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Terrorism highlights America’s vulnerability to attacks

Register • May 20, 2014 at 1:50 PM

One would think the attack on Sept. 11, 2001, would have awakened Americans for the foreseeable future to the need to prepare for unexpected dangers.

Surprisingly, its effect was short-lived. Two relatively recent attacks show the problem. The first took place April 16, 2013 — the Boston Marathon bombing that killed or injured 260 people.

The second took place a day later on April 16, 2013, just outside San Jose, Calif., a group of terrorists or soldiers attacked the Metcalf electric-transmission substation. The operation began at 1 a.m. when the attackers cut underground fiber optic cables, disabling communications and security systems.

Using high-powered rifles, they began a 20-minute assault on the sub-station’s extra large transformer. Police arrived at 1:50 a.m., but the shooters disappeared into the night. To this day there is no trace of them.

John Wellinghoff, then chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, called this attack “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving (America’s electrical grid) that has ever occurred.

There are clear steps to be taken to address America’s vulnerabilities:

1. Build fences around substations to hide the large transformers.

2. Urge our Congressmen to support the Shield Act introduced by Arizona Congressmen Trent Franks. It would harden the grid and cost less than $1 billion — a drop in the bucket in an economy of over $16 trillion. Yet the bill remains in committee.

3. Urge our Congressmen to support the use of missile defense. Because of our government defense policies we are purposefully kept vulnerable to nuclear blackmail or attack by Russia and China and by their surrogate Iran. This is reprehensible, and missile defense should become a major political issue until our government acts. We must awaken ourselves, and then awaken our elected representatives before it is too late.

—Sally Adelman


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