Utility Workers to get checked By Joshua Jacobs

It was just last week that I released a news article explaining the dire condition that the United States’ power grid is in, both technologically speaking and in terms of security from a terror attack. Well it’s time to turn that article into some sort of blog or discussion because coincidentally the security issue has made top headlines in Washington.

At the beginning of the week Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) proposed legislation for mandatory FBI background checks to any employ working on utilities across the country. That translates to any type of critical infrastructure job ranging from power plants to water treatment facilities. And Sen. Schumer’s reasoning behind the legislation; last month’s Department of Homeland Security report that warned of extremists or terror cells to launch a cyber attack on these very plants.

So taken from what we know now that these critical infrastructures are extremely vulnerable from not only incredible consumer demand during the summer months but also by electronic sabotage, what is the likelihood that Schumer’s legislation can pass without a hitch? Or maybe the better questions to ask is how long will it take for it to pass and why has it taken so long for legislation like this to be formulated?

While Schumer can best be described as a leftist by nature, there’s no denying the fact that this bill is a no brainer. We’re talking about the security of our nuclear power plants. The thousands of chemical plants that hold the key to lethal destruction if a group like Al Qaeda or the equivalent successfully planned and executed an attack using employees from the inside.

It just sounds to me that this legislation is well overdue. It shouldn’t take a report released by the Department of Homeland Security to make front page news across the country to tie up what should be considered one hell of a loose end. Most, if not all employers I’ve ever worked for make it mandatory to take drug tests and background checks into past arrests or other crimes committed. So why would federal law skip these stringent checks on some of the most sensitive jobs in the country?

More details about the FBI checks would utilize FBI’s criminal history repository and the Interstate Identification Index (Triple I). The Triple I system is responsible for holding fingerprint records in all 50 states.

With the emphasis being placed on cyber attacks on critical infrastructure it’s well overdue for these background checks to be implemented. While terror attacks and sabotage will always be a problem to combat these federal checks can only help to tighten security on our own soil.


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