Fact Check

Did Marines Catch and Kill FBI Agents Trying To Sabotage a Substation in Idaho?

This would certainly be a unique use of the U.S. Marines.

Published Feb. 20, 2023

 (Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Image Via Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
U.S. Marines "gunned down criminal FBI agents trying to sabotage an electrical substation in Meridian, Idaho."

This false claim originates from a website with a satire disclaimer, though the FBI is actually investigating a series of attacks on electrical substations in several states.

On Feb. 15, 2023, Real Raw News, a prolific disseminator of viral misinformation, published a story claiming that "United States Marines … gunned down criminal FBI agents trying to sabotage an electrical substation in Meridian, Idaho." The story used the factual existence of recent attacks on electrical grid substations in Washington, Oregon, and North Carolina to feed anti-FBI, anti-government conspiracy theories.

Real Raw New carries this disclaimer:

Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire.

There is no evidence supporting the central claim that U.S. Marines prevented an Idaho electrical grid attack as it was being carried out by rogue FBI agents. On Feb. 3, 2023, the FBI announced cash rewards for information leading to information about the two substation attacks in North Carolina:

The FBI Charlotte Field Office is offering rewards of up to $25,000 in two separate investigations of shootings at electrical substations in North Carolina. Agents are continuing to work with the Moore County Sheriff's Office and the Randolph County Sheriff's Office on the cases. At this time, investigators do not believe the shootings in Moore and Randolph counties are connected.

According to a Jan. 19, 2023, report by Oregon Public Broadcasting, 2022 saw a series of similar attacks in the Pacific Northwest potentially tied to neo-Nazi movements:

Pacific Northwest utilities have reported a surge of attacks to the FBI in recent months. Attacks on substations in Oregon and Washington predate a December attack in Moore County, North Carolina, that left at least 40,000 people without power for days.

In some cases, the attacks appear to follow manuals disseminated online by neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists.

For years, law enforcement and academics have warned about plots on the nation's electrical grid from "accelerationist" groups that advocate, however implausibly, that taking down the grid will hasten the demise of the federal government and start a race war.

Because, however, the claim that marines shot FBI agents near an Idaho substation stems from a website with a satire disclaimer, we rate this rumor as "False." 


"FBI Charlotte Offering Separate $25,000 Rewards in Electrical Substation Shootings." Federal Bureau of Investigation, https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/charlotte/news/fbi-charlotte-offering-separate-25000-rewards-in-electrical-substation-shootings. Accessed 20 Feb. 2023.

"FBI Warns of Neo-Nazi Plots as Attacks on Northwest Power Grid Spike." Opb, https://www.opb.org/article/2023/01/19/surge-in-oregon-washington-substation-attacks-as-fbi-warns-neo-nazi-plots/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2023.

Marines Catch FBI Trying to Sabotage Substation in Idaho, and Kill Them. | Real Raw News. https://realrawnews.com/2023/02/marines-catch-fbi-trying-to-sabotage-substation-in-idaho-and-kill-them/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2023.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.

Article Tags