3rd World dictator, terror group create risk of ‘catastrophic consequences’

WASHINGTON – The mutual interdependence of America’s critical national infrastructures portends a vulnerability to an electromagnetic pulse event now more than ever, due to major technology advances that have helped facilitate that growing interdependence.

Given the potential threat under which all of these infrastructures would be attacked at the same time – whether by a man-made or natural event – the vulnerability of all the “highly interlocked critical infrastructures may be greater than the sum of the vulnerability of its parts,” according to the 2008 report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack.

In presenting what was the EMP commission’s final report to Congress in July 2008, William R. Graham, chairman of the commission, told the House Armed Services Committee that the risk of an EMP attack may be greater today than it was at the height of the Cold War.

He pointed out that not only can relatively low-yield nuclear weapons be used to create potentially catastrophic EMP effects over wide geographic areas, but the number of countries developing or already possessing such a capability is increasing.

He was referring to the fact that there has been an increased number of “adversaries” who are seeking nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and “asymmetric,” or unconventional, ways of overcoming U.S. conventional superiority using one or a small number of nuclear weapons.

In this context, he was implying Iran and North Korea.

Left unsaid in Graham’s presentation at the time were other nations that could become involved in a nuclear standoff with Third World countries, including India, Israel and Pakistan. Any engagement by them in a nuclear exchange also could have serious electromagnetic pulse effects on the United States, its assets abroad and its allies.

Also left unsaid by Graham at the time was the increasing prospect of what scientists from the National Aerospace and Space Administration, or NASA, and the National Academy of Sciences, or NAS, say may be very intense electromagnetic solar storms descending on the world between 2012 and 2014.

Editor’s note: Michael Maloof, author of “A Nation Forsaken,” will discuss the catastrophic threat posed by an EMP attack for three hours on George Noory’s “Coast-to-Coast” Thursday night, Jan. 3, the day the book is officially released nationwide.

These scientists say that their models are showing an intensity that could at least equal magnetic solar storms of 1859 and 1958. Indeed, the sun already is showing signs of emerging from what is referred to as a solar minimum in which the solar flares on the surface of the sun are predominantly dormant. The flares have recently begun to show increased activity, a cycle that occurs every 11 years.

Graham’s focus, however, was on the effects of an electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear explosion.

Third World countries with existing nuclear weapons or those developing such a capability have been testing conventional weapons by exploding them in midflight to approximate the effects of an electromagnetic pulse. Such testing has been going on for years. Even the Russians and Chinese continue to talk about having such a capability and using it against the United States as a way to overwhelm its strategic weapons superiority.

Graham said that the electromagnetic fields produced by weapons deployed with the intent of producing an electromagnetic pulse have a high likelihood of damaging U.S. electrical power systems, electronics and information systems upon which the American society depends.

“Their effects on critical infrastructures could be sufficient to qualify as catastrophic to the nation,” Graham told the committee.

He pointed out that just one or a few high-altitude nuclear detonations could produce electromagnetic pulse effects that would potentially disrupt or damage electronic systems over much of the United States, virtually simultaneously, at a time determined by an adversary.

“EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences,” Graham said.

He pointed out that an electromagnetic pulse will cover a wide geographic area within line of sight to the nuclear weapon and produce significant damage to critical infrastructures that support “the fabric of U.S. society and the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power.”

Left unsaid in his testimony is that the “adversaries” know this vulnerability all too well, given the extent of reliance of the U.S. on infrastructures that have electronics and electrical power as their base.

In effect, an electromagnetic pulse attack becomes a weapon in the hands of a David against a Goliath.

“Our vulnerability is increasing daily as our use of and dependence on electronics continues to grow in both our civil and military sectors,” Graham said. “The impact of EMP is asymmetric in relation to the potential antagonists who are not as dependent on advanced electronic technologies” as the U.S. is.

In this connection, a Third World adversary would have the capability of attacking the U.S. with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse without having a high level of sophistication.