Energy Expert Wellinghoff: US at High Risk of Power-Grid Terrorism

Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014 06:35 PM

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The United States remains vulnerable to a terrorist attack that could cripple its power grid and throw the nation into chaos, says Jon Wellinghoff, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

"Currently, we are very vulnerable to this type of a physical attack," Wellinghoff told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"It's been demonstrated to us now that there are people who have the training capability to perpetrate this type of attack and execute it," he said Wednesday.

Story continues below video.

Wellinghoff is alarmed by a sniper assault last April 16 that knocked out an electrical substation near San Jose, Ca. No arrests have been made in that attack, which some think involved terrorism.

"The infrastructure that they went after, which are the high-voltage substations, very, very few of them, if any of them, are protected in any substantial way," he said.

"Most of them are protected primarily by a chain-link fence, they may have a camera or two inside the fence and some lights at night, but there's no 24/7 guards . . . [or] attempt to make the fence opaque so you can't see through it from 1,000 yards out.

"So right now, these particular parts of our electric infrastructure are extremely vulnerable to physical attack."

Asked whether he considered the San Jose incident an attack of terrorism, Wellinghoff, a lawyer, said:

"What I know is it was an attack that was purposeful, done with the intention to destroy a very high-value, very important part of our electric grid and infrastructure, which were high-voltage substations.

"That attack was extremely well planned and it was then very, very well executed in a professional manner by people who have had a very high degree of training. So that's what I know."

See "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

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