You struck out on that one.

6. No, the encryption really is secure. It's the people who use it who often are not. Too many people who use the secure telephone unit (STU-III) gossip and try to talk around a sensitive subject before turning the key to switch on encryption. A defector from one of the foreign intelligence services that monitor U.S. communications reported that STU-III encryption is unbreakable. However, he also advised that the chitchat that occurs before the STU-III encryption is switched to secure mode, and after it is taken off secure mode, is a bonanza of valuable information for that country's intelligence service.

Communications monitors can identify STU-III lines. Foreign intelligence services know that the people using these lines have access to sensitive information. As a result, these phone numbers are obvious targets. A STU-III line being used in non-secure mode may be more likely to be monitored than another line that never carries encrypted communications.

Related Topics: Intercepting Your Communications, Using the STU-III.