A recent government report was sent to law enforcement agencies and utility companies as a warning to keep a close eye on their power grids because domestic extremist groups are also eyeballing them. The report said that power grids are increasingly becoming of greater interest to radicals who view them as easy targets that when knocked out can cause widespread chaos, disruption, and with a little luck, panic.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis said that homegrown extremists “have developed credible, specific plans to attack electricity infrastructure since at least 2014.”
All 6,400 U.S. power plants and the nation’s 450,000 miles of high voltage lines are fair game. The report claimed that domestic terrorists “adhering to a range of ideologies will likely continue to plot and encourage physical attacks against electrical infrastructure.”
Because America’s power grid is spread throughout the nation experts say it would be difficult to disrupt power to the entire country. To do so would require lots of inside help that to anyone’s knowledge no extremist group has. Even pulling off multi-state outages is questionable, but knocking out a major city or a large swath of a particular state presents far less of a challenge. Imagine if they hit Chicago.
Based on past events and the monitoring of online conspiracy-minded forums power grids remain the silver platter for extremist groups. Federal agents say this is because most power lines run through remote areas where the potential harm doers can slip in undetected.
Extremists thrive on the anger and frustration of others. They like to stir fry society and create division in the process, but their end goals are generally senseless or they’re rarely made clear.
Because the entirety of the report has yet to be released, a government official anonymously offered additional insight. “They (extremists) feel that disrupting the electrical supply will disrupt the ability of government to operate.”
Continuing, “And secondly, by conducting attacks against the communications and electrical infrastructure, it will actually accelerate the coming civil war that they anticipate because it will disrupt the lives of so many people that they will lose faith in government.”
Law enforcement’s concerns are nothing new. The vulnerability of power grids was recognized in 2014 after a sniper fired away at workers at Pacific Gas & Electric’s Metcalf Transmission Substation because of its remote location in California. The closest law enforcement agent was an hour away at a diner in San Jose and the sniper was never caught.
The gunman, who undoubtedly was not alone, was not successful in disabling the power station that feeds current to the entirety of Silicone Valley.
More recent incidents have been reported and they’re escalating. One such plot was foiled by the FBI when they discovered a white supremacist group with elaborate plans to blow up power stations all over the southeastern U.S. in retaliation for the 2020 elections.
It’s one thing to dislike or disagree with the election’s questionable outcome, but the aftermath of such an attack would have been bipartisan. The disruption would have been equally distributed amongst hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of unfortunate residents, red, blue, or otherwise.
The Edison Electric Institute is a culmination of power companies that provides roughly 70% of America’s electricity, and they recognize the growing threat. Association senior vice president for security and preparedness, Scott Anderson, offered the following.
“Our industry is working constantly to adapt to new and evolving threats to the grid, whether that’s by protecting against malicious threats like cyber and physical attacks, or addressing the challenges of extreme weather caused by climate change.”
Power companies are doing all they can to thwart off unanticipated attacks with or without an official report. Perhaps the best plan of action would be for Biden to develop an on-the-ground security force to better safeguard the very stuff that keeps this country moving along. But he won’t. So good luck if your lights go out. At least we’ve got a worthless report.