FOR DECADES, the State Department has employed foreign nationals to do much of the work in American embassies. They have served as chauffeurs, telephone operators, messengers, housekeepers, receptionists, and the like. This meant that in Moscow, several hundred people working in the American embassy were under the control of, if not in the employ of, the KGB. The ambassador's chauffeur, for example, was a Soviet agent. One might think that the State Department would be alarmed about having so many hostile intelligence officers working in one of its most sensitive diplomatic missions and in close proximity to its key officials. Not at all. When an effort was made in Washington to get the Soviet nationals replaced by American citizens, State strenuously resisted, claiming that the Soviets provided valuable services that Americans were unable or unwilling to perform (one U.S. official said he depended on his KGB chauffeur to help him find his way around Moscow and get him tickets for the Bolshoi Ballet). Moreover, embassy morale would suffer if Americans had to do the jobs once done for them by Soviet personnel. Congress threatened to pass a law requiring the State Department to replace these foreign nationals with Americans. Just when the issue was coming to a head, the Soviet government withdrew its citizens from the embassy in retaliation for the arrest by the FBI of a Soviet spy in New York.
When the U.S. built a new embassy in Moscow, Soviet companies were hired to do much of the work. In the mid-1980s, after the building was almost complete, it was learned that it had been assembled in such a way as to greatly enhance the collection of intelligence. The plans and construction techniques had been approved in advance by the State Department office in charge of construction. As construction proceeded, U.S.