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Rifle-Toting Terrorists Called Major Threat to U.S. Power Grid

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posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 09:55 AM
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I've realized this specific threat since the early 80's and have been reluctant to post the ease with which this could be done, further I'm astounded its not been tried yet.


“There are ways that a very few number of actors with very rudimentary equipment could take down large portions of our grid,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said today at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington. “I don’t think we have the level of physical security we need.”



“A coordinated physical attack is a very, very unsettling thing to me,” Wellinghoff said.



Transformers, which alter the voltage of electricity, are often custom built for utilities and can take 18 to 36 months to make, according to Wellinghoff. They are also inadequately protected, often surrounded only by chain-link fences, he said.


Power Grid Vulnerable




posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 10:11 AM
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reply to post by Phoenix
 


IMO taking out the power grid, though harmful, does not create terror. I suspect that terrorist want to create destruction that can be seen and heard by those that the terror is created for. Knock out the power grid and you knock out the ability to create mass panic. I would recognize that I lost power in my area, but without TV, Radio, or the Internet I would not know about any other areas.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 10:17 AM
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reply to post by VeniVidi
 

unless after a few days you hopped in your car and went to another town or state.
and found the same thing.
then within a couple of hours, day, or weeks people would be out on the streets looting and killing for survival, and stuff that they don't need.
don't you think that would be terror for some folks.
just think about new york, and new jersey, and new orleans.
also i would think that not having information would be more terrifying than having the info.
edit on 24-11-2012 by hounddoghowlie because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 10:23 AM
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I've posted for discussion since its now in a news article just how vulnerable the power grid is. Basically imagine 30-50 rifleman who on the same day at the same time shoot out transmission line step-up transformers across the country.

These are usually located out in the middle of rural areas and are unguarded with just chain-link fencing protecting them.

The articles mention of .22 rifles is in error but heavier calibers will take these transformers out, most commonly 30-06.

The article also mentions solid sheetmetal screening to deter aiming but thats not really effective if given some thought.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 10:25 AM
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Originally posted by VeniVidi
reply to post by Phoenix
 


IMO taking out the power grid, though harmful, does not create terror. I suspect that terrorist want to create destruction that can be seen and heard by those that the terror is created for. Knock out the power grid and you knock out the ability to create mass panic. I would recognize that I lost power in my area, but without TV, Radio, or the Internet I would not know about any other areas.


Yup, for a day or so anyway......................

Once stores run out of food what do desperate people do? panic, riot, steal, kill, maim?



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 10:29 AM
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Probably the biggest thing here is the fact that these transformers have a long leadtime to build - if this was to occur power would be down for a long, long time in most areas.

Think like 1, 2 or even more years, maybe forever if people react as I think they would.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 10:36 AM
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One scenario that I have pondered is a group of terrorists using commonly available battery operated reciprocating saws to cut the legs of the towers that hold up the high tension transmission lines that carry electrical power. The structures are tall, but the steel is not really that thick. A single terrorist could hike in and cut the structure at strategic points to topple the tower.

They could accomplish it using a portable acetylene torch set also. Timed explosive or thermite charges could also be used have wide ranging strikes happen simultaneously.

Not only would this destroy infrastructure, but it would play hell with power plant and transmission operators balancing the loads on lines that were not cut.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 10:37 AM
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All someone has to do is shoot at the ceramic insulators that litter power lines to do simple damage. It has always been a problem. Matter of fact growing up my father told me of stories of his youth when kids used to go around doing this very thing for fun. And alot of those can be found deep in the woods in the United States and world wide.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 10:42 AM
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While I certainly think the stockpiling of spare parts to such critical things is a good idea.....I'd have to say I got a good laugh out of the suggestion of how. All these years we've simply been told to accept Al Qaeda is out there...within our borders...somewhere...and so we have to deal with all the cost and loss of freedom to deal with it. Now it's packs of them perhaps showing up with .22 rifles from 200 yards? Where do they get these people for Government service??

First, I have to agree with the earlier post. This wouldn't create terror any more than a bad storm. A few weeks down time...as these aren't one of a kind with no replacements world wide. They just aren't likely to be in the same region or perhaps even in the U.S.. I understand some of the critical parts to our grid is European these days. There are areas you could take out that would put the U.S. down for 6-8 months, not weeks and I'd guess maybe 100 men could manage it. I didn't come up with the idea.... A well known radio host did in a book well before 9/11 when such real details could be written about fictionally.

Rifles tho? That's one way to work the gun topic into another totally unrelated one that is about panic, fear and reasons to do stupid things to "fight" yet another threat. it's about as logical as the Congressman from Georgia talking about Guam capsizing right there on the floor of the House.

I guess I'm just tired of hearing one more threat we are supposed to care about when it's thousands of threats just like this one...endlessly....and forever coming...since 9/11. I hope we elected a President for the second term, not a fear monger. 12 years of that so far has been too much, IMO and this story is talking about a Government (executive branch) official suggesting all this.
The only terror I see is perpetrated by own own leadership right on US by news headline, every day.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 10:55 AM
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I do think that there is a threat posed to the national grid but nothing that would do more harm that a storm, they reaction would be pretty much the same. To cause real damage they would need to destroy power stations and that I don’t think is quite as easy as many would think.

It would not have the psychological impact desired by terrorists, for that they would need to say destroy a nuclear power plant.

A bigger threat I have always though is the venerability of telecommunication system, why bother with 50 guys with guns when you can have one kid with enough know how and a laptop.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 10:55 AM
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The truth is we are vulnerable to terrorist macinations of everykind.
The reason is we have certain freedoms and rights.
On the other hand, totalitarian regimes of the worst most restrictive sort are likewise succeptible as well.
TheSocial/political organisation of a country of any kind can produce "terrorists"(rebels. )
There is absolutely NO 100% security.
Thus the whole thing is mostly bull# and hype to control the majority who are NOT terrorists.....
They cannot guard against all types of terrorism and will NEVER be able to.
Sure, there are many many ways of cripling the countries of the world with simple but effective means.....
But try to remember that the very terrorists need electricity as well.....
I have dreamed up all kinds of scenarios where the gov boys are virtually powerless to deal proactively with such scemes and must await the actions of the terrorist before they can react to the attack.
Should enough police, and restrictive laws be applied to the situation wed all be cops and there would be NO freedom at all!
It would be childs play to take down the grid.
An organised bunch Armed with CRESCENT WRENCHES would be sufficient to destroy greast swaths of power lines over very difficult terrain to both rebuild, and catch the perps.....
Think about it....shooting things is noisy and leaves clues behind......
Merely undoing the base bolts of say ten towers in a row,(perhaps on the stress side only) would bring down large stretches of lines with nobody present to see, and it would happen(if you do it right) after the unbolter had left, and the weather got windy......
Tons of other ways to stall this whole shebang if desired,(send 25 cents and a box top) but thats no way to get the people behind you.
edit on 24-11-2012 by stirling because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 11:04 AM
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reply to post by OtherSideOfTheCoin
 



I do think that there is a threat posed to the national grid but nothing that would do more harm that a storm, they reaction would be pretty much the same. To cause real damage they would need to destroy power stations and that I don’t think is quite as easy as many would think.



You may be underestimating the impact of such a scenario, IMO.

What good are power stations if there isn't a means to use the power that they produce?



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 11:10 AM
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reply to post by butcherguy
 


I am not underestimating the impact, power cuts caused by storms cause major disruption and a small number of deaths.

To do what they op is talking about you’re going to need a number of people “30-40” as the OP states. If you have say 30 armed men why not take them and send them to 6 of the most populated areas, say a train station, mall, night club, school, hotel and a supermarket and gun down everyone you see then take some hostages. Much bigger psychological impact, what I am saying is that yes it is possible but I think that the cost benefit for the terrorists would not be worth it. If they had the resources required to conduct such an attack those resources could be put to “better” use and cause more damage.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 11:10 AM
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double post....
edit on 24-11-2012 by OtherSideOfTheCoin because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 11:19 AM
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reply to post by OtherSideOfTheCoin
 

Picture 75% of the population of the Northeastern US without power in the middle of January.
Picture it lasting several months. Picture cold and hungry city dwellers looking for food and warmth. Some of them only know food as a commodity that is purchased at a fast food establishment, some only know how to cook with a microwave oven.

I think it could get ugly, not necessarily terrifying for all, but people killing you to get in your house because you have a wood stove and canned goods isn't outside of the realm of possibility.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 11:26 AM
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reply to post by butcherguy
 


Yes it could but to achieve that you would need to have terrorists destroy key infrastructure like the actual power stations it would need to be highly coordinated and it would be very difficult to pull off. If it’s just a few terrorists blowing up some transformers and talking down power lines then it’s just like a normal power cut.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 11:27 AM
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Originally posted by OtherSideOfTheCoin
I do think that there is a threat posed to the national grid but nothing that would do more harm that a storm, they reaction would be pretty much the same. To cause real damage they would need to destroy power stations and that I don’t think is quite as easy as many would think.


By knocking off a few transformers in key locations at peak operating time would cause a sufficient disturbance to the load balancing on the grid, causing surges and blackouts. The resulting chaos would also cause physical damage to the generating stations themselves if they do not respond quickly to the ensuing situation, knocking them out the equation for a very long time.

I work closely with the UK's National Grid (who, incidentally, own a large chunk of the Grid in NE USA) and you would be surprised how fragile the networks are. I could, on my own, cause such a disturbance with their network telemetry they would not be able to manage the Grid, causing overloads and physical damage which could put large chunks of the network out of commission for months. It is part of the reason we have huge penalties if even the protection on their telemetry goes down, much less the entire circuit.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 11:30 AM
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reply to post by stumason
 


I know they are fragile and I am not saying that it wouldn’t be a problem just that the thread is being overestimated and is not as significant as others.

Say you have a storm that knocks out 3 or 4 big transformers serving a city, eventually the power does come back right?

If you go and send gun men into say 6 schools and kill everyone inside then you have a much bigger and more psychologically devastating attack.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 11:40 AM
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Originally posted by OtherSideOfTheCoin
reply to post by butcherguy
 


Yes it could but to achieve that you would need to have terrorists destroy key infrastructure like the actual power stations it would need to be highly coordinated and it would be very difficult to pull off. If it’s just a few terrorists blowing up some transformers and talking down power lines then it’s just like a normal power cut.
I don't know of any storms taking down high tension lines. Storms take out local feeders that supply relatively small areas with small electrical loads. big storms take out more of those small lines. Trees don't fall on high tension lines.
The great northeast blackout that threw many cities into chaos years ago was the result of imbalanced loads on a system that doesn't tolerate imbalance. It had a domino effect that took down branch after branch in short order. The infrastructure was relatively undamaged in that event.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 11:53 AM
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i've thought about this for years. I'd be sitting on a hill looking down at town, Thinking "bet i could hit that transformer from here"






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