US considers subsea cables key assets
International subsea cables feature extensively in the US State Department’s list of worldwide critical infrastructure, according to a leaked memo.
A message from the Secretary of State in February 2009, leaked by Wikileaks, reveals the list of global critical infrastructure and key resources (known as CI/KR) covering 2008, and asks embassies worldwide to update the CI/KR records.
While the list includes cable systems and sources of key minerals including cobalt, it does not contain other telecom-related infrastructure such as data centers.
The list of cables also appears to be incomplete. In Asia, it includes trans-Pacific or global cable systems EAC, China-US, Japan-US, Pacific Crossing, FLAG, Tyco and Southern Cross cables. It also covers regional systems such as C2C, which runs from Singapore to Japan, and the Korea-Japan cable.
However, it doesn’t reference any major cables to India, such as i2i or the SEA-ME-WE4 consortium cable, which are critical to providing IT services to US corporations.
The release of the memo has prompted complaints that the information could aid terrorists in identifying targets, The Guardian reported.
While the infrastructure assets are mostly well-known, the list also reveals that organizations such as medical laboratories are considered key resources.