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Pentagon Antenna Survey by PCF

By David E. Mann, CWO4 USA (Ret)


This is an anecdote from my time at The Pentagon Counterintelligence Force (PCF):

We had a lot of "Mystery Antennas" we discovered in a survey done in 1978 of the Pentagon Rooftop. The PCF commander was asked by the Secretary of Defense's Office (I think by "Doc" Cooke, the Intelligence guy in the OSD area) to "Survey the roof and find out what's up there."



About 10 of us Agents went to the roof -- not easy to do as there was only one entry, a metal stair from the 5th Floor "A" Ring hidden behind a steel security door. Turns out the door hadn't been opened in several years and we had to drill out the combination lock. The team was comprised of me, Howard Makynen, Fred Neil, Ron McKeon, Al Bornstein, Mark Seigel, and several TSCM Special Agents from the PCF TSCM Team. I can't recall the names of all of the team, but we had some of the PCF Night Crew members along for the ride.


Once up there we did an RF sweep of the roof area, using the Racal, Microtel, Stoddard VLF, and CEI equipment, which received from about 100kHz to 2.5 gHz. Every antenna was tagged and plotted in place. Many of them didn't have coax to them and had been abandoned in place years before; those we simply removed and piled up.


The Sec Def office sent out a letter to all offices in the building telling them that if they had antennas on the roof they were required to "Claim Them" and after 45 days of no response the mystery antennas would be removed. A lot of the signals which we received were data bursts, a few had CW ID's with a "WAR-nnnn" callsign ("WAR-nnnn" is the official ID for Washington Area Radio) and a lot of point to point UHF voice links.

Those which had identification were no problem and were tagged and plotted on the rooftop map. After that 45-day period expired we went back up with bolt cutters. The one and only complaint received was from a tiny office in the Navy area that "Our TV isn't working anymore".


We removed about 75 "mystery" antennas--and lo and behold--a number of the previously recorded and plotted "data burst transmitters" disappeared. We were sure that some of them were probably clandestine listening devices sending back to the Embassy of the USSR, which was (of course) Line of Sight and 6.35 miles from the Pentagon.


Interesting times back when PCF had the ear and authority (including DOD PCF Credentials) of the Secretary of Defense's Office. Authority dating all the way back to the construction of the building and Credentials which were originally signed by the Secretary of War. All lost to a feckless commander and politics played between the OSD office of CI and the "Building Administrator", a lickspittle GSA character who was power hungry for "all" enforcement powers within the building.


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