Blackout at the Atlanta Airport

So, while Donald Trump was chatting to Vladimir Putin yesterday, this happened:
A sudden power outage brought the world's busiest airport to a standstill on Sunday, grounding more than 1,000 flights in the US just days before the start of the Christmas travel rush.

Passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta were left in the dark when the lights suddenly went out at about 1pm. All outgoing flights were halted, and arriving planes were held at point of departure. International flights were being diverted, officials said.

The airport said a fire had caused "extensive damage" to the complex's electrical systems. Fire crews doused the flames and repair crews from Georgia Power managed to restore power to all areas after about 11 hours but the incident is expected to wreak havoc on the holiday travel plans of thousands. The cause of the outage is unknown and Georgia Power said such outages were "very rare."
Even more rare is a fire that not only knocks out electricity, but cell service.

At the Daily Beast, Clive Irving asks the questions all sensible people are wondering: "Why could a failure at one power source automatically knock out the supply to a whole airport? Why were there no backup systems to keep the essential services at the airport functioning? Why were there no emergency generators ready to cut in as they are, for example, at hospitals? Why was there no power for the most basic systems, not even lighting for the terminals, leaving passengers and airport staff in the dark at gates and security checkpoints?"

He notes: "There has never been a single-point failure of this magnitude in any major airport in the U.S. All the essential systems seem to have lacked backup — or, in the language of the bureaucrats, redundancy. ...The Atlanta chaos is yet another red flag indicating that our airports are far from ready to deal with a terrorist threat."

If this wasn't a terrorist act itself. I do find it extremely curious that a single fire could have wreaked that much havoc; that there has been no explanation for what caused a fire that burned in such a uniquely damaging location; that there has been shockingly little coverage of the event, relative to its significance; and, as Irving notes, that the incident coincidentally looked precisely like a "classic plan for phase one of a terrorist attack: Render the target blind. None of the defenses are operational. Thousands of people are trapped in restricted space without directions about how they can find an exit. As chaos spreads nobody knows who turn to for information. The communications blackout is as complete as the power blackout."

Perhaps I'm just paranoid, given that this happened against a backdrop of Russian interference in our election; Russian diplomats, presumed to be Russian intelligence, "waging a quiet effort to map the United States' telecommunications infrastructure, perhaps preparing for an opportunity to disrupt it," and using its consulate in San Francisco as a home base for "intensive, sustained, and mystifying pattern of espionage" against the US; and Russia having developed a cyberweapon to disrupt electrical systems, which was used last December to "briefly shut down one-fifth of the electric power generated in Kiev," in Ukraine, which Russia has used as its test lab for cyberwarfare.

The thing is, even if this wasn't a coordinated operation, even if it really was just a fire that caused widespread chaos, we know that the United States has adversaries who are keen to exploit such vulnerabilities.

Maybe Donald Trump and his party should be focused on urgently fixing those vulnerabilities in our national infrastructure, instead of delivering tax cuts to billionaires.

Then again, if a national party and its deplorable president were colluding with a foreign enemy against their own country, I guess the first order of business would be diligently avoid those fixes. Huh.

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