The line is open. When does basketball season start? In other news:
* FBI MAKES ARREST IN POWER GRID ATTACKS: Fox 16 has a report on an arrest by FBI and the Joint
Terrorism Task force in the case relating to multiple acts of vandalism and damage on power supply lines in the Cabot area.
Jason Woodring, 37, of Jacksonville was arrested at his home Saturday.
An affidavit filed with the complaint said the Lonoke sheriff’s office had received reports Friday about an explosion on John Shelton Road in Jacksonville. It occurred under power lines near Woodring’s residence. Investigators found blue hose there similar to evidence found at the power line near a Cabot rail crossing. Further interviews led to the arrest of Woodring on Saturday.
Fox 16 quotes FBI agents as saying Woodring admitted responsibility for three attacks on electrical towers and stations starting in August. This included a line downed near Cabot where the plan apparently had been to hope a train would snag a steel cable attached to a high-voltage tower and pull it down.
It details the evidence and steps that led up to the arrest and contains the statement from FBI that Woodring admitted his involvement. Woodring, a pool maintenance worker, isn’t quoted as to what might have motivated him. According to the statement, he said he’d tried three times to bring down a power line with a cable snagged on a train, but failed each time and finally just used a saw to topple part of the tower. He had also systematically been removing bolts from the tower one by one over a period of time. Investigators believe he used the blue plastic hose to insulate the cable so it wouldn’t cause a short that triggered an alarm.
Woodring is charged with destruction of an energy facility, Fox 16 said. He’ll appear in court Tuesday
U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer said in a release:
“The citizens of Central Arkansas can rest a bit easier today with the arrest of Jason Woodring,” stated Thyer. “The power grid attacks had the potential to put many lives at risk. When we depend on electrical power not only for comfort and convenience, but also for safety, security and life-sustaining equipment, not knowing where the next attack would occur held the public hostage to an unknown attacker. I am extremely grateful to all the investigators from the FBI, Joint Terrorism Task Force, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Union Pacific Police, Entergy, First Electric, Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, Cabot Police, Arkansas State Police, Conway Police Department, Little Rock Police Department and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for their commitment to this investigation these past few months.”
We would like to thank the many investigating agencies who worked on this case, especially the FBI, ATF, and the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, as well as our employees and members of the public who assisted in the investigation. Protecting our transmission grid is vital to the quality of life for everyone.
* BAD FAITH NEGOTIATION: Oh, and, yes, no solution has emerged on opening government and avoiding a collapse of the U.S. credit rating. Why? Because the Tea Party Republican caucus in the House continues to insist that President Obama must surrender on his health care legislation. He won’t and shouldn’t. It’s the law. Senate Republicans, so far, aren’t ready to send the House a clean operating budget, which clearly would be approved if it could come to a vote. Republicans like Tom Cotton, Tim Griffin and their controllers at the Club for Growth will accept no negotiation that doesn’t produce an Obama capitulation and/or a drastic reduction in the country’s social safety net. Thank Tim and Tom and the ‘baggers. The Kochs are sending in some of their paid shills to a meeting Monday at the Statehouse Convention Center to whip up a continuing frenzy against providing Americans with health insurance. Nice folks. Don’t forget to thank the Americans for Prosperity, too. Prosperity doesn’t begin at YOUR home, of course, if you have medical bills and no insurance.