Did Russia “Penetrate” the State Department?

Earlier this month, concerns arose over the security of the J. Edgar Hoover building. Initial concerns were over the information-handling aspects, then later the physical security of the building itself, which is headquarters to the FBI. Were the building really, truly deficient in its security, that would be a huge, and embarrassing, revelation for the Bureau.

What if it isn’t the only building in Washington with inadequate security? What if there were another government office that had not just theoretical, on-paper vulnerability, but had actually been compromised by a foreign power? Tantalizing information from an unlikely government source suggests that’s exactly the case – at no less important a place than the State Department.

The State Department’s main building is now – officially – called the Harry S Truman Building, but it’s less formally known as “Main State”, at least in government circles. (It’s also referred to as “Foggy Bottom”, and a number of other things.) It was built during the 1930s, and expanded in the 1960s – right at the height of the Cold War.

About a week ago, the website Government Attic posted an index of videos held by the National Reconnaissance Office (8MB PDF!). It’s an interesting list – many of the videos are classified, of course – for many, even the title is classified, and “redacted” from the list, provided in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. One of the ones they didn’t redact – but, perhaps, should have – raises, shall we say, some very interesting questions:

Film 4424, produced or indexed July 17th, 2000: “Must Know NRO: Russian Penetration of Main State”. One hour, thirty minutes, thirty-two seconds running time.

So, here’s the question of the day: Did Russia “penetrate” the State Department building at “Foggy Bottom”, a/k/a “Main State”? It certainly looks that way, given that the movie is – literally – Top Secret, protection unlikely to be afforded a fictional aid for a training scenario. If so, when did they do it – and how come it’s never become public before?


Published in: General, History, Security | on July 28th, 2008| 1 Comment »

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  1. On 7/28/2008 at 6:53 pm Nemo Said:

    From the date, I’m going to make a guess – but it’s just a guess – that the film is related to this December 1999 incident, which quietly died away, and the full details of which have never been – as far as I know – made public.