Putin, Obama and the myth of the “red phone”: when you communicate what the leaders of USA and Russia

Путин, Обама и миф о "красном телефоне": По какой связи общаются лидеры США и РФ

Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin talk on the phone. Collage

The original on the website of NBC News

In the context of new tensions between USA and Russia again in memory emerged the old myth that existed during the cold war hotline between the opponents, known as the “red phone”.

But it’s not a phone. Phone this has never been used.

This false image perpetuated in popular culture (in the movie “Dr. Strangelove”, “security System”) and electoral rolls (“3 a.m.”), hiding less expressive reality — secret teletypes, faxes, and computer communications lines that transmit encrypted text messages between the Kremlin and the Pentagon.

Related news: Obama on the hot line warned Putin of the consequences of hacker attacks.

But their functional purpose is no less important as a topical to prevent war between the two largest nuclear powers.

This link is not used very often. But President Obama has used the “red phone” in October to warn Russian President Vladimir Putin’s use of hackers to interfere in the elections in the United States.

Obama gave his email through a secret, a satellite communication system, which is quite different from the one wired TGA that was used to transmit the first message half a century ago.

Then, the US had a relatively new system of “hot lines” that are used to protect America from nuclear attack. These phones, which ensured the air defense command continental United States, were often red to distinguish them from ordinary black people.

It is possible that from there and there was a myth about the “red phone”.

Related news: Peskov commented on the statement to the media about the conversation Putin and Obama’s “red phone”

The real “hot line” between Washington and Moscow was established in 1963, after President John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev were on the verge of war during the Cuban missile crisis — confrontation, which was exacerbated by delays in the communication line.

In the communication system used teletype and Telegraph station terminal, behind which sat the military translators, whose task was to relay received their command messages on the two communication channels — across the line radio and the transatlantic cable. Telegraph terminal of the Americans was at the Pentagon, where he is still.

The first test message from Washington to Moscow, passed on 30 August 1963 consisted of the following text: “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy”s dog’s back 1234567890″ (“a Quick brown Fox jumped over the lazy dog” — a phrase that contains all letters of the English alphabet — approx. transl.)

For many years, these systems have been refined in the light of such developments in technology, like satellites, faxes, computers, e-mail. The essence was to ensure the rapid exchange of information but not in verbal form — in order to avoid misunderstandings.

Major Glenn Nordin was one of military interpreters, who owned the Russian language, who had been appointed to work on the newly established in the Pentagon the terminal. He recalls a high standing in the main command center of armed forces of the United States next to the Seating area staff officers, and opposite to the booths, where sat the General, located at the other end similar to the corridor of the room.

And on the table at this General stood a red phone.

It was a line of communication with the White house, which was used by presidents to convey and obtain information on various issues, says 87-year-old Nordin.

The myth of the red phone could appear and from here, he says.

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Nordin has served in that office until 1966, but in all that time to dictate messages to Russia via the communication line with Moscow red phone has not been used even once, he said.

“It was used only to transmit test messages every hour, says Nordin. — One hour test text sent Russian. The next hour is a test message sent we.”

According to reports, the first American President who used this “red telephone”, was Lyndon Johnson, who in 1967 spoke with Alexei Kosygin in connection with the unfolding events of the six day war in the middle East. Four years later, emergency communication allegedly used by Richard Nixon to discuss with Leonid Brezhnev tensions between India and Pakistan, and then again in 1973, during another military conflict in the middle East. They say that Jimmy Carter used the “red phone” to discuss the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and Ronald Reagan though used it often, and not only in crisis situations.

With the end of the cold war, the relevance of the direct relationship decreased, but the need had not disappeared. Communication system continued to improve and during the reign of Obama, and operators on both sides are still hourly test it.

In 2013, the Obama administration has added another communication channel to use to send emails and attached files about cyber attacks. The President first used this channel only in 2016 — a few days before the election.

As stated in an interview with NBC News, some members of the intelligence services, the use of emergency communication systems shows just how serious was the situation with hacker attacks Russian.

John Shuppe

The Independent

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