Recently, we told you about the terrorist attacks on the electrical grid in North Carolina. The attacks on two major substations left thousands of people in Moore County, North Carolina
without power for several days of below freezing temperatures and knocked out power to Fort Bragg, one of the most important and active Army installations in the country.
The local sheriff and North Carolina’s Democrat Governor, Roy Cooper, referred to the attacks as “vandalism.” Although Gov. Cooper later came around to calling the attacks terrorism, even after the FBI was called in, it seems the authorities continue to treat the attacks as a law enforcement matter and naturally the story disappeared almost immediately from the establishment media.
That the FBI and local authorities haven’t made a bust in the case should surprise no one, because these attacks have been going on since at least 2013 with no one arrested.
And they are spreading and getting more frequent.
As WIRED reported, physical attacks have targeted the U.S. electrical grid in at least four states in three months.
Andy Greenberg, a senior writer for WIRED, reported, “Duke Energy, reported gunfire at another facility, a hydroelectric power plant in South Carolina. And combined with two more incidents of hands-on sabotage of US power facilities that occurred in Oregon and Washington in October and November, the vulnerability of the US grid to old-fashioned physical harm has begun to seem like a serious threat.”
According to Mr. Greenberg’s reporting:
No damage seems to have occurred in the South Carolina case, and in the earlier incidents in Washington, the utilities involved described the cases as “vandalism.” But the intruders in Oregon carried out a more deliberate attack, cutting through a perimeter fence and damaging equipment, according to the Oregon utility, causing a “brief” power outage in one case. And in yet another, separate collection of incidents, Duke Energy saw half a dozen “intrusions” at substations in Florida, according to documents seen by Newsnation. Federal law enforcement is investigating the cases.
The incidents are reminiscent of what Mr. Greenberg called “another strange, isolated attack” on the California power grid in 2015, when a sniper fired on an electrical substation and triggered a blackout to parts of Silicon Valley along with $15 million in damage. These newer cases, while still relatively small in scale, show just how disturbingly vulnerable the American power grid remains to relatively simple forms of sabotage, concluded Mr. Greenberg.
Our friends at the Center for Security Policy (CSP) have spent years warning elected officials and policymakers about the vulnerability of our power grid and electric distribution infrastructure.
As CSP Executive Vice President Tommy Waller explained in a recent article, these attacks happen much more frequently than most people realize.
Physical attacks on the U.S. grid occur at a frequency of more than one per week according to Michael Mabee, who tracks data on electric outages reported to the Department of Energy (DOE).
According to Mabee’s analysis of DOE data, from January 1, 2010, through August 2022, there have been at least 919 physical attacks on the U.S. grid and the rate of attacks is increasing.
In some cases, these acts are not terrorism but criminal and involve the theft of copper.
In other cases, such as the well-documented 2013 attack in on the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Metcalf substation in San Jose – the attackers did not want to steal copper but rather sabotage the grid, causing costly, life-threatening blackouts. Despite promises from PG&E to improve security, the same substation was breached again in 2014.
So far there have been no credible claims of responsibility for those attacks or the North Carolina attack, which does not appear to have theft as its motive, leaving terrorism as the most likely motive, and certainly the result.
We find it interesting and baffling that in a series of attacks spanning a decade the FBI hasn’t made any arrests, and the government at large – Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, etc. – has made no strides in hardening the grid or increasing security at vulnerable installations, such as the isolated substations that were the subject of the recent attacks in North Carolina.
The security of our electrical grid is a national security matter, not a matter for local law enforcement who thinks “vandalism” when the power is knocked out at one of America’s most important military installations. We urge the new House Republican majority to hold hearings and conduct vigorous oversight to hold the administration’s feet to the fire and find out why the FBI has spent thousands of manhours chasing January 6 protesters but hasn’t identified even one suspect in a decade of attacks on our national security infrastructure. The Capitol Switchboard telephone number is (202) 224-3121 – call House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy and tell him you demand investigations and oversight of the FBI response to these terrorist attacks on our electrical grid starting Day One of the new Congress.
Moore County North Carolina
electrical substation destruction
Moore County Schools closed
Dept of Homeland Security
Electric Grid targeting
theft of copper
Center for Security Policy CSP