Search Results for espionage

The Felix Bloch Affair: An Unsolved Case of Cold War Espionage

In 1989, French counterintelligence agents watched Felix Bloch as he dined in Paris with known Soviet spy “Pierre Bart.” Bloch placed a black bag under the table, which he left behind as he exited the restaurant. Felix Bloch, former Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, was one of the highest ranking Foreign Service […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
An Espionage Caper in Ghana; Helping Americans Escape Rwanda — Scenes From a Diplomatic Life

Arlene Render’s career took her from a segregated neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, to three ambassadorships and a lifetime of diplomatic accomplishment, particularly in Africa.  Her experiences included cleaning up after a messy espionage affaire in Ghana and helping ensure that safe evacuation of American citizens from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.  Ambassador Render attended West […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
War of the Waves: Combating Espionage in Embassy Moscow

U.S. relations with Moscow through the decades have been problematic at best while the embassy itself has been the subject of spy scandals, eavesdropping and other Cold War intrigue. One of the strangest episodes was revealed in the 1970s, when the U.S. confirmed that the USSR had been beaming microwaves at the embassy for the […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Europe, Foreign Service, Russia/Soviet Union Tagged , , |
Come Spy with Me: Cold War Espionage Against China

Intelligence services spend a great deal of time trying to recruit new assets, spies who have access to sensitive information and who are willing to provide that intel for ideological or financial reasons. Foreign diplomats often make for attractive targets, especially during the Cold War. Stephen Dachi, who was Public Affairs Officer in Hungary from […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Espionage, Europe, Public Diplomacy
Building Trust and Supporting Human Rights in Apartheid South Africa

In 1988, a formidable coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act (CAA) over President Reagan’s veto. Months later, USAID sent Timothy Bork to South Africa to implement this highly controversial legislation. During Bork’s tour, Nelson Mandela and other leaders remained imprisoned as violent confrontations erupted in townships across South Africa. At […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
“Encouraging” Soviet Workmen in 1984—Vodka, Cigarettes, and Snow Plowing in Soviet Russia

The currency of Soviet Russia was the ruble—or was it? When General Services Officer Robert Weisberg was posted to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in 1984, he found out first-hand that things sometimes get done a little faster with a few cartons of cigarettes and bottles of vodka. In a winter with heavy snowfall, it […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
Cold War Cover Stories: The U-2 Incident

On May 1, 1960, at the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union brought down an American U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers.  The U.S. government’s first reaction was to construct a believable cover story to conceal its program of high-altitude surveillance missions over the Soviet Union. Powers began his flight from […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
To be Young, Rich and Ambassador to Paris in the ’50s

C. Douglas Dillon was a politician and diplomat who served as U.S. Ambassador to France in the critical post World War II period, 1953-1957, and later as Under Secretary of State and Treasury Secretary. Son of a wealthy investment banker, Dillon graduated from Groton and Harvard, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Espionage, Europe, Foreign Service, Human Rights, Military, Public Diplomacy, Russia/Soviet Union Tagged , , , |
Regarding Henry, Protecting Nancy – On Security Detail with the Kissingers

Traditionally, Secretaries of State receive a personal protection detail from the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). However, Henry Kissinger eschewed the DS detail in favor of the Secret Service protection he had as the National Security Advisor at the White House. His wife Nancy, a brilliant and glamorous New York aristocrat who spent years […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Africa, Foreign Service, Humorous Tagged , , |
Bad Blood: The Sino-Soviet Split and the U.S. Normalization with China

In the 1960s, in the depths of the Cold War, the world was viewed in terms of a zero-sum game: wherever the USSR won, the U.S. by definition lost. The People’s Republic of China (PRC), despite its massive size, was considered to be the Soviets’ little brother and thus not a real player. The State […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, China, Cold War, East Asia and Pacific, Russia/Soviet Union Tagged , , , |