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3 Jan

Lights out? NJ on alert for possible attacks on

Following recent attacks on electric substations in Washington, Oregon and North Carolina that left tens of 1000’s of individuals in the dead of night without heat, the Latest Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is ramping up security efforts around facilities within the Garden State.

While authorities haven’t commented on whether the attacks were coordinated, there is concept they might have been carried out by white supremacist and right-wing extremist groups as a part of a destabilization plot to sow civil unrest across the nation.

Dan Engelhardt, the division director of preparedness for the Latest Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, said NJOHSP has been working with federal, state and native law enforcement partners “to share information related to those incidents.”

Attack techniques

He said information is being shared about “attack tactics, techniques and procedures with a big selection of private and non-private sector entities to reinforce preparedness and resiliency throughout Latest Jersey.”

He said right now there aren’t any known credible threats to the Garden State however the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has confirmed electrical substations and power grids could also be targeted.

linemen in utility truck working on electrical equipment

Christine_Kohler GettyImages

Keep your eyes open

“Given the increasing variety of incidents in other regions across the country and the immense potential consequences of most of these attacks during cold weather, we do ask that the general public proceed to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity,” he said.

He noted NJOHSP has been working with energy sector stakeholders “to assist ensure security measures are in place, and that safety protocols are implemented, all of which assist with risk mitigation in addition to response and recovery efforts within the case of an actual attack.”

When asked what specific safety protocols have been put in place he said “from an operations standpoint much of those efforts could be considered law enforcement sensitive information which we’re unable to publicly disclose.”

He noted NJOHSP is working each day “with our allied partners in law enforcement and the private sector to reinforce resiliency and preparedness throughout Latest Jersey.”

Emergency vehicle lighting

artolympic ThinkStock


Engelhardt said a critical tool within the preparedness mission is the NJ SHIELD program, a web based information-sharing platform between the private and non-private sectors.

He said the NJ SHIELD program allows NJOHSP and the State Police to work with law enforcement across the country and internationally to “engage in flat and fast information sharing, which might enable us to discover threats and trends in a timely manner”

As for who could also be behind the energy grid attack, Engelhardt said investigations are ongoing but “violent extremists, each domestic and international proceed to call for attacks, mostly online against critical infrastructures.”

He stressed any odd or suspicious activity around an electrical facility should immediately be reported to local police or by calling 1-866-4SAVE-NJ.

“Some suspicious activity indicators that may be more relative to this particular style of threat include trespassing, solicitation, surveillance, perhaps even using a drone, we’ve seen that before, and vandalism,” he said.

David Matthau is a reporter for Latest Jersey 101.5. You may reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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