National Security

DHS warns electrical infrastructure an ‘attractive target’ for domestic extremists

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Domestic extremists have been developing plans to attack U.S. electric power infrastructure, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned in a bulletin obtained by The Hill.

The department said both domestic violent extremists and extremists specifically motivated by racial animus are among those eyeing the power system as a target for attack. 

“DVEs have developed credible, specific plans to attack electricity infrastructure since at least 2020, identifying the electric grid as a particularly attractive target given its interdependency with other infrastructure sectors,” the bulletin says.

The Daily Beast first reported the memo.

The notice to the electric sector comes as DHS and other national security agencies have said lone wolf actors and small bands of extremists are among the greatest threats to the homeland.

“We are very focused on the lone actor or a loose affiliation of individuals rather than necessarily an organized structure with a set and defined hierarchy, and that’s what I think can make the threat so challenging to address. It is that lack — it is the loose affiliation of individuals and the dynamic nature that they present,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently told reporters. 

White supremacist groups garnered FBI attention ahead of the 2020 election for discussing ways to attack the U.S. power grid if then-President Trump lost his reelection bid.

In May of that year, three men claiming to be part of the Boogaloo movement, a far-right anti-government extremist group, were arrested after allegedly planning to attack an electrical substation in Las Vegas. 

The memo was issued Monday, the same day DHS warned law enforcement agencies that Russia could launch a cyberattack, including on U.S. infrastructure. 

“We assess that Russia would consider initiating a cyber attack against the Homeland if it perceived a US or NATO response to a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine threatened its long-term national security,” the agency said in the bulletin.

Updated: 8:22 p.m.

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