Details emerging on high-tech State bugging
- By Dan Verton
- Dec 07, 1999
State Department and FBI officials on Thursday characterized the listening and transmission device planted in the State Department by a member of the Russian intelligence service as "an extremely sophisticated device" that "was professionally introduced" into the department's headquarters.
The device was discovered several months ago in an undisclosed room at State. However, counterintelligence officials left it in place to establish a case against Stanislav Gusev, a Russian Embassy employee. Officials apprehended Gusev Wednesday near his car outside the State Department. He reportedly had tried on many occasions to tune a remote listening and transmission device that officials suspect was linked to the device found inside State.
Neil Gallagher, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's National Security Division, described the effort to locate the device inside State as "literally attempting to find a needle in a haystack." Officials located the device using a suite of sophisticated counterintelligence screening technologies.
"At a time when we talk about sensitive technologies and advancements, I want to tell you a story of a classic counterintelligence investigation," said Gallagher, adding that it was the keen observations of several security agents that led the department to discover Gusev's activities.
"The fact remains that a foreign intelligence service introduced a device within [the] Department of State on U.S. soil," Gallagher said. "It was effective."
Steven Aftergood, an intelligence specialist with the Federation of American Scientists, said the sophistication of the device was negated by Gusev's clumsiness in monitoring its output.
"Installation of the device, which should have been the hard part, was evidently carried out efficiently," Aftergood said. "It was evidently accomplished by a more skilled practitioner than Gusev."