US Physical Attacks on Power Substations in Multiple States—Report

16:00  07 december  2022
16:00  07 december  2022 Source:   msn.com

Major power outage after vandals sabotage multiple electrical substations

  Major power outage after vandals sabotage multiple electrical substations Vandals are suspected of causing a major power outage in Moore County, North Carolina, which plunged about 45,000 customers into darkness amid freezing temperatures. Evidence of sabotage was found at two key electrical substations following the massive blackout Saturday night, prompting the Moore County Sheriff's Office to investigate the incident as a "criminal occurrence" and call in the FBI to assist in the probe.

There have been physical attacks on power substations in multiple states in recent months, according to a new report.

In an aerial view, a Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) electrical substation is visible in front of the city skyline on January 26, 2022 in San Francisco, California. © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images In an aerial view, a Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) electrical substation is visible in front of the city skyline on January 26, 2022 in San Francisco, California.

About 35,000 people in North Carolina's Moore County remain without power on Wednesday after the substations were damaged in what authorities described as a "targeted" attack at the weekend.

Authorities said the outages began on Saturday after one or more people drove up to the substations, breached the gates and opened fire on them. Moore County Chief Deputy Richard Maness told Newsweek on Tuesday that the investigation remains ongoing.

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Now NewsNation has reported that a memo from federal law enforcement revealed similar attacks have taken place in other states.

"Power companies in Oregon and Washington have reported physical attacks on substations using hand tools, arson, firearms and metal chains possibly in response to an online call for attacks on critical infrastructure," the memo says in part.

"In recent attacks, criminal actors bypassed security by cutting the fence links, lighting nearby fires, shooting equipment from a distance or throwing objects over the fence and onto equipment."

The FBI told NewsNation that it is too early to know the motive for the attack that caused widespread outages in Moore County, but there have been similar cases in North Carolina and other states in recent months. The bureau has been contacted for further comment.

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Ahead of November 8's midterm elections, Newsweek documented the digital dissemination of a wide array of plots, manuals and manifestos by domestic extremists seeking to incite acts of sabotage against energy sites, especially electricity substations, across the U.S. and examples of such attacks.

Those included an act of vandalism that caused "fairly significant" damage at a transformer servicing the Keystone XL pipeline in South Dakota and a shooting that caused a chemical spill at a Pacific Gas and Electric site in California in July.

In March, thousands of customers in southern Oklahoma were reportedly left without power after bullets riddled a transformer site, causing a "major oil leak."

On November 11, more than 12,000 people lost power in North Carolina's Jones County after a substation owned by Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative was damaged by criminal vandalism. The vandals damaged transformers and caused them to leak coolant oil, the company said. The investigation into that incident is ongoing, and no suspects have been identified or arrested.

Outages in North Carolina county could last days after 'targeted' attack on substations

  Outages in North Carolina county could last days after 'targeted' attack on substations Residents of North Carolina's Moore County could be without power until Thursday after a gunman opened fire on two substations over the weekend.A person "opened fire" at both substations Saturday, Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said during a news conference. He did not say how the person got past the gates at either substation, but a photo from The Pilot shows the gate to one of the substations on the ground.

In February, three men pleaded guilty to planning to recruit followers to attack substations with powerful rifles.

"The defendants believed their plan would cost the government millions of dollars and cause unrest for Americans in the region," the Department of Justice said in a news release. "They had conversations about how the possibility of the power being out for many months could cause war, even a race war, and induce the next Great Depression."

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a bulletin on November 30, warning that lone offenders and small groups "motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat."

The bulletin said that targets of potential violence include "public gatherings, faith-based institutions, the LGBTQ community, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents."

Newsweek has contacted the DHS for further comment.

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  • Emily Rainey, Jan. 6 Protester, Questioned Over North Carolina Power Outage
  • As Gas Prices Reshape Midterms, U.S. Extremists Plot to Attack Energy Sites

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