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United States Security

America Uses Stealthy Submarines To Hack Other Countries' Systems (washingtonpost.com) 177

When the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump asked Russia -- wittingly or otherwise -- to launch hack attacks to find Hillary Clinton's missing emails, it caused a stir of commotion. Russia is allegedly behind DNC's leaked emails. But The Washington Post is reminding us that U.S.'s efforts in the cyber-security world aren't much different. (could be paywalled; same article syndicated elsewhere From the report: The U.S. approach to this digital battleground is pretty advanced. For example: Did you know that the military uses its submarines as underwater hacking platforms? In fact, subs represent an important component of America's cyber strategy. They act defensively to protect themselves and the country from digital attack, but -- more interestingly -- they also have a role to play in carrying out cyberattacks, according to two U.S. Navy officials at a recent Washington conference. "There is a -- an offensive capability that we are, that we prize very highly," said Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley, the U.S. Navy's program executive officer for submarines. "And this is where I really can't talk about much, but suffice to say we have submarines out there on the front lines that are very involved, at the highest technical level, doing exactly the kind of things that you would want them to do."

The so-called "silent service" has a long history of using information technology to gain an edge on America's rivals. In the 1970s, the U.S. government instructed its submarines to tap undersea communications cables off the Russian coast, recording the messages being relayed back and forth between Soviet forces. (The National Security Agency has continued that tradition, monitoring underwater fiber cables as part of its globe-spanning intelligence-gathering apparatus. In some cases, the government has struck closed-door deals with the cable operators ensuring that U.S. spies can gain secure access to the information traveling over those pipes.) These days, some U.S. subs come equipped with sophisticated antennas that can be used to intercept and manipulate other people's communications traffic, particularly on weak or unencrypted networks. "We've gone where our targets have gone" -- that is to say, online, said Stewart Baker, the National Security Agency's former general counsel, in an interview. "Only the most security-conscious now are completely cut off from the Internet." Cyberattacks are also much easier to carry out than to defend against, he said.

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America Uses Stealthy Submarines To Hack Other Countries' Systems

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30, 2016 @11:43PM (#52615075)
    https://archive.google.com/tis... [google.com] And anyone with a sewer drain can be spied upon. Actually, they probably already have sewer eavesdropping.
  • The futurist in me wonders if they can latch onto a submarine cable, cut it, insert a passively recording hub, and leave with only having changed the impedance and signal time (a little) and caused a brief outage.
    • Re:Underwater cables (Score:4, Informative)

      by khallow ( 566160 ) on Saturday July 30, 2016 @11:53PM (#52615101)
      Wouldn't cause a brief outage, if they did that during a scheduled downtime of the cable.
      • Re:Underwater cables (Score:5, Informative)

        by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @03:18AM (#52615409) Homepage

        Let's not get carried away with cutting cables, the idea is quite amusing when you consider https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] so not just https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]. Obviously hacking into the repeaters makes a lot more sense and is of course exactly what they do and that is with the cooperation of the companies involved, so the hacks go in as the cable is being laid. So at the repeater they of course copy data, delete data and more importantly inject data, think questionable attacks from questionable sources. Likely the hardware is permanently locked in place and they only maintain it when it fails.

        The catch with that is any claim they make about hacks is now questionable as they inherently can and will corrupt the evidence. We you set out to so publicly corrupt global infrastructure than you will no longer be believed for any claims you make that result from attacks on that infrastructure ie you are always the initial and most likely suspect for any attack. Much like the US Navy and it's policy of not declaring which vessels have nuclear weapons and which do not. Result is when ever a US naval vessels approaches a foreign country it is not just a naval vessel approaching but a first strike city destroying nuclear threat approaching and that is the US government approach when sending vessels upon that basis, they are in fact at that moment threatening the targeted nation with a first strike nuclear attack.

        It is really a messy, arrogant approach, factually the number one suspect in any cyder attack must always be the NSA/CIA, they have the greatest capability, they have declared their intent to dominate every other countries internet infrastructure and US laws claim that US government departments are not bound by other countries laws and are free to break them at any time for any reason.

        • by jon3k ( 691256 )
          It's neither "messy" nor "arrogant". Those are both poor choices of words to describe it. It's a very clear tactical goal, an obvious one is so the US adversaries don't know which ships to attack to stop a nuclear strike. I'd be shocked if any major nuclear power told everyone exactly what ships carried nukes. Unless their Navy is so small it's just obvious.
        • by khallow ( 566160 )

          The catch with that is any claim they make about hacks is now questionable as they inherently can and will corrupt the evidence. We you set out to so publicly corrupt global infrastructure than you will no longer be believed for any claims you make that result from attacks on that infrastructure ie you are always the initial and most likely suspect for any attack. Much like the US Navy and it's policy of not declaring which vessels have nuclear weapons and which do not. Result is when ever a US naval vessels approaches a foreign country it is not just a naval vessel approaching but a first strike city destroying nuclear threat approaching and that is the US government approach when sending vessels upon that basis, they are in fact at that moment threatening the targeted nation with a first strike nuclear attack.

          I notice two things. First, most countries have the ability to "publicly corrupt global infrastructure", but it's only the US's capabilities that you care to complain about.

          Second, what is the point of faking a massive cyber espionage campaign from China and Russia? If the US or allies were doing a false flag operation, they've gotten remarkably little return on the effort. To illustrate the kind of return you can get from false flag operations, Nazi Germany staged a fake military attack on a German radi

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        Wouldn't cause an outage if you tapped it by capturing light from a bend. Doesn't work on BI fiber, and is detectable in that the tap will cause a signal loss, but if they have standard fiber and poor monitoring, it's undetectable.
    • Re:Underwater cables (Score:5, Informative)

      by ColaMan ( 37550 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @12:10AM (#52615151) Homepage Journal

      You don't even have to cut it, just bend the strands enough so the some leaks out the side of the glass.

      I've got a fiber tester here that does exactly that with normal fiber patch leads, and it can tell me which direction the light source is coming from, if there is modulated data on it, or if there is one of it's own light source ID modules on the end of the fiber.

      Super handy for fiber test work and only $1000. Imagine what you can get when you've effectively got an unlimited black ops budget.

      • Re:Underwater cables (Score:5, Informative)

        by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @01:27AM (#52615289)

        You don't even have to cut it, just bend the strands enough so the some leaks out the side of the glass.

        This is exactly what they do. They have something like a diving bell that they can loop a submarine cable through and seal it. They can then transfer some technicians from the mother sub to the bell through an airlock where they can peel the armor off the cable, isolate individual fibers and wrap them around such optical couplers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You don't even have to cut it, just bend the strands enough so the some leaks out the side of the glass.

          This is exactly what they do. They have something like a diving bell that they can loop a submarine cable through and seal it. They can then transfer some technicians from the mother sub to the bell through an airlock where they can peel the armor off the cable, isolate individual fibers and wrap them around such optical couplers.

          How do you know? are you there? have you seen it?

          Where does the data go? current industry practice is to run submarine cables at 192x100G. That's 19.2Tbit/s.

          Without a fiber backhaul from their underwater tap to a safe harbor for analysis, there is just no way to process that level of data.

          And for what purpose, all a country would have to do, is mandate that all it's teleports use symmetric encryption and all those expensive taps, and phantom backhaul network (which would cost more than the worlds existing s

          • Re:Underwater cables (Score:4, Informative)

            by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @07:30PM (#52617887)
            And if they use BI fiber, it'll break before it bends enough to leak. Also, the bend is detectable, but not in a detection war. A bend enough to leak light will cause a loss of about 3 dB. Do that in a human-possible time frame, and the management server will detect the sudden loss as a critical event. So the tappers will make a machine to bend it slowly over a week, and tap in over a time that the management servers won't recognize as a significant critical event.
        • That's pretty much what NR-1 [wikipedia.org] was built for. Ostensibly it was for researching the deep ocean environment. But really, when you build a nuclear powered deep ocean submersible which can stay on the ocean floor for weeks at a time, it's pretty obvious the purpose is to tap undersea cables.

          It was most likely retired because ROVs and telepresence had become advanced enough that they could do the tapping remotely, without the need to put people right next to the cable.
      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Before and at the start of what is now NSA and GCHQ projects to get to Soviet and other nations communications was well funded. In the late 1940's the USS Cochino and the USS Tusk got used and the UK used the HMS Turpin. Converted to super-T specification https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] a lot of effort was made to get near Soviet sites.
        The problem for the UK was the need for submarine broadcasts. Would the Soviet Union find their locations?
        What slowed the UK's operations was the discovery of a UK s
    • Re:Underwater cables (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31, 2016 @12:11AM (#52615155)

      The futurist in me wonders if they can latch onto a submarine cable, cut it, insert a passively recording hub, and leave with only having changed the impedance and signal time (a little) and caused a brief outage.

      The futurist in you is 45 years behind the times:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ivy_Bells

    • Re:Underwater cables (Score:5, Informative)

      by Aighearach ( 97333 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @12:11AM (#52615157) Homepage

      That is exactly what they do. It probably does cause a brief outage for fiber, but not for copper.

      They have special subs for it. The summary seems pretty clueless. It has been widely reported for decades.

    • Re:Underwater cables (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pepsikid ( 2226416 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @12:30AM (#52615215)

      As khallow said, they add the taps during scheduled downtime. They also add the taps during an outage. And you can imagine how easy it is to arrange for a trawler to "accidentally" drag it's anchor across the ocean floor. There is some risk of being detected by diagnostic equipment at either end of the cable, since they can determine the distance to the break, but if the trawler break and submarine tap are 10 miles apart, the sub should go unnoticed, and the difference in distance is within a margin of error.

      • As khallow said, they add the taps during scheduled downtime. They also add the taps during an outage. And you can imagine how easy it is to arrange for a trawler to "accidentally" drag it's anchor across the ocean floor. There is some risk of being detected by diagnostic equipment at either end of the cable, since they can determine the distance to the break, but if the trawler break and submarine tap are 10 miles apart, the sub should go unnoticed, and the difference in distance is within a margin of error.

        Is this why someone keeps cutting the fiber in the SF Bay Area? I had wondered if someone was putting in taps while the cable was cut further up the line.

    • We have been doing this since the 1970s. Look up Operation Ivy Bells and you can read the book Blind Man's Bluff. The subs would install espionage devices that wouldn't require the cable to be cut. Or you would cut the cable at some shallow point pretending it was a trawler that made the cut accidentally, then you tap the deep water portion of the cable while the cable is down, then when the guys repair the cable, the characteristics would have been expected to change.

    • If repeaters in any way convert those photons to electrons so that they can be amplified, cleaned up, and converted back to better, stronger photons, then that is the point where interception does not require breaking the cable or even attaching to it. Certainly the technology exists to extract signals and so listen in.

      You doubt this? We've been treated to a few clever ways to listen into PCs, ways we have not thought could be, and some defy shielding.

      Remember, every state is eavesdropping on every other st

  • by Anonymous Coward

    He just admitted basically to having the capability to rewrite walkie-talkie chatter realtime using these subs.

    He also just threw some companies under the bus.

    Said too much.

  • Again with this? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Saturday July 30, 2016 @11:46PM (#52615089)
    Plenty to dislike about Trump. But why keep making stuff up? He didn't call for Russia to hack Clinton's email. He made a very tired joke (it's been made here and elsewhere for weeks) about maybe the Russians, if they can find her email in the stuff they already have, could turn it over to our FBI, who couldn't find most of what she deleted. Go after him for his abundant riches of nonsense, but don't make crap up. Makes this site look sillier than usual.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because as everyone saw with the Wikileaks DNC release, Democrats fund astroturfers to spread lies all around the internet. I wouldn't doubt the Republicans do it too, but the DNC ones are 100% proven. As more and more negative Hillary evidence is revealed, they only thing they can do is deflect and try to pin the blame on somebody else. Hence all the "evil Russians" stories this last week.

      • Aren't the emails just people talking about a story about astroturf on Fox News? I haven't read them, but does talking about a story prove it is 100% true? And of course the stories about Russians (100% proven to astroturf BTW—and not always with ACs) are because the Russians are widely believed to have supplied the info to wikileaks.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          We already knew Clinton was spending at least a million dollars to 'correct' people online.

          I'll never understand how she managed to get the nomination, it's one scandal after another with that woman.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Boronx ( 228853 )

            Maybe she got the nomination because those aren't scandals.

          • Because the vast majority of the "scandals" are hyperbolically exaggerated BS or made up from whole cloth by the republicans. The one case where she could legitimately argued to have done something wrong was a bog-standard case of "shadow IT". And most of us have been in situations ourselves where... if we could have gotten around the obstructive BOFH going on about "my precious" network that they don't want tainted by the frivolity of those "dirty hobbitses" and gotten our email and notifications on our

        • by Boronx ( 228853 )

          There's a lot of made up bullshit going around about the emails. The emails are easily searchable, so it doesn't take long to disprove them, but then another pops up.

    • I hate to resort to the guardian, but... https://www.theguardian.com/us... [theguardian.com]
      There are better reasons than email idiocy.

    • Re:Again with this? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @01:12AM (#52615255) Homepage

      He made a very tired joke

      Nobody laughed when he first said it on a Tuesday, and at his first chances to clarify it he doubled down on it, it took until Thursday before he claimed was a joke. Here's what happened in between:

      From the Washington Post:

      1. Trump campaign officials never said he was joking on Wednesday. They mounted a robust defense, mind you, but they didn't say it was a joke.

      2. Trump doubled down. In a tweet after the comments exploded on social media, Trump sought to explain a little bit â" apparently suggesting he simply meant that the emails should be turned over to the FBI "if Russia or any other country or person has" them. Again, no mention of joking around.

      3. He said it twice. This wasn't a one-off quip in Trump's news conference on Wednesday. He initially said he hoped the Russians had the emails, and then he returned later to say that if they didn't have them, he hoped they would obtain them.

      4. A reporter gave him an out -- that he didn't take. NBC's Katy Tur, later in Wednesday's press conference, basically asked Trump twice if he was serious. In response, Trump indicated he had no qualms about, in Tur's words, "asking a foreign government â" Russia, China, anybody â" to interfere, to hack into the system of anybody's in this country."

      https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]

      Lastly, even though very clearly he wasn't joking, even as a joke this is wholly unpresidential. So to sum it up, he clearly wasn't joking and even under this absurd excuse concocted two days after the fact Trump still loses points with this one, As simple as that. And all around fscked up for him anyway you see it.

      But as Trump himself said, he could go and shoot someone in Times Square and his voters would still support him. That part he did get right.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Boronx ( 228853 )

      They are going to destroy Trump with garbage because the American people are too stupid to reject him for the truly horrible things he's said and done.

      It's like getting Al Capone for tax evasion.

    • Well at least not that sort of joke. There are certain joke which makes relationship with other country difficult, or makes you look like a fool, and you should avoid as a candidate for the highest office. this is one of those. If you want to see others , see Borris Johnson. Note that nominating such a person may be a political sign , a finger shown to group of people, I leave it up to slashdotter to decide which groups. But as a candidate for POTUS you should pretty damn fucking check what sort of joke y
      • I'm waiting for the day when President Trump jokes that he just launched a nuclear strike on Russia.

        He'll probably then blame the Russian government for not realising it was a joke. Via the emergency broadcasting system, from his bunker underneath what remains of Washington.

        • I'm waiting for the day when President Trump jokes that he just launched a nuclear strike on Russia.

          He'll probably then blame the Russian government for not realising it was a joke. Via the emergency broadcasting system, from his bunker underneath what remains of Washington.

          Why wait? Reagan made that particular joke decades ago. [youtube.com]

        • by tsqr ( 808554 )

          I'm waiting for the day when President Trump jokes that he just launched a nuclear strike on Russia.

          I guess you're too young to remember Reagan's "The bombing begins in five minutes" joke.

    • Plenty to dislike about Trump. But why keep making stuff up? He didn't call for Russia to hack Clinton's email. He made a very tired joke (it's been made here and elsewhere for weeks) about maybe the Russians, if they can find her email in the stuff they already have, could turn it over to our FBI, who couldn't find most of what she deleted. Go after him for his abundant riches of nonsense, but don't make crap up. Makes this site look sillier than usual.

      Its such a pity that the lad needs an interpreter, don't you think? Spouting off like the Oracle at Delphi, then the sycophants have to write many passages about what heactually said.

      Which was: "But it would be interesting to see — I will tell you this — Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That’ll be next."

      Without any inter

      • Its such a pity that the lad needs an interpreter, don't you think?

        No, it's a pity you're pretending that what he said wasn't perfectly clear. It's a pity that you think so little of the people you're talking to that you expect them to be that dumb.

        There are things you just don't say, like telling a foreign country to find classified emails on our countries systems

        What? Telling them to find them on "our countries [sic] systems" ? Hillary Clinton deleted those messages years ago. The only place where her yoga class and wedding planning emails (remember? that's what she said she deleted) could be would be in the hands of someone who hacked them years ago. The FBI has already said there's

    • Correct. Trump didn't ask the Russians to hack anything at all. The emails may or may not be in the possession of Russians, but if they do have them, they've had them for years.

      It doesn't make slashdot look silly. It makes it look biased, which is much worse than silly.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Given the US has a long history with secret informants (Watergate) and the walking out of data vs entering, staying undetected in and moving data from a network only to allow the ip range and tools used to be found?
      The interesting part is to listen to the comments.
      Julian Assange: 'A lot more material' coming on US elections (July 27, 2016)
      http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07... [cnn.com]
      "Perhaps one day the source or sources will step forward and that might be an interesting moment some people may have egg on their fa
    • Plenty to dislike about Trump. But why keep making stuff up?

      Yeah, libtards and commies and socialists just make shit up, all out of whole cloth. Trump is just constantly being misinterpreted/

      Well, since I have a loyalist sucking at the Don's teat, I want you to explain exactly why the Veterns of Froeign Wars are in that group of people making shit up. Tell me EXACTLY what Trump said, and tell me EXACTLY why it was misinterpreted? Was it a joke about a Gold Star Mother? Hey that's pretty funny. Or was it the liberal media tricking him? Inquiring minds want to kno

  • In the past, when America would do this, it was cheered by the American populace. It was thought a good thing that America should have an advantage, and quite natural and obvious that we should do these things. After all, everyone else is spying on us, and fair's fair!

    Now, the American media works overtime exposing every advantage America tries to get over other countries, and when writing about it, uses a chiding, tut-tut-tut tone that clearly indicates that what America is doing is wrong. How times hav

    • Well, by that logic the WTC attack was natural and obvious. After all, USA had repeatedly bombed the middle east, killing civilians, and fair's fair.
      Surprisingly Americans reacted in a very different way.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )
        It was obvious enough that a group was set up to deal with Bin Laden in 1999, it was obvious enough that Tom Clancy used it in a book, it was obvious enough that "The Lone Gunman" pilot used it as a plot.

        Baby Bush came to power and worrying about such things became a low priority. His very strong Saudi connections blinded him to the danger.
  • But The Washington Post is reminding us that U.S.'s efforts in the cyber-security world aren't much different.

    They are very different to what Trump asked. The USA is spying on a foreign country (Russia) just like Russia is spying on us. However Trump sided with the enemy in this spying effort. This is a huge difference and verging on treason, a word that is often thrown around half-haphazardly, but which in this case fully seems to meet the legal definition:

    Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

    18 U.S. Code Chapter 115 - TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/us... [cornell.edu]

    • Russia is not an enemy though. You can call them the enemy but it doesn't make it so. Only congress or the president can define enemies unless in an actual invasion which cyber espionage isn't.

      Listen. All the way back to the IRS targeting conservatives and their missing emails the joke was that the NSA could release them. It was the same with Hillary's missing emails, just ask the NSA for them. Now they claim it is Russia doing all the spying so the joke shift to just ask the Russians for it.

      I know you are

      • Putin very much wants to be an enemy though. He is on record as pining for the "good old days" of the cold war, KGB and Soviet Union; having said publicly that he considers their dissolution "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century". And he's been taking increasingly aggressive steps towards bringing all three back over the last several years.

        • That may be true but your elected leaders don't think it makes Russia an enemy though. Perhaps one day they might but not as of now.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          Putin very much wants to be an enemy though

          No.
          He wants to be faced with nothing but the current situation of empty saber rattling while he does a Tsar Peter on bits of territory he'd like to have.
          He'd be much happier to have to listen to distant ranting of an isolationist like Trump than be an enemy. He'd be much happier to move slowly and still get what he wants than move quickly enough for Hillary to even remotely consider putting troops in his path.

          Expect history to repeat similar to Marines getting mo

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )
        How about we ask the Russians for the emails the NSA got :)
        If Snowden working for a subcontractor in Hawaii could get it then the Russians, Chinese and anyone who wants the stuff enough to cover a Vegas gambling debt already had it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Trump has committed treason.
    Wittingly or not, he asked a foreign government to publish information which he asserts to contain state secrets.

  • by poity ( 465672 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @01:43AM (#52615313)

    I distinctly remember Trump having said that Russia should find Hillary's deleted emails -- the implication being that he believes, as many do, that her server had already been hacked -- and those emails only need to be found from within the FSB archives in which they're being kept. I distinctly don't remember Trump saying Russia should hack any server that is currently online, or even using the word "hack".

    But now, not only has this "Trump called Russia to hack Clinton" meme propagated, it's being treated no longer even as speculation but as an accepted truth that premises other stories. WTF?

    • by imidan ( 559239 )
      Manufactured outrage allows people to feign wounded astonishment that their opponent would sink so low. Right now, liberals are manufacturing outrage about what was quite obviously a throw-away, sarcastic statement from Trump. The other day, conservatives in North Carolina were trying to stir up outrage by accusing Tim Kaine of wearing a Honduran flag lapel pin during his convention speech (their accusation ended with the one-word sentence "Shameful."). Turns out they were just ignorant, and Kaine's pin
      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        quite obviously a throw-away, sarcastic statement from Trump

        Only if you argue that everything from Trump is a throw-away sarcastic statement, which would actually make a lot of sense.
        Keep on looking at the big loud Trump instead of the close to nothingness behind the curtain of a casino boss pretending to have a big heart.

  • Since America has outsourced so much of its IT and software to China and Russia, they don't need submarines to hack into American communications networks. American companies hire Chinese and Russian programmers to do it directly. Even some ostensibly American telecom software companies like Netcracker and Amdocs do most of their development overseas. Netcracker has a major development shop in Moscow. I think America is doing this wrong.
  • by longk ( 2637033 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @05:04AM (#52615565)

    Hillary's e-mails have already been deleted. No "hack attack" is going to reveal them. The suggestion that a hack is wanted to reveal the e-mails (made by the press, not Trump) is plain ignorant.

    If you go back and look at Trump's speech he wasn't anyone asking to go and hack. He simply asked that if someone has those e-mails already (from older hacks), to please share them.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      The hair splitting doesn't matter. Just treat everything that comes out of Trump's mouth as not mattering, whether it is a demand to see Obama's penis (yes he really went there during the birther shit) or asking the Russians to hack the Democrats. Of course the guy wasn't serious. He's treating America as a plaything.
  • This block of text inside ( ) has NO NEED to be bracketed like that. It is a thought consistent with the one before and the one after and not some sort of abstract that needed to be separated. It's also huge, much too large to be an aside. Where are the editors and proofreaders these days? A properly written and constructed article should never need to break out into brackets.

    ... Soviet forces. (The National Security Agency has continued that tradition, monitoring underwater fiber cables as part of its globe-spanning intelligence-gathering apparatus. In some cases, the government has struck closed-door deals with the cable operators ensuring that U.S. spies can gain secure access to the information traveling over those pipes.) These days, ....

  • It's what most of them are for - even Australia's submarines are mainly for sitting quietly on the sea floor and listening.
    Nuclear subs are a bit noisier (coolant pumps are apparently running all the time) but it's all relative since at a distance background noise is going to mask them.

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