WND has been reporting on the threat to America from EMP, the electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear explosion high in the sky, since early in the 2000s when former CIA chief James Wooley, former Defense Department staffer F. Michael Maloof and former Congressional EMP Commission member Dr. Peter Vincent Pry were sounding the alarm.
It was only weeks later that North Korea as a possible aggressor was brought into the conversation.
Nothing has gotten better since then, according to Pry, who agreed to an interview with WND on Friday, and in fact, it’s worse.
In fact, the sabre-rattling from North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un in recent days and weeks, the threats to destroy America, the warnings about “nuclear thunderbolts,” and more, should be taken very seriously, he suggested.
It’s not just that North Korea may have missiles that could reach the United States, and may have a nuclear warhead that could be fitted on the rockets, it could have already put in place the potential for a nuclear blast and EMP attack when it wants.
It’s because, Pry explained, North Korea first launched one satellite, then a second, in oddly circuitous orbits that have them approach from the south of America, where there are no early warning systems, there are no interceptor missiles, or any defense.
And the satellites, in fact, could actually contain a nuclear weapon ready to detonate.
Pry, who is executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, and served on the Congressional EMP Commission, as well as the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission and more, says the alarm truly is serious.
“All of us,” he said, referring to a team of experts in the field, “have written we think that the threat, the possibility of a super-EMP warhead is so great, the United States should take them [North Korea’s satellites] down,” he told WND.
“We ought not tolerate them orbiting,” he said, because nobody knows for sure what’s on the satellites, which are in that suspicious orbit which was identified years earlier as a possible route should the Soviet Union ever decide to mount an assault on the U.S., the south polar trajectory.
The problem is that a significant EMP attack properly carried out in the skies over the United States could take down the nation’s electronic infrastructure.
Electronic systems. All of them. Computers, networks, communications, systems that provide fuel and electricity. Systems that provide fuel and food, banking, medical systems, everything.
The estimates range widely but there easily could be multiple tens of millions of fatalities across the U.S. following such an attack, because food wouldn’t be available, as all the electronics allowing the shipping systems to operate all would be gone.
Pry said it would be, literally, a new stone age.
“The dark ages can come back… literally…. It’s that stark: A cliff waiting for us to fall over,” he said.
The EMP threat, he said, is the one way where a rogue nation like North Korea could inflict horrible damage on the U.S., possibly even neutralize it. After all, if the electronic controls were gone, would it even be possible for the nation to respond to an attack militarily?
The U.S., he said, would be “blind and defenseless.”
He said the suspicions about why the satellites were put into an orbit that approaches the U.S. from a concealed direction, and fly directly overhead, are great.
“What does North Korea want to do, helps us with our problem with climate change?” he wondered. “It’s so implausible.
Unless they are practicing for an attack.
The concept of a nuclear deterrent, the idea that an enemy would respond with nukes, is what kept the world away from nuclear conflict all during the Cold War and since. But Pry, who described North Korea’s dictator as “Caligula with nuclear weapons,” said that might not impact a decision from the closed kingdom.
Many people also consider that North Korea isn’t capable of the technology required for such an attack, he said. But consider that North Korea, at times, has been close to both China and Russia, both of which are considered capable of most of the same technology that the U.S. uses.
North Korea has threatened another nuclear test as early as this weekend even as the politics seem to be turning against the regime.
The close ally of China has become bolder in its rhetoric in recent years as Barack Obama’s foreign policy has left American enemies wondering about Washington’s willingness to defend itself.
North Korea has done several tests of nuclear devices in defiance of international bans and has issued multiple threats to kill Americans and destroy the U.S.
However, under President Trump, the U.S. has been clear about its intent to destroy ISIS, as was this week with the delivery of a gigantic, nearly 11-ton bomb on ISIS fortifications in Afghanistan.
Trump also has been pressuring China for fairer trade policies and to crack down on Pyongyang.
Something must have worked, as the North Korean news agency on Friday blasted its “long-standing ally China” and implied Beijing was “‘cooperating’ with Washington for the collapse of North Korea.”
The agency also reported Pyongyang’s threats to deliver “nuclear thunderbolts.”
North Korea’s newest saber-rattling comes after there was word from unidentified U.S. intelligence officials, via NBC, that the U.S. is ready to launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea – with conventional weapons – if it appears North Korea is going forward with more nuclear testing.
Kim Jong Un has said a “big event” is coming, and U.S. officials revealed the the U.S. has dispatched two destroyers to an area just 300 miles from North Korea’s nuclear test site.
The U.S. also has bombers stationed in Guam, and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group is moving into the region.
Only two months ago Maloof reported Pyongyang had been able to launch two satellites, even though nobody knows what they are doing.
At that time Jim Oberg, who is one of the few American scientists to visit North Korea’s Sohae space launch site in the northwest corner of the country, expressed similar concerns about the content of North Korean satellites.
Oberg is a retired space shuttle Mission Control specialist with NASA and worked for U.S. Space Command.
“There have been fears expressed that North Korea might use a satellite to carry a small nuclear warhead into orbit and then detonate it over the United States for an EMP strike,” Oberg said in a Space Review article. “These concerns seem extreme and require an astronomical scale of irrationality on the part of the regime.
“The most frightening aspect, I’ve come to realize,” he said, “is that exactly such a scale of insanity is now evident in the rest of this ‘space program.'”
In making his visit to the Sohae site in 2012, Oberg said the North Koreans tried to assure him that the satellite launches were for peaceful purposes. However, he was not convinced.
“The charade that Pyongyang’s satellite program was purely for peaceful space exploration and applications was pitifully transparent from the start,” Oberg said. “The real mystery was what was the true unseen purpose of the enormous expense that the government was pouring into the program.”
In 2014, WND reported that a “long-suppressed report” from the Department of Homeland Security concluded North Korea could, in fact, deliver on its threats to reach the U.S. with an EMP attack.
In the 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.”
A report from just last year said North Korea’s satellites are fully capable of performing a surprise EMP attack at an altitude and trajectory that evade U.S. National Missile Defenses.