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Former CIA chief warns that nation's energy grid vulnerability is 'chilling'

James Woolsey 2 Former CIA chief James Woolsey told the House Energy and Utility Policy Committee that the nation's electricity grids "are very available to be interfered with'' not only by those with the intention of malevolent nuisance, but by smart terrorists.

He urged the committee to encourage the development of a decentralized generation system that relies on rooftop solar generated electricity and other generation by small businesses, farmers and homeowners.

"Terrorists are a great deal smarter than tree branches,'' warned the former CIA director under President Bill Clinton. "They can focus on transformers...If the electric grid is down we are not back into the 1970s. We're in the 1870s, pre-electricity. Water pumps don't work. Sewage pumps don't work.''

Woolsey who worked in the administration of Presidents Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush and Clinton, owns a farm in Maryland with a solar generating source, drives a plug-in hybrid and spends 50 cents a day charging his vehicle. 

"The grid could be made less fragile and more resilient against hackers or terrorist attcks by doing the electrics right but a further and very useful step is distributing the generation as well,'' he said.