Bomb Plot Has Police Fearful [Y2K] (San Francisco Examiner) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

*Big Sigh*

This is the related part of Y2K that has me concerned... about the power grid, et. al.


Bomb plot has police fearful
Chuck Finnie
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Dec. 5, 1999
)1999 San Francisco Examiner

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

Officials: Sacramento arrests may be just the first signs of coming millennial terrorism

The arrest of two men suspected of plotting to blow up a massive Sacramento-area propane storage facility gave added urgency Saturday to ongoing coordination between Bay Area industry and law enforcement agencies to beef up security in advance of the new millennium.

The arrests Friday came after a yearlong FBI probe into a potential threat against the Suburban Propane storage plant in Elk Grove and other sites, the U.S. attorney's office said Saturday. It did not identify the other threatened sites.

The men in custody, Kevin Ray Patterson, 42, of Camino, El Dorado County, and Charles Dennis Kiles, 49, of Placerville, El Dorado County, described as anti-government militia members, face federal court appearances Monday on weapons charges.

Authorities believe the alleged plan was designed to exploit Y2K fears among the nation's hate groups, the Sacramento Bee reported Saturday.

"We have made some special security arrangements in advance of Y2K," Jonathan Franks, a spokesman for PG&E, told The Examiner. "It is a situation where we are aware of the potential for a heightened threat."

Though he declined to discuss details, Franks said representatives for the utility meet regularly with the FBI and other local law enforcement officials to prepare.

"They have all got their heads together on this," he said.

The Suburban Propane facility that was being targeted holds about 24 million gallons of liquid propane, most of it shipped from Exxon in Benicia. As is the case with Bay Area energy installations - including six oil refineries - the storage plant is close to a highly traveled freeway. It is a few hundred yards from busy Highway 99 and two other industrial buildings. The closest home is a farmhouse several hundred yards away, and there is a subdivision about a half-mile from the storage tanks.

In West Contra Costa, home to refineries and chemical plants, the arrests are already raising eyebrows.

"In light of these arrests, I intend to ask the Sheriff's Department to make a report to the Board of Supervisors about what steps are being taken to guard against sabotage and terrorism," said Supervisor John Gioia late Saturday night.

Gioia, who represents west Contra Costa County, said he attended a public briefing by local industry, county health officials and the sheriff's Office of Emergency Services on preparation measures for Y2K. However, he said, terrorism wasn't discussed. One of the arrested suspects is a convicted felon with firearms violations; the other is unemployed and has no past criminal record but is knowledgeable in bomb making, and a large amount of explosives were found on his property, the Bee reported.

According to a lawyer for New Jersey-based Suburban Propane, the company was contacted about the threat Sept. 8, the day before numeric calendars rolled over to 9 / 9 / 99 and computer users braced for the first Y2K-related glitches.

"The FBI had one of the men under 24-hour surveillance," John Fletcher, the company's lawyer, told The Examiner. "Whenever the guy made a turn in the direction of the facility a sheriff's de partment SWAT team was on duty."

The men have connections to militia groups, and a significant number of guns was found at one of the locations federal agents searched Friday, a source familiar with the investigation told the Associated Press.

The men were arrested and held while federal agents searched their El Dorado County homes for evidence. A location in Sacramento County and storage lockers and homes in Reno and Carson City, Nev., also were searched. The FBI declined to comment on the case.

The propane facility, where the liquid propane is stored in two 122-foot-tall tanks, is one of the biggest aboveground propane storage facility in the United States, said Elk Grove Fire Chief Mark Meaker.

On Saturday, however, Suburban Propane and local fire officials were disagreeing on the potential for loss of life and extent of property damage posed by a terrorist explosion at the site.

"Propane is very combustible. It can burn very hot and very fast," Meaker said. "A worst-case scenario would be . . . a blast of radiant heat, flying shrapnel and other health hazards that could have a radius of a half mile to a mile."

Fletcher, the Suburban Propane lawyer and California spokesman for the company, said the firm hired a consultant to study the danger an explosion posed and determined the worst damage homes in the area would receive were broken windows and shaken foundations, and that people outside the plant would not be in danger.

The plant hired off-duty sheriff's officers and beefed up its security system, he said.

"At the point we were told of the threat, we were told it was coming from an unsophisticated white supremacist," Fletcher said.

About 15 percent of all propane sold in California passes through the facility, Fletcher said.

Subdivision resident Karen Banda said she and her husband asked the developers about the plant when they bought their house two years ago, and were told "there was no concern."

"They should not have been allowed to build (housing) this close," she said.

The potential threat to the plant first surfaced last spring through information from an FBI informant, sources told the Bee.

The informant told authorities a militia group member in the area had made threats related to blowing up the propane plant and mentioned several dates, including one around New Year's Eve.

-- Diane J. Squire (, December 06, 1999


Good find Diane,

I think that these kinds of disruptions to the supply lines are indeed significant risks.

How can you patrol the thousands of miles of pipelines and powerlines in this country? The raillines are similarly vunerable.

Let's hope that the FBI has infiltrated all the right groups to head off this kind of stuff. Of course given their track record they have probably infiltrated a lot of innocent groups as well.

I fear for our country and our freedoms.

-- LM (, December 06, 1999.

Diane: Thanks for the post. Serves as a good reminder that computer failures are not the only threat we face in the coming months.

Sheeesh. I guess these guys (the ones arrested) did not take the Y2K threat seriously, as they apparently believed that they would need to 'help' it along.

The rationale underlying our own preparations (beyond the immediate safety of our family) was a strong desire to not be part of the problem, and maybe even be part of the solution...

If anarchy is the answer, I'm not interested in the question.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, December 06, 1999.

Yes, an area could be Y2K-okay... or at least appear to be... and then something like this comes out of left field and surprises most.

FEMA, the dot gov's and the dot mil's consider this kind of thing to be the greater Y2K risk. I *hope* they're not right!

This is why it also pays for a community to be *more* prepared, rather than less. Koskinen, et. al. have done a great disservice to this country, by only half-heartedly suggesting minimal "storm" preparations.

They know better.

Saddens me.


-- Diane J. Squire (, December 06, 1999.

Doesn't anyone question how the FBI always seems to stop these types of things from happening just in time. Meaning, since Y2K is a non-issue (per .gov) then they need to blame the failures on something else, ie, white supremacist, right wing extremists, militias, reiligious fanatics, hoarders, etc... The same example goes for the school shootings, why aren't these thwarted???? Because it doesn't further their agenda---mainly gun control.

-- (, December 06, 1999.

"We have made some special security arrangements in advance of Y2K,"

Includes fencing with the barbed wire leaning in.

-- Linda (, December 06, 1999.


"Even a blind hog finds an acorn ever now and then" You assume they know a lot more than they really do.

It will be difficult to attribute a dynamited substation to a Y2K glitch. But it will be easy to attribute a Y2K glitch to "terrorist" activities. And they will to cover their behinds. I suspect a lot of people will be arrested for things they never did just to appease the masses who will want someones head.

-- LM (, December 06, 1999.

Clipped this from the thread mentioned.

Just reinforces my contentions.

It's going to be an interesting ride.

The captain has turned on the no smoking sign, please make sure your seat belts are fastened.


For D.C., Y2k fix is a future promise : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------, December 06, 1999

Answers From the November National Guard Magazine (an interesting read, BTW)

Foiling Y2K's Worst:

Massive preparations should minimize computer bug-related disruptions at home,but Guard is ready to help if needed. Biggest problems may be overseas.

National Guard Magazine

November 1999

By Chris Maddaloni

*el snippo mucho*

"...The worries at home now are becoming a social issue as well as a technical one. Guard officials say they would not be surprised if the start of the new millennium provoked unrest or violence, especially from cults or terrorists.

The Washington Post reported that the FBI is warning police chiefs nationwide that it has discovered evidence of religious extremists, racists, cults and other groups preparing for violence as New Year's Eve approaches, and is urging law enforcement agencies to view the dawn of the next millennium as a catalyst for criminal activity.

In the nation's capital, all FBI and police time-off has been cancelled for the two weeks surrounding New Year's in anticipation of potential issues related to the conversion.

D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams has also asked the Guard to help the police with crowd control during the celebration, Lischke noted. There is also concern that perceived Y2K worries will turn into a panic, with runs on ATMs and grocery stores....."

-- Lewis (, December 06, 1999.

-- LM (, December 06, 1999.

Many thanks to those who have raised suspicions regarding possible ulterior motives behind the governm_nt_s actions.

I remember a time when I actually believed that those people in W_co had been manufacturing drugs, and later I believed that no incend_ary devices had been used.

Then when a large airplane went down after takeoff from New York a few years ago, the gov_rnm_nt said that it was most likely overheating in the fuel tank, and even ordered Bo_ing to make changes in aircraft design.

On July 17, 1998, Yahoo News published an article in which B_ll Clin_on said that U.S. funding for the International Monetary Fund was vital for economic recovery in Asia and for reducing the vast U.S. trade deficit. How many of you forgot that remark about our trade deficit?

"We are not making the exports, especially to Asia, that we would otherwise be making if those economies were coming back, and a critical part of that is our contribution to the International Monetary Fund," he told reporters.

So the U.S. Congress to gave $15.5 billion to top up the IMF's depleted funds.

Then B_ll Cl_nt_n said that an aspirin factory in Sudan had been manufacturing WMD's and it was bombed. And then there were tens of thousands being slaughtered in Kos_v0.

-- Rick (, December 06, 1999.

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