Shooters armed with assault rifles have prompted new worries regarding the vulnerability of the country’s vast electrical power grid.
On April 16, 2013, an attack on an electric substation near San Jose, California, nearly knocked out Silicon Valley’s power supply. This attack was initially downplayed as vandalism by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the facility’s owner.
Nearly a year later, a former top power regulator offers a far more ominous interpretation: The attack was terrorism, he said, and if circumstances had been just a little different, it could have been disastrous. In an interview last week with the Wall Street Journal, former FERC chief Jon Wellinghoff called the attack “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred.”
Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)when the shooting took place, said that attack was clearly executed by well-trained individuals seeking to do significant damage to the area, and he fears it was a test run for an even larger assault.
The attackers severed six AT&T fiber optic telecommunication lines in an underground vault, which was covered by a metal lid that was so heavy it would have taken at least two people to lift it. Besides more than 100 fingerprint-free shell casings littering the area, Wellinghoff said his military experts spotted small rock piles by the plant which the attackers might have placed there earlier to mark prime firing positions. Reportedly firing bullets like those used by AK-47s — an assault weapon favored by terrorists — they blasted 17 transformers and 6 circuit breakers and caused $15.4 million in damage.
This under-reported story deserved national attention when it happened nearly a year ago owing to major implications for electric-power grid vulnerability to a terrorist attack. However, the FBI must have read a White House memo that the war on terrorism is over. It says there is “no evidence” the attack was by terrorists. Never mind that a U.S. Navy SEAL team that investigated found it was highly professional, like a military operation. Never mind that the attackers also knew how to cut telephone cables, understood the importance and vulnerability of transformers, and sprayed them with AK-47 fire, the favorite assault rifle of rogue states and terrorists. The perpetrators, whoever they were, got away clean, and nearly a year later they have not been apprehended by the FBI.
Appearing on FOX News, Frank Gaffney, Jr., President of the Center for Security Policy, when questioned as to why we are just hearing about this attack now, indicated that: “I think a determined effort was made to conceal from the public what had happened. … This is I’m afraid, a cover-up.” More generally Gaffney indicated “as has been the case consistently for years, we’ve seen the electric utilities try to conceal from the public the vulnerability of their infrastructure.”
To gain a better understanding of just what occurred, a special edited video has been prepared based upon excerpts from recent broadcasts of KGO-TV in San Francisco, CA and the cable network of FOX News:
[The above video is presented in the public’s interest and contains material used pursuant to the Fair Use Doctrine under 17 U.S.C.]
Regarding the discrepancy between an FBI spokesperson and former FERC chairman Jon Wellinghoff calling the attack near San Jose, CA an act of terrorism, contemplate the words below where seemingly there exists a semantics issue on what the FBI will allow to be called “terrorism.” Which person has the best interests of the public in mind? The point here is that Mr. Wellinghoff likely came forward because he knew the attack was something that should not have been characterized or downplayed by the utility as “vandalism,” … which would generally fall into the category of malicious mischief.
Also refer to this news report for further background information: