How US Transnational Fiber Cables Are Tapped

Response to:

James Atkinson website:

In regards to the article about “800 US Backbones Allegedly Tapped” there
needs to be several issues brought forward and addressed.

When any U.S. telecommunications company wishes to install a physical fiber
optic connection, and that connection cross into or
out of the national borders of
the United States, the company which terminates the fiber, in what is called a
“landing” is required under federal law to obtain an “International Landing”
license, and this is done via the Federal Communications Commission,
and there
is ALWAYS, repeat ALWAYS, an unclassified version of the license and then a
classified addendum to the agreement. The company who seek the license will
be assigned a classified compartments code name that will be “Top Secret/ESI”
with the ESI st
anding for “Extremely Sensitive Information” as disclosure could
directly lead to economic devastation to the company, and their involvement
must be kept secret.

For example, Apple, AT&T, C&W, and so on all have a classified ESI code name
that is extreme
ly compartmentalized. Next, there is the codename for each and
every landing point for every fiber optic cable, and these codenames may or may
not be ESI, but they usually will be. For examine the cable landing in Lynn, MA
has one code name for the company
entity, and then a different one for the
actual landing site itself.

At each landing site, at each location (such as Lynn, MA) the classified part of
the agreement designates a specific room, and a certain number of square feet,
inside the landing statio
n where the NSA/CIA/SCS installed equipment to give a
direct interface into the fiber, all or the fiber, without exception, and on one side
of the room is regarded U.S. Soil, the center of the room is considered the U.S.
Border, and the other side of the r
oom regarded as international area. Two
people standing in this room can face the equipment and one be inside and the
other outside the country.

Inside this room, every single fiber that departs the United States is fully
accessible, and taps are installe
d at this point, and then the U.S. Government
forks out literally million of dollars a year in rent on the fiber that runs between
this room and the local NSA interception “hut” where it is processed and then
routed into the actual NSA system. By examining
the actual physical space of
these rooms, and fiber routes from these facilities to the local NSA safehouse
(there is one on the property of the GE plant, a few blocks from the landing point,
and then anther one for Lynn is in Somerville, MA).

The “inter
national landing license” starts this procedure, and to gain a greater
understanding it is vital to obtain a site diagram, and then building blueprints, as
these show the routes, and then the location of the room inside the building. I
have copies of these
records for all U.S. landing sites, plus all of their cable
routes, including the above and below ground cable routes.

Within these tapping rooms, the NSA/CIA/SCS is permitted to eavesdrop on all
traffic on the foreign side of the room, or foreign side o
f the rack.

To best understand this matter, it must be noted that the signals that cross
international borders are bursts of light on fiber, but at the landing site then also
inject the metal jacket with current to run the repeaters and amplified that are
under the ocean. This can involve quite a bit of voltage, and quite a bit of
amperage. Additionally, they apply a tracing tone to the cable in order to find the
cable as it more around on the surface of the ocean, but unless service is being
performed the
tone is SUPPOSED to be turned off, but they are routinely left on
during normal operation.

For example Tuckerton routines leaves the tone on which means form a row boat
someone can follow the cable form the beach to considerably out in the ocean
and can
map out the cable to within a few inches of how it is laid on the floor on
the ocean, just off shore.

The switching system (at Lynn, Tuckerton, Kunia, etc) need digital pulses, not
optical pulses, and then the signals have to be demultiplexed either by o
wavelengths, or by time slots. Once the signals are divided, they can be
recombined and sent out to their client subscribers to include the backhaul links
from the landing stations to the intelligence service, from their little interception
hut. Ide
ally, this hut gets live access to the fiber BEFORE it gets converted to a
digital signal, and before it gets demultiplexed.

One of the tactics used by the U.S. intelligence services, is that they get paid a
handsome sum to the landing companies for rent,
then they pay for the fiber for
the backhaul, and the backhaul rent is actually dependent on the bandwidth
used, and bytes sent, so the more that get cranked, the more they get paid. Ah,
but there is devilish game that gets played.

At Tuckerton, Lynn, an
d other sites, since just after 9/11/2001 if you place a call
from Washington, DC to Boston, the call does not actually get sent over
underground cables inside the United States, but rather the call gets injected into
an international landing site, and rou
ted to Great Britain, and then sent back to
the same U.S. Landing location, essentially being a loopback in the UK. Because
the loopback caused the signal to be transmitted over a U.S. border, then legally
the NSA/CIA/SCS will claim that it then falls into
an international transmission
and that they are justified in performing an intercept, even though it is a domestic
call, but because it was shot out of the United States over an international
loopback. Another wrinkle is because this loopback to the UK, t
he British
government will also intercept it at the loopback point, so that the call gets shared
by two independent espionage entities.

Now, there is a legal problem, and a fairly serious Constitutional matter that sort
of gets brushed aside, as if it
provided a bit of an inconvenience. Under the
options of the Supreme Court of the United States, they have gone though
thousands of pages over the centuries, and they was well settled what a search
it, what a seizure it, what a locked container is, and so on
. They have also
defined electronic device manipulation in order to gain unlawful access and so
on, and the biggest reason that the ESI classification is in place, is to protect the
government, and the companies against major civil rights lawsuits when wha
they are doing ends up in federal court.

Every single cable, without exception, into and out of the United States is tapped,
and in the case of a satellite uplink or downlink for either corporate or common
carrier reasons is also tapped, and has been t
apped for decades, and the public
is generally blissfully unaware of what is going on.

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