By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Russian spy ship off the East Coast has put some on alert since it was first spotted near Delaware Tuesday.

The ship has one basic purpose, to eavesdrop on American military bases.

It’s a floating collector of electronic transmissions, including phone calls.

According to CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin, it listens for what spy satellites find.

“They might see a new antenna pop up on the roof of a military base,” Martin says. “This ship can stand off-shore and scoop up whatever signals are coming from that antenna.”

The ship left Cuba, moving up the coast in international waters. It was reported off Delaware Tuesday, today it’s off the Connecticut, where the New London Naval Submarine Base is located.

In time of war, “they would know exactly what frequency to jam,” according to Martin.

The spy ship is only one example of recent Russian provocations.

Russian war plans have been buzzing U.S. ships in international waters. It’s tested a land based cruise missile that a treaty between the U.S. are former Soviet Union banned.

A Russian connection forced the resignation of the president’s national security adviser.

“I’m a child of the Cold War,” says Dr. Michael Greenberger, of the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security. “I’ve seen it all, and I don’t think Russia has ever been more frightening than they are right now… because they’ve got their claws into many parts of the United States, including a worry they’ve got some control over the presidency.”

Making the spy ship just one of the worries.

The ship is expected to backtrack down the East Coast and return to Cuba.

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