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North Carolina power outage: Federal memo flags Washington, Oregon substation attacks similar to Moore County

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A federal memo warned substations in Washington and Oregon recently suffered physical attacks similar to the targeted gunfire toward the power grid over the weekend in Moore County, North Carolina, where tens of thousands still remain without electricity on Wednesday.  

NewsNation obtained a federal law enforcement memo warning, “Power stations in Oregon and Washington have reported physical attacks on substations using handtools, arson, firearms, and metal chains possibly in response to an online call for attacks on critical infrastructure.” 

The memo said the aim is “to cause widespread power failures with the potential impact of social disruption and violent anti-government criminal activity.”

“In recent attacks, criminal actors bypassed security fences by cutting the fence links, lighting nearby fires, shooting equipment from a distance or throwing objects over the fence and on to equipment.” 

NORTH CAROLINA POWER OUTAGE: WHITE HOUSE RESPONDS AMID SUBSTATION SABOTAGE PROBE IN MOORE COUNTY

An ambulance is seen in front of a hospital without electricity as tens of thousands are without power in Moore County on December 5, 2022. 

An ambulance is seen in front of a hospital without electricity as tens of thousands are without power in Moore County on December 5, 2022. 
(Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

On Nov. 11, sheriff’s deputies in Jones County, North Carolina, reported that criminal vandalism caused 12,000 people to lose power for days and that investigation remains ongoing. 

No suspects have been identified or arrested in that case. 

As of Tuesday, an estimated 35,000 customers remained without power, but Duke Energy officials said the final customers were expected to be back online before midnight Wednesday, moved up from the original estimate for Thursday. The power company said gunfire caused significant damage to equipment, which needed to be replaced. 

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The new equipment has arrived, and crews are calibrating and testing it to synchronize with the electric grid. Power will come back in waves of a few thousand customers restored at a time. 

Unlit traffic lights are seen as tens of thousands are without power on Moore County after an attack at two substations on December 5, 2022 

Unlit traffic lights are seen as tens of thousands are without power on Moore County after an attack at two substations on December 5, 2022 
(Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

At the pique of the outages Saturday into Sunday, some 45,000 customers were without power. 

Moore County schools will be closed Wednesday and Thursday. One resident has since been found dead in their home in Moore County, but the death was not immediately linked to the outages. 

Authorities have yet to confirm the motive or name any suspects or arrests in connection to the targeted shootings of two substations in Moore County Saturday night, and the FBI is assisting in the investigation. 

Fox News Digital also confirmed Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was briefed on the outages in Moore County.

A view of the substation while work is in progress as tens of thousands are without power in Moore County on December 05, 2022. 

A view of the substation while work is in progress as tens of thousands are without power in Moore County on December 05, 2022. 
(Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

In February, the Justice Department secured guilty pleas from three men accused of plotting to shoot substations, or power grids, with powerful rifles across the country. 

The FBI said the defendants were White supremacists and expected the damage would cost the government millions of dollars, lead to power being out for months and evoke civil unrest and potentially a race war prompting the next Great Depression. 

They were Christopher Brenner Cook, 20, of Columbus, Ohio; Jonathan Allen Frost, 24, of West Lafayette, Indiana, and of Katy, Texas; and Jackson Matthew Sawall, 22, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. They each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

Federal law enforcement have sounded the alarm to domestic terror threats to critical infrastructure for years. 

In a new threat bulletin released last week, the Department of Homeland Security warned, “targets of potential violence include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, the LGBTQI+ community, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents.” 

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Thousands of service members and their families at Fort Bragg have been impacted by the Moore County outages, and base leadership is ensuring servicemembers have flexibility in their schedules. 

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11 months ago

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