after the fall of the Soviet Union.  THIS Baltimore Sun article from July 2000 about the opening contains several memorable quotes, including:
  •  "The U.S. Embassy construction began in 1979, using supports built by Soviet workers. By 1985, U.S. officials discovered the supports had eavesdropping equipment embedded throughout. 'It's nothing but an eight-story microphone plugged into the Politburo,' Dick Armey, a Republican congressman from Texas, said at the time."
  • "Another titillating event occurred at the end of 1991, as the Soviet Union fell apart. Vadim Bakatin, the head of the KGB at the time, presented U.S. Ambassador Robert S. Strauss with the blueprints for the embassy bugs. Until that moment, the Soviet Union had steadfastly denied the bugging. It was a gesture of friendship, Bakatin said, and he hoped the United States would be able to de-bug the building and move in."
  • "Finally, at a cost of $240 million, the embassy was taken apart brick by brick and rebuilt stone by stone - Minnesota stone."


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