Rep. Franks: US Must Protect Power Grid From Attack

Monday, 12 May 2014 04:23 PM

By Courtney Coren

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The possibility of a coast-to-coast terror attack on the U.S. power grid is dangerously real and must be addressed, says U.S. Rep. Trent Franks.

"This is one of those things where you might not get a do-over," Franks, an Arizona Republican, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV. 

"The worst-case scenario does concern me profoundly," he said Monday.

Franks' concern involves a so-called EMT attack, in which an electromagnetic pulse targets the civilian power grid, leading to a nationwide power outage and chaos.

Story continues below video.

One such nightmare situation would be for Iran to fire a grid-seeking missile from mid-ocean.

"That's a potential scenario they call the 'scud in the tub' scenario," Franks said.

"It's really just a crude missile, the warhead would have to be fairly advanced, but that's not something that's out of the realm of consideration at all."

Franks is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Judiciary Committee, which recently held a hearing on the danger of EMP attacks on the nation's electrical grid.

The urgency of employing safeguards against such attacks was made clear last year when a California utility company was attacked by a team of terrorists.

They cut underground fiber optic telephone lines and shot out the cooling systems of 17 transformers — and all of them remain at large. The incident revealed the vulnerability of the nation's power plants.

"Across history, any time a country had a specific vulnerability and an enemy that was committed to exploit it, that usually was tried," Franks said.

"It's almost in some circles considered a Cold War relic because the Soviets had a big 25 megaton EMP weapon that they intended to use as a potential laydown for any sort of nuclear exchange.

"Now we deal in kilotons today primarily, and the EMP phenomena is not a new one, we've known about it ever since we first tested nuclear weapons."

Franks is pushing for the enactment of the SHIELD Act, which stands for Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage.

Under the law, mandatory grid-protecting equipment and surge protectors would be installed to help shore up the power system from attack.

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

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