(NewsNation) — Days after what officials called a targeted attack on power substations in North Carolina, NewsNation exclusively obtained a recent federal law enforcement memo warning of something strikingly similar.
The note reads in part:
Power companies in Oregon and Washington have reported physical attacks on substations with hand tools, arson, firearms and metal chains, possibly in response to an online call for attacks on critical infrastructure. …In recent attacks, criminals evaded security by cutting fence links, lighting nearby fires, shooting equipment from a distance, or throwing objects over the fence and onto the equipment.
Federal law enforcement officers
Authorities told NewsNation on Tuesday that it’s too soon to know the reason for the damage from the gunfire that caused widespread power outages in Moore County, North Carolina, but there have been similar cases of vandalism and plotting in North Carolina and across the country in recent months.
On November 11, for example, sheriff’s deputies in Jones County, North Carolina, reported that criminal vandalism had caused 12,000 people will be without electricity for days
That investigation is ongoing and authorities say no suspects have been identified or arrested.
In another case, in February, the Justice Department claimed guilty pleas of three men accused of conspiring to shoot substations across the country with long-range rifles.
Federal officials said the defendants were white supremacists and planned to cause millions of dollars in damage and social unrest.
Federal authorities have warned of domestic terrorism-related threats to critical infrastructure for years. The Department of Homeland Security renewed that concern in a Terrorism alert bulletin issued publicly on November 30.
It says, in part:
Targets of potential violence include: public gatherings, religious institutions, the LGBTQI+ community, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, critical US infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents.
The Department of Homeland Security
Authorities characterized the North Carolina blackouts over the weekend as a series of coordinated attacks on electrical substations.
“It appears to be an intentional, deliberate and malicious act and the perpetrator will be brought to justice and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Sen. Tom Mcinnis, RN.C.
The blackouts, which at their peak affected around 45,000 homes, caused residents to lose heat, schools to close and some to turn to charities to cook food for them.
“And I said I would stop there and get something to eat. Because eating out of the can all the time just doesn’t get it,” said a North Carolina resident.
According to The Raleigh News and ObserverDuke Energy was the company that suffered damage to its electrical substations, affecting tens of thousands of Moore County residents.
As of Tuesday, about 73% of the more than 47,000 Duke Energy customers served in the county were still without power.
The company said Tuesday night “He anticipates having almost all customers restored by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.”
Additionally, Moore County Schools announced Tuesday afternoon that schools will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday due to power outages.