Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger said Saturday that the United States suffered "a very great loss" from Soviet agents rooting through secret areas of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow under an arrangement allegedly permitted by two Marine Corps guards.
"We're very, very distressed," Weinberger said in an interview on the Cable News Network, referring to what military prosecutors have described as a secrets-for-sex operation at the embassy.
Pentagon officials said the U.S. military services have begun investigations to determine which of their secret activities may have been compromised at the embassy in this latest spy scandal, Defense Department officials said Saturday.
Access Called Limited
Several military officials said it is unlikely that the two accused Marines had access to all sensitive parts of the embassy. Security clearances are compartmentalized to make it difficult for persons of low rank, such as Marine guards, to learn more than fragments about secret operations and equipment, they said.
Weinberger said the Defense Department will investigate not only the two accused Marines and their actions "but the whole system" for providing security at U.S. embassies. The inquiry, he said, will examine how the 1,300 Marine Corps embassy guards posted around the world are chosen and trained.
Marine Sgt. Clayton J. Lonetree, 25, and Cpl. Arnold Bracy, 21, allegedly were involved sexually with two Soviet women who worked at the embassy. They allegedly facilitated Soviet espionage there between January and March of 1986. Both men are in Marine custody at Quantico, Va.