Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Article ties USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) to 'Sensitive' NSA Listening

Tamedia Publications romandes* SA is a Swiss media group headquartered in Zurich. With daily and weekly newspapersmagazines, and newspaper printing part sof Tamedia media companies. The company was founded in 1893 and is listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange since 2000.  

*Suisse romande or Romandie refers to French-speaking districts of western Switzerland. "Suisse romand" describes the French dialect spoken in Switzerland. 


July 7, 2013 Tribune de Genève   L'USS Jimmy Carter, les oreilles de la NSA au fond des mers  -  By Pascal Schmuck.

Translated excerpts [emphasis mine]:  The USS Jimmy Carter, the ears of the NSA on the seabed

The particular American nuclear sub is capable of monitoring submarine optical fiber cables. No communication seems immune to the ears of the National Security Agency (NSA). Satellite comms are routinely monitored by the Echelon program, but the fiber optic submarine cables have not escapes their monitoring.

 Of course, transatlantic comms are already monitored on both sides of the ocean, by the Americans and the British. But the United States has also developed a special nuclear submarine capable of intercepting more sensitive communications. The USS Jimmy Carter was built in the early 2000s to operate wiretaps

Since we know that almost 90% of Internet traffic is carried by submarine cable versus 10% by satellite. Submarine cables give rise to many fantasies, as we hear whenever one of them is cut. USS Jimmy Carter seems to represent a capability of strategic significance.

NOTES (Wikipedia)
1- As of 2006, overseas satellite links accounted for only 1 percent of international traffic, while the remainder was carried by undersea cable.

2- [USS Jimmy] Carter has additional maneuvering devices fitted fore and aft that will allow her to keep station over selected targets in odd currents. Past submarines outfitted this way were used to tap undersea cables, to intercept communications of foreign countries. Intelligence experts speculate that the MMP may find use in similar missions as an underwater splicing chamber for fiber optic cables.[4][5][6][7]
Submarines are always silent and strange.

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At 10 July, 2013 20:39, Blogger Pete said...

Hi Vigilis

Thanks for an excellent post. I'm wondering whether other SSNs have been modified for this mission - or is USS Jimmy Carter a one-off?

Hoping you don't mind - attributed to you - I've reproduced this post - see



At 11 July, 2013 15:33, Blogger Vigilis said...

Pete, the article linked posits the Carter's capability which, if it truly exists, would not have been the first (nor in all likelihood the last) sub to be so outfitted. In other words, I cannot answer your question.

Since publication of my post, however, both the UK Guardian and Washington Post have run related articles -(WP) which may be of interest.


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