Terrorist Bomb Plot on Power Project Foiled, Cuomo, NYPA Refuse Comment
By James Hufnagel
It has been revealed that the FBI successfully detected and averted a terrorist plot to blow up the Power Project, arresting several terrorists and confiscating cases of dynamite. The well-trained terrorists, four of whom actually infiltrated New York State with cash, disguises, explosives and a detailed plan to permanently destroy the massive hydroelectric facility on the Niagara River, were held to be tried before a military tribunal.
Granted, it happened seventy years ago, but the accounts and events spotlighting the vulnerability of our critical energy infrastructure are as relevant today than they were then.
On June 12, 1942, a group of Nazi saboteurs landed by raft on an isolated Long Island beach, tasked with the destruction of critical American strategic manufacturing and transportation targets. Top of the list: the Schoellkopf Power Station located at Niagara Falls, NY, a facility which, like its present-day incarnation, the Niagara Power Project, supplied the electricity that powered the industry of the region and beyond.
The Nazi secret agents had previously received weeks of training in infiltration and sabotage from Abwehr military intelligence experts prior to being ferried to New York by U-boat. According to Wikipedia, "The team came ashore wearing German Navy uniforms so that if they were captured, they would be classified as prisoners of war rather than spies. They also brought their explosives, primers, and incendiaries, and buried them along with their uniforms, and put on civilian clothes to support an expected two-year campaign in the sabotage of American defense-related production."
One of the saboteurs lost his nerve and gave himself up in New York City, spilling his guts to the FBI before the plot was carried to its conclusion. The Feds didn't believe him at first, but he got their attention by dumping out a briefcase full of cash before the disbelieving G-men.
"Promise Arrest of more Nazi Spies who Marked Falls Power Plants, Big US War Factories for Destruction," announced the headline on the front page of the Niagara Falls Gazette on June 29, 1942.
A related story on the same day quotes then-Niagara Falls Mayor George R. Inglis in words strikingly similar to what we have heard repeatedly from government leaders since the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack, the Boston Marathon bombings, the Lackawanna Six and the disruption of a recent terror plot to topple a bridge over the Niagara River by blowing up a train as it passes over.
"The incident adds emphasis to our government's warning that we here on the border must exercise the greatest possible vigilance against saboteurs" said Mayor Inglis. "We get quite a shock when we are told that agents actually landed on this continent with the intention of blowing up power plants here, but we have been told all along that our area is one of the chief target spots on the continent."
If Mayor Inglis were around today, he'd probably also get quite a shock to learn that a vast quasi-public bureaucracy called NYPA now commandeers the electrical power generated from the Niagara River and sends it all over the northeastern United States. In his day, power generation by the Schoellkopf was strictly a private sector enterprise, and Western New York thrived because of it.
He'd also be scratching his head over the fact that this NYPA, after closing down the Robert Moses Parkway during 9/11 by blocking it with large State dump trucks, now keeps the parkway open across the entirety of the Power Project 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That wartime mayor would probably question NYPA's strategy of protecting against terrorist attack by putting up a couple of chain-link fences and a tiny little guard booth with venetian blinds. He might demand to know why NYPA released detailed schematic diagrams of its most sensitive infrastructure to the general public as part of something called "relicensing". He'd wonder why we had a governor who sits on his hands when it comes to doing what's necessary to ensure public safety in the face of repeated terror attempts.
Of course, he wouldn't get any answers to his questions, since Cuomo and NYPA don't answer to anybody. It's not like we're facing some kind of world-wide threat like Mayor Inglis was, and of course, nobody likes to think the extensively planned, nearly successful Schoellkopf plot could ever happen again.
Someday, an Al-Qaeda terror squad or Timothy McVeigh-wannabes could very well barrel down the Robert Moses Parkway in pick-up trucks and detonate a couple of tons of TNT in the middle of the Niagara Power Project. Obviously, this is a risk NYPA and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have decided they are willing to take for us.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||
Nov 19, 2013