Large parts of the Middle East has been cut off from the Internet due to a series of (five) cuts in undersea cables. There have been an explosion of conspiracy theories trying to explain this.
This highlights the human psychology of computer security: people are apt to see patterns where none exist. Outages in undersea cables are a common occurrence. They usually go unreported. However, once a major outage is reported, minor outages that would normally be ignored now become reported as well.
This is like "cancer clusters". Statistically, we know that cancer cases are not evenly distributed over the population, but will often cluster together. This is especially true if you get to draw a boundary around an area in order to highlight a cluster. It's like the birthday paradox: if you randomly choose boundaries, then you are unlikely to find a cluster more than three times the national average, but if you can carefully draw a boundary with the intention of including as many incidents as possible, then you can reach as high as ten times the national average. This means, for example, that we can find places where children's leukemia will be several times the national average for no particular reason other than statistical distribution. However, humans will insist upon a special reason, such as power-lines or chemicals. An underlying cause (like a chemical spill) will cause a cluster, but a cluster is rarely evidence of an underlying cause.
The five cable cuts in a row are likewise not evidence of wrongdoing. This is in the realm of normal statistics. This is not as unusual as it looks; it is not by itself evidence of wrongdoing. If there were wrongdoing, such as blowing up a cable with C4, then those repairing the cable are likely to report that the break looks unusual. They have reported nothing unusual about these breaks.
We can see this pattern in other subjects. A good example is global warming. Climate change is normal, and unusual weather events are normal. Even scientists who believe strongly in global warming know that such weather events have nothing to do with their theory. Yet, the popular media always draws the conclusion, and scientists are powerless to debunk this. You just can't stop people from tying the two together. I could make the claim that since global warming is supposed to cause more/stronger storms, and most cable cuts (such as the recent ones near Egypt) are caused by ship anchors dragging along the sea bottom during storms, and therefore this cut was therefore caused by global warming. That would be fallacious reasoning, but I'm sure most people would believe it.
If there is a conspiracy, chances are good that people wouldn't be able to figure it out. UFOlogists have long suspected that strange lights in the sky are from space aliens, and that the government is trying to cover up. However, we have since discovered that many of those lights were secret spy planes under development that the government was trying to cover up. There was indeed a conspiracy, just the wrong one.
One of the conspiracy theories is that the NSA (who owns their own nuclear sub) caused the faults in the cables in order to distract people while they install secret spy equipment. If the NSA is involved, then this specific conspiracy is unlikely to be true. Cable tapping is far more complicated than people imagine, and they are unlikely to cut multiple cables at once if they want to be secret about it.
If I were to come up with a conspiracy theory involving the NSA, I would suggest something different. I'd imagine that they had a high-value target that they desperately need to eavesdrop on, but cannot for some reason. Therefore, they would blow up the problematic cables to force the traffic to go across different cables that they can eavesdrop on. The cuts in Egypt caused a lot of Middle Easy traffic to be sent the long way around the world - through the United States.
Here is a better conspiracy: it was caused by former cyber-czar Richard Clarke. He wrote a fictional cyberthriller ("Breaking Point") that began with Russian terrorists blowing up transatlantic cables. I'm thinking that he got a subprime loan that is about to be foreclosed upon, so he cut a few undersea cables in order to drum up new sales for his book. Why did he choose mideast cables instead of the Atlantic cables his book describes? Easy: he didn't want to prevent Europeans from ordering his book on Amazon.com. I submit to you that this conspiracy theory makes as much sense as any other, and that the government needs to locate Clarke quickly and interrogate him on the matter.
As a separate topic, we should note yet again that the Internet is more vulnerable to physical attacks than cyberattacks. When asked "How would you take down the Internet?", the most common response from cybersecurity experts has long been "well placed C4".
UPDATE 2008-02-06: This article at Wired further explains the non-conspiracy. It points out that there is a cable cut somewhere in the world every 3 days, and that an analysis of the cuts show no wrong doing.