Monday, August 18, 2003

Was it an Act of Terrorism?

From this week's NewsweekWhat Went Wrong:

" In fact, federal investigators ruled terrorism out within the first 45 minutes—perhaps prematurely. True, there was no detectable physical intrusion; nor had terrorist hackers left the usual cyber footprints. But despite the initial reassuring signals to the public, during an emergency conference call with senior officials at 5:30 p.m., the CIA “put on the radar” the possibility that there might have been some terrorist tampering. Informants and interrogations of terror suspects have led the CIA to believe that Al Qaeda is seeking to target power grids to produce just the widespread chaos witnessed Thursday afternoon, a senior administration official told NEWSWEEK. Last year the FBI concluded that terrorists are eagerly surveying weaknesses in power grids through Internet connections in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan. Even if they had no role in this episode, many worry that the Blackout of 2003 provided them with a perfect case study."