Terrorists may represent some danger to power plants
, but human carelessness is far more likely to damage critical infrastructure. Given the events of the past few days, it's hard to believe that al-Qaida would even bother plotting to take down the Internet or a power station when everyday bumbling does the job for them.On Friday, Flag Telecom said
that a second undersea telecom cable had been cut, magnifying the disruption of Internet traffic in Egypt, India, and other nations in the Middle East that began Wednesday when a different cable was cut. Repairs are expected to take a week.
Flag didn't say what severed its cables. Conspiracy theorists no doubt will suggest an intelligence service or terrorist organization is behind the incident, but plain, old incompetence is a more probable suspect. (You dropped your anchor where???)
There is, after all, precedence for stupidity. In September, a backhoe cut a number of underground fiber optic subterranean cables in Thailand, temporarily limiting Internet access. In September 2005, utility workers in Los Angeles dug in the wrong place and left almost 2 million people without power.
As a paper on the reliability of fiber optic cables points out, "the highest failure mode is 'backhoe blackout.' "
It's time for the TSA to start looking for backhoe ignition keys.
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