WASHINGTON – The threat posed to the national security of the United States by Iran was likened only to the one posed by Nazi Germany in the 1930s, by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who suggested Tehran could be planning for a pre-emptive nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack on America that would turn a third or more of the country “back to a 19th century level of development.”
Gingrich made the stunning statements, which echo warning of other congressional leaders and national security experts, in testimony before a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last week.
He said the “extraordinary challenge that the current regime in Iran poses to the safety of the United States” requires “extraordinary measures to meet it.”
“Not since the failure of the League of Nations in the 1930s to confront the aggression of the dictatorships in Japan, Italy and Germany have we seen the willful avoidance of reality which is now under way with regard to Iran,” said Gingrich. “There are lessons to be learned from the 1930s and those lessons apply directly to the current government of Iran.”
Gingrich pointed with alarm at a report first published in G2 Bulletin that Iran had tested the firing of ballistic missiles from a merchant ship in which warheads were detonated in midair over the Caspian Sea rather than at a land or sea target. National security experts and scientists commissioned by Congress to study the threat of electromagnetic pulse attacks on the U.S. concluded that Iran was preparing for just such a scenario. So does Gingrich.
“In short, a country with a track record of carrying out its murderous ideology may soon have the capability to deliver on its publicly declared and unambiguously stated intentions to inflict mortal harm on the United States on a massive scale,” warned Gingrich last Tuesday at the hearing of the Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security Subcommittee chaired by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. “A nuclear tipped intermediate-range Iranian missile launched from a merchant ship off the coast of the United States could do just that. That, or Iran could simply supply its terrorist handmaidens with a small scale nuclear device to use against U.S. targets here at home or abroad.”
The threat is compounded by recent disclosures by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran is in “non-compliance” with its treaty obligations against developing nuclear weapons.
Gingrich concluded that:
- Iran is the most dangerous regime in the world and the “single most urgent threat to American national security.”
- The threat can only be understood in the context of “The Long War Against the Irreconcilable Wing of Islam, which is a worldwide war in which the United States and its allies are unavoidably engaged, and in which the U.S. has active campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
- The U.S. cannot be held hostage or rendered impotent by delays of international bureaucracies in dealing with the threat posed by Iran.
- One key to preventing or degrading the Iranian nuclear threat is persuading Russia to stop helping Tehran.
- The U.S. has no option but to seek regime change in Iran.
Gingrich said there are reasons to believe Iran “is testing the capability to launch a surprise attack on the United States from a merchant ship of our coasts.”
“An attack by a single Iranian nuclear missile could have a catastrophic impact on the United States by causing an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) over a portion of the country,” he said. “Such an attack could quickly turn a third or more of the United States back to a 19th century level of development. Electrical transformers and switching stations would fall. Without electricity, hospitals would fails, water and sewage services would fail, gas stations would be unable to provide petroleum, trucks would not be able to distribute food supplies, and essential services would rapidly disintegrate.”
Gingrich said “this is not idle speculation, but taken from the consensus findings of nine distinguished scientists who authored the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, which was delivered to the Congress on June 22, 2004, the same day the 9-11 commission report was published.”
Gingrich pointed out that such a sneak attack – especially if launched from a merchant ship at sea – could have the added benefit of deniability by Iran.
“Contemplating an EMP threat makes more troubling reports that certain Iranian missile tests resulted in missiles that have detonated in flight at or near apogee, which the Iranian press has reported as successful events,” explained Gingrich. “Normally, it would be expected that the ability to target specific locations would be the standard for success for ballistic tests. However, if the ability to launch an EMP attack was being tested, detonation at apogee would be the measure of testing success. As noted by the EMP commission, a country with limited nuclear capabilities and few choices as to delivery platforms has only a few options to deliver a deadly blow. An EMP attack would be on such strategy.”
Today, Iranian lawmakers approved a bill requiring the government to block inspections of atomic facilities if the International Atomic Energy Agency refers Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
When the bill becomes law, it will strengthen the government’s hand in resisting international pressure to permanently abandon uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for either nuclear reactors or nuclear bombs.
Iran resumed uranium-reprocessing activities a step before enrichment at its Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility in August.
Last week, WND and G2 Bulletin reported most of the U.S. civilian population, military bases and nuclear-weapons assembly plants are within range of missile attacks by terrorists or rogue nations using merchant ships as launching platforms – an increasing concern by counter-terrorism and national security experts.
G2 Bulletin and WND first reported the shocking findings of the U.S. EMP commission that rogue nations, such as Iran and North Korea, have the capability of launching an undetected, catastrophic EMP attack on the U.S. – and are actively developing plans.
“These electromagnetic pulses propagate from the burst point of the nuclear weapon to the line of sight on the Earth’s horizon, potentially covering a vast geographic region in doing so simultaneously, moreover, at the speed of light,” said Dr. Lowell Wood, acting chairman of the commission appointed by Congress to study the threat. “For example, a nuclear weapon detonated at an altitude of 400 kilometers over the central United States would cover, with its primary electromagnetic pulse, the entire continent of the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico.”
The commission, in its work over a period of several years, found that EMP is one of a small number of threats that has the potential to hold American society seriously at risk and that might also result in the defeat of U.S. military forces.
“The electromagnetic field pulses produced by weapons designed and deployed with the intent to produce EMP have a high likelihood of damaging electrical power systems, electronics and information systems upon which any reasonably advanced society, most specifically including our own, depend vitally,” Wood said. “Their effects on systems and infrastructures dependent on electricity and electronics could be sufficiently ruinous as to qualify as catastrophic to the American nation.”
The commission concluded in its report to Congress earlier this year: “EMP is one of a small number of threats that may hold at risk the continued existence of today’s U.S. civil society.”