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Letter to Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security - Metcalf Attack


Location: Washington, DC

Dear Secretary Johnson,

We're writing with regard to last year's attack on PG&E's Metcalf transmission substation in Silicon Valley. This was a very serious incident that clearly demonstrated the threat to, and the vulnerability of our physical infrastructure. As Members of Congress who represent Silicon Valley, we have a strong interest in ensuring the security of our region's critical infrastructure as well as in preventing similar attacks from occurring elsewhere.

Although the damage from the Metcalf incident was largely contained, the potential for a catastrophic attack impacting both our electric grid and communications infrastructure is evident. As we understand it, rolling blackouts throughout our region were narrowly averted. The Metcalf attack, while sophisticated, was relatively small. A larger attack is not difficult to imagine and the effects could be crippling.

Many of our critical national security assets are dependent on a secure and reliable electric grid, as are the families and businesses in our districts. In fact, the San Francisco Bay Area has the nation's highest GDP per capita and would rank just behind Switzerland (19th) as a national economy. The region contains more Fortune 500 companies than any other U.S. region aside from New York; has the highest level of patent generation in the country; and has an economic productivity almost twice the national average. A successfully executed attack on our local infrastructure would impact not only our region, but our country as a whole.

We respectfully request a summary of DHS's work in responding to the Metcalf incident to date, including:

Initial emergency response;
Post-incident work (internally and/or with other agencies or private entities) related to improving processes for critical infrastructure protection, emergency mitigation, coordination with other authorities and stakeholders;
Any improvements already identified (internally and/or with other agencies or private entities) and status of improvements;
Recommendations for additional improvements (internally or with other agencies or private entities);
Guidance as to whether Congressional action may be useful/necessary in streamlining agency processes and improving efficiency.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation and respectfully request a response by Friday, March 14, 2014.


Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18)
Mike Honda (CA-17)

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