Skip to comments.Report: Power Plant Attack: “Most Significant Incident of Domestic Terrorism" (shortened)
Posted on 02/06/2014 3:47:03 PM PST by Kartographer
Chances are you didnt hear about it when it happened or the investigation that followed. Last April just outside of San Jose, California the grid system came under direct attack.
Investigators have yet to identify any suspects, but the attack seems to have been well planned. First, someone accessed an underground vault housing fiber optic telephone cables and cut off communications to a large PG&E Substation.
Then, for 19 minutes, someone opened fire from long-range.
The sniper apparently utilized 7.62x39mm rounds, such as those used in an AK-47, to target the oil-driven cooling systems for 17 large transformers. The shell casings found at the scene had been wiped clean of fingerprints. According to Newsmax none of the transformers exploded, but the damage was significant enough for PG&E to force their electricity feeds to reroute through another station in an effort to prevent a widespread blackout.
As of yet police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have no leads. The evidence suggests any number of scenarios with the highest likelihood being a coordinated attack involving a team. But because of its simplicity its possible that the attack could have been orchestrated by a lone individual.
Whatever the case, the event prompted the head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Jon Wellinghoff to call it, the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred.
(Excerpt) Read more at shtfplan.com ...
The 64-year-old Nevadan, who was appointed to FERC in 2006 by President George W. Bush and stepped down in November, said he gave closed-door, high-level briefings to federal agencies, Congress and the White House last year. As months have passed without arrests, he said, he has grown increasingly concerned that an even larger attack could be in the works.
He said he was going public about the incident out of concern that national security is at risk and critical electric-grid sites arent adequately protected.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation doesnt think a terrorist organization caused the Metcalf attack, said a spokesman for the FBI in San Francisco. Investigators are continuing to sift through the evidence, he said.
Some people in the utility industry share Mr. Wellinghoffs concerns, including a former official at PG&E, Metcalfs owner, who told an industry gathering in November he feared the incident could have been a dress rehearsal for a larger event.
This wasnt an incident where Billy-Bob and Joe decided, after a few brewskis, to come in and shoot up a substation, Mark Johnson, retired vice president of transmission for PG&E, told the utility security conference, according to a video of his presentation. This was an event that was well thought out, well planned and they targeted certain components.
cali-attack2(Via the Wall Street Journal)
The most significant power grid attack in U.S. history failed to be reported in any detail by officials or the mainstream media, likely because they did not want to panic the populace.
Could this have been a test for a larger scale event? Certainly.
Since then, what steps have been taken to protect the grid from such attacks, or even other potential scenarios like electro-magnetic pulse devices or solar flares that could wipe out the national power grid within seconds? None.
A single individual could have carried out such an attack. Cut the phone lines. Take aim. Open fire. Its simple, really.
Now consider the potential damage if a rogue terrorist group or state-sponsored initiative launched a coordinated attack across 50 to 100 critical nodes all over the United States. Such an attack could bring the country to a complete standstill, leaving economic destruction and large-scale destabilization in its wake. A couple of days are manageable, but if the right equipment were to be targeted then its possible that repairs would take up to 18 months because many transformer components are sourced from foreign nations and have long build times.
The telecommunications systems, power grid, water utilities, transportation systems, oil refineries and other critical industries across America are, as reported by U.S. Cyber Command, completely exposed to attack. It could come in the form of a cyber vulnerability, as we saw in Illinois when a utility stations water pump systems overheated due to a reported digital security breach or when our drone fleet was hacked in the middle east. Or, it could be a physical attack like the one in California, with future incidents potentially involving larger transformers and explosives instead of AK-47′s.
The possibilities exist. Our government knows this, as evidenced by the comments of outgoing DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano who recently said that a crippling attack against U.S. infrastructure elements is inevitable.
The fact is that our infrastructure is outdated and exposed. It will not be repaired any time soon because the costs run into the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Thus, the only real option for Americans is to expect that such an event is coming, and to prepare for it.
Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, who has retired and now lives well outside of populated areas, says people should get out of major cities and have a retreat to avoid the fall-out from a grid collapse. His fears are substantiated by a recent report that claims 9 out of 10 Americans would die within a year of the electricity going out.
But whether you head out to the boonies or stay local, even the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends having an emergency supply because, as theyve admitted, any response in a catastrophic scenario will be slow to come. This means that having a preparedness plan complete with evacuation strategies, food supplies, water and other considerations will be essential to survival.
The threat is real.
Link to Wall Street Journal Story:
Secretary of Homeland Security, Charles Johnson, has not yet been informed by Eric Holder as to which Tea Part group they will pin this on.
Or maybe a false flag? Since F&F didn't work out, maybe somebody was trying to manufacture another crisis to justify a crackdown on all them dangerous weapons in the hands of civilians.
just a few high-powered rifles and a Volkswagon or two.
And yet, we still allow muslims to immigrate into the US, and our politicians want to grant amnesty to the Mexican invaders.
Actually, genius in it`s simplicity.
Now what, deploy thermal imaging cameras at all power plants and sub stations combined with our own snipers?
There are numerous simple little things one could think of that would be considered a major attack.
Calm down folks. The guy worked at FERC. Chances are he’s an accounting type. The attack was on a substation NOT A POWER PLANT. The substation was back up in less than a month. All of the equipment is normally available as spares.
Yeah just a dry run it doesn’t mean a thing. Something so simple couldn’t led to anything big like 9-11 or something...
My money is on Billy-Bob and Joe.
Silicon Valley Freeway?
Billie Bob and Joe always cut the phone lines before they a go a shoot’n.
Understand your point.
But after reading the entire WSJ story, this was a pretty sophisticated attack, which was what the Navy Seals brought in as consultants described it as.
Who did this and what was the motive?
Were they negotiating with the union at the time?
Read the article??? What a unFReeper like suggestion! ;-)
Some cursory internet search implies the IBEW contract runs 2011 to 2014 so maybe not.
But I’d defer to local knowledge on this one.
Well I actually read it in the hard copy newspaper so technically I’m not in violation of the FReeper code, LOL.
This wasnt an incident where Billy-Bob and Joe decided, after a few brewskis, to come in and shoot up a substation,
Mark Johnson, retired vice president of transmission for PG&E, told the utility security conference, according to a video of his presentation.
This was an event that was well thought out, well planned and they targeted certain components.
When reached, Mr. Johnson declined to comment further."
The countrys roughly 2,000 very large transformers are expensive to build, often costing millions of dollars each, and hard to replace.
Each is custom made and weighs up to 500,000 pounds, and I can only build 10 units a month, said Dennis Blake,
general manager of Pennsylvania Transformer in Pittsburgh, one of seven U.S. manufacturers. The utility industry keeps some spares on hand.
The FBI says the incident is still being investigated so they wont label it as terrorism.
It happened almost ten months ago, why cant they draw a line on who perpetuated the attack an their motivation?
On the other hand like the shooting at Ft. Hood, or the attack on our Benghazi mission, is the administration refusing to call it a terrorist attack
in an effort to hide its impotence in the War on Terror?
The attack occurred April 16, 2013, and we are just hearing about it now ! Why not earlier ?
“The shell casings found at the scene had been wiped clean of fingerprints. “
Bad logic. If the bad guys picked up the brass, they’d take it along, rather than wipe it and leave it. I think they mean they didn’t find prints.
Or, they used a different round and left wiped AK rounds as diversion.
I think Communications Workers of America were.
Along with more muslim terrorists as refugees as reported by foxnews.com I have never despised anyone as much as this POS president.
I would bet on the domestic Left for this one, the envirowacks or the like.
I am very doubtful they wouldn’t have used guns.
Hypothetically speaking, not endorsing or encouraging, thermite would be even simpler. No noise, just toss the bag onto a sub station, transformer, whatever and drive, walk, ride a bike away. By the time the fuse lit the thermite you`d be miles away.
Think like a crazy goon terrorist and it`ll scare you to realize there`s really nothing that can be done to stop it.
Jun 4, 2013 - New surveillance video from the PG&E substation on Metcalf Road. The video shows bullets hitting the fence causing sparks. The sparks can bee seen at minutes: 1:54, 2:07, 2:10, 2:57 and 3:01. We are asking anyone with any information on this incident or the AT&T fiber optic cable being cut to contact the Sheriff's Office at 408-808-4431 or email email@example.com. AT&T has offered a reward of $250,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.
Other sources referred to the manhole covers over the fiber optic cable access points as steel vault covers requiring two people to remove. Another largely unreported item concerned discovery of piles of rocks at different locations outside the substation which were guessed to have been placed in advance to mark firing positions.
Then there's this:
SUSPICIOUS MAN SPOTTED AT PG&E SUBSTATION THAT WAS VANDALIZED IN APRIL - May 22, 2013 - BayAreaNewsTalk.com
A suspicious man fled early this morning after he was spotted in a field near a PG&E transmission substation that was damaged by gunfire in a vandalism case last month, a Santa Clara County sheriffs spokesman said.
A security guard with a flashlight saw the man standing in an open field off of Coyote Rancho Road, near the utilitys substation in the 100 block of Metcalf Road, at abut 3 a.m., sheriffs Deputy Kurtis Stenderup said.
The suspect, described as a white man dressed in black clothing, ran away down Metcalf Road, Stenderup said.
The guard called the sheriffs office, which dispatched eight units and set up a perimeter but was not able to locate the man, Stenderup said...
Happened in April 2013 and no suspects? Sounds like these “investigators” couldn’t find their butt with both hands.
The substation was back up in less than a month. All of the equipment is normally available as spares.
* * *
I read the entire WSJ article last night and I don’t feel a bit calm. Yes, the substation was up in less than a month, but they had to do substantial rerouting around it. Had several substations been taken out at the same time, it would probably have resulted in a widespread blackout. If you had enough people to do this across the U.S. at the same time, it would take a loooooong time to get it all back up again. As for the parts, the WSJ article stated that while they have a *few* extras, they don’t have many, and it takes quite some time to manufacture more.
That WSJ article makes clear what a well-planned - and thoroughly - that attack on the system was. Good, if frightening, read.
While we didn't hear about the attack, I'm sure utilities knew about it soon after. Substations are instrumented. The article mentions the phone lines. Natural gas utilities used radio to monitor facilities in the 1950s.
What do you think happened after that attack? You and I don't know. I can't imagine the utility executives are sitting around twiddling their thumbs. If I was a utility CEO, I would already have a report that evaluated the vulnerability of substations along with recommendations and priorities. One of which would be remote sensing of another attack.
I suspect another attack may not go as smoothly for the perpetrators as the one we finally heard about. The news blackout was probably designed to prevent copy cats and possibly encourage another attack. While the attackers tried to cover their tracks, I would be surprised if the FBI isn't following up on every piece of evidence including looking at video from every available source in that area.
There are probably protocols in place via the fusion centers to process the next crime scene. Some of the substations may have been set up as traps. Meaning things are in place to at least snag more evidence next time.
Fusion centers collect an amazing amount of information across the country and then correlate it. Now that an attack has occurred, the “system” is primed to collect information that in the past may have been ignored or more likely not recognized for its relevance. Many of this country's first responders have been briefed on the fusion centers. The rules of the ballgame changed whether the general public knows or not.
Didn’t Coulson write about this? He, not sure I have the name right, wrote a book in the 70s or 80s about how vulnerable our infrastructure was. Electric, gas, commo, transportation.
And since then I have seen ONE substation surrounded by tall Jersey barriers, just one.
My money is on Lance and Ivy Enviroweenies.
Coordinated teams across the country striking in the same time frame...bad news all around.
How many AKs and ammo could you buy compared to the Barrett. And how much harder would it be to buy just one Barrett on the street compared to multiple AK’s?
There's the rub. But I am unfamiliar with the procurement logistics for the M82. But it would represent a force projection orders of magnitude higher than the AK or a variant.
That might make it a worthwhile endeavor given the target.
You have to remember you need multiple teams because for this to work you have to destroy multiple targets. So say ten teams you need ten Barretts, say ten teams of 2 active shooters you need 20 AK’s. Now what do you think?