Electronic Weapons: April 13, 2003


Iraq's fiber optic communications system, installed by a Chinese firm over the last few years, was built partially because it was thought difficult to tap. Turns out that this was a major oversight by the Iraqis. You can tap a fiber optic line, and the equipment required is not all that exotic. But you have to get people on the ground to do it. However, once the tap is in place, it is difficult to detect (as opposed to taps on copper wire lines.) Most users of fiber optic still believe that they "are impossible to tap." The successful efforts to tap Iraqi fiber optic lines will start to put that myth to sleep. This sort of information getting out is another casualty of war. American electronic warfare troops don't like it to get around how easily fiber optic can be tapped. But the war in Iraq brought out numerous detailed discussions of how this works in trade journals. 




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