Where is The Great Seal Bug now?
This is where it used to be…
The photo above was contributed by a sharp-eyed visitor to this site. Thank you!
“Searching for data on the Seal I search under Spaso the building name. When I looked at the photo I could not believe my eyes – the nice round object on the wall. Photo April 24 1947, was the device operating at the time of this photo? I believe so.”
In a letter to Ms. Ford, dated September 26, 1988 (on U.S. Department of State stationary), Russ Wapensky writes:
“As you know, one of the highlights of John’s (John W. Ford) career was in 1951 when he and a colleague discovered a Soviet listening device planted in the Great Seal of the United States at our Embassy in Moscow. John had often wondered what became of the Great Seal after he returned it to the U.S. After some research, I located it in the Office of Diplomatic Security here in the Department. John was surprised and delighted to see the Great Seal again, and it brought back some great memories of his earlier exploits. John was profuse in his thanks but he shouldn’t have been. It was a small token of appreciation someone who had given so much over the years his country and to his colleagues without asking or expecting anything in return.”
Mr. Wapensky’s version was verified by a former Service Officer who contacted me in 2012. He requested anonymity.
“In the early 1960s the device and the great seal were both on display in SY’s little conference room – the room used for briefing people on technical surveillance countermeasures problems, and I got to handle and inspect them both many times.”
More recently, I asked the librarian at the National Cryptologic Museum, Ft. Meade, MD if they knew the whereabouts of The Thing, as they have a replica on display. She didn’t know but investigated further, “I asked the former curator about the device in the Great Seal and his said that he thought it was with the seal somewhere at the State Department. So basically, we don’t know.”