The Georgian Information Crisis was a course of events that occurs in late-2004 in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. It was a primary part of the game's main plotline. It's also the first official assignment for Sam Fisher's career as a Splinter Cell and Third Echelon's inaugural operation.
On October 16, 2004, Sam Fisher, a newly-recruited agent ("Splinter Cell") of Third Echelon, the NSA's newly-activated group, discovers in the Georgian capital of T'Bilisi that its President, Kombayn Nikoladze, is engaged in a murderous campaign against the neighboring country of Azerbaijan in order to steal that country's oil supplies. He keeps NATO and the United States unaware of this by using information warfare tactics to block out intelligence on the situation. After Fisher discovers this, the world decides to take action, and the United States and its allies attack the Georgian forces fighting in Azerbaijan. Following the destruction of numerous terrorist cells, the U.S. launches an invasion of Georgia.
This is the point where Georgia strikes back. Philip Masse, a Canadian computer hacker with brilliant technological skills who is serving with President Nikoladze, launches the 'Georgian information crisis' against the United States. Their main targets are power plants, sources of communication, and everyone's means of transportation. These attacks begin on October 30 of that year, and dozens of Americans die in the midst of power failures and accidents that cause destruction and disarray in all of America's largest cities. The first cities to be attacked were:
- New York, New York
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Washington D.C.
- Chicago, Illinois
- Jackson, Mississippi
- Miami, Florida
- Seattle, Washington
- San Francisco, California
- Los Angeles, California
- St. Louis, Missouri
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Houston, Texas
Following the first wave of these attacks, America goes on high alert, and Fisher infiltrates the CIA at Langley, Virginia. His goal is to find a mole in the CIA suspected to be feeding data to the Georgian military, and Fisher finds that an American technician named Mitchell Dougherty, who suffered from OCD, was unknowingly hoarding data on a computer that Russian mercenaries in the nearby Kalinatek Building had hacked into. This Russian cell was working in cooperation with Nikoladze's forces, and used CIA intelligence to further Nikoladze's goals. However, they panicked after Third Echelon hacked into their systems, and tried to wipe out the evidence of their activities and massacred the Russian technicians who assisted with the initiation of the information crisis. Fisher saved a handful of technicians and they gave him evidence of Nikoladze's presence at a nuclear power plant in Severomorsk, Russia, so Fisher journeyed there to find him.
Shortly after the attack on Kalinatek, Masse attacks the Pickett Gap Water Treatment Plant in Tennessee. The attack causes a virus that poisons the local population's water supplies, which put thousands in the risk of water intoxication. Fortunately, the plant's workers discovered the virus and shut down the flow of water before it infected the population. The plant is shut down until the virus is wiped out and the water cleansed, and the people of Tennessee must boil their available water.
Nikoladze tried to slaughter a handful of American POWs on live television in order to intimdate NATO, but Sam Fisher saved them before Nikoladze's men could stop him. Nikoladze then fled back to Georgia to steal the detonator to "The Ark", a mysterious weapon that was discovered to be a nuclear suitcase bomb. Nikoladze managed to get the actual device into Washington, D.C., and stole the activation key so that he could destroy the capital at will. Fortunately, despite heavy resistance from both Nikoladze's men and those of Varlam Cristavi, Georgian's acting President, Fisher assassinated Nikoladze and escaped with the activation key. After the key was handed in to American authorities, they discovered the "Ark" and confiscated the device.
With the discovery of the Ark and the death of Kombayn Nikoladze, the Georgian information crisis officially ended.