HECO working with FBI after Oahu power plant receives several letters with threatening innuendos
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Officials at Hawaiian Electric’s Kahe Power Plant in Leeward Oahu confirm they’re working with the FBI after receiving several letters with threatening innuendos.
The development comes a month after federal authorities posted a terrorism alert bulletin warning of threats to critical infrastructure. Law enforcement sources tell HNN that the letters don’t appear to be an isolated incident. The sources say that multiple power plants across the country have received similar messages.
Security at HECO Kahe Power Plant turned over a total of three letters containing the innuendos to the FBI and HPD on Tuesday morning, sources told Hawaii News Now.
The messages arrived via the U.S. Postal Service and are believed to have been sent from Michigan, they said.
A HECO spokesperson confirms the agency is cooperating with law enforcement.
The letters come just weeks after federal authorities posted the terrorism alert bulletin warning. Since mid-November, there have been a series of attacks on power stations in Washington, Oregon and North Carolina.
According to CBS News, several substations were damaged by gunfire leaving tens of thousands of residents without electricity for days. It’s unknown if any of those attacks are related to the disturbing letters.
Retired FBI counterterrorism agent Tom Simon said using the mail to send a threat violates federal law.
“So it’s definitely something the FBI would investigate. The fact that the threat appears to be targeting critical infrastructure would definitely ratchet up that sense of urgency,” Simon said., adding the FBI lab in Quantico has technology that can lift fingerprints from both envelopes and the letters themselves.
“If the stamp and the envelope were not self adhesive, the sender likely licked them. And I’ve seen cases where the FBI lab was able to separate the human DNA from the glue on the envelope to identify the sender,” said Simon.
In an email, an FBI spokesperson said it takes threats to the public very seriously. “We work closely with our partners to assess and respond to threats and keep our community safe,” the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, HECO officials confirm “there were no evacuations or service disruption” related to the incident.
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