Tass Lists U.S. Military Attaches' Activities With AM-Shooting
Mar. 27, 1985
MOSCOW (AP) _ The official news agency Tass said Wednesday that the United States ''commits ever greater outrages'' in spying on Soviet bloc territory and charged that Moscow-based U.S. military attaches repeatedly took unauthorized photographs.
The Tass report did not mention the incident in East Germany last Sunday in which a Soviet sentry shot and killed a U.S. major, but the article appeared intended to back up Soviet charges that the American officer was spying.
Tass had said Tuesday that the killing occurred after U.S. Army Maj. Arthur D. Nicholson Jr. was found taking photographs through the window of a military storage facility on a Soviet military base.
Tass prefaced Wednesday's allegations by saying that ''the U.S. spy agency commits ever greater outrages as it continues to spy on the countries of the socialist community.''
''It appears that the Washington politicians are convinced of their special right to do whatever they like, wherever they like, and in whatever manner they like,'' Tass said.
Asked about the Tass report, White House deputy press secretary Robert Sims said: ''I wouldn't comment on any intelligence matter or allegation like that.''
Tass cited the case of Col. Frederick Myer, expelled in February from Poland after he was reportedly caught taking photographs of a Polish antenna field.
It charged that ''intelligence officers of the U.S. Army operating in the U.S.S.R. have been involved in a series of scandalous exposures as well.''
Tass said the U.S. Consulate in Leningrad and the U.S. defense attache in Moscow had received oral protests from Soviet authorities about the incidents it listed.
No immediate comment was available from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow because of the late hour. A spokesman reached just before midnight at his home said he could not comment on allegations he had not seen.
Western diplomats in Soviet Bloc countries said after Nicholson's killing that both Soviet Bloc and Western military attaches stationed overseas routinely carry out surveillance to assess military preparedness.
Western military attaches serving in Moscow frequently travel outside the Soviet capital.
Tass, which gave incomplete information on several of the U.S. officials it identified, began its list of allegations with incidents in Leningrad in the past year. Tass said three U.S. military attaches had taken photographs of industrial plants and other unspecified objects on separate occasions during that time.
One of those attaches was also caught with a colleague ''trying to infiltrate a restricted area'' in the Luga district 60 miles off the main Leningrad-Moscow highway open to foreigners for travel, Tass said.
Another attache, no longer posted in Moscow, was detained while carrying a camera near a military unit at the town of Kaluga some 100 miles southwest of Moscow, Tass said.
''Yet earlier that shameless 'photography buff' had had to give explanations to frontier guards on the Black Sea coast, where he covertly took photographs of a naval harbor, and to a patrol in the restricted zone near an air force airfield at Saki,'' Tass said.
Saki is a coastal town in the Crimea just northwest of Sevastopol. The Tass report added that two other attaches had tried in apparently separate incidents to take photographs at Saki.
It alleged that the wife of one of those attaches took photographs of military headquarters in Odessa.
The report said two other military attaches, who Tass said now serve at the U.S. liaison mission in Berlin, strayed into a restricted area on the road from Kharkov to Chuguyev while equipped with cameras.
''They say in Kharkov that the same colonel climbed fences, trying to make his way into a restricted factory territory,'' Tass said.
''Those stuntmen with army, air force and naval ranks are doing a good job of climbing fences and peeping through cracks, trying to learn what people do in their home,'' Tass said.
''As for the profitability of the Pentagon's 'photo studio,' it obviously does not satisfy its bosses,'' the agency said.