WASHINGTON — The Soviet Union designed pillars, door frames, walls and floors of the new U.S. Embassy in Moscow as huge listening devices and planted hundreds of tiny "bugs" as decoys to fool security agents, according to U.S. intelligence sources.
These sources said U.S. fears that even the most sensitive safes and vaults would be vulnerable to surveillance prompted Administration officials to consider razing the new embassy and demanding that the Soviets construct a new one.
Ironically, a senior State Department official said, the Soviets may end up paying most of the costs of rebuilding the embassy because the United States bought $100 million in insurance on the structure from Soviet government agencies. The issue of financial responsibility for the security gaps appears certain to be a subject of negotiation, the official said.
Although reports persist that the new embassy was riddled with tiny electronic listening devices, U.S. intelligence agencies learned about two years ago that the Soviets planted these sensors as decoys, these sources said.