Homeland Security Expert: DC Power Outage Shows Vulnerability


Whether or not the power outage in Washington was caused by an attack of some sort, homeland security expert Peter Vincent Pry tells Newsmax TV that it shows there is vulnerability.

The power outage was the result of an explosion at a power plant in Maryland, which affected the electricity at the White House, the Capitol, local museums, train stations, and suburbs as well as the University of Maryland.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the Department of Homeland Security hasn’t linked the outage “to terrorism or anything like that.”

Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, told J.D. Hayworth and Miranda Khan on “America’s Forum” on Wednesday that “even though the official explanation is that this was a mechanical failure — this small explosion — I’m not sure I trust that,” adding that “the electric power industry has a long history of concealing actual attacks on our electric grid.”

He explained that “back in 2013, there was an attack, a professional attack, according to the U.S. Navy SEALs and the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC], on the transformer substation outside San Jose, Calif.

“It looked like a team of six, a professional operation, but it took nine months before this was disclosed,” he said.

“The electric power industry was initially dismissing it as an act of vandalism, and later it took an investigation by the U.S. FERC and the U.S. Navy SEALs to say, ‘No, this looked like a professional terrorist attack on this transformer substation,” he added. “They’re not always forthcoming with what happened.”

Pry told Newsmax that the power outage in Washington “probably was a mechanical accident, but our society’s extremely vulnerable.” He explained that “the U.S. FERC put out a study that concluded that if just nine key transformer substations were attacked in this country, it could put the whole nation into a blackout lasting 18 months.”

According to the national security expert, “North Korea and Iran have both practiced nuclear EMP [electromagnetic pulse] attacks off of ships and using satellites.”

Pry wrote about Iran’s capability to launch an EMP an attack in a March opinion piece.

Even though there has been a bipartisan attempt to pass bills in Congress to strengthen and protect the nation’s electrical grid, none has passed because “Washington is so broken,” he explained.

Pry said he’s been trying to get a bill passed for eight years and his group has yet to be successful. The Task Force on National and Homeland Security has instead decided to try to get bills passed at the state level, where he says “we’ve made more progress.”

He said that one of the problems is that the utility companies oppose government involvement. The utility companies say “that they’re on top of it, trust them, they’re going to protect the grid.” “Well, they’ve been given years to do it, and the grid isn’t protected,” he added.

“As we can just see as what happened in Washington, if the Washington grid was protected, this wouldn’t have happened.”