The Obama administration should “seriously consider” a surgical strike to prevent North Korea from developing long-range missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, argued former CIA director James Woolsey.
In a radio interview Sunday night, Woolsey warned the U.S. is currently wide open and virtually defenseless against a missile coming from a southerly direction, and that both Iran and North Korea made advances toward firing missiles in that direction.
Woolsey further warned of the catastrophic effects of a North Korean missile launch or a satellite that could explode a nuclear warhead over the U.S. as part of an electromagnetic pulse attack.
Woolsey was speaking on Aaron Klein’s WABC Radio show. (Listen to his comments by clicking here:)
He stated: "Once you can launch a satellite into orbit, any country would be capable, if it had a nuclear weapon, of detonating the nuclear weapon while on the satellite, while the satellite is in orbit and unfortunately that is a rather easy way to create an electromagnetic pulse."
And such an EMP attack could "take out a huge share of the United States' electricity grid," he said. He pointed out North Korea reportedly already orbited a satellite.
Woolsey recommended the Obama administration follow a policy first enumerated in 2006 by former Secretary of Defense William Perry and now-Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
Both diplomats urged President Bush to pre-emptively destroy North Korea's long-range missiles.
The ex-CIA chief explain that since then North Korea not only sent a satellite into space but also reportedly carried out three nuclear detonations, fulfilling the basic requirements for an intercontinental ballistic missile that can deliver a nuclear warhead against the U.S.
He said that due to the latest North Korean advances Perry and Carter's recommendation of a pre-emptive strike now "ought to be on the agenda for very serious consideration."
He continued: "I think Perry and Carter were right then, I think they are even more right now ... . I think the substance of their recommendation was quite sound and the [Obama] administration ought to be quite worried about it."
U.S. South defenseless
Woolsey further warned U.S. Ballistic Missile Early Warning radars and interceptors are currently positioned to take out missile strikes coming to the homeland from the north polar region, while no such systems are focused on missiles arriving from the south.
Asked by Klein whether the U.S. was defenseless against missiles coming from the south, Woolsey replied in the affirmative.
"At least temporarily," he added. "Some of these systems can be moved and redirected, but generally speaking today our defenses are facing north. Radars and other systems."
He said there are indications both Iran and North Korea are theoretically prepared for a possible strike from the south.
"Indeed the North Korean and Iranian satellites that have been launched have been launched toward the south and at altitudes that can be quite compatible with the detonation of an EMP system of some kind."