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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

IVY BELLS

Code name for a National Security Agency project to record Soviet underwater cable transmissions in the Sea of Okhotsk. A pod containing sophisticated electronics was positioned over a cable on the seabed by a specially adapted submarine, the USS Halibut, and recorded the telephone and teleprinter traffic by induction, without the need to compromise the integrity of the cable. The operation was betrayed by Ronald Pelton in 1980, and soon afterward a satellite monitored a recovery operation conducted by a Soviet marine salvage vessel in the area. When the Halibut returned, the pod had been removed. It is now on display in the Red Army Museum in Moscow. Pelton was later betrayed by a  KGB defector,  Vitali Yurchenko, convicted of espionage, and imprisoned.