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February 21, 2023

Thompson, Swalwell, Magaziner Request Briefing on Threats to Critical Infrastructure from Domestic Violent Extremists

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, and Rep. Seth Magaziner (D-RI), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence, announced they have sent a request to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) for a briefing on physical, and also cyber threats, posed by domestic violent extremists to our Nation’s critical infrastructure, particularly the energy sector.

Recently, law enforcement thwarted a plot hatched by neo-Nazis to attack electric utilities in Baltimore, Maryland, a predominantly Black city, and earlier this month, DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a Joint Intelligence Bulletin warning of an increased threat from RMVEs (racially- or ethnically- motivated violent extremists) conspiring to attack critical infrastructure, especially the electric grid.

“The disrupted Baltimore plot is consistent with increased interest in attacks against the energy sector. Over the past five years, physical attacks at electrical facilities across the United States have been on the rise. In 2022 alone, the Department of Energy reported 163 direct physical attacks against electrical infrastructure across the country— an all-time high that represents a 77 percent year-over-year increase in such attacks,” the Members wrote. “In just the past three months, our country has suffered from high-profile attacks against at least nine electrical substations…”

“Together, I&A and CISA have the tools, resources, intelligence, and expertise that can be brought to bear in protecting targeted energy infrastructure against domestic extremists,” the Members added. “Given the alarming rise of domestic violent extremism and in attacks against critical infrastructure generally, and the energy sector in particular, I&A and CISA have essential roles in ensuring SLTTs are informed and prepared to prevent attacks against electrical facilities.”

Link to Letter

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