Officials are calling the sniper attacks on the PG&E power station near San Jose, California, last April significant acts of terrorism. The sniper snuck into the power station and fired over 100 methodically well placed shots; the shots from a high powered rifle caused the electric transformers to overheat and the attacker cut the cables for the 911 emergency call service. The unidentified person afterwards slipped away into the night.
Officials now fear the sniper attacks could be a new form of domestic terrorism. Michael McNerney, a security consultant for Delta Risk, thinks the incident could be the latest illustration of how cyber terrorism could be used to attack America. McNerney reported:
Yes, this is a likely target, and something we’re becoming more concerned about,” McNerney said. “Critical infrastructure are things we rely on as a country in order to function: electric grid, air traffic control, water system, stock market. And if they go down, it could potentially be catastrophic.”
The attacks on the power station were at first reported as vandalism by local police and authorities, but since the coordinated attacks last April the case has been turned over to the FBI to further investigate for signs of terrorism. Although the FBI has not yet officially labeled the incident as terrorism. Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, called it “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that the U.S. has ever seen.”
The FBI and local authorities still do not have any suspects in the case and the sniper remains on the loose. PG&E was able to reroute power around the substation and no one lost power because of the attacks.
Sniper Attacks On California Power Station, Raise Fears of Terrorism