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Spying on the Spies [Slide Show]

State Department shows off Cold War-era electronic eavesdropping gadgets

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MAGNETIC MICROPHONE

During the Cold War, a number of microphones similar to this one were recovered from U.S. embassies in Eastern Europe. The long wooden tube attached to the microphone allowed it to be deeply recessed in walls and to pick up conversations in the room through a tiny pinhole at the end of the tube.....[ More ]

SIMPSON MULTIMETER

In hunting for microphones, engineers used these multimeters to examine wiring for changes in voltage that might indicate the wires were used to power microphones or carry microphone signals.....[ More ]

AUDIO AMPLIFIERS

Audio amplifiers like these were used to listen to faint signals carried by wiring and help State Department personnel locate microphones used for spying on its offices.....[ More ]

CLANDESTINE TRANSMITTERS:

At a time when most Eastern European and African embassy office furniture was made of oak, these transmitters were housed in milled or laminate cases that looked very much like the piece of furniture to which they were attached.....[ More ]

MASON A3B RECEIVER

To look for a transmitter, engineers needed a receiver, preferably one that could be moved from room to room without looking like a radio. The Mason A3 was a portable technical surveillance countermeasures receiver that could detect a number of different signal types and had a video display unit that doubled as a television monitor.....[ More ]

WATKINS-JOHNSON RS-111 RECEIVER

This receiver was popular in technical surveillance countermeasures work during the 1960s and 1970s, because it combined a practical display with smooth tuning and many useful signal outputs.....[ More ]

TEKTRONIX 492 SPECTRUM ANALYZER

Spectrum analyzers were added to the repertoire of technical surveillance countermeasures in the mid-1970s, giving engineers a wider view of the radio spectrum and many new tools with which to analyze radio signals.....[ More ]

PLA-2 POWER LINE ANTENNA

This small black box allowed sensitive radio receivers to hunt for radio signals carried on power lines.....[ More ]

IBM SELECTRIC TYPEWRITER

Because the Selectric coupled a motor to a mechanical assembly, pressing different keys caused the motor to draw different amounts of current specific to each key. By closely measuring the current used by the typewriter, it was possible to determine what was being typed on the machine.....[ More ]

TRAINING TRANSMITTER

This training transmitter was developed in the 1970s to help engineers practice analyzing radio signals.....[ More ]

COOKE TELEPHONE ANALYZER

The Cooke Telephone Analyzer was designed as an inspection tool for Western Electric multi-line telephones, which were used in American embassies and consulates from the 1960s to the 1980s. The analyzer was designed to check all available pathways to and from a telephone, simplifying the examination process.....[ More ]

WESTERN ELECTRIC 1565HK MULTI-LINE TELEPHONE

This is an example of the type of telephone the Cooke Analyzer was designed to inspect.....[ More ]

ULTRASONIC TEST SET:

State Department Countermeasure agents interested in the audio frequency spectrum above human hearing used this ultrasonic test set to convert these sounds into the normal audio hearing range. Many mechanical and electronic devices normally produce ultrasonic sound, and this instrument could pinpoint the locations of those devices even if they could not be heard.....[ More ]

SAN-BAR LINE CARD

In an office area, multi-line phones were connected to a number of outside lines through a Key Telephone Unit (KTU). When the phones were not in use, these devices electrically disconnected each telephone from the outgoing lines.....[ More ]

WECO B-66 TELEPHONE LINE BLOCK

Inside a building, telephone lines were routed to terminal blocks such as this one, which was used to support multi-line telephone systems. Countermeasure staff needed to check all wiring associated with the embassy phones, including the terminal blocks.....[ More ]

INFRA-RED TELESCOPE

This German-made night vision viewer was ultra-sensitive to infrared light and designed to detect laser energy coming through a window.....[ More ]

MICROLAB FXR NON-LINEAR JUNCTION DETECTOR

The Non-Linear Junction Detector shown here was a basic item of State Department equipment in the 1970s and 1980s. The detector could find a transmitter hidden in a desk even when the transmitter was turned off.....[ More ]

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