U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said Monday that his department is well-prepared to defend the power grid and other key infrastructure from possible Iranian cyberattacks as tensions rise following airstrikes that killed Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani.
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“We are very prepared for this. These are not new threats to our energy grid, our electricity grid in certain cases, or other energy infrastructure,” Brouillette said during an appearance on “Trish Regan Primetime.”
“These are threats that have been here for some time. It’s a threat that we recognized very early in the Trump administration," said Brouillette, "The president directed then-Secretary [Rick] Perry to look at this issue and devise a game plan to address these particular threats. Secretary Perry did exactly that.”
Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Energy created a designated office to assess and protect against cyber threats to the energy grid, Brouillette noted. The Department of Energy also coordinates closely with the Department of Homeland Security.
President Trump ordered airstrikes last week that killed Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, at Baghdad’s international airport. U.S. military officials said the attack was a defensive measure after intelligence linked Soleimani to violent efforts to overrun the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
The U.S. Department of Defense said Soleimani was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that the country would take a “harsh retaliation” against the United States to avenge Soleimani’s death. Repeated threats have stoked fears that Iran could retaliate through cyberattacks and other forms of warfare, both conventional and unconventional.
“What we are seeing so far are what we might refer to as routine cyber activity. It’s something that we see on a very regular basis,” Brouillette said.