Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.
Did the Chinese military cause the largest blackout in the history of North America?
That is the assertion of Tim Bennett, the former president of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, who says U.S. intelligence officials confirmed to him the People’s Liberation Army gained access to a network that controlled electric power systems serving the northeastern U.S. in 2003, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Some 50 million people were affected by the 9,300-square-mile blackout that hit parts of New York, Canada, Michigan and Ohio.
The official explanation for the power outage was that overgrown trees came into contact with strained high-voltage lines in Ohio. But the story of this possible skirmish in the “electromagnetic spectrum” is widely whispered about in defense and intelligence circles. It is referred to by some as the first battle of World War III – a conflict to be fought asymmetrically in cyberspace and with weapons that might seem like science fiction.
The Moscow newspaper Zavtra reported only a week ago that Russia has developed “special powerful electromagnetic impulse generators that may be used in design of new type radars and as a basis of electromagnetic weapons that will render enemy electronics inoperable.”
“The U.S. Army is convinced meanwhile that the Russians have already designed ‘kinetic weapons’ and ‘directed energy weapons’ (apparently lasers) for ASAT warfare,” the article continued. “In any event, the Americans suspect that the recent episode with the Chinese laser that damaged an American spysat became possible precisely because Moscow had made this technology available to China.”
The superweapons being developed for the next global conflict began coming into sharper focus last winter when China destroyed one of its own aging, low-Earth-orbit weather satellites while it was circling at an altitude of 500 miles, using a ground-based, direct ascent anti-satellite weapon.
This year, the U.S., using its sea-based Aegis missile defense system, shot down a disabled American intelligence satellite at 100 or so miles altitude as it tumbled uncontrollably toward the planet.
The Defense Department says China is developing non-kinetic means of attacking satellites, such as jamming and blinding, and using lasers, microwave, particle beam and electromagnetic pulse weapons.
Cyber-warfare, one of the proven strengths of the Chinese military, can also be used as an anti-satellite capability. In congressional testimony this year, the director of national intelligence stated, “Counter-command, control and sensor systems, to include communications satellite jammers and ASAT weapons, are among Beijing’s highest military priorities.”
Bennett, meanwhile, told the National Journal he believes Chinese cyber-hackers were also responsible for another U.S. blackout last February in Florida – one that affected 3 million customers.
Bennett told the National Journal he decided to speak publicly about the incidents to point out that security for the nation’s critical electronic infrastructures is weak and to emphasize that government and company officials haven’t sufficiently acknowledged these vulnerabilities.
Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin is the premium, online intelligence news source edited and published by the founder of WND.