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SIGINT collection at the Soviet embassy?

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  • Albert LaFrance
    Here are a couple of images of the 1980s-era new Soviet (now Russian Federation) chancery building on Wisconsin Ave., NW in Washington DC:
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 5, 2006
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      Here are a couple of images of the 1980s-era "new" Soviet (now Russian Federation) chancery building
      on Wisconsin Ave., NW in Washington DC:

      http://www.mosnews.com/files/12478/russembassyusa.jpg
      http://www.russianembassy.org/

      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
      central artiums):
      http://www.eyeball-series.org/rubig-eyeball.htm

      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
      walkways.

      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 :)

      Albert
    • lasertower
      ... Russian Federation) chancery building ... Looking at the above shots, I would nt go for the corners, too easy to see a antenna through the windows with a
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 7, 2006
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        --- In coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com, "Albert LaFrance" <lafrance@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Here are a couple of images of the 1980s-era "new" Soviet (now
        Russian Federation) chancery building
        > on Wisconsin Ave., NW in Washington DC:
        >
        > http://www.mosnews.com/files/12478/russembassyusa.jpg
        > http://www.russianembassy.org/

        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.

        Steve Roberts
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