A Seal That Spied On American Diplomats

A US Great Seal presented as a gift by the Soviet government eavesdropped on the US Embassy in Moscow

Karthick Nambi
Lessons from History


The seal revelaed. Source: https://www.cryptomuseum.com/covert/bugs/thing/img/thing_un01_full.jpg

The US Embassy in Moscow is one of the most secure places on earth. The building is constantly scanned for bugs and wiretaps.

American diplomates were confident that their embassy’s security was watertight. Little did they know that the Soviet spies had a hearing device just above the head of the US Ambassador.

The Cold War

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

After the end of World War II, the USA and the USSR entered a Cold War era. The conflicting ideologies of both countries meant an imminent clash between the two superpowers.

With indirect intervention, the US and Soviet governments competed in various regions. As both countries had enormous intelligence agencies, counterintelligence grew in importance. Knowing the enemy’s moves ahead of time would give both parties an upper hand.

The USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the USSR’s KGB were two of the many spy agencies active on both sides of the Cold War. Their activities included…