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Alleged Spy Reportedly Tried to Keep Waldheim off Watch List

Felix Bloch, who allegedly provided sensitive information to the Soviet Union while working as a State Department official, lobbied to keep Austrian President Kurt Waldheim’s name off the U.S. watch list of undesirable aliens, according to published reports.

A Vienna native whose family fled the Nazis there in 1938, Bloch is said to have operated in Vienna as a Soviet spy working within the U.S. Embassy.

He is a longtime friend of Austrian Foreign Minister Alois Mock, a political colleague of Waldheim, whose wartime past in the German Wehrmacht was revealed during his campaign for Austrian president.

The two men, who knew each other from college days in Bologna, Italy, discussed the Waldheim matter at great length.

Mock, like Waldheim a member of the conservative People’s Party, fought the U.S. decision to place Waldheim on the list of people who may not enter the United States because of charges they persecuted people for racial reasons.

Mock recently made a fresh attempt to remove Waldheim’s name from the watch list.

No formal charges have been filed against Bloch, although U.S. government authorities are continuing to investigate the espionage charges.

Because of his high position in the State Department and his long career there, it is believed that potential damage to American security could be severe, if the allegations of spying are found to be true.

Bloch, who worked at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna from 1980 to 1987, served for a time under former U.S. Ambassador Ronald Lauder, who says he dismissed Bloch for “insubordination.”

Lauder said in interviews Monday that he “didn’t like” Bloch, and that he “felt there was something the matter with him.”

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