The Department of Homeland Security issued a threat warning that right-wing extremists have been crafting plans to attack the electric sector, including the power grid, the Daily Beast reported Tuesday.
"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," said the alert.
The report comes from federal investigators who continue to work on the Jan. 6 probe and arrests of violent right-wing attackers. The alert resulted from power company requests to take stock of the 2020 and 2021 threats from domestic extremist groups.
Homeland Security chief of Intelligence and Analysis John Cohen explained that they have been working with state and local law enforcement, but he said that the office has been reaching out more to the private sector. Over the past several years, the FBI and Homeland Security have asked for additional funding to help with the increasing threat of domestic terrorism, to no avail.
"White supremacists expressed interest in 'wreaking havoc' on the power grid if President Donald Trump were to lose re-election in 2020," the report explained. "And last year, four men with ties to racially motivated extremists were charged with conspiracy to damage the property of an energy facility in the United States, after using assault-style rifles in an attempt to explode a power substation."
Bringing down the national power grid would be a very difficult task, but researchers proved that hacking local grids aren't all that difficult, especially for those on the ground. Russian hackers were discovered in 2018 infiltrating "critical infrastructure" in the U.S. like power plants, water facilities and gas pipelines.
When President Joe Biden came into office, he rushed to ensure the security of the power grid with both immediate solutions and longer-term options.
Homeland Security intelligence predicts domestic violent extremists will keep working on efforts to attack electrical infrastructure and it "may result in physical damage."
"Conversations from domestic violent extremists online in recent months have focused on encouraging lone wolf attacks, as well as attempts to inspire individuals with little or no training to go after electric infrastructure—including with firearms, improvised incendiary devices, hammers, and power saws," said the Daily Beast.
These threats only add to the problems the grids are facing. Natural disasters have put pressure on infrastructure in desperate need for repair. It has cost taxpayers billions.