FBI Warns WA: 8 Different Northwest Attacks on Power Grid
Now that the power grid attack in North Carolina is getting national attention, the FBI has sent officials a memo warning of attacks they now realize have currently been happening in both Washington and Oregon.
The FBI Releases a Memo to Northwest Officials
Officials all over the northwest received a memo describing the current risk both states power grids face. According to the memo "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" reported by King5 News.
Multiple Attacks Have Been Reported in the Northwest
Right now I can find reports of up to 8 different attacks on Northwest power grid infrastructure. Two of those attacks are reported to be similar to the attacks recently in North Carolina. The memo goes on to warn "We are aware of recent threats on power systems across the country and take these very seriously. We are monitoring our infrastructure and can confirm we have had two incidents occur in late November at two different substations. Both incidents are under investigation by the FBI."
How Did the Power Grid Get Attacked?
In the memo it describes "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." One of the largest energy providers in Washington, Puget Sound Energy, said that two attacks happened to their sites in late November.
4 Other Northwest Power Companies Report 6 More Attacks
The Bonneville Power Administration, Cowlitz County Public Utility District, Portland General Electric, and Puget Sound Energy together say they have had 6 more attacks on their sites recently according to reporting by Oregon Public Broadcasting and KUOW Public Radio. They report that the attacks were caused by gunfire and that some customers suffered a short loss of power. All of the companies say they are cooperating with the FBI.
Who is Responsible for These Power Grid Attacks?
The FBI did not blame any group and so far there have not been any groups that have come forward to take credit. There are some theories that the attacks are politically motivated. Reporter Ali Winston told King5 that "The trope of attacking power infrastructure, of hitting the electrical grid, critical infrastructure, is an old tenet of the American extreme right wing." He has spent years studying and reporting on extremist groups. The FBI says if you witness strange activity or a direct attack on your local power grid, please call your local law enforcement.