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Former Secretary Of Defense: U.S. ‘Vulnerable’ To Nationwide Blackout

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A terror attack on the power grid would firmly and quickly sink the United States into complete chaos, and it could come via cyber attack, says former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, who believes the nation is “vulnerable.”

Cohen was once a Republican Maine Senator and currently serves as the chairman and CEO of The Cohen Group. The group was created in January 2001 and is a strategic alliance partner with DLA Piper, a global law firm specializing in business, real estate and technology. Cohen served as secretary of defense under President Clinton from 1997 to 2001.

An EMP attack, Cohen told NewsMax TV, isn’t the only threat to the power grid.

“You can do it through cyber attacks and that’s the real threat coming up as well,” he said. “… We have to look at cyber attacks being able to shut down our power grid, which you have to remember is in the private sector’s hands, not the governments. And we’re vulnerable.”

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Cohen added, “It’s possible and whether it’s likely to happen soon remains to be seen.”

The former defense secretary is not the only prior high-ranking government official to utter power grid warnings. Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that a cyber attack on the power grid is a matter of “when,” not “if.”

“Our country will, at some point, face a major cyber event that will have a serious effect on our lives, our economy and the everyday functioning of our society,” Napolitano said, as reported by Off The Grid News. “While we have built systems, protections and a framework to identify attacks and intrusions, share information with the private sector and across government, and develop plans and capabilities to mitigate the damage, more must be done, and quickly.”

The EMP Commission that issued a report to Congress predicted that about 300 million Americans would die if the power grid remained down for a full year. (Listen to Off The Grid Radio’s in-depth report on four threats to the power grid here.)

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Cohen said that the threat from terrorism is very real.

“That’s because the technology continues to expand and terrorism has become democratized,” he said. “Many, many people across the globe now have access to information which allows them to be able to put together a very destructive means of carrying out their terrorist plans. We’re better at detecting than we were in the past. We’re much more focused in integrating and sharing the information that we have, but we’re still vulnerable and we’ll continue to be vulnerable as long as groups can operate either on the margins or covertly to build these kind of campaigns of terror.”

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As previously reported by Off The Grid News, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) reviewed the soundness and functionality of the power grid in 2013 and gave it a “D+.”

The ASCE grade means that the grid is in “poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life.” The ASCE report also revealed that a “large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration” with a “strong risk of failure.”

Cohen recently released a new book, a thriller entitled Collision.

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