1 Mar 2004
Ben emails this story of an upcoming book by Thomas C. Reed, detailing a campaign of technological sabotage carried out during the Reagan administration by the CIA and US defense contractors against the Soviet Union. In one of the most creative cold war stratagems, the US was able to exploit the success of Soviet campaigns to spy on US science and technology. Not disclosing the knowledge we had gained (especially from engineer/informant Vladimir Vetrov, who was later discovered and killed), the US effectively poisoned the stream of intelligence by supplying software and hardware that would work for a while and then fail catastrophically.
The most direct result was a gigantic natural gas pipeline explosion in Siberia in 1982. It did serious damage to the Soviet economy, but killed no one. The explosion was the largest non-nuclear blast seen by US satellites. Amusingly, NORAD was worried about unknown missiles or small nukes for a while — until the good guys came down the hall told them it was actually good news.