Newly reported details about a 52-minute sniper attack on a central California electrical substation last year are raising concerns from Capitol Hill and beyond, amid questions over whether it was the work of terrorists.
The April 16, 2013, attack had not been widely publicized until The Wall Street Journal reported new details in a story on Wednesday. The attack reportedly started when at least one person entered an underground vault to cut telephone cables, and attackers fired more than 100 shots into Pacific Gas & Electric’s Metcalf transmission substation, knocking out 17 transformers. Electric officials were able to avert a blackout, but it took 27 days to repair the damage.
The FBI doesn’t think the incident was a terror attack, an agency spokesman told the Journal. However, Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, disagrees.
Wellinghoff, a now-retired George W. Bush appointee, called it “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the U.S. power grid that has ever occurred.”
No arrests have been made in the case. But the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee said Wednesday that lawmakers continue to follow the probe and that protecting the grid remains a top priority.
“We are aware of the attack and continue to monitor the investigation closely,” a committee spokeswoman told FoxNews.com. “Committee staff has been briefed by agency officials and industry representatives. The security and reliability of the grid is a pressing concern, and we will continue our work to mitigate all emerging threats.”
Wellinghoff, who spoke to the Journal, based his conclusion that this was terrorism on the analysis of experts he brought to the crime scene. The analysis pointed to the shell casings having no fingerprints and evidence that the shooting positions had been pre-arranged.
Wellinghoff went public with the story after briefing federal agencies, Congress and the White House, citing national security concerns and fear that electric-grid sites don’t have adequate protection.
In addition, retired PG&E executive Mark Johnson said at an industry gathering a few months ago that he feared the attack was a dress rehearsal for a larger event, according to the Journal.
The utility company responded to a call seeking comment by referring FoxNews.com to a statement from the Edison Electric Institute.
“The industry takes its role as critical infrastructure providers very seriously,” said Scott Aaronson, the institute’s senior director of national security policy. “Publicizing clearly sensitive information about critical infrastructure protection endangers the safety of the American people and the integrity of the grid.”
Joy Ditto, a vice president with the American Public Power Association, told FoxNews.com about a recent meeting on Capitol Hill that dealt specifically with the attack and included a bipartisan group of senators, industry executives and federal agencies.
She said utility companies have been able to prevent such attacks in large part because they share information with related parties.
However, she also said the meeting, which covered a broad range of topics, concluded with a commitment from executives to keep the senators better informed and a desire for additional legislation to legally protect those who share information about issues like attacks and disaster preparation.
“But we’d prefer not to see more regulations,” she said.
Though the attack on the San Jose substation didn’t cause a blackout, isolated incidents have in fact caused major problems on the U.S. electric grid.
In 2003, for example, downed trees toppled transmission lines, creating a series of blackouts across Canada and the eastern U.S. that lasted for days.
Security for the grid has long been a concern for government and the utility industry, but most recently the focus has been on the risk of cyber attacks.
Mike Hyland, an APPA senior vice president, argued Wednesday the industry indeed took notice of the attack but has been on high alert for decades — responding to such issues as the Y2K computer issue, the 9/11 terror attacks, Hurricane Katrina and most recently Superstorm Sandy.
“The industry has done a good job of keeping security at the forefront,” he said.
In 19 Minutes, A Team Of Snipers Destroyed 17 Transformers At A Power Station In California
When a real terrorist attack happens, sometimes we don’t hear about it until months afterward (if we ever hear about it at all). For example, did you know that a team of snipers shot up a power station in California?
The terrorists destroyed 17 transformers and did so much damage that the power station was shut down for a month. And it only took them 19 minutes of shooting to do it. Of course most Americans have absolutely no idea that this ever happened, because they get their news from the mainstream media. The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at that time says that this was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred”, and yet you won’t hear about it on the big news networks. They are too busy covering the latest breaking news on the Justin Bieber scandal.
And maybe it is good thing that most people don’t know about this. The truth is that we are a nation that is absolutely teeming with “soft targets”, and if people realized how vulnerable we truly are they might start freaking out.
If you have not heard about the attack on the Silicon Valley substation yet, you should look into it. The following is an excerpt from a Business Insider article about the sniper assault…
The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Smith reports that a former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman is acknowledging for the first time that a group of snipers shot up a Silicon Valley substation for 19 minutes last year, knocking out 17 transformers before slipping away into the night.
The attack was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred” in the U.S., Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, told Smith.
Evidence found at the scene included “more than 100 fingerprint-free shell casings“, and little piles of rocks “that appeared to have been left by an advance scout to tell the attackers where to get the best shots.”
So much damage was done to the substation that it was closed down for a month.
And what happens if they decide to attack a nuclear power facility next time and use even bigger weapons?
Could we have another Fukushima on our hands?
Commercial and research nuclear facilities across the U.S. are inadequately protected against the threat of terrorism, according to the results of new study released this week by the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project (NPPP) at the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. The two biggest terror threats facing these facilities, according to the report, are the theft of bomb grade nuclear materials and sabotage attacks aimed at causing a nuclear reactor meltdown.
The study, entitled “Protecting U.S. Nuclear Facilities from Terrorist Attack: Re-assessing the Current ‘Design Basis Threat’ Approach,” found not one of the 104 commercial nuclear reactors in the U.S. is protected against a “maximum credible terrorist attack,” such as 9/11. In fact, nuclear facilities are not required to protect themselves against airplane attacks, assaults by large teams of terrorists or even high-power sniper rifles.
The truth is that we are far, far more vulnerable to terror attacks than most Americans would dare to imagine.
So why isn’t the federal government doing more to protect us?
Well, the reality is that their resources are already stretched pretty thin and they can’t even protect their own computers. According to another report that was recently released, breaches of government computer networks go undetected 40 percent of the time…
A new report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) details widespread cybersecurity breaches in the federal government, despite billions in spending to secure the nation’s most sensitive information.
The report, released on Tuesday, found that approximately 40 percent of breaches go undetected, and highlighted “serious vulnerabilities in the government’s efforts to protect its own civilian computers and networks.”
“In the past few years, we have seen significant breaches in cybersecurity which could affect critical U.S. infrastructure,” the report said. “Data on the nation’s weakest dams, including those which could kill Americans if they failed, were stolen by a malicious intruder. Nuclear plants’ confidential cybersecurity plans have been left unprotected. Blueprints for the technology undergirding the New York Stock Exchange were exposed to hackers.”
Are you starting to get the picture?
We are not nearly as “secure” as we like to think that we are.
In recent months, we have seen that our private financial information is not even secure at the largest retailers in the entire country. By now you have probably already heard about the horrifying security breach that happened at Target during the holiday season…
The holiday shopping season breach affected up to 110 million customers, including 40 million credit and debit cards and up to 70 million customers’ personal information.
The discount retailer discovered the breach in mid-December, notified customers several days later, and launched an investigation with the help of a private security firm and law enforcement.
And experts tell us that because credit card companies are cutting corners by using outdated technology that is less expensive that these kinds of credit card hacks will continue to happen all over the country.
So what are you going to do when you wake up some day and none of your credit cards or debit cards will work because the entire system has been compromised by hackers?
What are you going to do when you wake up some day and you have no power for an extended period of time because a team of terrorists has destroyed the entire power grid in your area?
What are you going to do when you wake up some day and a wave of nuclear radiation is heading your way because terrorists have attacked a nuclear power facility close to where you live?
We are an extremely vulnerable nation that literally has thousands of big, fat juicy “soft targets” that could be attacked at any moment.
We have been very fortunate to live during an era when we have generally been safe from such attacks, but the world is rapidly changing before our very eyes.
- Government Sponsored Shooting … 17,792 views
- Father Arrested REALLY Pick Kids Up From School WOW REALLY 15,736 views
- New Japanese island Niijima merged with Nishino-shima 11,894 views
- The NSA can hijack your Wi-Fi from 8 miles away 11,576 views
- UPDATED 5MIN NEWS-November 4, 2013 LAX Hoax Proven in Pictures 9,678 views
- Fake Snow? No, It Is Debunk 9,617 views
- 5MIN NEWS U.S. wages war against Philippines using its HAARP weather WMD systems ! WOW REALLY ? 9,566 views
- The District of Columbia ACT of 1871 Copy this below and share it with EVERYONE you know! 9,072 views
- Assault Legal G(BAD TEXAS)U(POLICE, COPS)n Owners 8,183 views
- New Xbox One Can See Your Penis ! WOW REALLY? 7,849 views