Weekend Attacks on Arkansas’ Electric Grid Leave 10,000 Without Power; ‘YOU SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED U.S.’

More than 10,000 people in Arkansas were dumped into a blackout Sunday following an attack on that state’s electric grid, the FBI said today, the third such attack in recent weeks. In August, a major transmission line in the region, around Cabot, Ark., was deliberately cut.

The FBI said that two power poles had been intentionally cut in Lonoke County on Sunday, resulting in the outage.

“Though we remain confident that we will identify the person or persons responsible for these incidents,” the FBI said in a press release, “we are enlisting the public’s help to be our eyes and ears. We take threats to our power grid very seriously.”

The FBI said it would pay a $25,000 reward for information about the attacks.

And for good reason. The FBI suspects these attacks are linked with a third incident in September.

According to the FBI:

In the early morning hours of September 29, 2013, officials with Entergy Arkansas reported a fire at its Keo substation located on Arkansas Highway 165 between Scott and England in Lonoke County. Fortunately, there were no injuries and no reported power outages. Investigation has determined that the fire, which consumed the control house at the substation, was intentionally set. The person or persons responsible for this incident inscribed a message on a metal control panel outside the substation which reads, ‘YOU SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED U.S.’

In August, a person or group of people attached a cable to the framework of a 100-foot electric transmission tower and placed the cable across the railroad track in an apparent attempt to use a moving train to pull down the tower.

While the electric power industry has expressed concerns about cybersecurity, the recent spate of attacks in Arkansas suggests that the electric power grid is equally if not more vulnerable to physical acts of sabotage.

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