The Story

A friend of mine, who will be called D, figured out how to block or intercept inbound toll calls to Santa Barbara, California. Earlier I had talked to D about 2600 Hz trunks and filters so he could talk over toll lines that hand 2600 Hz on them. One day he decided to intercept lines into Santa Barbara and announce that an Atomic Bomb had been dropped on the town and that it had been destroyed. He impersonated a military officer.

When callers heard this, the called to the local operator to try and complete a manual call. Operators also got this message. In some places operators were told not to complete manual calls to Santa Barbara.

The White House took a dim view of this. The Secret Service and The CIA became involved and the responsibility fell to the FBI to investigate what was going on. Another friend, who will be called J, gave the information to the FBI of who knew how to do this. There were about 5 people that knew how to manipulate the telephone company network to do this. I was one of them.

Lucky for me I was spending that weekend at beach with a group of Explorer Scouts. At the time I was teaching school to earn a living.

J informed me that he had reported me to the FBI and that soon an FBI agent would show up to question me. A day or two later I answered the front door to find a guy in a suit and short haircut (a clue that it was an FBI agent) with a copy of my drivers license in his hand. The first words out of his mouth were, "Is this you?"

I knew right away what was going on. I said yes and invited him in. He explained why he was there and what he wanted to know. I offered to demonstrate to him how it was done, I had two phone lines which were a requirement to perform this trick, but he said he had seen it before. Then I explained, 1) while I knew who did it, I could not testify in a court of law as I did not actually see him do it, and, 2) I was on the beach with a group of Explorer Scouts who would all say I was with them at all times.

The interview took place in 1976, and I never thought about it again. Along comes in Phil Lapsley in 2012 who is writing a book called, "Exploding the Phone". He interviews me and my fiend J. He does his research and finds the FBI report on line. I read the report and discover that my Social Security Number is disclosed, but that it is wrong (thank God).  I also found out I am "innocent" of any wrong doing. 

The positive note on all this is that it was one of things that made me realize the I really did know telecommunications and that maybe I could get a good job in the field.

What is not covered here is Tandem Stacking, taking advantage of a "defect" in my XBAR office that let me dial all kinds of things, like operators in other cities where I used social engineering to get free calls and explore the national telephone network, a little international too.


FBI Report one me HERE      Related FBI Report HERE

Information on Exploding the Phone HERE