Moscow Denies Links With Bloch : Says U.S. Media Responsible for New ‘Wave of Spy Mania’
A Soviet government spokesman said today that the Soviet Union has no connection with Felix S. Bloch, the U.S. diplomat suspected of being a spy.
Gennady I. Gerasimov, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in Moscow that allegations that Bloch was a spy for the Soviet Union were a result of a new “wave of spy mania” caused by the U.S. media.
Gerasimov said he had made inquiries about Bloch’s activities. “The name of Bloch was not familiar. We have no connection with him. We have nothing to do with him,” he told a regular press briefing.
News leaks from unidentified sources in Washington said that there was a videotape of Bloch passing a briefcase to a Soviet agent in Paris and that the same agent later allegedly telephoned Bloch with a warning that he was under suspicion.
Bloch has not been charged with any crime, but he has been under surveillance in the New York area.
In Washington, President Bush said today that the Bloch case spotlights a continuing concern about improving the nation’s counterintelligence capabilities.
“The question is ‘Can we improve our counterintelligence?’ We always ought to be striving to do that,” Bush told reporters during an Oval Office photo session. “Can embassy security be improved? We go through this periodically and the answer is, I’m sure it can.”
However, the President said he was not “passing judgment” on the Bloch case, which remains under investigation.
Bloch today left his father’s New York apartment where he had spent several days and drove off alone with reporters and FBI agents in pursuit. Bloch said nothing to reporters and photographers when he left the Manhattan building where his father lives.
As he drove away, he managed to lose most of the pursuing reporters at the first stoplight. Others followed him to the home of his daughter, Kathleen Swenson, in Chappaqua, about 35 miles north of midtown Manhattan.
FBI agents also followed him and resumed their stakeout.