Vast sections of New York City lost electric power Saturday and the cause was a CYBER-WARFARE ATTACK launched by a nation-state.
Before I go farther into this story, I should point out -- as my regular readers know -- for 15 years I worked with the FBI; my final five years with the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
According to federal court records which are public, while working with the JTTF, people like me handled National Security, Terrorism and Foreign Counter-Intelligence.
Those same court records prove I was "National Security Intelligence" and that I was "granted Extra-territorial, full operating authority" by the Office of Intelligence at FBI Headquarters in Washington. This meant that even though FBI is chartered for Domestic U.S. operations only, I was authorized to operate OUTSIDE the United States. When I did that, my activities were coordinated with other agencies, like the CIA, but I did NOT work for the CIA.
In my role, I was able to work with Intelligence agencies from foreign governments. Some police, some military, some foreign agencies similar to our CIA. Those efforts allowed me to build relationships with intelligence people around the world, and I maintain those relationships to this day, even though my service to government ended in November, 2008.
Those people feed me information that other media outlets never get near. What you are about to read below in this story is one such example.
According to sources in the NYPD and a federal agency, Consolidated Edison (ConEd) the electric company for New York City, allegedly suffered a breach of their computer systems on Saturday. The breach was allegedly perpetrated INSIDE Con Edison facilities, allowing malicious computer code entry into several electrical network control computers.
As the computer code executed, ConEd monitoring systems allegedly reported their electric services as operating normally, when in fact, switching systems in the field were receiving malicious instructions to shut power off.
Upwards of six separate electrical networks ultimately were taken offline, allegedly by the malicious computer code. Power outages took place on Manhattan's upper west side, from about 71st St. to 57th St. Next, power went out from 57th down to 49th streets. Later power went off from 49th down into the 30's and so on.
It didn't take long for Engineers inside ConEd to realize their systems had been compromised. There was one reported fire at a sub-station between 49th and 64th street, but sources tell me that had nothing to do with the overall outages. Elsewhere there were NO EQUIPMENT FAILURES, FIRES, or EXPLOSIONS. Yet power was slowly but surely turning off grid-by-grid.
I am told that once ConEd was able to isolate the computer control systems which had been compromised, they allegedly physically took those computers off the networks, installed back-up computers and, once all the compromised control units were out of the system, turn on the back up computers and begin to restore electric power.
As of about 10:30 PM local time, five of six networks saw electric restored.
According to other former colleagues in the Intelligence community (IC) at the federal level, this act of cyber warfare was perpetrated by a nation state - likely Iran.
The attack coincided with the arrival of an Iranian Minister today who will be attending meetings at the United Nations.
According to my former colleagues, several Iranians accompanying that Minister, came out of the buildings they were in AS POWER FAILED, and then "bolted" away buildings they had been in; some of them allegedly took off running! When Diplomats from a hostile foreign power are in the USA, they are often (not always) kept under watch by US operatives. In this case most of the Iranians were able to successfully evade federal operatives assigned to watch them while in the USA.
The fact that the electric went out, meant CCTV cameras were also out. That made it possible for these Iranians to flee, undetected, once they lost their US surveillance operative! Those Iranians are now roaming freely in NYC and their plans or intentions are unknown.
The fact they waited for the electric to go out before fleeing, indicates to some people they KNEW the electric was going to go out . . . likely because they - or their government - caused it.
According to UN-VERIFIED CLAIMS, the Iranian Minister also ALLEGEDLY made some smarmy remarks prior to the electrical outage, along the lines of showing the Americans they face a worthy adversary who can hit them back.
It was shortly after those remarks were ALLEGEDLY made, that electric in Manhattan started to fail.
Other federal Intelligence sources claim the malicious software code was inserted into the ConEd system via USB device!!! They also claim they know the time frame in which this was done, and the locations (multiple) where it was done.
One NYPD expert told me "In order for this to have taken place, a person with high level access to ConEd computer systems would have had to do it personally." Law enforcement is scouring computerized entry/exit logs to pin-down possible suspects.
Initial analysis of the malicious computer code allegedly indicates it was cleverly designed to conceal itself, and replicate itself endlessly. Had ConEd's computer systems not been so hardened and secure, this malicious code quite possibly could have spread to all of New York City, and to many other US power systems as well. The nation owes a debt of gratitude to ConEd for having this level of hardened and secure computers. Had the malicious code been successful, most of the United States could have found itself without electricity for an extended period of time as malicious code spread into the national power grid.
Sources in the US Military have told me privately that, "according to US policy, an attack of this nature is classified by our government as "an act of war.""
The high-ranking Pentagon official also made clear "If the source of these acts can be traced directly to Iran, they will have made a fatal mistake."
Most folks who followed this situation from its beginning found out early that things weren't adding up. Spokespersons for New York City Mayor deBlasio claimed Transformers exploded at 64th St., then later at 56th or 57th St., then later still, around 49th St.
But New Yorkers who heard those claims, physically walked, or rode bikes, or drove to those areas, only to find --- nothing. No police. No fire trucks. No ConEd repair crews. No fires and no damage.
Later, the Mayor himself told media the cause was a manhole cover fire. That was false as well.
During a media gaggle this evening, the CEO of ConEd said he does not know why the power went out, and that ConEd will have to do a complete engineering analysis to find out what happened.
Source in the Intelligence field told me "that's nonsense. They already know their computers were compromised; they don't want the public knowing it took place." Whether that's accurate or not remains to be seen.
Now, however, thanks to my trusted former colleagues in the IC, you know the rest of the story.
What we do not know is what the Iranians who escaped surveillance are going to do - or where -- or when.
Stay tuned . . .
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