On Loomis allegations, frequency encryption not relevant if wires were tapped

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In the wake of Monday’s stunning ESPN report that Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis had for three seasons the capability to listen to communications among the opposing team’s assistant coaches during games played at the Superdome, some have suggested that Loomis wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this feat due to the encryption of the wireless frequencies used at NFL stadiums.

It is impossible to do,” a Saints source told CBSSports.com.  “Plus the NFL frequency coordinator would know and he knows every signal [where] this could happen.  The NFL frequency coordinator controls every signal in the stadium so you can’t do it.”

But that relates to wireless communications only.  The contention is that Loomis had a hard-wired system, and it’s our understanding that certain elements of the communications system from the coaching booth to the coaches on the sidelines involve wiring.  Thus, if wires were tapped, the question of intercepting wireless signals doesn’t matter.

So while there may be other serious flaws regarding the allegations that have been made, the notion that encryption of the wireless frequencies prevents eavesdropping represents an overly simplistic effort to dismiss the claims.

45 responses to “On Loomis allegations, frequency encryption not relevant if wires were tapped

  1. I don’t know what’s more amusing, these constant discoveries of this corrupt franchise, Saints fans thinking THIS Giants fan is a “hater” or “jealous” of a team with an asterisk next to its SOLE Super Bowl “win”, or how Saints fans try to rationalize every allegation, despite proof to the contrary.


  2. the league needs to eliminate all the spy stuff,

    this stuff is ruining the game

    its not a level playing field anymore,

    whatever happened to just going out on the field and just playing hardcore football and seeing who wins the game?

    now everyone is trying to “I-pad” their way to victory…

  3. Saints fans, in less than five years, have launched themselves into the same strata with Steeler, Patriot and Jets fans as EASILY the most annoying fans in the NFL.

  4. N.O. Saints = tainted franchise = tainted Super Bowl win.

    It’s a shame they couldn’t do it the right way.

  5. I don’t know enough about how the phones are wired at nfl stadiums, but it’s not true that just because a phone is hard wired, that it can’t be encrypted.

    I would assume that the phones coaches use to call down to the sideline are not actually making regular phone calls through Verizon. If they are VoIP phones there is encryption software that would work to help secure the line.

  6. “The contention is that Loomis had a hard-wired system.”

    Things that make you go hmmmmm……….

  7. Aren’t the N.O. police department one of the most corrupt in the country? Not a stretch to think that they’d assist in any way possible if the Saints needed a some covert survillance equipment to potentially give the lifeblood of the city, a leg up.

  8. It is sickening that you are so freakin hardend over the Saints.

    It appears that you are no longer ojective and have a personal vendetta against either the Saints organizaton or individual members of the team.
    It’s time to spell it out?
    Who hurt your feelings or bruised your fragile lil ego?

  9. Seriously?

    Did Mr. Benson steal your wife for the weekend?
    Did Mr. Vilma beat the hell out of your kids drums?

    What is your freaking obsession with the New Orleans organization and wanting the death penalty for nonsense?

    I certainly didn’t see this crap from this site when the Patriots got caught C H E A T I N G

    I never saw this hatred over greedy Bobby Kraft and Mr. “i only misinterpeted the rules” Belicheat

    Maybe I should call in a favor from a dear friend who is not affiliated with NBC but with CBS to ask these difficult questions from you

  10. And the beat goes on….

    I’m a Vikings fan, and as much as I’m disgusted with the whole Saints organization from the top down (including Brees) because of their bounty program (yes, that’s what it was), and would love to pile on, this was, what, 10 years ago? And it’s my understanding it was disconnected after Katrina, so it’s not like it did the team much good during the years the eavesdropping went on, as their record shows.

    However, Loomis is already in deep doodoo and going to miss 8 weeks during the season; will this latest development (if proven) add to the suspension even though it was so long ago?

    I dunno. I used to respect them as opponents, but the organization sure is emanating a foul stench these days. Might be time for a deep and thorough house cleaning. I mean, things are so bad that Gramps Benson had to put his precious granddaughter on administrative leave. What a mess.

  11. The Saints source sounds like that courtroom scene from the Bob & Doug McKenzie classic Strange Brew: “I would like to point out to the court that our security video is time coded … and time coding is very difficult to fake.”

  12. Encryption is encryption. You could just as easily encrypt a hard wired system as a wireless one. If a team was indeed using copper to communicate without any encryption they would know the risks associated with that. One thing is clear, you do not have full knowledge of what type of communication systems the NFL makes available to its teams and what they typically use. You are guessing and guessing makes a poor story.

  13. The hardwired connections can still be encrypted. There’s no way the NFL run’s analog lines throughout the stadiums in this day and age. It’s much more likely this was a digital signal, and those are definitely encrypted. Either way, even if that’s the case, it still stands to reason Loomis could plant a normal style bugging device in the relevant areas. There’s no way anyone would know unless they sweeped it with a bug detector.

  14. This wire tap is so deviously placed, that even Lester Freamon and Agent Pryzbylewski are impressed.

  15. This is ESPN being ESPN. Anonymous sources my ass. They make things up as they see fit.
    Nothing would make me happier than to see them get hammered by the NFL.
    The so called reporters ESPN have are pathetic.

  16. Just when you think they’ve gone about as low as anyone can go … they grab that shovel and start digging.

  17. I used to work in secure voice communications for the DOD, so I know a thing or two about voice security. Let me tell you, if the system was wired or wireless, that the encryption system would prevent eavesdropping by any 3rd party if it was setup by an encryption and networking expert. There is so many encryption algorithms out there, whether its a legacy or an IP networked signal, if encryption is present, no way Loomis is intercepting those communications. Unless he brought in his own security experts to break the com codes, there is no weight to this story. Also if the NFL doesn’t use encryption on their wired system, which wouldn’t be very smart.

  18. I’m in the IT security field. In the first place, the idea that frequency encryption is going to stop someone from listening to your conversations if they have virtually unlimited access to the equipment used to create the frequency encryption is laughable.

    He wouldn’t even need to ‘tap’ into the hard wiring between the microphone and the transmitter.

  19. The Saints don’t apologize for how they play the game.

    Really though this may just be the tip of the iceberg. We likely will never find out every way that they have cheated. But there certainly seems to be a culture of “do whatever it takes” over there.

    Remember kids, all that matters is winning. Even if you have to cheat and disgrace the game, your franchise, and the state. Just win. All that matters.

  20. All I know is that somehow, somewhere, the NFL crossed a line from being a tough, gritty, in the dirt everyman’s kind of game to an industry that has somebody at every game called a frequency coordinator.

  21. I’m hoping ESPN and other news outlets who reported this, thus far, unsubstantiated story get egg on their face.

    Not only is ESPN possibly completely wrong about this allegation – their reporting has been horrendous, especially in their determination that a GM would be unable to understand the “X’s & O’s” overhearing actual discussions.

    Meanwhile the assertion still persists that the Patriots, taping from the sidelines instead of the stands as the NFL allows all teams to do, were somehow able to view, review, analyze and interpret cryptic signal calling from video during half time, and then make adjustments in that same game in time to give themselves a competitive advantage??????

    Of course, the Patriots also had to deal with the other completely false accusation of taping the Rams walk through – a false story that was released on Super Bowl eve, of which ESPN was only too happy to fan the flames despite the lack of any confirmation.

    Saints fans are just lucky that ESPN didn’t decide to run with this story 24 hours before Super Bowl XLIV!

  22. Just want to cime in regarding they wouldnt get any benefit defense. While it would be difficult to decipher initially and relay it down to the field in time it would be useful the next time they played that team the following season. after having the ability to see what they did on each play call it would give them a distinct advantage. It would allow them to recognize the play call and react immediately.

  23. Aha. Now we know what stopped Favre in the playoff game, he tripped over a wire under the turf.

  24. I think there is a body of people who are always one step ahead of so called frequency coordinators and they are called hackers.
    They guys create the very programs that the FC uses so they easily know how to get around them.

    I mean its been known for years that the hackers are mostly the people building the security systems and clearly know the way around them.

  25. kathyisintheroom says:
    Apr 24, 2012 12:40 AM

    quit being so sad that your franchise is the joke of the NFL right now. The Saints clearly deserve every negative article the receive.

    And I would love for you to call “your dear friend at CBS” his response will be…. yea the did it and the articles will keep coming.

  26. Again a perfect case of “guilty til proven innocent” in the public forum. This is what’s wrong with everything today. Do you people believe everything the media reports? I guess you believe everything in the national enquirer too? Yes I am a long time Saints fan and always will be, but IF this happens to be true and only after a thorough investigation then yes at that point then something should be done and not til then. Not one that is run by a half @#$ commissioner or a staff that has a hard on for this franchise because they were either offended by a Saints employee or had their @#$ handed to them at one time or another. Grow up people and use your mind not your begrudging heart. L earn to think before u speak. NFL forums are posting that ESPN and John Barr has been backtracking all morning beginning with the M&M show saying that Outside the lines were unable to validate the claims. Imagine that!!! Witch hunt plain and simple because someone got their feelings hurt whether it be the media and/or former employee. The media nowadays is a joke and that def includes this website.

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