Terrorists Looking to Attack Utility Plants: Report

New warning issued from Homeland Security

The government is warning of a new potential terrorist threat in Southern California.  Investigators are looking into whether people who work inside utility plants may be terrorists.

"We have high confidence that insiders and their actions pose a threat to U.S. Facilities," the bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security reads.

At Edison International there are 4,000 employees at San Onofre. They say each one is screened based on his or her specific job.

"We go through an extensive level of background checks in concert with Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies when hiring new employees, particularly at critical facilities" said Steve Conroy with Edison International.

Gary Headrick doesn't like what he sees on the outside of the nuclear generating station in San Onofre. Last month, the leader of San Clemente Green carted cameras and equipment to measure the height of a seawall next to the plant and says he was never stopped.

"Nobody comes out to even ask me questions.  That alone makes me concerned that there's no real security where you'd expect it to be," said Headrick.

The security alert says Al Qaeda followers have been looking for a target to carry out an attack as big as 9/11, and that it could happen around this September's anniversary.  Locally, terrorism experts say it's the type of information that is constantly shared among the people who run the utilities and the people who protect them.

Gary Bernard, who lives near San Onofre, was in New Jersey on Sept. 11, 2001.  A decade later he wonders how safe his own neighborhood really is and whether there are potential targets that surround it.

"If someone is willing to give up their life for an act of terrorism, it's hard to stop them," said Bernard.

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