Congress should give EMP threat 'highest priority,' says expert
Imagine life without electronics. No computer, no TV, no smartphone, no Web. Your credit card is useless because the entire banking system needs computers to operate. Don’t try to hop in your car and drive to safe location – modern cars rely on electricity to function, and in any case you won’t be able to refill your tank at a gas station because gas pumps rely on electricity, too.
Think this couldn’t happen in today’s America?
Think again, says former Defense Department security policy analyst and WND national security writer Michael Maloof. All it would take is an EMP attack to knock out all “life-sustaining critical infrastructure.”
“When I say life-sustaining critical infrastructures, I’m talking about any of those that have a dependency on the electrical grid system,” Maloof explained during a recent appearance on Stand for Truth Radio with Susan Knowles.
“And if the electrical grid system is knocked out, it affects everything that depends upon that electrical grid. It could include our telecommunications, our banking and finance systems, our petroleum and natural gas transportation systems, our food and water delivery systems, our emergency services. It also affects all of the automated control devices that we take for granted every day, like the automatic control of lights, our surge system.”
He added, “It would be a nightmare you’ll never wake up from.”
An EMP, or electromagnetic pulse, can result from a naturally occurring solar flare, but it can also follow from a man-caused nuclear explosion at high altitude. A powerful EMP can fry all electronic devices in a region or even an entire country, depending on how large the explosion is.
WND has done plenty of in-depth reporting over the years on the dangers of EMP.
Such an event would also render hospitals unable to help their patients, as they rely on electronics. People with pacemakers or other electrical-based medical devices would suddenly lose their source of life.
“One thing people don’t really talk about is the impact it would have on nuclear reactors,” added Maloof, who wrote about the EMP threat in his book “A Nation Forsaken.” “When you look at what happened in Fukushima in Japan a few years ago with just one reactor, the impact on something like 147 nuclear reactors we have in the United States could be not only catastrophic, but cataclysmic.”
The EMP threat is not merely hypothetical.
Maloof reported in WND recently that North Korea now has two satellites in orbit over the United States capable of launching a surprise EMP attack that could evade U.S. National Missile Defenses. He also warned Knowles’ radio audience about North Korea’s underground testing of nuclear devices.
“[Experts I’ve spoken to] believe that they are hydrogen weapons purposely designed for low kinetic yield but high-intensity gamma rays so that they can have a maximum EMP effect,” Maloof revealed.
But an EMP attack need not come from North Korea; any hostile country could theoretically fire a missile designed to explode at a high altitude over the United States, according to Maloof. He pointed out Cuba still has nuclear-capable SA-2s left over from the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
What’s more, it doesn’t even take a nation to carry out an attack. Maloof said any “technically inclined” person can make a flux gun, which can create the effect of an EMP on a local area. Certain websites show ordinary people how to make these flux guns, leading to concerns about lone wolf EMP attacks.
It’s not as if the U.S. government doesn’t know about the EMP threat. Maloof said the Air Force recently tested a drone with EMP equipment on it and knocked out all the computers in a high-rise apartment building.
He also said Congress has been briefed on a simple radar that can be mounted on the back of a truck or hidden in a van and aimed outward to fry other cars’ electronic equipment.
“I’ve been concerned that such a device could be aimed at an aircraft that might be either landing or taking off from [Reagan] National Airport,” Maloof warned.
And yet, Congress has so far failed to act with urgency to guard the nation against a potential EMP attack. This inaction frustrates Maloof.
“The warnings are there!” he exclaimed. “We’re doing it to ourselves. We’re not shooting ourselves in the foot; we’re shooting ourselves in the head… Congress is so constipated, they’re not giving the attention that this thing needs. It should be given the highest priority, and it’s not.”
Maloof noted other countries are taking steps to guard against an EMP attack – Russia, China, Israel and Iran among them.
“The Chinese actually do military maneuvers assuming an EMP assault from the United States, so some of their military doctrine now is incorporating, what if they’re attacked initially with an EMP? How would they cope with that?” he revealed. “So we’re just acting dumb and happy over here.”
Maloof lamented that none of the current presidential candidates is prioritizing the EMP issue, either. He said of the five candidates left in the race, Ted Cruz is the only one he has heard refer to EMPs. But he also said Donald Trump’s advisers have approached him seeking background information on the EMP threat.
If the U.S. would give EMP the highest priority, and if it had cooperation from private industries, Maloof estimates it would cost $20 billion to guard the country against an EMP attack.
“That’s chump change when you consider the amounts that we spend elsewhere, like the Iraq War, foreign aid and assistance to Pakistan every year,” he noted. “I mean, we could be paying for doing this and making sure we can mitigate this problem significantly if we make a concerted effort.”
However, Maloof said even if we were to start today, it would probably take at least five years to implement a solid plan to protect the nation from an EMP strike. And he cautioned the U.S. never would be able to completely eliminate the threat – only mitigate it.
One step he wants to see the Department of Homeland Security take is to make an EMP event one of their 15 national planning scenarios. Such a move would direct state and local officials in charge of emergency preparedness to “kick into high gear,” as Maloof put it.
“If all communications are knocked out, how do people communicate?” he asked rhetorically. “How do first responders know what to do? And that’s why some of us have actually started working with state and local governments to make them aware of EMP and to take the necessary action at the local levels.”
Maloof thinks local authorities should recreate the old “defense shelters” of a bygone era so locals know where to go in an emergency to receive stored food, water and medicine. This would reduce the sense of panic and chaos if an EMP attack knocked out all communications.
However, it’s not just the government’s job to prepare. Maloof advises everyone to pack a “go bag” with essential items they would need in an emergency: food, water, a first-aid kit, a firearm, certain types of knives and a book on survival.
But the go bag is only to be used by those who have to flee their homes in an emergency. Maloof recommends people store up an ample supply of food, water and medicine in their houses. A firearm is essential, he said, because in the chaotic aftermath of an EMP attack, many people will be desperate enough to try and steal what they need to survive. Those who have the most will be at the greatest risk.
“More and more people are becoming more self-sustaining, living off the grid,” Maloof observed. “They’ll have fewer problems, but they’re going to be the first targets.”
Most importantly, Maloof called for a groundswell of local action, given that the federal government has done nothing to guard against the EMP threat. He said it’s up to citizens to convince their governors and state and local legislatures to implement the necessary precautions.
“If we don’t take the action, then when it happens, it’s too late,” Maloof stated bluntly. “We’ve known about this for… about 50 years and we have done very, very little about it. Other countries are doing something about it, and it’s just unbelievable given the dependency that the United States has on electronics and technology — which has made us the greatest country in the world, [but] it also turns out to be our Achilles’ heel, because unless we deal with the EMP issue, what’s helped make us strong could actually kill us.”
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