latest Snowden docs show NSA intercepts all Google and Yahoo DC-to-DC traffic

Lorell Hathcock lorell at
Fri Nov 1 12:48:28 UTC 2013

Until you've heard an ex-NSA guy explain to you how this is done, with a
device the size of a brief-case, it can seem a little unbelievable.  I had
that conversation in the late '90s.

-----Original Message-----
From: Matthew Petach [mailto:mpetach at] 
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013 8:27 PM
To: Jimmy Hess
Subject: Re: latest Snowden docs show NSA intercepts all Google and Yahoo
DC-to-DC traffic

On Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 5:53 PM, Jimmy Hess <mysidia at> wrote:

> On Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 7:24 PM, Matthew Petach
<mpetach at>wrote:
>> On Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 7:02 AM, Ray Soucy <rps at> wrote:
>> > Was the unplanned L3 DF maintenance that took place on Tuesday a 
>> > frantic removal of taps? :-)
> No need for intrusive techniques such as direct taps:
>> r=1494884
> For shame.... you've  sent in a link to some article behind a paywall, 
> with some insane download fee.
> Which is an equivalent of hand-waving.
> They must be hiding their content,  for fear that flaws be pointed out.

Oy...OK, let me find a document that spells it out a bit more clearly for

> "Of all the techniques, the bent fiber tap is the most easily deployed 
> with
>> minimal risk of damage or detection. The paper quantifies the bend 
>> loss required to tap a signal propagating in a single mode fiber"
> There will be some wavelengths of light, that may be on the cable, that
> bending won't get a useful signal from.
> Bending the cable sufficiently to  break  the total internal reflection
>  property,  and allow light to leak --  will generate power losses in the
> cable,  that can be identified  on an OTDR.

This patent covers a technique developed to do
non-intrusive optical tapping with a 0.5" microbend,
with only 0.5dB signal loss:

Most people aren't going to be able to tell a
0.5dB loss from a microbend tap from a splice


>> Matt
> --
> -JH

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