I have a theory.
Some people believe Americans hear, watch and read too much about the threat of terrorism on our shores.
They suggest that acts of terror are “hyped” by government and media, paving the way for more government control, more government spying on the people, less civil liberties protection.
They might be right.
But my theory is that some actual terrorist attacks are downplayed, covered up and disguised by government and media because they reveal government’s abject failures to protect American citizens or because they show the true nature and character of the terrorist enemy.
One such dramatic terrorist attack took place last April 16 and received virtually no media coverage and no significant comment by government officials.
Around 1 a.m. that day, one or more terrorists entered two different manholes at the PG&E Metcalf power substation, southeast of San Jose, Calif., and cut fiber cables in the area around the substation. That knocked out some local 911 services, landline service to the substation and cell phone service in the area. The attacker or attackers then fired more than 100 rounds from a high-powered rifle at several transformers in the facility. Ten transformers were damaged in one area of the facility, and three transformer banks were hit in another.
As a result of the attack, cooling oil leaked from a transformer bank, causing the transformers to overheat and shut down.
Authorities still don’t know, nine months later, who was responsible for the dramatic and sophisticated attack.
Add to the intrigue the fact that April 16, 2013, was one day after the Boston Marathon bombing – an event that had the effect of sucking all the oxygen out of the news cycle.
What’s alarming about this attack – and many others like it over the years – is that the FBI denies there is any reason to believe it is terrorist-related.
To me this is incomprehensible. It has terrorism written all over it. What does it mean when the FBI makes such public statements? Do they think the motive was robbery, extortion, a protest over energy prices?
It makes no sense when the FBI talks like this – and it happens more than the public realizes. Likewise, the Big Media usually take their cue from the FBI and other official sources that make such idiotic statements.
That’s why there was so little coverage of this event – at the time it happened and since.
This was an attack on the electric grid – America’s great, unspoken vulnerability. And unless government addresses it, it will be America’s Achilles’ heel.
I don’t usually like anything Rep. Henry Waxman has to say, but he got this one exactly right. He characterized the shooting at the facility as “an unprecedented and sophisticated attack on an electric grid substation with military-style weapons.” He noted that “communications were disrupted. The attack inflicted substantial damage. It took weeks to replace damaged parts. Under slightly different conditions, there could have been serious power outages or worse.” He added: “It is clear that the electric grid is not adequately protected from physical or cyber attacks.”
Mark Johnson, a former vice president for transmission operations at PG&E, recognized the seriousness of the incident: “These were not amateurs taking potshots. My personal view is that this was a dress rehearsal” for future attacks.
There’s more focus today on security against cyber attacks – at the expense of physical attacks like the one in San Jose. But there’s never been a cyber attack on America’s power grid. That’s not to say it can’t happen, but the grid is vulnerable in many other ways – physical attack, solar flares, electro-magnetic pulse. We’ve all but declare open season on the lifeblood of American society, as WND senior staff writer F. Michael Maloof shows in his book “A Nation Forsaken.”
Jon Wellinghoff, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said an attack by intruders with guns and rifles could be just as devastating as a cyber attack, adding that a shooter “could get 200 yards away with a .22 rifle and take the whole thing out.” His simple and cost-effective solution? A metal sheet that would block the transformer from view.
The San Jose grid attack is exhibit A in the Farah theorem: Terrorist attacks are taking place that can point the way to simple, cheap prevention that don’t violate civil liberties and don’t turn our country into a police state. We just need to recognize them when we see them – instead of playing “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” games.
Media wishing to interview Joseph Farah, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.