FCC Tunes In, Can't Find Any Soviet Snooping

January 22, 1986|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — A U.S. government agency has detected no firm evidence of electronic spying by the Soviet Embassy after several days of surprise surveillance, officials said today.

A van packed with sophisticated monitoring equipment last week was sent up the hill on which the closely guarded Soviet Embassy is perched overlooking Washington.

After parking at a discreet distance, technicians from the Federal Communications Commission sat inside in front of the softly glowing lights of cathode ray tubes and flickering meters--and waited.

They hoped to detect the kinds of signals that U.S. spies, thriller writers and others have long suspected were hurtling toward U.S. government buildings in the distance below--microwave rays capable of picking up conversations of the policy-makers and shakers, giving Moscow an edge in the high-stakes cold-war game of snooping.

But they waited in vain.

Nothing Suspicious

For more than two days, the best equipment money can buy found nothing even remotely suspicious.

"They haven't found anything," said Sally Lawrence, an FCC spokeswoman. "They took their microwave monitoring van up there and could not find a thing."

The sleuths from the FCC were responding to a growing number of complaints from the embassy's neighbors who were annoyed that their television reception had suddenly become fuzzy.

They had called in repairmen who pointed suspicious fingers in the direction of the embassy and blamed Soviet electronic intriguing.

Soviet Embassy officials, who had denied any responsibility for the electronic interference, declined to comment on the FCC's finding that it could not find anything.

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