Homeland security warns against disgruntled employees - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Homeland security warns against disgruntled employees

(CNN) - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is telling the country's law enforcement to keep an eye on utility companies, warning in a bulletin that disgruntled employees may pose a problem.

The bulletin said the employees have used their insider information to disrupt operations.

Trespassers planning attacks on gas, water and other power plants are one thing, but in a post 9/11 world, danger can also come from within.

This spring, a disgruntled employee at a Mesa, AZ wastewater plant allegedly managed to shut down a system that could have caused a massive sewage backup.

Authorities said the suspect made a bizarre 911 call.

"Um, I have basically taken the plant hostage," he said.

Last January, gas service was cut off to almost 3,000 customers in Illinois when a recently fired employee broke into a monitoring station and cut off a valve.

DHS has not linked either case of sabotage to al-Qaeda, but the bulletin refers to a New Jersey man suspected of ties to terrorism.

Sharif Mobley worked at five nuclear plants doing maintenance work, then moved to Yemen to follow al-Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki.

Mobley was named in a nuclear regulatory report after he allegedly expressed militant Islamic views. He admitted he admires Al-Awlaki, but denied any ties to terror, and has not been charged with any crimes.

Yet authorities singled out the case to warn utilities that al-Qaeda uses publications to encourage attacks on sensitive locations.

A U.S. official said this week's warning is not based on new intelligence information, and DHS said there is no credible or imminent threat.

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