The Germans were negotiating their fate with the Soviets. The Filipinos were digging out from the rubble of a killer earthquake. Seven Cubans had taken nearly a dozen people hostage at the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana.
And some of the employees at the American agency charged with keeping an ear to the world's door couldn't get the air conditioning to work, let alone CNN.
Good thing the Cold War is over.
The CIA headquarters in Langley, linchpin of America's vast intelligence network, suffered the unthinkable earlier this week: a mundane power blackout.
Although it was the most serious power failure at the CIA in years -- affecting about 25 percent of the offices at the 1.4 million-square-foot headquarters building -- CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield characterized the effect of the Monday incident as "inconvenience." The smaller, newer office building on the campus was not affected, he said.
"We didn't lose any information, and all of our publications went out as scheduled," he said. "Power was rerouted to key areas affected almost immediately."
Mansfield would not discuss which offices lost power, nor which "key areas" had auxiliary electricity to keep them operating, but he did confirm that the office of Director William H. Webster was not affected. No one was injured and some workers were sent home early, he said.
"We didn't miss any significant events," he said. "Actually, we didn't miss any events at all."
Mansfield ruled out sabotage or a KGB agent as causes of the power failure, blaming instead a single electrical feeder. According to Mansfield, the feeder failed at 1:20 p.m. while its backup was being replaced as part of an upgrade of the 30-year-old electrical system. Power was restored at 11:30 p.m.