SPYING. Panel: quit Moscow embassy
Washington — United States embassy offices in Moscow are so heavily bugged they should be torn down, and the Soviets should be forced to abandon their Washington hilltop embassy, says the Senate Intelligence Committee. Despite indications as early as 1982 of bugging in Moscow, US officials ``were unable to prevent a truly massive Soviet program to embed electronic surveillance devices throughout the embassy,'' said the report, which was approved by a 15-to-0 vote.
US intelligence officials say Soviet workers installed electrical devices and hidden microphones in the embassy which is 65 percent complete.
Experts say it will take between two and five years to determine whether the eavesdropping devices can be neutralized, said Sen. William Cohen, (R) of Maine, the committee vice-chairman. Rather than wait ``to find out it is just one giant antenna,'' a new building should be built under more stringent controls, he said.
The committee report also recommended renegotiating contracts to force the Soviets to vacate their new embassy complex atop Mount Alto in Washington.
Intelligence experts say it is possible to eavesdrop on US government agencies from the site, and officials say the Soviets already use the complex to intercept telephone and radio signals.
Other panel recommendations include consolidating security offices, sending more experienced guards to sensitive missions, limiting the guards to between six and nine months of continuous duty, and replacing all foreign national employees at such embassies with Americans.