WASHINGTON – A long-suppressed report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security for the Defense Department concludes that North Korea could deliver on its threats to destroy the United States with a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack.
The report remains blocked from release to the American public.
However, a copy obtained by Peter Vincent Pry from sources within DHS finds North Korea could use its Unha-3 space launch vehicle to deliver a nuclear warhead as a satellite over the South Pole to attack the U.S. from the south.
Pry, executive director of the congressional advisory Task Force on National and Homeland Security, pointed out that the U.S. “has no early warning radars or interceptors” to stop a missile from the south.
Pry also was the staff director to the congressionally mandated EMP commission, which concluded that the damage from either a natural or man-made EMP event on the nation’s unprotected electrical grid would have a cascading impact on life-sustaining critical infrastructures as well as electronic components and automated control systems.
Along with the electrical grid system, the critical infrastructures include telecommunications, banking, finance, petroleum and natural gas pipelines, transportation, food and water delivery, emergency services and space systems.
DHS conducted the study after the spring 2013 nuclear crisis with North Korea in which the communist government’s leadership threatened a “preemptive” nuclear strike on the U.S. and then released videos depicting a nuclear attack on Washington.
Pry said North Korea successfully practiced the EMP attack scenario three months before the crisis.
During the crisis, he said, North Korea issued a general mobilization order to its “nuclear forces” that included “space forces.”
“The North Koreans are seeing what they can get away with,” Pry said. “It shows that Pyongyang is planning something big against the U.S.”
In its suppressed study, DHS said that if North Korea attempted to deploy the Unha-3 space launch vehicle or the Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile, the Defense Department should destroy the missile on its pad before launch.
At the time, however, President Obama and the White House “repeatedly asserted that North Korea did not yet have the capacity to attack the United States or U.S. allies with nuclear missiles.”
Separately, former U.S. Ambassador Henry Cooper, who was the first director of the Strategic Defense Initiative under then-President George H.W. Bush, said that North Korea generally tests its missiles by launching toward the South Pole.
He said, however, that the U.S. does not have its missile defense system oriented toward an attack from a southern polar missile launch attack on the U.S. Instead, all missile defenses are positioned for an attack from the north.
In addition, he said, the U.S. lacks adequate missile defenses against an attack on the East Coast.
Cooper has called for the deployment of existing Navy Aegis missile defense systems, both on ship and on land.
He said the Aegis system is capable of intercepting a nuclear weapon approximately 150 miles above the Earth, the height at which a high-altitude nuclear EMP attack would be most effective.
In its December 2012 test, North Korea was able to launch a satellite, Cooper and Pry told WND, that could have been a nuclear weapon capable of orbiting the Earth and detonating on command over the United States or anywhere else.
In his interview with WND, Pry said Pyongyang in April 2013 had launched a satellite that was tracked orbiting over the U.S., first in the middle of country and then over the eastern most populated corridor between Boston and Washington.
Pry said that if the satellite were a nuclear weapon exploded above the middle of the U.S., the EMP effect on the vulnerable grid system would have been nationwide.
In its numerous underground nuclear tests, North Korea has been testing low-kiloton nuclear weapons that Pry said was a “super EMP” device designed to emit a large number of gamma rays, a form of electromagnetic energy.
In an interview with WND, Pry said the revelations in the suppressed DHS report are only the latest indications of North Korean intentions aimed at a possible nuclear EMP attack on the U.S.
He said the prospect is the latest in a series of recent North Korean actions.
Pry referred to the revelation of a Soviet-era nuclear-capable ground-to-air SA-2 missile that was discovered on a North Korean ship detained in the Panama Canal in July 2013 after leaving Cuba, only 90 miles from U.S. shores.
U.S. intelligence believes the missile was headed back to North Korea for refurbishment.
Cuba is assessed to have some 100 of the ground-to-air missiles ostensibly designed to knock out aircraft. However, Pry said that armed with a nuclear weapon and exploded over the East Coast, one or two of the SA-2s being launched over the East Coast would knock out the Eastern grid, which services some 70 percent of the U.S. population.
At the time of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the SA-2s were not an issue of contention for elimination from the island. Instead, the focus was on the ground-to-ground missiles the Soviet Union then removed. However, the SA-2s remain in Cuba to this day.
Revelation of a Cuban SA-2 on a North Korean ship also brought into focus the increasingly close military ties Pyongyang is developing with Havana.
Pry said that an EMP attack on the U.S. would not have to originate from North Korea but could be a missile, such as the SA-2, launched from a freighter off the U.S. East or Gulf Coasts. At that point, there would be no missile defense capable of halting such an event.
With a missile launched from a freighter, it could be difficult to identify who is responsible for an attack.