[Dshield] DHS wants to silence reporting of network outages

Kenneth Coney superc at visuallink.com
Sat Jun 26 18:52:47 GMT 2004

Here is a truth that explains how smart they are.  About 5 years ago I 
was doing soil inspections on a small construction job in a lightly 
built area of VA.  A trench had to be dug for a water line under a 
parking lot.  Miss Utility was called and showed us where the power and 
gas lines were and as everything agreed with the plans the trench was 
dug in the morning.  About 4 hours later the Department of Defense and 
the police showed up.  Seems the back hoe had cut a secret fiber optic 
line that snaked under the site and kept on going.  Once it was 
established we were not intentional saboteurs and merely legitimate 
ditch builders discussions began.  Needless to say the line (which 
looked like someone's old discarded VCR cable, typical trash encountered 
when digging slit trenches near cities and was therefore ignored when 
cut by the bucket) was on no plans available to the public.  Miss 
Utility was called back and arrived because DOD initially said the 
construction company was responsible for the cost of repairing the line 
and that didn't sit well with the company that had gotten the all clear 
from Miss Utility.  Lots of phone calls later it was determined no 
documents in Miss Utilities records referenced the lines.  The DOD 
people explained of course they didn't since the line was a secret 
line.  (All work had halted by now and I just hung around sipping a 
Slurpy and listening to the nonsense.)  Finally we were told DOD would 
repair the line this time, but we would be liable for future cuts.  The 
builders asked where the line went and was told they couldn't be told 
because it was a secret line and under their rules while we might have 
learned of a tiny portion of the line we were not cleared to learn of 
more of it.  I was asked to produce the plans of where we were going to 
dig, and I did so.  We were told we couldn't dig "there."   We said 
where?  and were told we couldn't be shown the exact spot, because it 
was secret but our plans did involve the probable future cutting of the 
line.  By now an owner had arrived and he was furious.  Calls to 
lawyers, etc.  The DOD rep who had called his bosses was now talking 
about an injunction to prevent further construction and he was presented 
with a notice of a counter intent to file a lawsuit for loss of income 
in perpetuity for loss of the new building and all future incomes.  They 
were also advised some other companies had bought the woods behind us 
and DOD needed to include their construction projects in the injunction 
too, and asked if they had bothered to notify the county planners that 
all future construction would be prohibited along the path of the line 
and maybe a county supervisor or three needed to come to this meeting?  
(Around now the police laughed and left for other calls.)  Being bored 
and out of Slurpee I pointed out by asking if a court injunction barring 
all building along a certain corridor was sought, wouldn't that be the 
same thing, once a map of the banned zone was made, as showing the world 
where the line was and where it went?  The DOD rep really didn't like 
that one and left the trailer to make some more calls.  The upshot of it 
all was several days later someone clearable was attached to Miss 
Utility and came by with plans shown to no one and walked around our 
site chalk marking the intersection of our plans with the line and 
left.  We used care in those areas, cut no more cable and finished the 
site.  Presumably other builders along the line also had the same 
visitor to their sites once their construction began.  Sometimes secrets 
can be an obstacle to progress.

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