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Splinter Cell Wiki

"Let Vigilance Be Our Sword"
― Third Echelon's motto.

Third Echelon (sometimes spelled 3rd Echelon, abbreviated as 3ECH and 3E) was a top-secret initiative within the various intelligence branches of the National Security Agency (NSA) established in 2003[1] (or the 1990s according to the novels and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Essentials). Its position within the U.S. intelligence community was at the forefront in the War on Information.

Sometime after the events that took place in D.C. in 2011, following widespread corruption under Tom Reed following Irving Lambert's death, it was succeeded by Fourth Echelon six months after the incident.


Third Echelon's original seal.

"Third Echelon was founded on the principles of covert information gathering through physical infiltration."
Irving Lambert discusses Third Echelon's inception and mandate.

Third Echelon was a top-secret directorate tasked with spearheading the American information warfare initiative. Its primary goal was to serve as the equivalent of Special Forces in the modern age of information warfare. Its most significant initiative was the "Splinter Cell" program in which lone operatives, called "Splinter Cells", did field work in sensitive areas around the world. Their work was the darkest of black ops, retrieving the most vital intelligence and acting on it in ways that other operatives cannot. Unlike the CIA's field operatives, their identities were kept secret, even from other government agencies. Initiated with a single operative, Sam Fisher, the "Splinter Cell" program was expanded under the direction of the organization's final director, Tom Reed, and after Third Echelon was shut down, the "Splinter Cell" program also came to an end.


The National Security Agency (NSA) is the signals intelligence (SIGINT) and cryptologic establishment of the United States. Primarily tasked with the conduct of SIGINT in all its forms, the NSA can and does intercept and analyze every form of communication known to man, from cellphone signals and e-mail messages, to microwave emissions, to ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) burst transmissions from submarines thousands of feet beneath the surface of the ocean. It coordinates, directs and performs highly specialized activities to protect U.S. information systems and produce foreign intelligence reports. Since it's on the edge of communications and data processing, the National Security Agency is naturally a very high-tech operation. For decades, the NSA has engaged in the 'passive' collection of moving data by intercepting communications en route.

The First Echelon was a worldwide network of international intelligence agencies and interceptors that seized communications signals and routed them back to the NSA for analysis. It was a network vital to the United States' efforts during the Cold War. As the Soviet Union disintegrated and communications evolved, high technology became the name of the game.[4]

The NSA created Second Echelon, which focused entirely on this new breed of communications technology. Unfortunately, the immense volume of information combined with the accelerated pace of developing technology and encryption overwhelmed Second Echelon. NSA experienced its first system-wide crash.[5]

As communications became more digital and sophisticated encryption became more expansive, passive collection simply was rendered inefficient. To address this, the NSA launched a top-secret initiative in 2003. Hoping to bridge the chasm between simply gathering actionable intelligence and acting on that intelligence, the NSA was directed by special Presidential charter to form Third Echelon, its own in-house covert operations unit created specifically to physically obtain intelligence in locations where all other means were exhausted.[6]

Third Echelon had weapon dead-drops around the world. One in Grozny was raided by civilians and sold.[7]

Splinter Cell Program

Third Echelon's Splinter Cell field agents: Sam Fisher, Agent One and Agent Two, three of many known Splinter Cells.

Main article: Splinter Cell Program

Daniel Robert Sloane-Suarez AKA Archer, The only Splinter Cell known in Conviction.

The NSA gave Third Echelon the "green light" to create a black-ops project and training program in which they called it: the "Splinter Cell Program". It produced and deployed operational units of highly-trained forward operators - codenamed "Splinter Cells" - as the ultimate intelligence gathering force, with the support of a cutting edge technological team to retrieve information through traditional espionage techniques, but with 21st century military technology. Sam Fisher was the first person selected into the program to operate in this role.

When critical intelligence could not be obtained by passive means, Third Echelon resolved the situation by conducting so-called "physical operations" — a euphemism for direct action. To do so, they introduced the "Splinter Cell" program, which was created to produce an elite recon-type unit comprised of highly-trained covert soldiers, who were then deployed to areas deemed either too sensitive or too risky for traditional entities such as the CIA or standard Special Forces. These agents then assessed and accessed information vital to the security of the United States.

When intelligence deemed critical to national security could not be obtained by traditional means, Third Echelon was granted clearance to conduct physical operations. Its existence denied by the U.S. government, Third Echelon deployed units of Splinter Cells. Like a sliver of glass, a Splinter Cell was small, sharp, and nearly invisible. These units operated while remaining completely undetected, from human and electronic means. Splinter Cells were the NSA's "boots on the ground" tasked with collecting intelligence for the sake of national security. In some cases, Splinter Cells were given the "Fifth Freedom" - essentially allowing them to complete operations by any means necessary (lethal or otherwise). These elite soldiers were America's best equipped and most highly-trained covert operatives, sent alone into politically-sensitive areas as well as crisis flashpoints all over the world to gather intelligence where electronic intrusion by the NSA is not possible. Relying on the most advanced espionage tools, amazing physical abilities and support from Third Echelon's elite team of technical specialists, these agents executed sensitive operations that the U.S. government could not officially acknowledge.


Third Echelon's specialists were recruited from every branch of intelligence community and the armed forces, some even culled from civilian life. They were the elite of America's strategists, hackers, and operatives.


The Third Echelon Director was in charge of all field operations and answered only to "one man". In 2008 the position of Third Echelon Director became subordinate to a newly-created executive position within the NSA overseeing Third Echelon activities, NSA Assistant Director.

Irving Lambert became Third Echelon Director in 2007 or 2008 after the East Asian Crisis and New York City Cyber Attacks, and held it until his death in 2008.

In the wake of Lambert's death in 2008 there was a "revolving door of Directors" that included NSA Assistant Director Lawrence Williams,[8] who was also at one point the acting Third Echelon Director of Operations.

That ended when Tom Reed obtained evidence of Williams' personal and petty corruption — largely driven by envy of the Fisher/Lambert duo — and used it to sideline him.[8] Rather than risk exposure, Williams took a "promotion" to head a signals interception project based out of Bozeman, MT.[8]

Known Directors

Director of Operations

The Third Echelon Director of Operations was in charge of all Third Echelon field operations and answered only to the Third Echelon Director. Irving Lambert held the title in 2007 during the East Asian Crisis and New York City Cyber Attacks until he became Third Echelon Director later that year, or the following year.

After Lambert's death in 2008, NSA Assistant Director Lawrence Williams was named acting Director of Operations and still held this position in 2009.

Known Directors of Operations

Support Team

Each field operative worked with a remote support team of roughly a dozen members, headed by three primary members.

Operations Coordinator

The Operations Coordinator was the link between the field agent(s) and Third Echelon's team of researchers, hackers, strategists, and commanders. While field operatives are in the field they are in constant contact with the Operations Coordinator via subdermal microchips and a cochlear implant.

Irving Lambert was Sam Fisher's Operations Coordinator from 2004 to 2008.

Known Operations Coordinators

Communications Lead

The Communications Lead headed a small team of programmers responsible for providing technological, cryptographic, and data support for the field operative. They assisted in interfacing field operatives with the high-tech components of their missions.

Anna Grímsdóttir was Sam Fisher's Communications Lead from 2004 to 2007. She was promoted to Chief Technical Advisor sometime between then and 2011.

Known Communications Leads

Field Runner

Field Runners were mainly responsible for coordinating the transportation and equipment for Splinter Cells. Transportation was usually procured (stolen) from an area of operations (AO) and abandoned afterwards. They were also responsible for maintaining an operative's equipment and munitions. Field Runners debriefed field operatives on any new equipment or weaponry as it became available.

Sam Fisher had three Field Runners from 2004 to 2007, Vernon Wilkes, Jr., Frances Coen and William Redding. Wilkes was killed in action during the Georgian Information Crisis of 2004 while Redding was forced out by Tom Reed, who replaced most of Lambert's appointees in Third Echelon with his own people.

Known Field Runners

Splinter Cell

The elite Splinter Cells - Lone Field Operatives - are Third Echelon’s scalpels who use the latest high-technology and espionage techniques to infiltrate sensitive locations, retrieve information, and execute operations the U.S. government cannot acknowledge.

Known Splinter Cells

  • Sam Fisher was the program's first trial field agent who was recruited to spearhead the operational arm of the NSA's Third Echelon initiative. The most activated and legendary member of these elite cadre of "SIGINT Ninjas". Sam left Third Echelon after Irving Lambert's death in 2008. Three years later he went to Malta to investigate a rumor that his daughter's death hadn't been an accident, which later led him to uncover a conspiracy within Third Echelon and thwart an assassination attempt against the President of the United States. Currently, Fisher is the commander of Fourth Echelon.
  • Dan Lee was a Splinter Cell stationed in China. He was killed while tracking illegal arms sales conducted by The Shop. Lee was mentioned by Sam Fisher during his mission in Macau in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (novel).
  • Rick Benton was a Splinter Cell stationed in Iraq. He asked Lieutenant Colonel Dirk Verbaken to give him a file on Gerald Bull but was murdered along with Verbaken by Vlad and Yuri in his hotel room in Brussels. He appeared in the beginning of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (novel).
  • Marcus Blaine was a Splinter Cell stationed in Israel (presumably). Blaine was killed by members of The Shop (most likely Vlad and Yuri). He was briefly mentioned by Andrei Zdrok in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (novel).
  • Agent One and Agent Two were two "Splinter Cells-in-training" who formed the program's first Splinter Cell team. They assisted Sam Fisher during the East Asian Crisis in 2007 and the JBA Operation in 2008.
  • John Hodge was a Splinter Cell who accompanied Sam Fisher in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent (Version 1) during a mission to investigate a geothermal plant in Iceland. Hodge was shot to death by Islamic terrorists after he alerted them to his presence.
  • Ben Hansen first appeared in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction (novel) as one of the agents assigned to hunt down Sam Fisher. He was Archer and Kestrel's handler in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction during the takedown of Valentin Lesovsky.
  • Kimberly Gillespie appeared in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction (novel) as one of the agents assigned to hunt down Sam Fisher.
  • Nathan Noboru was a Splinter Cell who appeared in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction (novel).
  • Maya Valentina was a Splinter Cell who first appeared in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction (novel). She also appeared in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction as Archer and Kestrel's handler in Moscow after Hansen was reassigned.
  • Allen Ames was one of the agents trained by Sam Fisher who later turned rogue and became a fugitive. He appeared in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction (novel).
  • Daniel Sloane-Suarez (callsign Archer) was initially an NSA intelligence analyst when he his personnel file was flagged for potential field duty by recruiters for Third Echelon. His admission to the Splinter Cell program's training program was approved by Anna Grímsdóttir. Sloane-Suarez was later assigned with tracking down four stolen Russian EMP warheads with Voron field operative Mikhail Loskov (callsign Kestrel) two months prior to the events that took in the Nation's capital (single player campaign of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction) in 2011. Archer was later killed by Voron Agent Kestrel in self-defense.
  • Leon Coltrane was a Splinter Cell who appeared in the short story crossover "The End Begins: Splinter Cell".
  • George and Thomas Voeckler were two twin sibling Splinter Cells featured in the novel EndWar: The Hunted. They are depicted as working with a Ghost Recon team. George was killed during an operation in the United Kingdom.

Other Third Echelon personnel

  • Carly St. John (Technical Director) (KIA)[9][10]
  • Mike Chan (Research Analyst)[9][10]
  • Carl Bruford (Director of Research)[9][10]
  • Chip Driggers[9]
  • Louis Moreau (Technical Operations Manager and Handler)[11][12]
  • Perez (Document Engineer)[12]
  • Bird (Osprey Pilot)[13]
  • Sandy (Osprey Co-Pilot/Special Operations)
  • "Franco" Franklin (Osprey Engineer/Navigator/Loadmaster)[14]
  • Charlie Fryman (Lab Technician)
  • Timothy Gose (Missing Former 3rd Echelon Agent, Associate of Tom Reed)

Base of operations

Third Echelon Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Third Echelon had at least two headquarters; the original was an ultra-secure command bunker-type facility located in a subterranean area deep within the confines of the National Security Agency Headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland.[15][16]

The second was a nondescript building located somewhere near the National Mall and White House in Washington, D.C. (the location was routinely moved around every few years for security reasons).[17] However, Third Echelon often utilized the NSA's headquarters to station its employees (usually signals intelligence analysts). The reason for this separation was because technically Third Echelon did not exist and most NSA employees would have never heard of Third Echelon.[18] As one of the most classified, top-secret organizations in the U.S. government, only those on a "need to know" basis were aware of the agency. In 2011, Third Echelon's main headquarters in D.C. was destroyed by a self-destruct mechanism known as "Protocol 2319" after Sam Fisher breached its security.


In 2007, Third Echelon utilized computer-based simulation programs for testing the skills of (as well as training) Splinter Cell agents at the NSA headquarters.


Main article: V-22 Osprey

V-22 Osprey inserts Splinter Cells Sam Fisher and John Hodge in Iceland.

Billed as both a VTOL (vertical-takeoff and landing) and STOL (short-takeoff and landing) craft, the V-22 Osprey was the Third Echelon's workhorse, used for quick insertion and extraction missions in "denied areas".


1999: NATO bombings of Yugoslavia

Note: The date of founding of Third Echelon is 2003 in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and the 1990s in Splinter Cell: Essentials[19] and novels. No explanation from Ubisoft has been given (see Notes).

In February 1999, during NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, Sam Fisher was sent on a mission for Third Echelon[20] to Belgrade City, Yugoslavia, to destroy SAM missiles being supplied to the Serbs. His first objective from Irving Lambert[21] was infiltrate a cargo ship, and destroy several missiles on board. After destroying the missiles he infiltrated the hideout where the launcher was being kept. His next objective, from Anna Grímsdóttir, was to find evidence showing how the Russians were supplying the weapons.

2004: Georgian Information Crisis

The CIA contacted NSA officials regarding the loss of contact with Agent Alison Madison, a CIA operative monitoring widespread communication shortages plaguing the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. A second operative, Agent Blaustein, was inserted into the Georgian capital T’bilisi to locate Agent Madison, only to drop from contact seven days later. Fearing for the lives of American agents compromised at the hands of a suspected terrorist effort, Third Echelon activated Splinter Cell operative Sam Fisher to locate the missing agents and evaluate the situation.

Through this investigation, they found out that Kombayn Nikoladze, the President of Georgia, was behind the attacks. Third Echelon continued operations as they tried to stop more attacks on U.S. soil. However, much political red tape prevented the U.S. government from gaining the proper intelligence about these attacks. This caused Third Echelon to send Fisher within the CIA to find out about Nikoladze's plan for America. It soon led Third Echelon to the Masse Kernels and eventually to Nikoladze's palace where he was assassinated to end the information attacks. The success of the operation prompted the NSA to continue the Third Echelon initiative.

2006: Indonesia Crisis/Biological Warfare

Third Echelon sends in Sam Fisher to East Timor to prevent Darah Dan Doa leader Suhadi Sadono from gaining access to private information. It leads them to Israel to track down the ND133 and eventually surprising everyone that a biological attack was underway on U.S. soil with the use of smallpox.


NYC Cyber Attacks/East Asian Crisis

Third Echelon is once again needed to prevent further attacks from the Masse Kernels that are now being used by Displace International. World War III was nearly on the brink as the USS Clarence E. Walsh was destroyed by an anti-ship missile. Blackouts were in New York and Japan as Third Echelon further finds out about the I-SDF situation. Third Echelon was successful from preventing further attacks as they eliminated "Chaos Theory".

Hallucinogenic Experiments

In the fall of 2007, Sam Fisher had been somehow "kidnapped and detained in a old German bunker in Normandy, France". Since CIA agent Hisham Hamza and Third Echelon had managed to "track Fisher's position" and contact him via his subdermal implant, they monitored Agent Fisher while he was on an unknown hallucinogenic drug for one week. During that time, he barely escaped his captors and saw Agent Hamza. In reality, Agent Fisher was still at Third Echelon Headquarters in Fort Meade undergoing an hallucinogenic/drug resistance testing after he had signed himself up a few days before, even though Lambert had tried to persuade him not to take part in the experimental exercise. Agent Fisher claimed that he had no memories about that but hoped that his memory would come back.

2007/2008: JBA Deep Cover Operation/Red Mercury Incident

As Sam Fisher heads into a downward spiral of destruction after the death of his daughter, Third Echelon demotes its most veteran Splinter Cell and sends him undercover as a double agent within a homegrown terrorist organization known as John Brown's Army (JBA). They prevented a nuclear attack on U.S. soil but at the same time, losing both Agent Fisher and Director Lambert to the cause. Fisher abruptly leaves the NSA and goes into hiding.

2009: The Fisher Investigation

On January 3, former Third Echelon agent Sam Fisher visited his daughter's gravesite at Elysian Fields in Washington, D.C. before being apprehended by NSA officials. He was then taken back to Third Echelon Headquarters at Fort Meade and interrogated. Sam was forced to explain himself over several key points of career before and during his time in the Splinter Cell program which didn't seem to match up with Third Echelon's records. With Anna Grímsdóttir's help, Sam learns that his records had been tampered with by Lawrence Williams, Third Echelon's acting Director of Operations, in order to frame him as a rogue agent, with each of the aforementioned events being rewritten to make Sam appear as if he had completely disobeyed orders or was involved in committing treason against the United States. Williams discovered that his hacks to the record had been discovered, and stole the evidence from Grímsdóttir. Sam escaped his captors by hiding in Redding's office and then snuck into Williams' office and recovered the evidence. He confronted Williams, explaining he would expose him and then escaped, taking the evidence with him.

2011: Third Echelon Conspiracy

Somehow after Lambert's death, Tom Reed was soon appointed as the new director of Third Echelon. However he had expanded the duties of his agency, even more than the one conceived from his predecessor.

When President Patricia Caldwell was about to shut down the agency, because she felt the agency wasn't justifying its funding anymore, Reed eventually retaliated by working with the PMC Black Arrow to unleash a series of EMPs in Washington, D.C. in a plan to assassinate her using the Splinter Cells and have Megiddo's man in their pocket, Vice President Calvin Samson to take her place.

The plan was foiled thanks to the interference of the former Third Echelon agent Sam Fisher and chief technical analyst Anna Grímsdóttir who was actually working for President Caldwell by acting as a mole inside Third Echelon. Just as Reed was about to kill and frame Sam for the President's assassination, Sam and Grim eventually sprung into action by disarming Reed and killing all the other Splinter Cells in the office. After the president is saved, Sam then interrogates him about a mysterious group called Megiddo, and although he revealed a little, Director Reed eventually admitted to being the mole Lambert was looking for, and was then killed by Grim.[22]

2011, Two Years Later: Termination of Third Echelon

"Gentlemen, the Blacklist is real. Rogue intel agencies like Third Echelon are the problem here, not the solution. I want every single operation related to them grounded and gutted, now! I'm shutting Third Echelon down, effective immediately."
― President Caldwell gives the order to terminate Third Echelon.

After the conspiracy was exposed, investigation showed that the agency had completely gone rogue. And because of that, Third Echelon was officially shut down by President Patricia Caldwell for good, leading to the formation of Fourth Echelon under command of Sam Fisher two years later.

Gone Dark: Catching Big Fish

  • Gone Dark
  • Ft. Benning, GA
  • Catching Big Fish
  • Report ID 5.1

Grimsdottir: The SMI pulled a picture off the web that's a good match for a missing former 3rd Echelon agent. The picture shows him cage-diving with a great white shark, and the caption reads, "Hai!" The agent's name is Timothy Gose. He was one of Tom Reed's people, working Southeast Asia. I don't think we want him running around loose.

  • Gone Dark
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Catching Big Fish
  • Report ID 5.2

Grimsdottir: Gose got word we were coming and ran. Someone's feeding him intel, which means he's part of something bigger. The good news is, one of his old passports got a hit last night; the bad news is that someone scrubbed the hit from the system before we could get a complete record. All we have are three letters: YXY.

  • Gone Dark
  • Whitehorse, Yukon
  • Catching Big Fish
  • Report ID 5.3

Charlie: Whitehorse was almost wild goose chase. SMI used the RFID tracker in the passport to hunt it down, but the guy holding it was a drug mule. Said his boss bought it from a guy matching Gose's description in Cape Town, but that the guy insisted on being paid cash in BND. Got any idea what that is?

  • Gone Dark
  • Begawan, Brunei
  • Catching Big Fish
  • Report ID 5.4

Grimsdottir: Surveillance cams in Bandar Seri picked up Gose with a couple of unknowns. SMI turned the unknowns into knowns - they're ex UTO. Gose must have been working for them, maybe trading them intel for cash and protection. Now that we're on his tail, he's running to them for cover. This could be a chance to smoke him out.

  • Gone Dark
  • Dushanbe, Tajikistan
  • Catching Big Fish
  • Report ID 5.5

Grimsdottir: State Department just passed along word that Gose is applying for asylum in Tajikstan. He's holed up in a SCNS building under heavy guard. We've got two plays here: go in and dig him out, or pass along an offer that beats the Tajiks'. One risks a bloodbath, the other risks loosing him. What's the plan?

(Bribe: $10000)(Extract: $10000)

Bribe - Mission Success - Briggs: It's kinda sad when a guy won't stay bribed. Our man on the inside passed an offer to Gose - cash, clean new passport, immunity, and plenty of other goodies - and he bit. We pulled him out around 2 AM without damaging any of the locals, and now he's on his way back to the States for debrief. Nice call, Sam.

Extract - Mission Failure - [Please fill in corresponding entry and delete this note.]

Expanded Universe

Third Echelon operations that took place in the novel series.

2003: Checkmate

While preparing to test a new DARPA product, code-named the Goshawk, Splinter Cell agent Sam Fisher is called to intercept a cargo freighter speeding towards the eastern seaboard. The freighter, named the Trego is loaded down with radioactive material. Fisher boards the ship and quickly reaches the bridge to find one Middle-Eastern crew member. Fisher attempts to disable the man and does so, but not before the man enters the command to speed the boat up further. Fisher proceeds to slow the ship by disabling her engines. Meanwhile the residents of Slipstone, New Mexico begin showing the symptoms of and then dying from radiation poisoning.

2005: Babylon Phoenix Crisis

An Iranian terrorist group known as "The Shadows". Led by Nasir Tarighian, planned to use a weapon of mass destruction codenamed "The Babylon Phoenix" against the city of Baghdad as revenge for the actions taken by Iraq against Iran during the 1980s. While there really isn't much benefit to the group today, Tarighian attempts to sell the scheme to his organization by claiming that it would also create further disorder in Iraq and in the Middle East, which would inevitably cause the people to turn against the "West", namely the United States since Iraq is currently under their watch. Tarighian, a former "great warrior" during the Iran-Iraq War and often proclaimed hero in Iran, hoped that by doing this the Iranian people would rejoice and urge the Iranian government to invade and conquer Iraq after the U.S. is forced out of the region. Most of the members of the Shadows disagree with the course of action, feeling that the result is extremely unlikely and that the scheme is nothing more than a 20-year-old vendetta by Tarighian to get back at Iraq for the death of his wife and children during the war. These members feel the same effect of destabilization in the region can be achieved by attacking either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem in Israel.

Meanwhile an arms dealing organization known as "The Shop" has taken the liberty of assassinating Splinter Cells whenever possible thus to increase their profit margin by keeping the shipment of arms from falling into unwanted hands. The Shop is one of the few organizations in the world that is aware of Third Echelon, who deploys Sam Fisher to the Middle East to uncover the truth about the murder of a Splinter Cell and track down the source of a shipment of arms seized by the Iraqi police. There he surveys and infiltrates numerous locations relating to both the Shop and the Shadows, all the while unaware that the Shop has targeted him and his daughter, Sarah.

2006: MRUUV Incident

Taking place almost a year after the Babylon Phoenix Crisis, the plot picks up with Third Echelon attempting to search and bring to justice the members of The Shop, an international arms dealing ring that played a large part during the crisis. While Sam Fisher is working to collect information on The Shop in Ukraine and Russia, Third Echelon is continuing its investigation into how The Shop had previously managed to gain the identity of a number of Splinter Cells and assassinate them as well. However, when a German scientist named Jeinsen, who defected to the United States from East Germany long ago, goes missing and then reappears dead in Hong Kong, heads begin to turn. Jeinsen had developed a new submarine vehicle for the United States Navy, that could theoretically carry a nuclear weapon. Sam Fisher is sent to learn why the scientist was in Hong Kong and who killed him; it is suspected that a local group of Triads named "the Lucky Dragons" had involvement. What Third Echelon does not yet realize is that Jeinsen, the Lucky Dragons, The Shop, and a traitor inside their own government are all part of a much larger picture involving a rogue Chinese general named Lan Tun, with ambitions to invade and conquer Taiwan. With Fisher not even aware that he is the world's only hope of stopping an international crisis, he has to balance his job and a new romantic relationship that he is hoping will finally bring happiness to his life. Ultimately, General Tun threatens to use the submarine vehicle to detonate a nuclear weapon off the coast of California, destroying Los Angeles. with a massive tsunami, unless America abandons Taiwan when it is invaded by China. Fisher manages to foil the plot, and all the conspirators involved including the traitor, the general, and The Shop are killed.

2008: Fallout

Soon after undergoing unfamiliar espionage techniques training in the streets of San Francisco in a joint exercise between the CIA and Third Echelon, Sam Fisher is summoned to Maryland by Lambert. Turns out, Sam's estranged brother, Peter (real name Pyotr Limonovich), has been found barely alive off the coast of Greenland. Sam is told that Peter has developed a strange disease and has few days to live. It is soon revealed that Sam's brother died of poisoning caused by plutonium hydride-19, or PuH-19. This deadly powder is 1,000x finer than flour and is capable of wiping out New York's entire population with just a cup's worth of the chemical.

Although driven at first solely by vengeance, Sam soon realizes that Peter's death should be the least of his worries as a network of Kyrgyz Islamic fundamentalists have toppled the moderate government of Kyrgyztan and, with the help of the North Korean government, have devised the ultimate antidote against the pervasive influence of the West and its technology: they will try to mutate a species of petroleum-eating Chytridiomycota fungus into a strain capable of making the whole world's oil supply disappear, a threat Fisher and Lambert continually refer to as Manas, in reference to the Kyrgyz epic poem. In order to do this, the terrorists snatch some of the world's leading scientists and force them to cooperate. Sam gets his final lead by tracking one of the abducted scientists in a search that will lead him to a place such as the streets of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, an isolated Kyrgyz community in Cape Breton Island, the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, Pyongyang, North Korea and a Kyrgyz complex hidden in the Tian Shan mountain range.

2009/10: The Search for Sam Fisher

Operations in other Tom Clancy franchises

  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2: Third Echelon gives intelligence to the US Army that the rebel-controlled Pakistani missiles could hit any target in the US from Ciudad Juarez.
  • In "The End Begins: Splinter Cell", taking place in 2015, Grimsdottir is the director of Third Echelon and commands Splinter Cell Leon Coltrane on a mission to find information about Snegurochka.
  • Tom Clancy's EndWar: The Hunted: Director Grimsdottir sends two Splinter Cells on a mission with a Ghost Recon team to find the "Snow Maiden" in 2021.
  • Tom Clancy's EndWar: The Missing: Third Echelon assists the Joint Strike Force in the war effort. Two Splinter Cells are stationed at Spetznaz HQ at Fort Levski, and are fed false information. SC Thomas Voeckler is stationed in Chechnya to find stolen weapons and assists a downed pilot. After Ganjin sleeper agent Major Dennison was activated, 11 Splinter Cells in England and four in Moscow went missing. Voeckler later helped arrest Christopher Theron.
  • Tom Clancy's HAWX: Third Echelon confirms the location of the secret base Artemis Global Security is using, which is then destroyed by pilot David Crenshaw of HAWX squadron.

Appearances in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell media



See also


  • The founding of Third Echelon as seen in Essentials in the 1990s seems to follow the chronology of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (novel) and Operation Barracuda. Checkmate implies that Third Echelon had been around quite a bit longer than 2003 (although Sam Fisher was still the original Splinter Cell). The Field Runner program was new plans to expand upon the previous program within the 2005/2006 era (previously most missions were completed by lone agents). Third Echelon's headquarters had been moved around D.C. previously (every couple of years) to 2005 – 2006's location near the White House. Sam Fisher and Irving Lambert had known Anna Grímsdóttir for years (from the time she was brought into Third Echelon).
  • A Splinter Cell appears in the fourth generation version of Splinter Cell: Double Agent. He kills Enrica Villablanca on Director William's orders, and is then killed by Fisher in revenge.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell PC manual, pp 2
  2. Splinter Cell novels and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Essentials.
  3. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist
  4. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Operation Barracuda, page 53
  5. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Operation Barracuda, pages 53–54
  6. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Operation Barracuda, page 54
  7. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist Aftermath
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 http://splintercell.wikia.com/wiki/File:8778555.jpg
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (novel)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Operation Barracuda
  11. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction (novel)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Endgame
  13. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Checkmate
  14. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Fallout
  15. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, "East Timor" level
  16. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Intro Cinematic "...National Security Agency, Fort Meade, Maryland...Third Echelon..."
  17. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction, "Third Echelon HQ" level
  18. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell novel, page 230
    Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Operation Barracuda, pages 2 and 88
  19. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Essentials
  20. Mission 3: Belgrade City, Yugoslavia, February 15, 1999, 23:20
  21. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GixfIpN-zps
  22. SMI database in Blacklist