The State Department has denounced charges levied by the head of the KGB that Western assistance and investment in the economically troubled Soviet Union amount to foreign interference.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher called last week's allegations by Vladimir Kryuchkov "completely unfounded and inaccurate."Kryuchkov said Western economic advances were really foreign intelligence efforts to "exert overt and covert pressure" on the Soviet Union.

U.S. officials said the statement was reminiscent of Cold War sentiment and apparently reflected the deep divisions within the Soviet government.

"We're concerned that such a senior official would use such outdated and inflammatory rhetoric, which can only be described as inconsistent with the recent improvement in the substance and the atmosphere of U.S.-Soviet relations," said Boucher.