These concerns come as Putin’s aggressiveness continues to grow in both military presence and technology. If Russia were to cut the fiber-optic cables at some of the hard-to-access locations, it could halt the the communications on which the West has become dependent.
WASHINGTON — Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict.
The issue goes beyond old worries during the Cold War that the Russians would tap into the cables — a task American intelligence agencies also mastered decades ago. The alarm today is deeper: The ultimate Russian hack on the United States could involve severing the fiber-optic cables at some of their hardest-to-access locations to halt the instant communications on which the West’s governments, economies and citizens have grown dependent.
While there is no evidence yet of any cable cutting, the concern is part of a growing wariness among senior American and allied military and intelligence officials over the accelerated activity by Russian armed forces around the globe. At the same time, the internal debate in Washington illustrates how the United States is increasingly viewing every Russian move through a lens of deep distrust, reminiscent of relations during the Cold War.
Cmdr. William Marks, a Navy spokesman in Washington, said: “It would be a concern to hear any country was tampering with communication cables; however, due to the classified nature of submarine operations, we do not discuss specifics.”
In private, however, commanders and intelligence officials are far more direct.
They report that from the North Sea to Northeast Asia and even in waters closer to American shores, they are monitoring significantly increased Russian activity along the known routes of the cables, which carry the lifeblood of global electronic communications and commerce.
Just last month, the Russian spy ship Yantar, equipped with two self-propelled deep-sea submersible craft, cruised slowly off the East Coast of the United States on its way to Cuba — where one major cable lands near the American naval station at Guantánamo Bay. It was monitored constantly by American spy satellites, ships and planes. Navy officials said the Yantar and the submersible vehicles it can drop off its decks have the capability to cut cables miles down in the sea.
Those with the perspective of history are rightly alarmed as teaparty.org explains:
“The level of activity,’’ a senior European diplomat said, ‘‘is comparable to what we saw in the Cold War.”
One NATO ally, Norway, is so concerned that it has asked its neighbors for aid in tracking Russian submarines.
Adm. James Stavridis, formerly NATO’s top military commander and now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, said in an email last week that “this is yet another example of a highly assertive and aggressive regime seemingly reaching backwards for the tools of the Cold War, albeit with a high degree of technical improvement.”
Of course, all of this has only been made possible by Obama’s purposeful ineptitude when it comes to foreign policy. Since he hates the fact that America was the last superpower left on earth, he has been determined to reduce our standing in the world to create more “balance.”
And by balance, they mean Obama has rendered America helpless against any serious threats that might come out of Russia. His childish disdain for Putin has created unnecessary tension. With the 2016 elections right around the corner, let’s hope that America can hold out for the arrival of a real president to show Putin who’s he’s dealing with.