Domestic terrorists attack the power grid in 5 states
Reports of attempted attacks on the electrical grid are surfacing across the country after the shooting of two electrical substations cut power to 45,000 homes in central North Carolina.
Two electric substations in Moore County, located about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh, were damaged by gunfire on the night of December 3 in what officials called an “intentional” attack. Due to the sophisticated nature of the required repairs, many residents did not see their power restored until December 8.
Authorities recovered nearly two dozen shell casings from a high-powered rifle at the power sites. “The person, or persons, who did this knew exactly what they were doing,” Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said during a news conference last week.
Law enforcement has not identified a motive behind the attack, but some residents believe domestic terrorists cut the power to shut down a local drag show. Local pride organizers and members of the LGTBQ+ community report facing repeated threats in the days leading up to the drag show, called “Downtown Divas” and held as a fundraiser for Sandhills Pride.
“This is my first time having this level of hate thrown at something that we love so much,” said [Sandhills Pride Director Lauren] Mathers, a Southern Pines resident and producer of the drag event. “Kids in rural communities don’t necessarily always have the same level of support, and what I hear from my kids is that there’s constant bullying.”
Naomi Dix, headliner of the Dec. 3 show at the Sunrise Theater in Southern Pines, said she and fellow organizers were brutally harassed in the weeks leading up to the show. Conservative community leaders led a protest outside the theater, spread the false narrative that it was a sex show and demanded it be shut it down, she said.
One of the main opponents of the local drag show is former army psychological operations officer Emily Grace Rainey, who arranged for about 100 North Carolinians to attend the January 6th insurrection in Washington D.C.
On Dec. 30, Rainey posted a video to Facebook in which she said that Citizens for Freedom and Moore County Republicans were sponsoring buses for the trip to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. In the video, she is wearing what she said was a Christmas present: a ball cap that read “Lions Not Sheep.”
“If you would like to sponsor a rider to go to Washington, D.C. to stand for election integrity, on Jan. 6, which our president asked us to be there, then please let the GOP know so we can get folks signed up,” she says. “I’ll lead this trip, so, um, I’ll be there and will be helping to coordinate on the day.”
Rainey not only protested the Sandhills Pride drag show, she implied on social media that she was involved in the attack on the electric substations—attacks that coincidentally occurred just minutes after the drag show began.
From 5 until 7 p.m. on Saturday, Rainey and her self-characterized group of “small-town Christian conservatives” engaged in verbal exchanges with pro-LGBTQ counter-protesters near the theater…Shortly after the lights went out at the Sunrise Theater, Rainey posted to Facebook that “power is out in Moore County and I know why.” She then posted a photo of the “Downtown Divas!” marquee of the blacked-out theater and wrote, “God will not be mocked.”
When the Moore County Sheriff’s Office paid Rainey a visit, purportedly to ask about her social media posts, she said she told deputies that “God works in mysterious ways and is responsible for the outage.” She further stated that she “used the opportunity to tell them about the immoral drag show.”
Sheriff Fields told the press that Rainey’s posts were not credible, adding: “We had to go and interview this young lady and have a word of prayer with her and so, but it turned out to be nothing.” It should be noted that Fields was pictured posing with Rainey at a 2020 ‘Back the Red, White and Blue’ event.
Attacks across the country
Shortly before the Moore County substation attack, the FBI warned that there had been an increase in reported threats to electric infrastructure from people espousing “violent extremist ideology,” aiming “to create civil disorder and inspire further violence.”
Similarly, the Department of Homeland Security obtained a white supremacist instruction guide to attack the power grid shared on Telegram:
Notably in 2020, a 14-page document released in a Telegram channel favored by accelerationists groups seeking to speed the overthrow of the US government featured a white supremacist instruction guide to low-tech attacks meant to bring chaos, including how to attack a power grid with guns…“The powergrid would be crippled for a very large area. Armor piercing rounds shot into the transformers would destroy them,” the colorful how-to describes.
The writer goes on to frame how massive blackouts would aid in the toppling of society which is a key accelerationist goal. “But with the power off, when the lights don’t come back on… all hell will break lose, making conditions desirable for our race to once again take back what is ours,” the document reads.
At least four states, including North Carolina, have experienced attacks on their electrical grid in recent months.
The electrical grid in Washington and Oregon was “physically attacked” at least six times during the past 30 days. Portland General Electric, the Bonneville Power Administration, Cowlitz County Public Utility District, and Puget Sound Energy all reported attacks.
Oregon Public Broadcasting and KUOW obtained an email written by a security specialist with the Bonneville Power Administration that details that attack. OPB is withholding the specialists’ name at the request of Bonneville Power due to their concerns about the specialist’s safety. Two people cut through the fence surrounding a high-voltage substation, then “used firearms to shoot up and disable numerous pieces of equipment and cause significant damage,” the security specialist wrote.
The memo also referenced “several attacks on various substations,” recently, in Western Washington, “including setting the control houses on fire, forced entry and sabotage of intricate electrical control systems, causing short circuits by tossing chains across the overhead buswork, and ballistic attack with small caliber firearms.”
A hydroelectric plant in Ridgeway, South Carolina, reported gunshots near the facility last week, though no damage was found. The local sheriff later said that the event was not linked to the Moore County shooting and may not have even been targeting the power plant.
A second substation was “deliberately disabled” by “vandalism” in North Carolina just weeks before the attack in Moore County. In a statement posted online, the Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative stated that “vandals damaged transformers and caused them to leak coolant oil,” knocking out power for more than 12,000 homes. The company was able to restore power within hours.
A few months ago, in September, at least half a dozen “substation intrusion events” were reported across Florida. Duke Energy has released no details on the incidents which took place in Orange Blossom, Zephyrhills, Bay Ridge, and Clearwater, Florida.
Furthermore, three men pled guilty earlier this year to “providing material support to terrorists” in a scheme to attack energy facilities to accelerate a race war. Christopher Cook, 20, of Ohio; Jonathan Frost, 24, of Indiana; and Jackson Sawall, 22, of Wisconsin, planned to attack substations across the country with rifles:
According to court documents, in fall 2019, Frost and Cook met in an online chat group. Frost shared the idea of attacking a power grid with Cook, and within weeks, the two began efforts to recruit others to join in their plan.
As part of the recruitment process, Cook circulated a book list of readings that promoted the ideology of white supremacy and Neo-Nazism. By late 2019, Sawall – a friend of Cook’s – joined the conspiracy and assisted Cook with online recruitment efforts, operational security and organization.
As part of the conspiracy, each defendant was assigned a substation in a different region of the United States. The plan was to attack the substations, or power grids, with powerful rifles. The defendants believed their plan would cost the government millions of dollars and cause unrest for Americans in the region. They had conversations about how the possibility of the power being out for many months could cause war, even a race war, and induce the next Great Depression.