NSA tapping undersea fibers?

John Denker jsd at research.att.com
Tue May 29 08:49:16 EDT 2001

At 09:46 PM 5/28/01 -0700, Tib wrote:
>I'm curious as well about how the tap could actually happen though without
>some major bells and whistles taking place.
>one fracture and suddenly you're going to have massive data loss

So don't do it that way.  There are ways to tap a fiber without fracturing it.

>... about the only way I can see this taking place (from the limited 
>knowledge I have on this) would be if there was an NSA or other government 
>agent standing over the operator as the alarm went off about the line 
>failure and canceling it, then politely telling the operator 'This never 
>happened, and I was never here' (a'la James Earl Jones in Hunt for Red 

Uhhh, if either end of the fiber connects to a place where Mr. Jones has 
access, then they don't need to tap the undersea cable at all!  They just 
tap the dry-land connections near that place -- or tap the electronics 
inside that place.

>To sum this whole thing up - /IS/ there a way to put a tap on a fiber line
>without letting the whole world know you're doing it, if not just the
>operator/owner of the line itself? And if so could someone sketch it out for
>me or point me to a resource? I'd love to learn of it

For starters:

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