Ft George Meade, MD - Today a man digging a well in his back yard hit a buried cable containing fiber optic communications for the United States National Security Agency. On the condition of preserving her anonymity an employee told this reporter that more than 90% of the NSA's global communications were knocked out when the cable was cut at 09:45 EST yesterday morning.
She told me that for 4 hours America had unmonitored telephone calls. She said that British GCHQ would pick up the slack on reading the email messages, but for the millions of calls within the US, the Agency was in the dark.
America had a modicum of privacy if only for a few hours. When I asked if that posed a problem in the product delivery to the NSA's consumers, she said that most of what was reported to the White House was pre-scripted, or fixed anyway, so the loss of actual collection wasn't that important.
The man who dug the hole had no idea what he hit, but within 20 minutes 4 black Chevy Suburbans pulled up his driveway followed by a generic cable TV company truck.
"I was more than a little concerned" the man atoned, "when I saw the blacked out Chevys pull up, that is when I suspected that I did more than knock out the neighborhood's cable TV. After all, I am in the witness protection program to begin with, so when Agent Zwart asked me who I worked for, I was nervous when I told him I was retired. He scanned my fingerprints and took a minute to read the report on his laptop; then he looked up at me and said I should call before I dig the next time."
When I called the Office of Public Affairs at NSA and asked about the story they denied ever having down time.