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Cryptonym: EASYCHAIR

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A laser beam device transmitting conversations between Nixon and others in the Oval Office for at least several months in 1970.


Tad Szulc/AMCAPE-1, "The Spy Among Us", Penthouse, 1975: "...we discover there is literally no place within the United States safe from the illegal snooping of the CIA...one extraordinary example is the tiny laser beam transmitter embedded in the hall of the Oval Office at the White House. This transmitter picked up and relayed to a remote recording center every conversation between Richard M. Nixon and his aides, friends, and visitors during at least several months in 1970, the year the former president launched his secret intelligence program. Presidential telephone conversations, including those conducted over 'secure' scrambler lines, were also picked up by the laser transmitter. The existence in the presidential office of this highly sophisticated device, known by the name 'Easy Chair', remains one of the most sensitive, closely guarded, and intriguing secrets of the Nixon period...according to highly authoritative sources, the person who installed the laser transmitter...is a foreign-born individual employed as a painter by the government and apparently controlled by one of the intelligence agencies..." Szulc thought it was possible that Nixon himself had ordered the installation of the device, but he was not certain.


Austin Scott, "Laser 'Bug' in Nixon Office Reported", Washington Post, 4/21/75: William Hawthorne, spokesman for the Secret Service, said that "the Secret Service knows of no such bugging and does not believe such a device was ever installed." Reprinted in "Surveillance Technology: Policy and Implications" By United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, 1976.

157-10014-10005: No Title

1975: Former C/CI James Angleton stated to the Church Committee that the physicist working at the National Bureau of Radiation Standards "Dr. (Wilfred Basil) Mann is a suspect Soviet agent, a friend of (Anthony) Burgess, and a friend of (Kim) Philby...How would (Seymour Hersh) ever know the name Mann?" When Sen. Howard Baker asked if this was an indication that Tad Szulc/AMCAPE-1 "had a very good source within the Agency?", Angleton replied: "either that, or the way I look at it, I am prepared to admit, because of an article he wrote, in the cryptonym Easy Chair in the Oval Office of the White House." Baker asked, "Talking about the bugging situation?" Angleton replied: "The cryptonym Easy Chair was the most sanctified word in the Agency...It was called Easy Chair for the simple reason that if the Soviets were blocked, people abroad were moving into this house or that house."

Bill Simpich

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