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A considerable number of KGB agents abroad are primarily concerned with the Soviet Union's "main enemies," the U.S. and China. There are more than 200 staff members at the Soviet embassy in Washington, whose mansard roof bristles with more antennas than any other place in the area except the
Pentagon. There are 82 diplomats in the Soviet mission to the U.N., plus 227 Russians on the staff of the U.N. Secretariat. At least 20% of all these are believed to be KGB agents. The Soviets also maintain large KGB forces in the countries of the U.S.'s principal allies —notably Britain, Canada and West Germany. In 1970, West German counter-intelligence seized no fewer than 768 Communist spies. Even so. West German sources estimate that there are as many as 16,000 spies still at work, and Communists are acquiring recruits at the rate of two a day.
There are several reasons for West Germany's status as the spy center of Europe: it is part of a divided country on the edge of the East-West chasm, it is the base for 210,000 U.S. troops and a sizable nuclear arsenal, and it can be easily serviced from espionage centers in East Germany. On certain nights, a voice broadcast over a short-wave band from the closely guarded Karlshorst
Compound in a suburb of East Berlin will rattle off a burst of jumbled numbers aimed at a KGB undercover agent somewhere in Western Europe. The agent will respond by using the "dead-letter box" system or a powerful two-way radio no larger than three packs of king-size cigarettes.
Individuals as Ammunition
The Russians, of course, are far from the only players in the game. Moscow's agents may be especially aggressive, but Russian espionage has a strong defensive streak, linked to a conviction that half the world is against the Soviet Union —a conviction that began with the never-forgotten Western attempts to crush the" Revolution. The West is usually more squeamish about espionage than Russia or other Communist countries. David Cornwell. the Briton who writes realistic spy fiction under the pen name John le Carre (The Spy Who Came In From the Cold), once observed that the West does not believe in "eating people" and yet is forced to defend this very principle by using individuals as "ammunition." In the U.S., espionage was grossly neglected until the advent of the cold war. In 1928, Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson was shocked to learn that the State Department had a cryptographic bureau. He fired the founder of the code-breaking agency, observing: "Gentlemen do not read other people's mail." But since then, the U.S. has overcome these and other scruples; it has learned a great many lessons from its opponents.
The trauma of Pearl Harbor led directly to the establishment of the wartime Office of Strategic Services and, in 1947, the powerful Central Intelligence Agency. Today the CIA, with a budget believed to be over $500 million, has 15,000 employees in Washington and several thousand agents abroad. Moreover, the CIA is but one of nine major U.S. intelligence-gathering organizations,* though it