Utility companies could easily beef up security to protect their power plants from terrorist attacks but have been reluctant to do so, Patrick Poole, a national security and terrorism reporter for PJ Media, says.
"One of the obstacles is the power companies don't want to spend the money," Poole told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"We're not really talking about a lot of money. There's statistics from Impact America that say it's under $1 billion but the potential threat is astronomical."
The U.S. power system has been under increasing threat of electromagnetic pulse attacks which can cripple sensor, communications and navigation systems and leave the nation vulnerable to invasion.
Such an attack would also leave Americans without power and severely hurt energy and food supplies.
The Wall Street Journal,
citing a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission study, reported Thursday that the nation's entire power grid could be downed for months if just nine of the 55,000 electric substations across the country were sabotaged.
"Congressman Trent Franks from Arizona has been one of the leaders on the EMP threats and yet anytime anybody brings up the EMP threat, the left-wing groups … dismiss it as conspiracy theory," Poole said.
"An EMP attack could bring down a huge portion of the grid and the estimates are of that were the case, you would see millions of Americans starve to death within the first four to six weeks."
Last April, as reported in the Journal, snipers took down 17 transformers at a Silicon Valley power plant, taking the plant offline for weeks.
"The San Jose, Calif., incident … is still a huge question mark. Nobody really knows," Poole said.
He noted that even incidents of a purely accidental nature can be devastating to power grids.
"A small incident like a squirrel jumping over and hitting a power line ended up knocking out power in 19 states here about a decade ago," he said.
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