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The Great Seal Bug: A Story of Cold War Espionage

It was 1945 and the U.S. and the Soviet Union had at best a tenuous relationship. What was presented as a peaceful and friendly gift turned out to be anything but a gesture of good will. Soviets gave the U.S. ambassador to the U.S.S.R. a carving of The Great Seal, yet hidden inside, just below the surface, was a listening device that went undetected for years. The bug was activated only when the Soviets wanted, and they made themselves privy to the most secret conversations within those American walls. It wasn’t until 1952 that it was discovered, but the U.S. kept the findings under wraps in order to use the technology for their own espionage endeavors. The story was filed away for eight years. Until, the U.S. was caught in the act.

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