Imagine an attack that destroyed satellite communications and the U.S. electrical grid, sowing chaos and leading, opined former Strategic Defense Initiative Organization Director Henry F. Cooper, to “a nationwide blackout lasting one year [that] could kill up to 90 percent of the American people.”
The threat is an electromagnetic pulse attack. “North Korea has the capability to make an EMP attack right now,” former Congressional EMP Commission chief of staff Peter Vincent Pry recently stated.
The Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack studied this issue for 16 years, but not anymore. Defunded, it shut down at the end of September.
The commission told Congress that “a nuclear EMP attack against the U.S. [was] one of the few ways that such a country [as North Korea] could inflict devastating damage to the United States.”
How would such an attack occur? Foreign Policy magazine reporter John Kester writes that a hydrogen bomb, which North Korea claims to have recently tested, could be detonated at high altitudes to cause the release of “‘killer’ electrons that can fry electronics.”
North Korea says it’s ramped up its nuclear program and strategic capabilities in part because of the bellicosity of President Donald Trump, who has threatened to destroy the small, impoverished country and mocked North Korea leader Kim Jung Un as “Rocket Man.”
“It was the United States that prompted [North Korea] to create a hydrogen bomb and ballistic missiles,” An Tong Chun said this week in Russia, according to Newsweek. An is deputy chairman of North Korea’s parliament.
Former Republican Congressman Curt Weldon has railed against the shuttering of the EMP Commission.
“Only Washington bureaucrats could be so stupid they would terminate the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack, also known as the Congressional EMP Commission — just when North Korea threatened to attack the United States with EMP,” Weldon wrote.
Weldon described EMP as “super-energetic lightning. Except instead of striking a point it can cover an entire nation, like the continental United States, with an EMP field.” He continued:
A nuclear EMP attack would destroy electronics everywhere, cause planes to crash, stop cars and rail traffic, blackout electric grids and other critical infrastructures that make modern civilization, and life itself, possible. Eventually, millions would die from starvation, disease, and societal collapse.
In his article in Foreign Policy, John Kester points out that not everyone agrees North Korea could pull off such an attack. He quotes Nick Schwellenbach, director of investigations for the Project on Government Oversight, as saying an EMP attack by Kim’s regime “rests upon a large number of sketchy assumptions.”
Plus, adds Swellenbach, North Korea knows that an EMP attack would trigger a massive military response from the U.S. He said: “It’d be suicide.”
By Douglas Perry