Electric Power Grid Threats: I'm Happy San Antonio Police Chief McManus is Taking that CPS Energy Job

Just last week, our city's outstanding police chief announced that he was leaving the job.  William McManus will transition out of his role as San Antonio Police Chief over the remainder of 2014, giving the City of San Antonio about six months to get his replacement ready to go.

Why Would the Police Chief go to Work for the Electric Company?

Now, this isn't welcomed news to lots of us here in the Alamo City.  Chief McManus has been here for eight years now, and he's done a great job.

Why now?  Well, at first I thought since he is 62 and has been in law enforcement for four decades, he thought it was time to retire.  San Antonio is a great place to retire.  Sixty-two is a nice age for it.

But nope.  McManus isn't retiring:  he is moving into the private sector where he will be the "Senior Director of Security for CPS Energy," whatever that means.

Gave me pause:  Why would the utility company need someone at McManus' skill level?  

Well, in today's news I got the answer, I think.

And, boy howdy, it's not good.

Vulnerability of Electrical Power Structure is Target of Terrorists

Seems that Al Qaeda is plotting to attack the United States in more creative ways than blowing things up. There's news today of "cyber attacks" against specific targets, like places that supply electricity by these terrorists; news reports are that al Qaeda's Ayman al Zawahiri can be heard in a video hinting that the new terror targets are American infrastructure, which would include banks, financial systems, as well as electrical power grids.

Before you think, what a paranoid goof I must be -- consider this:

1.  The Wall Street Journal reported about the dangers of "grid terror attacks" earlier this month, with their story including descriptions of an actual attack on a substation in San Jose, California.  The story also delves into a recommendation by the Congressional Research Service to Congress that the federal government investigate and decide if individual power companies across the country have sufficient internal security protections or if the federal government needs to step into things and address increasing protections for our nation's electrical resources.

2.  The federal government is already putting pressure on independent utility companies to boost their security.   The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is seeking Congressional approval of its expanded agency power to orchestrate these increased protections, where the executive branch could demand that electric utility companies do specific things to protect their computer systems, and more.

Texas Border Mess - Ripe Opportunity to Enter Texas and San Antonio is a Great Target

We're all reading about the Texas - Mexico border mess, and if you think that all these people crossing into South Texas are toddlers and small children then you're an idiot.  There are MS-13 gang members as well as other gangsters sitting there among those being housed by Texas Border Patrol and being processed over to I.C.E.

Then there's that silent group, the people coming into the State of Texas that aren't getting caught by the authorities.  No one's talking as much in the media about this other migration -- who knows the head count per day for these folk.

There are people sneaking across the Rio Grande and into Texas from all over the world.  Nations that are enemies to our country have been well represented in this exodus.

This has been going on for years and most of us here in South Texas have lots of stories about it.  Family and friends finding prayer rugs during hunting trips down by Laredo - that's a comforting thought, isn't it?

Thing is:  San Antonio sure looks like a sweet spot for some evildoing.  Consider this:

  • We've got big operations of both the CIA  and the NSA  here in town.  
  • We've got BAMC where Sgt. Bergdahl was decompressed within minutes of downtown and Alamo Square. 
  • There's the historic Fort Sam Houston Army Post along with Randolph Air Force Base.  Lots of military might calls San Antonio home.    
  • And, of course, our city sits at the juncture of two major interstates:  U.S.35 (connecting the United States southern and northern borders) and I.H.10 (connecting our east and west coasts).  

If I were a wrongdoer, I sure would find San Antonio a tempting target.  Which means I am very, very happy that Police Chief McManus is going to be the man in charge of protecting our City Public Service facilities.

Of course, maybe I just read too many Nelson DeMille novels.  Although one of his thrillers had a Boeing 777 with all its passengers and crew mysteriously perish long before that Malaysian airliner disappeared without at trace....

Just what I'm pondering this week.