The presumed dry-run attack against a power plant in California is part of "asymmetrical warfare" by terrorist sleeper cells that should put the nation on high alert, retired Army Lt. Col. Allen West said Wednesday.
In an exclusive interview with John Bachman on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum," West, a former Republican Florida congressman, said that "sadly," however, "it does seem that we have to be awakened by a cataclysmic event before we pay attention."
"We have a porous, open border," he said. "You have some bad actors coming across, but it's not just that dry-run attack against a power plant. There are also a couple of instances in Virginia and also in the Boston area where water-supply plants, people were trying to infiltrate there as well."
West said the attempts are "all part of asymmetrical warfare, and if we don't start to recognize it and put a focus on it, the enemy is always going to look for the gaps by which they can exploit you."
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The presumed attack against a San Jose, Calif., power station
last April involved slicing AT&T fiber-optic telecommunications cables.
"They're going to continue to press the attack, and as . . . the Iranian Revolutionary Guard general said,
they're going to get their sleeper cells in here and they're going to be waiting for the opportunity to take action," West said. "It doesn't always have to be something very big."
West also warned of the potential for the intelligence information stolen by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to fall into enemy hands, putting U.S. troops overseas at risk, saying that would be "treasonous."
"If Edward Snowden's original intent was to expose the NSA and their domestic spying practices, OK, I got it," West said. "I would prefer you to do it from the United States of America and be a stand-up type of person.
"But if he is overseas divulging information that is affecting our men and women on the ground, then he is no different than Private Bradley Manning, who is doing time now at Fort Leavenworth.
"If the enemy has learned just a little bit more about the practices we use . . . that is truly treasonous," West said.
West said the longer Snowden lives in Russia,
which has given him temporary asylum,
"the more it really takes away this 'hero status' that he was elevated to."
"If you want to be a hero to the United States of America, you would be standing here in a hearing room and you would be saying, my conscience does not allow me to keep this hidden . . . What you have now is really nefarious in intent and in action."
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