SIGINT collection at the Soviet embassy?
- Here are a couple of images of the 1980s-era "new" Soviet (now Russian Federation) chancery building
on Wisconsin Ave., NW in Washington DC:
Note the arrangement of windows in the building's penthouse. As I recall from visiting the area a
few years ago, that configuration is repeated on all four sides of the structure. Purely as
speculation, I would point out that such an array of openings would provide 360-degree reception for
any radio antennas which might happen to be located behind them.
Now, look at an aerial image of the building (the topmost of the two square structures having open
See how the color of the rooftop is different at the corners, suggesting that the construction at
the corners differs somehow from the remainder of the penthouse. My guess would be that only the
corners contain actual enclosed rooms, with the other space being corridors or simply covered
Also, looking at the ground-level photos, it seems to me that the penthouse doesn't fit very well
with the architecture of the main building. Notice how the tops of the vertical columns
(pilasters?) project above the main building's roofline. I'm pretty sure the architect intended for
those tops to appear profiled against the sky, as decorative elements to break up the solid
horizontal line of the roof. Yet the flat wall of penthouse behind them largely destroys that
effect. Also, the windows of the penthouse are quite different in size and shape from the main
buildings' windows - again, not something I'd expect an architect to do for an unimportant part of a
building which is otherwise very uniform and symmetrical. So my guess is that the penthouse was an
addition. It would be interesting to see whether the original plans or renderings of the building
include the penthouse.
I do know of an instance where a similar configuration was proposed for office space to be occupied
by a foreign mission of a certain rival superpower :)
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Albert LaFrance" <lafrance@...>
>Russian Federation) chancery building
> Here are a couple of images of the 1980s-era "new" Soviet (now
> on Wisconsin Ave., NW in Washington DC:Looking at the above shots, I would'nt go for the corners, too easy
to "see" a antenna through the windows with a laser scanner or other
camera. My bet would be the white sections in between the corners
that wrap all the way around from the building roof level to form a
enclosure, and they have open sides to the inside in some parts, and
clearly cover a lot of equipment such as heat exchangers etc., ie
look at the above shot with the diplomatic sat dish, they are hollow.
there are four of them and thus if made of say fiberglass, RF would
go right through. I agree they look like a add-on or afterthought.