The Dirty War Behind the Lines

A train derailment
Train derailments can be accidents. They can also be sabotage.

An article came out around Christmas that detailed the “secret war behind Russian lines,” and claims the CIA is directing assets from an unspecified European country in a campaign of sabotage and other paramilitary activities inside Russia. In addition to disrupting Russian military supply lines, they intend these attacks to scare the Russian populace and remind the Russian leadership that they are not untouchable.

Of course, the CIA denies everything, but then, you would expect that. The article is largely without attribution and filled with coincidences, conjecture and speculation. Still, it is undeniable that there have been a series of unexplained fires and explosions across Russia, some in offices, others hitting logistics targets, and more in ammo dumps. Whether these are the result of covert sleeper cells planted in Russia decades ago or Ukrainian special forces operating on enemy territory is unknown to you and I.

Bounce Back

At the same time, there have been an unusual number of fires at food processing plants here in the U.S. More recently, we’ve had attacks at power substations that have resulted in power outages from Washington to North Carolina. Most of the latter appear to have been perpetrated by individuals armed with bolt cutters and firearms, but nothing more sophisticated. Still, no one has been caught, so they are not total armatures.

If you were a sleeper agent in a foreign country where guns are easily available, why go to the trouble of making or stealing explosives when a few well-aimed shots can knock out an electrical substation?

This raises the question of whether we are being targeted by sleeper cells of Russian assets in a tit-for-tat situation. The government warned us to expect cyberattacks, but not sabotage by covert operators.

Meanwhile, the Southern border continues to leak like a sieve, meaning more enemy combatants could be sneaking across every week. Perhaps another reason you and I should be prepared for war.


Russia can live with a few fires, but I expect the exploding ammo dumps hurt them. We can live with a few power outages. The real question is what comes next? Will the CIA and the FSB bring assignation out of the closet? Will we experience an increase in train derailments? Are the UK and other NATO allies also going to be targeted? Russia is already sourcing weapons and ammunition from Iran and North Korea. Will they direct Muslim extremists to make terrorist attacks? Will they attack key transportation hubs?

Right now, the man-on-the-street does not know how bad the cyberattacks directed at the U.S. are. Sure, we hear about hacks that steal data and lock up computers, but we aren’t hearing about pipeline leaks, cyberattacks on the financial industry, hacks that lead to train crashes, or shutdown major parts of the U.S. infrastructure. Is that in our future, or are our cyber defenses that good? Can the NSA, the FBI, the military, and private industry withstand a combined attack by the Russian, North Korean, Iranian, and Chines hackers?

Another bit question is will this evolve into a war in space? Will our enemies seek to knock out U.S. spy satellites used to spot troop movements, give the HIMARs new targets, and tell when China builds up its troop and naval presence prior to attacking Taiwan? If you see satellites taken out, that might be a sign of escalation and a reminder to bug out before things get worse.

The Great Unknown

Of course, like that original article I referenced above, this is all speculation. These are the what-if question you should be asking yourself. This is the data you should use when you draw your line in the sand.

In the meantime, make sure your plans are in place. You should have somewhere to bug out to, or you should be a bug out location for others. Touch bases with those friends and make sure plans have not changed. Repack your bugout bag and emergency boxes to be sure they are still complete, the products inside are fresh, and any included clothes still fit and are appropriate for the season.

Keep your eyes open and your powder dry.