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When Your Backhoe Cuts "Black" Fiber 385

Posted by timothy
from the careful-with-that-thing dept.
bernieS writes "The Washington Post describes what happens when a construction backhoe accidentally cuts buried fiber so secret that it doesn't appear on public maps — and what happens when the Men in Black SUVs appear out of nowhere. Apparently, the numerous secret fiber and utility lines used by government intelligence agencies are being dug up with increasing frequency with all the increased construction projects in the DC area. It's amazing how quickly they get repaired!"
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When Your Backhoe Cuts "Black" Fiber

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  • by Celeste R (1002377) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:15PM (#28162817)

    There are reasons why it's important that public records are kept.

    If they wanted to keep people from knowing where or what exactly it was, they could simply have marked it as something it wasn't.. and beyond that, they could encrypt what goes on that fiber.

    They aren't without options; and ultimately they're currently fighting the system, and putting our tax dollars to work in ways that could be prevented.

    It's understandable that they want to keep secrets secret, but isn't covering it up going to draw more attention than fudging the paperwork?

    • by GreenTech11 (1471589) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:18PM (#28162847)
      They probably "fudge" the paperwork on their important wires, these are just decoys *Puts on tinfoil hat*
    • by Celeste R (1002377) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:22PM (#28162903)

      Oh, and I have to wonder a little: there's very little infrastructure terrorism, instead there's much more information terrorism at work. (i.e. the Pentagon hack that lost us the plans to the next air superiority fighter).

      The government does a half-assed job securing its own computers, but they'll lock down what's between the computers... that's like having a convoy that's well protected, then having that same convoy deliver without any security detail.

    • by fuego451 (958976) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:37PM (#28163015) Journal

      Really! Just mark it as a 4" natural gas line. Any backhoe operator worth his salt knows that cooked backhoe guy isn't a pretty sight.

      • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:40PM (#28163041)
        Until somebody goes to fix the natural gas line and can't figure out which one to work on. Or worse can't figure out which one to tap when rebuilding the home.
      • by aaarrrgggh (9205) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @09:17PM (#28163291)

        Hell, just put the fiber in a 4" gas line! Valves become a little problem, but you could have some cast with a bypass for the fiber to pass through.

      • by v1 (525388) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @09:59PM (#28163643) Homepage Journal

        Part of the problem is they are moving lines. In this case half of the job was digging for construction and the other half was digging up and moving known utilities out of the way of the construction. So if you show them where your "gas lines" are at, they are likely to try to move some of them to get them out of their way. And then they are statistically a lot more likely to be discovered for what they are than if they just don't tell you and hope you don't try to move a line on top of one of theirs or dig a tunnel through it.

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @11:08PM (#28164083)

        It's actually worse. Because now they are KNOWN to be super-secret government lines.

        I mean, think about it: You dig up a cable that shouldn't be there and rip it apart. You hop off your 'dozer and still stare at the wire, wondering wtf it's doing here, while a suspiciously unmarked car screeches to halt next to you, out come a few suits and tell you you didn't see anything (sneaky-stealthy as our secret policemen are). They could just as well guard it with a similar tape they use for high voltage wires here (they put in yellow-red plastic tape about half a foot above high power wires and gas lines, so when you dig it up you KNOW you shouldn't dig any deeper) and mark it "secret government wire, do not dig deeper".

        Mark it as a gas line, mark it as high voltage lines, hell, mark it as sewage pipes, but not marking it at all is asking for trouble.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sxpert (139117)

        In effect, you are somewhat right. those pipes are hermetically sealed and under pressure, and have the fiber cable inside.
        when a break occurs, they can detect it by the loss of pressure

    • by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @09:01PM (#28163187) Homepage

      The reality is more likely laziness and ego, of believing they are above the law. They just couldn't be bothered doing the appropriate paper work and now as a result are spending tens of thousands of dollars repairing no longer secret cables, which have now been identified as bring emphatically secret by the cables being hidden and subject to high risk of being accidentally dug up. Of course as a contractor you could sue the government for any delays caused by the government delaying access while they repair the undeclared cable.

    • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @09:16PM (#28163285)

      This is the first things I thought of - mark it as something else.

      "Fibre cable x21-45. Carries: CCT footage of parking lots A-F in Sector 7."

      Make two physically separate redundant feeds. The other one is marked with something like "Library Interconnect".

      Then if either line gets cut at some point, have a couple of guys in a van show up, act like a regular repair crew, and fix the line quickly. Trust me, I've worked as a Civil Engineering Assistant, and they don't care what's in the line, just that there's a line. If you hit something that isn't on the map, they are going to find it and trace it no matter how long it takes. It'll be in a pipe. You can run a 60Hz powerline into the pipe and read the path from the surface. Maybe it's fibre this time -- maybe it's the water main or black water, or WCS -- both at the same time. The point is if you don't file your plans the town will send a poor fucking co-op student out there to mark the fucking thing on the map.

      Then - bam - your secret line is on the maps in the Town Hall marked as "unknown line".

    • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @09:32PM (#28163409) Homepage

      There are reasons why it's important that public records are kept.

      And there are reasons secret records are kept... It's not a perfect either-or.

      If they wanted to keep people from knowing where or what exactly it was, they could simply have marked it as something it wasn't.. and beyond that, they could encrypt what goes on that fiber.

      Take map. Place ruler and draw the lines. Oh, it's something important connecting building A to building B, you can't hide that unless you run markers so wide it's meaningless and you know it's not their super secret sewage system. You can bet it's all well encrypted, but there's more to it than wiretapping, there are these little things called reconnaissance and chain of command. Imagine a real state of war, unlikely as it might seem right now. Cut the right wires, jam anything wireless and you got generals looking at blank screens with no information of what's going on and no way to command their troops. Now I'm no military expert but that sounds to me like a rather serious threat to national security. Don't you think so too?

    • by gdtau (1053676) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @09:43PM (#28163503) Homepage
      Australia has a "dial before you dig" system. The builder submits *their* plans. These are run against registrations of interest in particular streets, and the builders plans copied out to the registered parties. It it then up to the holder of the underground asset to directly contact the builder. The staff of the dial before you dig agency is vetted by the security agencies. This retains the privacy of installations -- even the dial before you dig agency doesn't know the path of your underground asset in any detail which wouldn't be apparent from physical inspection. The assets holders commit not to sue if the builder has lodged plans and the asset holder didn't list the locality of the asset in the database or didn't contact the builder. As a result, all builders send in their plans, since no one wants a huge fiber/water/sewage/electricity/gas repair and compensation bill. The result is a system which leads to Australia having much less backhoe incidents than the US.
      • by v1 (525388) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @10:09PM (#28163709) Homepage Journal

        Many cities in the USA have the same thing, a single number you can call, but it usually results in someone coming out to the land with a flag planter. They use different colors for various services - blue for water, yellow for gas, red for electric, and white for other things such as phone, cable tv, and fiber, so even if they came out and marked their secret line with the rest, you'd have no way of distinguishing it from say a buried telephone trunk without actually digging it up.

      • by bigbigbison (104532) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @11:30PM (#28164243) Homepage
        we have that in the USA too. you call in and someone comes out and plants flags, spray paints the gras where the lines are supposed to be. I would imagine that Australia having many fewer backhoe incidents than the USA would have something to do with Australia have less than 10% as many people as the USA.
  • Ok... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamstar7 (694492) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:15PM (#28162819)
    So who you supposed to notify when you dig? If the fiber is secret, nobody's going to tell you where it's at, and nobody's going to 'fess up about the ownership of said fiber.

    And who do you make the check out to when you do cut it? Or would a 'Hey, how the hell can we know when we cut a top secret fiber? How we supposed to know it's there if it's top secret and we don't have clearance???' defense work in court when the other guy's lawyers come at you for damages?

    • Re:Ok... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:19PM (#28162851) Journal

      I'm going to guess that they don't come at you for damages, as that would only make their little "secret" more public.

      and on an unrelated side note, ianal.

      • Re:Ok... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 31, 2009 @09:33PM (#28163431)

        I'm going to guess that they don't come at you for damages, as that would only make their little "secret" more public.

        If you bothered to read the article, you would see they tried to bill one contractor for $300,000.

        and on an unrelated side note, ianal.

        Well, I AM anal. I read the article before posting.

    • Re:Ok... (Score:5, Funny)

      by camperdave (969942) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:23PM (#28162911) Journal
      How we supposed to know it's there if it's top secret and we don't have clearance?

      Well, all you have to do is read the cable. It says "Top Secret Cable. Do Not Cut" right on it.
      • In my experience the easiest and least costly to find out who owns a cable (or for that matter, if it is used at all) is to cut it then wait for the repair guy/police/black helicopters to show up.

        Its much easier than dialing 1100 [dialbeforeyoudig.com.au] from a mobile phone in the air conditioned comfort of your digging machine.

        And yes, I used to work in a job where we put a lot of cables in the ground around road construction sites, and had a lot of them dug up.
    • Re:Ok... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Todd Fisher (680265) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:49PM (#28163103) Homepage
      So who you supposed to notify when you dig? You're not. That's the secret part of it.

      If the fiber is secret, nobody's going to tell you where it's at, and nobody's going to 'fess up about the ownership of said fiber. Correct, that's why the serious men who pull up to the site and get busy fixing it don't tell you who they are.

      And who do you make the check out to when you do cut it? The serious men will not ask for payment

      Or would a 'Hey, how the hell can we know when we cut a top secret fiber? Rule #1 of accidentally cutting "black" fiber: Do not talk smack to the serious men.

      How we supposed to know it's there if it's top secret and we don't have clearance??? See Rule #1.

      defense work in court when the other guy's lawyers come at you for damages?There will be nothing to go to court about.
    • Re:Ok... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sponga (739683) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @11:19PM (#28164143)

      You call the USA, literally.

      USA= Underground Service Alert
      The number is 811 and you have to call 2 days prior to when you begin your work to cover your ass in court in case you hit any power/gas lines.

      I am thinking that they didn't trench this line but use a pressurized piston to push the line/pipe through the ground soil, that is the cheap way to do it these days and it is like sideways drilling. They don't always go perfectly straight at the same elevation, most likely they tried to push this line under a building and came too close to the foundation working area where they are most likely to dig.
      4 feet down is gas lines, about 6 feet you start hitting electrical/sewer to put it into perspective.

      They send out gas line crews and electric company officals to paint mark where all the lines are located so you do not him them.

      Now I work with a Civil Engineer and our main business is road construction, we have hit everything you can think of from Native American graves to fiber lines that run to ammo depot bunkers for security. You would think something this top secret fiber lines would be buried deeper or it would be encased in red cement around the top or sand to give warning you are about to hit it. They usually pour red colored cement(electrical) or sand on top(gas lines), so that when you are digging and start to hit the red stuff it will give you a warning.

      My favorite was the mile long tunnel at Fort McCarthur in San Pedros, CA that ran under the hill there. Some of the oldest IBM machines I have ever seen were there collecting dust and huge generators.

  • I see that ONE end of the cable is the NSA's, but I wonder where the other one goes....

  • Under pressure... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roskolnikov (68772) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:16PM (#28162827)

    Having seen lines ran in pressurized pipes (pressure drop... alarms) and break location by reflection it doesn't shock me at all to see this; being spooks you would think they would use easements or dig deeper than usual
    to secure such things, but like most work I bet it was contracted out to the cheapest labor they could trust.

    I will say though, not listing the location suggests much; if they are afraid that someone could tap into fiber without detection it most likely means they are already doing so, sometimes the thing you fear the most reveals much about your current state.

    • Re:Under pressure... (Score:5, Informative)

      by greyhueofdoubt (1159527) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @09:18PM (#28163299) Homepage Journal

      I hate to say it, but no, not really. My podunk base in podunk, minnesota applies the same security and cryptography. For example one of our systems that contains NO secret information, NO C&C abilities, and NO administrative rights requires an *18 character* password that must be changed monthly. One each: letter, upper case letter, number, special character, no words, nothing similar to your last 6 passwords etc. And this is behind our secure two-factor login system and on a secure network. And yet, when the base upgraded to fiber, it was done by 3 guys working out of a rented U-Haul truck. Watched it with my own eyes.

      This is just the gov't doing what it does best.

      -b

    • Re:Under pressure... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @10:49PM (#28163959) Journal

      During the cold war, we regularly taped into Russia's fiber and copper lines. They did the same to us or so we expected then to have because we could do it to them. The Russians weren't exactly stupid.

      We even have/had subs who's entire job was to find under sea cables coming off the coast of Russia and place bell taps on them. [wikipedia.org]

      Fiber can be tapped in much the same way except you need to get around or near the actual fiber lines. This means a cut in the sheath surrounding the bundle. I can't find a reference but I do remember a positive pressurized device that would encapsulate a undersea cable allowing the sheathing to be removed and patched without the sea water penetrating. This same device could probably be used to defeat a pressurized line buried in the ground too. Just stick a regulator on the end of a stout hypodermic needle and penetrate the line, wait for the pressure to equalize and then work with relative impunity.

  • My Dad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:18PM (#28162839)

    My dad cut through a cell phone line about a month ago with his bulldozer (he lives on a farm) when we was clearing some soil for his rhubarb. About 30 minutes later a helicopter was circling overhead. Soon there after he met with a FBI agent who showed up on scene. The Verizon workers showed up after that and about 12 hours later the line was patched. This wasnt a fiber line, just a normal cell line, but they took it pretty seriously. We havent gotten a bill in the mail yet, but we are expecting one any day.

    • Re:My Dad (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:43PM (#28163065) Homepage Journal
      Was it on his property? How deep was it? If Verizon ran a shallow cable across his land they should be liable. One farmer here in Victoria, Australia sued Telstra (a big telco) because they ran twisted pair inside his boundary. His equipment dug it up and now that land is useless for farming because his produce is full if little bits of copper wire. It took a while but he won the case.
    • Re:My Dad (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @10:58PM (#28164015) Journal

      A buddy of mine cut a copper phone cable a few years back running some drain tile to the drainage ditch along the road. They didn't get the helocopters of FBI but a couple of verizon trucks kept running up and down the road. Finally one of them pulls in the drive and asked is anyone was doing any construction around there. They said no but then remembered putting the drain tile in and offered that.

      They ended up using the backhoe to dig up access to the line, the guy used a signal wand to find it. The guy and someone else worked for about 6 hours patching 500 some copper lines back together. His total bill was around $6,000 but he ended up getting it cut in half because they were about a foot outside of the right of way. Unfortunately, they placed the drain tile into the right of way so it would have been cut either way so they split the difference. I guess the bill would have been a little more if Verizon would have had to send it's own backhoe out.

      They told a story of a fiber line being cut on the other side of the road (fiber on one side and the older copper on the other) that cost the guy 1 million per day that it was down. I guess whoever cuts the line pays for the lost service too. Hope that give you an idea of how much the bill will be.

  • by blue l0g1c (1007517) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:27PM (#28162937)
    MiB: Pardon me, you seem to have cut our wire. Contractor: Who are you? MiB: Oh us, uh, we're nobody. Contractor: Well, whose wire is this and why hasn't it been documented? MiB: What wire? Contractor: This wire right here! Whose wire is this? MiB: That? That's nobody's Contractor: Ah HA! So it is yours! MiB: What's whose now?
  • Not a new problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by R2.0 (532027) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:34PM (#28162991)

    I worked with a civil engineer who was on the Washington Metro construction for a while. One day the unearthed a concrete ductbank that wasn't on any maps, etc. SOP was that, if it's not accounted for, cut it, so they did.

    Within 5 minutes the Secret Service was down in the hole, had stopped work and kicked everybody out of the tunnel - apparently, the ductbank housed the "nuclear hotline" and losing contact with the other side could have been interpreted as a prelude to an attack.

    Puckered assholes all around, that day.

  • Doesn't surprise me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by guruevi (827432) <eviNO@SPAMsmokingcube.be> on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:37PM (#28163017) Homepage

    There is a lot of cable in the ground even for civil use that isn't really on the plans. But the government and it's agencies really have a thing for not documenting anything for whatever reason.

    I work in a building that was commissioned by the Atomic Energy Commission for the Manhattan Project. It should've been torn down a long time ago but it was more expensive to do that than to renovate it. Right now we're inheriting the 2nd floor of the building where they have been empty since the end of the Cold War (I recently found a stash of unopened era software) but nobody has any plans to the original layout (they went missing somewhere in the 50's) so the DoE did a (nuclear and structural) survey of the site and mapped it out. However the contractors started working and found a room with a lead door, 15" concrete walls, a chair and a small observation window. Needed to do a whole new nuclear survey and remap the whole thing by an internal team. The architect recreated his plans with the new data and found out that there is a bunch of space missing on the (currently empty) 3rd floor. We're not yet renovating there but for some or another reason the decision was made from higher up to leave the 3rd floor untouched until we really need that space.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      However the contractors started working and found a room with a lead door, 15" concrete walls, a chair and a small observation window.

      Ignoring for the moment the fear of radioactive spiders, arbitrarily green physicists or other subcultural agents, I presume someone poked a radiation-measuring instrument in the general direction of the inside of that room?

      • by ColaMan (37550) on Monday June 01, 2009 @12:19AM (#28164529) Homepage Journal

        Ignoring for the moment the fear of radioactive spiders, arbitrarily green physicists or other subcultural agents, I presume someone poked a radiation-measuring instrument in the general direction of the inside of that room?

        Or maybe one should poke a radiation-measuring instrument around the outside of that room?

        *tightens tinfoil hat*

        ::EYES ONLY::EYES ONLY::EYES ONLY::
        ::PROJECT CUPCAKE::
        ::START DATE JUNE 25 1964::
        ::PROJECT BRIEF::

        This project involves dusting the second floor of our disused research building with radionuclides of a quantity typical of the levels generated by large-scale atomic weaponry at close range. Subsequent to this dusting, the floor will then be populated with monkeys that are trained to perform menial, repetitive tasks for as long as possible. An observer will be positioned in the shielded room (originally used for research) on this floor and will be able to record the ability of the monkeys to perform their tasks, as well as the subsequent rapid death of the monkeys. Due to high levels of radioactivity and the long life of decay products, it is recommended that this building no longer be used after this project.

        ::END BRIEF::
         
        ::EYES ONLY::EYES ONLY::EYES ONLY::EYES ONLY::
        ::ADDENDUM TO PROJECT CUPCAKE::AUGUST 5 1967::
        ::PROJECT BRIEF ADDENDUM::

        In addition to the previous research, the long term effect of radioactive compounds on humans to be studied at the facility until the background radiation drops to ambient levels. As such, this building is to be leased to the general public and local cancer and leukemia rates monitored until further notice.
        ::END BRIEF::

  • by JavaManJim (946878) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @08:53PM (#28163117)

    Way back when I graduated college and started work for a major USA oil company.

    The IT department had a neat graphics printer. Oil companies generally have a lot of money resulting in great toys. One of the experienced IT developers said; "Watch, this graphics printer prints the coolest maps!". That map had printed just an interesting six inches on its way to 30". Then security showed up. Confiscated the map. Shut down the terminal and printer. And wrote everyone up. Security said about ten words. Then left. We looked at each other mystified and shrugged.

    Oh yes, the oil company could and did hire all sorts of experts. Those security folks likely had serious experience.

    Thanks,
    The J

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @09:49PM (#28163557) Homepage

    If I were trying to keep a cable secret, I'd make sure the real cable was clearly recorded on the maps as something totally innocuous and not connected to anything secret at all. If it got cut, it'd get repaired per normal procedure for the kind of cable it's marked as (and I'll have sufficient backups that I don't need to make the repair an attention-grabbing rush job). Then I'd lay a few completely unused but highly suspicious-looking decoy cables, making sure they occasionally got cut and that there was a suitably public trying-to-look-not-public scramble to repair them. That way anybody trying to find my cables was likely to glom onto the ones I was trying to keep hidden, and probably wouldn't even bother looking at "backup equipment monitoring line, sewage pumping station 37, Department of Public Works".

  • by crimbil (702153) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @09:54PM (#28163593)
    Using the TSA model (shoes, liquids, etc.) the only possible solution is to prohibit backhoe use. Remember, when backhoes are outlawed, only terrorists will have backhoes. Why, right now there could be huge numbers of terrorists in heavy equipment training classes, just planning and waiting for the opportunity to dig up phone, internet, power, water, and gas lines throughout the USA. And without any of the things supplied by those lines, just think of what would happen to the children. You may now commence with the hysteria. Alert the press.
  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @09:57PM (#28163621)
    Use black light ??
  • by b4upoo (166390) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @10:31PM (#28163861)

    I worked installing street lights and traffic lights as well as all the underground material that connects them right on top of some government lines. In one case I was on top of coral, limestone and sandstone covered by side walks and under the over hangs of numerous businesses. We had little short shovels and picks and had to dig 4x4ft. holes nine feet deep through that rock every hundred feet or so for many miles. Striking the buried cable, even with a hand tool, would have resulted in financial disaster. Little things like the US Air Force depended on those lines. It is also a big issue near the Florida Keys as boat anchors tend disrupt cables that relate to national defence.

  • by kriston (7886) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @10:34PM (#28163875) Homepage Journal

    This fallacious story is featured all over the the local news today here in DC
    The problem is not that the lines aren't mapped--they ARE mapped just like any other utility.
    The real problem is that the maps aren't perfect.

    Here's the real scoop:
    There have been nearly 40 cable cuts in Tysons since the Metro line to Dulles started construction.
    There is a government-owned antenna tower on the highest hill in Tysons, too.
    The ACTUAL problem is that Tysons Corner is the center of the Eastern USA internet capacity. Sure, MAE-East was here, but it's moved to Ashburn, and those lines still cross through Tysons Corner.
    Naturally, government lines are part of the rats nest that the Metro must tunnel through.

    Bottom line is: all the lines are mapped but the maps aren't perfect.
    The agencies do not bury secret cables. To do so would not only be dangerous, it would be silly.
    They're just cables like any other.

    In other news, that big hill on Rte. 123 had been restricted to heavy trucks after test cores indicated faulty soil but that restriction has been lifted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drmofe (523606)
      I have to say, reading the original article, I was reminded about the story about the fully-mobilized North Korean army sitting in trucks with the engines running, ready to invade South Korea at a moment's notice. Good scare story, completely false. If a line gets cut, and it is for anything important, you have a redundant route, so no crisis. You then send a normal maintenance crew out to take care of the one that got cut. If it isn't important, no crisis, so you send out a normal looking maintenance c
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The problem is not that the lines aren't mapped--they ARE mapped just like any other utility. The real problem is that the maps aren't perfect.

      Irrelevant. As I explained here [slashdot.org], there are very effective methods of locating utilities (quite accurately I might add) that are either missing from a map, or are incorrectly drawn on the map. I do agree that this story seems to be quite sensationalized, and still maintain that the contractor did not do his/her due diligence prior to digging.

  • Ah, the dreaded.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by idiotnot (302133) <sean@757.org> on Sunday May 31, 2009 @10:58PM (#28164023) Homepage Journal

    ...as my old boss, a radio engineer, termed it: "backhoe fade."

    Happened to one of our transmitter sites. We switched to a microwave STL, which just had to be retired (only about 4 years later), because of a new skyscraper going in. :-/

    So, back to the telco lines.....

    As for the CLAN cut, I'm guessing this is probably a protocol violation somewhere. In many installations I've seen, even in secured areas, this stuff is encased in concrete.

  • by Slashcrap (869349) on Monday June 01, 2009 @04:41AM (#28165591)

    That way if you're ever lost in a desert, you can just lay it in the ground and wait.

    When the backhoe operator cuts it, ask him to rescue you.

  • by CokeBear (16811) on Monday June 01, 2009 @07:24AM (#28166389) Journal

    Provides a handy counter-example to anyone who wants to point to government as inherently inefficient. Clearly it can be efficient when it wants to be.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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