What you are looking at is called The Thing and it was a Great Seal that was given as a gift from the Soviet Union to the US Ambassador in Moscow in 1945. But this was not an ordinary gift – it had a hidden secret.
Inside the wooden carving, there was a covert listening device. A high-tech bug, that was undetectable since it didn’t have its own power source; it was activated by a strong electromagnetic signal from the outside. This gave the bug an unlimited life and, of course, the Russians were given access to the secrets of the embassy.
The way it worked was pretty simple: when the Soviets knew that an important meeting was going to take place at the embassy, they were parking a van outside the premises and activated the bug, thus picking the conversation from the ambassador’s office. (the article continues after the ad)
It took 7 years for Americans to discover the bug, which was finally discovered in 1952 by accident: an American interceptor suddenly picked up the voice of the Ambassador in his radio. After a search by the Department of State, the Great Seal was opened and the bug was discovered.
But the Americans didn’t reveal their findings right way. In fact, they kept it secret and tried to send false messages to the Russians. The secret was revealed in 1960 when the Russians accused the Americans of spying (!) because of an American U-2 spy plane flying over the Soviet airspace. On the meeting that took place in the United Nations Security Council, the American Ambassador to the UN, Henry Cabot Lodge, revealed the Russian listening device (picture above) in an effort to illustrate that both countries were spying each other.
Cold war era indeed!
If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: The Cold War Era, Incredibly Accurate USSR Maps That Are Still Used By The US State Department
Article Photo: Spymuseum.com
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