A Letter from Ted Koppel

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Dear Reader,

First, a confession: I have trouble with anything that has more moving parts than a brick.

I am, though, a great believer in Will Rogers’s wonderful observation that “we’re all ignorant; just about different things.” I have spent my entire career of well over fifty years modifying my ignorance on a variety of subjects by interviewing the smartest and best-placed experts. What I do bring to the process is a reporter’s instinct about who is telling the truth and what constitutes an “important” story. By every metric I know, this is such a story.

Simply put, the Internet is, at one and the same time, the most wonderful and the most dangerous invention of our age. What its original designers had in mind—the instantaneous exchange of information—has become a tool of unimaginable diversity and power. A tool that, in the wrong hands, becomes a weapon—one that could be used to wage a major attack on our infrastructure, specifically the electric power industry.

Government and industry leaders agree that the probability of an attack on our power grid is high, yet they have done little to nothing to prepare for its consequences. History teaches that finding solutions to impending danger is always an arduous and unpredictable process, but ignoring the threat is never a useful track.

The evidence is compelling. A cyberattack on one of our three power grids is all but inevitable, and deserves a national discussion. I hope you’ll consider Lights Out a sensible first step.

All the best,

Ted Koppel