The Soviet Union said Friday that President Reagan's decision to tear down the bug-ridden new U.S. embassy in Moscow is part of an "overtly anti-Soviet" campaign designed to divert attention from U.S. bugging of the Soviet embassy in Washington.
Radio Moscow dismissed the U.S. claims of bugging devices in its embassy as "groundless".In a commentary from Washington, the official Tass news agency said the Soviet Union has repeatedly denied U.S. "fabrications" that the eight-story embassy building was so riddled with electronic listening devices that virtually any conversation could be heard by the Soviet intelligence service.
The language used in the Tass article seemed to be a throwback to the pre-glasnost days of bitter anti-American rhetoric that preceded the warming of U.S.-Soviet relations and four summit meetings between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
"The head of the U.S. administration and the representative of the Department of State reiterated the fabrications, that have long been current in the United States, that the new building of the American embassy is almost entirely made of microphones and eavesdropping devices. But, just as in the past, the Washington administration has not even tried to present any proofs to back up such assertions," Tass said.
"The Soviet side repeatedly turned down such fabrications obviously aimed at whipping up the spy-scare campaign of an overtly anti-Soviet character, which is being incessantly conducted in the United States," Tass said.
"This campaign which has long been raised to a high official level, also has other aims. With allegations of violation of the sovereignty of the American embassy in Moscow, the U.S. administration is trying to divert attention from U.S. secret services' hostile actions towards the new complex of the Soviet embassy in Washington," Tass said.
Radio Moscow, in reporting Reagan's decision and U.S. claims of Soviet penetration of the new building said, "such accusations are groundless".
Meanwhile life at the "NOB", the acronym for New Office Building, the name U.S. diplomats use for the Soviet complex, went on as normal. The grand circular courtyard in front of the empty main building is used as a storage yard. While the office block remains vacant, other areas of the new complex have been occupied for more than a year.