Pair Is Charged With Plotting to ‘Destroy Baltimore’ by Attacking Grid

"The charges came as experts have warned that the energy grid and electrical substations in particular have become popular targets for far-right extremists."

"WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials have arrested two people accused of conspiring to “completely destroy Baltimore” in what they described on Monday as a racist plot to demolish the power grid in a predominantly Black city.

Sarah Clendaniel, 27, of Catonsville, Md., and Brandon Russell, 34, of Orlando, Fla., planned to inflict “maximum harm” by targeting facilities operated by Baltimore Gas and Electric, which serves 1.2 million customers in central Maryland, according to a complaint filed in federal court.

While prosecutors suggested the arrests did not appear linked to recent attacks on the electrical grid in North Carolina, Washington State and Oregon, Mr. Russell is active in a neo-Nazi group called Atomwaffen that discussed attacks on electrical and nuclear facilities in Florida in 2017. He was released last August from federal prison after a conviction for bomb making.

“Russell provided instructions and location information,” Thomas J. Sobocinski, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s field office in Baltimore, said at a news conference. “He described attacking the power transformers as the greatest thing somebody can do.”"

Glenn Thrush and Michael Levenson report for the New York Times February 6, 2023.


"Woman Plotted With Neo-Nazi To Attack Power Grid, Feds Say" (AP)

"Brandon Russell: Leader of Neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Group Charged With Baltimore Power Grid Plot" (BBC News)

"Neo-Nazi Leader And Girlfriend Accused Of Targeting Md. Power Stations" (Washington Post)

"FBI Charges Neo-Nazi Leader In Plot To Attack Baltimore Power Grid" (Reuters)

"Attacks On Grid Infrastructure In 4 States Raise Alarm" (E&E News)

"Security News This Week: Attackers Keep Targeting the US Electric Grid" (WIRED)

"Attacks On Power Substations Are Growing. Why Is The Electric Grid So Hard To Protect?" (USA TODAY)

"Attacks on US Power Grids Rose to All-Time High in 2022" (Bloomberg)

"Physical Attacks On Power Grid Surge To New Peak" (Politico)


Source: NYTimes, 02/07/2023