And while federal agencies and local law enforcement are well-versed in antiterrorism strategies, it's not unreasonable to wonder how prepared they'd be to handle guerrillas. Even Napoleon Bonaparte was unable to successfully deal with guerrilla tactics. The Spanish guerrillas who forced the French army's retreat five years after its conquest of Spain were arguably Napoleon's Waterloo long before his actual Waterloo. He called the conflict his "Spanish Ulcer."
The goal of the guerrilla is to frustrate the government and make it appear inept and out of control, and nothing accomplishes that better than leaving civilians without power, transportation and communications. Target selection in urban warfare is far from random.
U.S. Special Operations forces use the CARVER system to maximize target selection and optimize resource allocation for its missions. CARVER is an acronym that stands for criticality, accessibility, recuperability, vulnerability, effect and recognizability -- factors that are each assigned numerical values ranging from 1 to 10, with a maximum score of 60. Based on the Pentagon field manual detailing the CARVER system, the San Jose transformer attack rated a score of 53.
Missions that disrupt communications and Internet access tend to earn high scores, which could feasibly explain the selection of a target that powers America's technology hub, Silicon Valley. The attackers also severed underground fiber optic cables, prompting AT&T to offer a $250,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction. And it wouldn't be the first time that attackers have disrupted communications systems in the same area.
In April 2009, about five miles away from the Metcalf power station, as well as at a second location nearby, "vandals" were reported to have cut AT&T cables 10 feet underground to knock out Internet and phone service to about 52,000 customers in Silicon Valley.
The critical question is: Are these "confidence targets" and opening gambits to something bigger? It would be nice if federal authorities offered us more information rather than just opining that these attacks were not the work of terrorist organizations. Stop playing semantic games, and instead give us assurances that you're working on a strategy for preventing such attacks.