An article in Saturday's editions, reporting remarks by Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, chief of the Soviet general staff, gave the impression that President Reagan criticized the Soviet Union during a speech Wenesday for spending $500 billion more than the United States on defense annually. The president referred to total defense spending since 1970.
The director of the Soviet secret police said today that several spies have been found recently within the Soviet government.
The startling announcement by KGB director Viktor Chebrikov was the first in recent years in which Moscow has made public a roundup of Soviets allegedly working for western governments.
"These people received strict and just punishment in accordance with the law," Chebrikov added.
"A number of agents of imperialist intelligence services, renegades who sold important official secrets to foreign organizations, have been uncovered at some ministries and departments recently," Chebrikov told the 27th Communist Party congress.
Chebrikov gave no details of the spy roundup, according to the report carried by Tass, the official news agency. Western reporters are not allowed to attend the congress.
Chebrikov said U.S. and other western intelligence services "snatch at our political, military, economic and scientific-technical secrets. It is understandable that in the battle with such enemy activities, the Soviet Union decisively undertakes the measures provided for under our legal system, and will continue to do so."
He said Soviet emigres and some people still in the country were part of the effort but added, "We will not permit them those in the Soviet Union to use their international contacts in actions against our country."
Chebrikov also lashed out at Soviet dissidents and indicated that the KGB would continue to crack down hard against them.
"Opponents of socialism are lauded to the skies in the West," he said, "and even inveterate criminals are taken under their protection."
The KGB director said the West was "demanding that dissidents be given the right to violate our laws with impunity."
"We shall never give such rights to anyone," he added.
Meanwhile, three leading Soviet spokesmen sharply attacked statements this week by President Reagan, saying they constitute a policy of force and pressure and dampen the chance of progress at the Geneva arms talks.
In a press conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Georgi Kornienko, government spokesman Leonid Zamyatin and the chief of the general staff, Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, attacked Reagan's address to the nation Wednesday and his weekend response to the Soviet Union's proposal for worldwide nuclear disarmament.
Reagan's televised speech on defense Wednesday was "completely devoted to glorifying force as the most convincing argument possessed by the United States," Kornienko said.
He added that Reagan's response to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's Jan. 15 disarmament proposal "does not move things forward one inch."
The spirit of Reagan's statement "does not make one hopeful for any progress in Geneva," Kornienko continued.
Reagan wrote a four-page letter to the Soviet leader outlining his response to the arms control proposals.
The three Soviet spokesmen hardened the stance Gorbachev took against the letter in his major speech to the congress when it opened Tuesday.
The Soviet spokesmen concentrated their objections on Reagan's reluctance to agree to the dismantling of U.S. Pershing and cruise missiles based in Europe and apparent reluctance to agree to a worldwide ban on nuclear testing.
Middle-level Soviet officials privately have criticized the proposal that Moscow dismantle its Asian-based SS20s made by Reagan in his letter to Gorbachev.
The first stage in the three-step plan for worldwide disarmament by the year 2000, which Gorbachev released in January, calls for the dismantlement of Soviet European-based SS20s and U.S. Pershing and cruise missiles that are deployed in Europe.
In order for the Asian SS20s to be removed, Akhromeyev said, Washington would have to negotiate on its nuclear forces on aircraft carriers and forces in Guam, Korea and Japan.
Akhromeyev also flatly rejected Reagan's assertion that the Soviet Union spends $500 billion more than the United States on defense annually.