Russian diplomats lingering near fiber optic cables

Eric Kuhnke eric.kuhnke at gmail.com
Thu Jun 1 19:20:54 UTC 2017


It's not like the locations of any of the transatlantic or transpacific
cable landing stations are a big secret. They're published in the FCC's
digest reports for international authorization and whenever ownership of a
cable changes hands or is restructured.

Additionally it is pretty hard to hide from modern imagery intelligence
analysis any sort of building that has 1+1 or N+1 200kW diesel generators
and the cooling required for a medium sized telecom facility.

Locations of cables are published specifically for the purpose of helping
trawlers and ships avoid damaging them, for example:
http://bandoncable.org/cables.asp

That said, a pretty quick way to get on some homeland security watch lists
would be to hang around a cable landing station beach location with a big
DSLR camera, and appear uninterested in the beach...




On Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 11:02 AM, Sean Donelan <sean at donelan.com> wrote:

>
> There must be a perfectly logical explanation....  Yes, people in the
> industry know where the choke points are. But the choke points aren't
> always the most obvious places. Its kinda a weird for diplomats to show up
> there.
>
> On the other hand, I've been a fiber optic tourist.  I've visited many
> critical choke points in the USA and other countries, and even took selfies
> :-)
>
>
> http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/01/russia-spies-espion
> age-trump-239003
>
> In the throes of the 2016 campaign, the FBI found itself with an
> escalating problem: Russian diplomats, whose travel was supposed to be
> tracked by the State Department, were going missing.
>
> The diplomats, widely assumed to be intelligence operatives, would
> eventually turn up in odd places, often in middle-of-nowhere USA. One was
> found on a beach, nowhere near where he was supposed to be. In one
> particularly bizarre case, relayed by a U.S. intelligence official, another
> turned up wandering around in the middle of the desert. Interestingly, both
> seemed to be lingering where underground fiber-optic cables tend to run.
>
> According to another U.S. intelligence official, “They find these guys
> driving around in circles in Kansas. It’s a pretty aggressive effort.”
>
> It’s a trend that has led intelligence officials to conclude that the
> Kremlin is waging a quiet effort to map the United States’
> telecommunications infrastructure, perhaps preparing for an opportunity to
> disrupt it.
>


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