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
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.
Seems it would be easier to just pay for a subscription to a service like FiberLocator or similar.
They could just dial 811 as well and request the locates happen.
DO NOT ANCHOR OR DREDGE is a pretty good indicator.
That's how we found the Russian's fiber cables:
"According to “Blind Man’s Bluff,” Bradley, in his predawn stupor, recalled from his youth written signs that had been posted along the Mississippi River to mark undersea cables. The signs, posted along the shore, were meant to prevent passing from hooking the cables with their anchors. With this in mind, Bradley reasoned that there had to be similar signs near the shallower points on the Sea of Okhotsk."
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:
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...
As someone who has sold a lot of capacity on Hibernia Atlantic, I must concur. There is a website showing where most of the Trans-Atlantic cables land on the West Coast of Britain at towns like Bude in Wales. Hiding is not an option.
As far as I know, there are no cable landing stations in Kansas.
Has US geography changed recently?
Last time I checked satellite imagery, existing fiber maps, as well as signs saying "Fiber Optic Cables" lead to the same outcome: Very little can be hidden. Nice try, Sean. You can try out next year.
Sea levels rose pretty quickly
And even in Kansas most fiber optic cables are probably next to roads, gas pipelines, and railways. Pretty easy to find.
Yep, with those orange-and-white plastic pipe markers sticking up that say "CAUTION! Buried Fiber Optic Cable!" on 'em.
Unlike cable landing stations and satellite earth stations, which are documented in public FCC licenses, usually to 6 decimal points of longitude & latitude; and and included in navigation maps....
Finding the exact cable routes in the middle of the country requires on the ground surveying and locating cable markers. Piecemeal maps exist at the local level, and high-level maps are available from various providers. But as anyone familar with cable accidents or network planning knows, those marketing maps are aspirational. I had real estate people try to convince me that "fiber was available" at specific sites because there was a railroad across the road, and everyone "knew" that fiber was always next to railroads.
Yes, its fairly simple to find a cable marker, if you put people (i.e. diplomats) on the ground in remote areas across the country.
But, its odd to send diplomats to remote areas of the country, if you are not trying to survey geographic infrastructure in the middle of the country.
Sean Donelan wrote:
But, its odd to send diplomats to remote areas of the country, if you are
not trying to survey geographic infrastructure in the middle of the
It's just "for show."
If they really wanted to be invisible, they could do so without using
diplomats - a group that is always assumed to be under location
I think regardless of what you appear to be interested in, hanging around a
beach with a big DSLR is likely to get you on one list or another.
Maybe they're not *actually* Russian diplomats, but instead undercover
backhoes using Russian diplomatic credentials.
"Excuse me, sir! Can you direct us to the naval base in Alameda? It's
where they keep the nuclear wessels."
The Seattle Russian Embassy is in the Westin Building just 4 floors above
the fiber meet-me-room and five floors above the NRO tap room. They use to
come ask us (an ISP) for IT help back in '96 when they would drag an icon
too far off the screen in Windows 3.11. We were on the same floor.
Sean said: "Unlike cable landing stations and satellite earth stations,
which are documented in public FCC licenses, usually to 6 decimal points of
longitude & latitude; and and included in navigation maps...."
Or you just follow the manhole covers that say Global Crossings.
So when Flynn & Friends in the Trump Transition Team were trying to
establish that back channel link to Vladimir Putin they should've just
wandered into the nearest colo facility ... okay, then. I guess they
did it the other way because they wanted the trench coats.